LXDE vs XFCE: Which Is the Higher Light-weight Desktop Atmosphere?

Within the hunt for lighter Desktop Environments in your Linux system, it’s simple to turn out to be overwhelmed by the variety of decisions out there to you. The group will ship you everywhere in the Web completely different DEs, and also you’ll find yourself confused and searching to return to no matter you had earlier than. We’ve taken the freedom of narrowing the listing down to simply two decisions: LXDE vs. XFCE. We talk about right here which is the higher light-weight desktop setting.

Earlier than We Get Began

In an effort to standardize, we can be utilizing LXLE to symbolize LXDE and Xubuntu to symbolize XFCE. They take away a number of the inconsistent issues about their respective DEs, and it makes it simpler to give attention to the elements that matter. They’re additionally each based mostly on Ubuntu, so there’s little distinction within the underlying system itself.

Introducing LXDE

LXDE is broadly recognized locally as one of many lightest Desktop Environments round. One of many methods it accomplishes that is by utilizing many separate parts, every of which will be put in individually or swapped out for others.

An instance of that is the Window Supervisor – Openbox is the default, however you possibly can select from many others to fit your needs and wishes. LXDE is extremely easy and minimal, and for customers searching for a DE that’s mild and stays out of your approach, LXDE is a good alternative.

A screenshot of the LXDE login screen.
A screenshot of the default LXDE desktop.
A screenshot of the default LXDE lock screen.

Introducing XFCE

XFCE can also be an extremely well-liked Desktop Atmosphere. It’s light-weight, and but nonetheless customizable you could configure it to the way in which you need it. Much like LXDE, there are parts you could simply swap out.

Whereas the inventory XFCE is just not significantly interesting, the way in which the Xubuntu workforce manages the DE is de facto engaging. It’s a few theme and icon modifications together with a greater screensaver, and these little decisions add up. General, XFCE is a superb alternative for these customers with lower than optimum {hardware} who’re searching for a light-weight, responsive, however nonetheless absolutely featured DE.

A screenshot of the XFCE login screen.
A screenshot of the default XFCE desktop.
A screenshot of the default XFCE lock screen.

LXDE vs. XFCE Efficiency

When it comes to efficiency, each DEs are wonderful in equivalent digital machines. They every have entry to 2 cores of my i5 2500 CPU and 4 GB RAM. Booting every up takes between 5 to 10 seconds whereas applications open virtually instantly.

Dragging home windows across the display is commonly clean sufficient with little to no dropped frames, and interacting with the menus is de facto snappy. The place issues get attention-grabbing is once you begin to look underneath the hood.

LXDE vs. XFCE System Useful resource Effectivity

From a chilly boot, each distros use roughly the identical quantity of CPU at round 1 to 2 %. Nevertheless, LXDE is extra RAM environment friendly at round 247 MB RAM, whereas XFCE makes use of 423 MB.

A screenshot of a terminal showing the current system resource usage of LXDE.

It is a big deal for these customers with very restricted RAM. Older laptops with 2 or 4 GB RAM have to make each MB depend, even just some hundred MB. When you have a very restricted system, you might wish to select LXDE.

A screenshot of a terminal showing the current system resource usage of XFCE.

Person Friendliness

Each Desktop Environments are effective as soon as you’re acquainted with them, however XFCE begins out approach forward of LXDE. This clearly will depend on the implementation, however for the 2 in query right here, XFCE walks away the victor in Person Friendliness.

XFCE appears like a extra all-rounded system the place every little thing integrates tightly. It typically comes with a bunch of user-level graphical purposes, whereas LXDE depends on many applications from different DEs. For instance, XFCE makes use of its personal window supervisor, Metacity, to manage its graphical home windows.

A screenshot of XFCE showing consistent design language.

Furthermore, I really feel extra at house with XFCE. LXDE feels disjointed, given all of the separate parts, and that makes me really feel like there’s one thing else I must be doing or altering to get essentially the most out of the expertise. XFCE has depth and substance. It’s extra welcoming, and it reveals you the way mild a whole, fully-featured Desktop Atmosphere will be.

A screenshot of LXDE showing the inconsistent design language for its windows.


That is an space the place LXDE shines the brightest. As a result of its extremely modular nature, it’s doable to interchange virtually each a part of the desktop with out breaking the complete setting. For instance, you possibly can exchange the panel, window supervisor and even the terminal emulator with a customized binary and LXDE will nonetheless run it for you.

A screenshot showing the ways to customize the default window manager.

This may be nice for superior customers who’ve expertise with modifying deeper system-level purposes. LXDE rewards customers who’re prepared to tinker and continually customise their system.

Whereas XFCE additionally comes with other ways to customise it, its tight app integration implies that there’s a restrict to what you possibly can moderately change. For instance, utilizing a special window supervisor with XFCE breaks its panel module. This makes it more durable to make use of XFCE as a base in your customized desktop setup.

A screenshot showing i3 in XFCE with a missing panel bar.

LXDE vs. XFCE: Which Is Higher?

There isn’t one appropriate reply for this. Let’s take a look at the use instances the place every DE shines.


When you have a system that may’t appear to run easily it doesn’t matter what you do, or if you happen to really feel such as you’re leaving efficiency on the desk once you load up a heavier Desktop Atmosphere, LXDE is for you. There’s a motive that Raspberry Pi OS makes use of LXDE for its desktop, and why it runs so properly.

A screenshot of a terminal showing the specs for the LXDE KVM.


Along with being light-weight, XFCE additionally brings slight customization to the desk. There are purposes developed for XFCE, and issues are tightly built-in. In case you’re searching for wonderful efficiency from a light-weight however full Desktop Atmosphere, then XFCE is ideal. It has a really loyal fan base of customers for a motive.

A screenshot of a terminal showing the specs of the KVM for XFCE.

Choosing the right light-weight Linux distribution is simply step one in extracting essentially the most out of your resource-light system. Study how one can additional optimize your machine by putting in your personal Linux kernel in Ubuntu. Other than that, you too can discover ways to protect your SSD disks by enabling TRIM in Linux.

Picture credit score: Berkeley Communications by way of Unsplash (Background) and Wikimedia Commons (LXDE Emblem, XFCE Emblem). All alterations and screenshots by Ramces Pink.