Simple, Fast, Free.That is all you really need to know about the purpose of Linux Lite. It is built for the Everyday Linux User which is why this is the best platform for review purposes.
How To Get Linux Lite
The actual installation of Linux Lite is fairly straight forward although if you are installing on a computer with UEFI then you will need to switch to legacy mode. On computers with a standard BIOS you shouldn't have any issues.
To install Linux Lite insert the USB drive and boot until the desktop screen appears. Click on the install Linux Lite icon and work through the steps.
The steps are basically as follows:
- Choose installation language
- Choose whether to connect to the internet
- Check your computer meets the pre-requisites
- Choose whether to replace the current operating system or install alongside it
- Choose your location
- Choose your keyboard layout
- Create a default user
- Wait for installation to finish.
Linux Lite is based on Ubuntu's Long Term Support release, version 14.04. The desktop environment is XFCE.
Upon booting you are presented with a standard XFCE layout with one panel at the bottom containing a menu, quick launch icons and a system tray.
The system tray has icons for switching virtual workspaces, choosing keyboard layout, power settings, bluetooth settings, network settings, audio settings and a clock.
The left side of the panel has a menu button and quick launch icons for minimising all windows, Firefox, Thunar File Manager, Terminal and the Linux Lite Control Centre.
Linux Lite implements the Whisker Menu which is the best available for the XFCE desktop environment. It provides a decent search facility and easy to navigate categories.
In the middle of the screen is a welcome window with an option to install software and this is where we are going to get into the meat and bones of Linux Lite.
ApplicationsLinux Lite by default comes with a fairly small set of applications which shouldn't be surprising because the size of the ISO image is less than a gigabyte.
There are definitely enough applications to get you by with Firefox for web browsing, the Thunderbird email client, the LibreOffice suite and VLC media player.
What I really like about Linux Lite (and it is the same thing that I really liked about Bodhi Linux) is that it has its own software installer with a list of commonly used applications.
You can access this installer from the welcome screen or via the menu in the system folder called "Lite Software".
The Linux Lite Installer has every major application you can think of including Dropbox, Skype, Keepass, Clementine, Chrome, Steam, Openshot, Kodi, Restricted Extras, Teamviewer, Java Plugin and the Tor Web Browser.
You will definitely want to install the Restricted Extras package as it will make it possible to play MP3 audio and Flash videos.
If you need any further software you can install it via the Synaptic Package Manager but I think you will agree that the list of software in the Lite Installer is quite exhaustive.
Lite Control Centre
If the Lite Installer impressed me then what impressed me more was the Lite Control Centre. (Or Center if you are in the US).
This application lets you control all aspects of your computer's setup.
The first screen provides information about your computer and installation of Linux Lite including the operating system, desktop, processor, architecture, memory, host name, Kernel version, last update, graphics card, sound card and hard drive.
The desktop tab lets you manage the desktop by adding extra icons such as the home and trash icons, change desktop wallpaper, change the screen saver and manage workspaces.
The software tab lets you manage your software sources, install updates, install software and upgrade Linux Lite.
The hardware tab lets you set up printers, manage removable drives, adjust monitor settings, install drivers and adjust the power management settings.
The network tab lets you manage wireless networks and browse network shares.
Finally the system tab lets you partition drives, change date and time, add and remove users and do pretty much anything else not covered in the other tabs.
Customising Linux Lite
- Couldn't connect to Western Digital MyCloud network drive
- Videos would stutter in VLC whilst performing a file transfer from an external drive even if the video was already on the machine.
- Despite choosing the English UK option in the installer the language was set up as English US.