Lubuntu Xubuntu Windows 7 Footprint

Lubuntu and Xubuntu are members of the Ubuntu extended family of operating systems, both intended to use less resources than Ubuntu. To provide additional computing resources to the students who come in for assistance, I use computers that the college is no longer deploying. In this instance a couple of MPC ClientPro computers from circa 1995 are in use, one running Lubuntu and one running Xubuntu. The two rigs are not identical. At some point I read somewhere that the Lubuntu OS had a smaller memory footprint than Xubuntu, and so I thought I would have a look at the memory footprints for the two computers.

The Lubuntu rig is running Ubuntu 14.04 LTS with the LXDE desktop environment. For those unfamiliar with the world of Ubuntu, that is the April 2014 build of the Ubuntu OS. I would note that neither computer could run the 2014 build of the Windows operating system - Windows 8.1. 

The Lubuntu 14.04 system in idle after boot is using 114 MB of the 241 MB of RAM available on the computer. That is not a typo, the computer has only "256 MB" of RAM on board. CPU usage is 0%. 

The Xubuntu rig is running Ubuntu 14.04 LTS with the XFCE 4 desktop environment. 

The Xubuntu 14.04 system is also in idle after boot. The Xubuntu system never does seem to drop to 0% CPU usagee. The usage ranges from 6% to 13%, the image above catching the machine at 8%. Xubuntu is using 452 MB of 739 MB. Note that this is not intended as a scientific test of identical rigs identically configured, just two computers of a similar era running Lubuntu and Xubuntu.

For reference, a 2012 Dell Optiplex 390 running Windows 7 Professional 64 bit Service Pack 1 with 4 GB of RAM is using 1280 MB. The OS credits itself as being 2009 OS - essentially a five year old OS. CPU usage is spiky but returns to 0% between events. After an hour in idle, the computer had settled down to 0% CPU usage and "only" 778 MB of RAM footprint. 

The Lubuntu desktop is similar to the Windows 95/98 desktop with a start menu and static menu items. Xubuntu is a related desktop - a menu selects progams - but there is a user configurable "favorite" programs menu that opens as the default menu panel. A nice touch and helpful to users transitioning from other operating systems. Either one will perform well on older systems, but if the system is severely memory challenged then Lubuntu is the obvious choice.

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