Christopher Tozzi has an interesting post about Xubuntu 10.10 trying to establish more of its own identity, including using less GNOME-centric applications, like the GNOME task manager.
The article is interesting, but Tozzi has a great comment in the comments section, though:
Sometimes I think Xubuntu might be better presented not as a lightweight version of Ubuntu, but merely as one with an alternative desktop environment which happens to be a little lighter on resource usage than Gnome but whose chief value is an alternative desktop experience, not its resource consumption.
I’ve never thought Xubuntu was fast enough to satisfy people who want a truly lightweight system, but I do find certain aspects of Xfce’s interface and way of doing things preferable to Gnome’s. If I switched to Xubuntu, it would be for the interface, not because it uses a bit less memory than Ubuntu.
It’s a great take on Xubuntu and one I agree with. Xubuntu isn’t especially light, but it is different. It’s a different desktop environment that I suspect a lot of people would prefer, were they to be exposed to it.
The beauty of Linux is that it gives the users so many choices. But it seems a lot of users aren’t aware of the level of choice that they have.
Xubuntu lets you run Ubuntu, and all of the convenience that includes, but with a different desktop environment. Not necessarily a better one, but a different one.
So I agree with Tozzi. Xubuntu is interesting not because it’s quicker but because Xfce is an interesting desktop environment.
Having said that, I’ve always liked that Xubuntu is kind of an afterthought within the Ubuntu world. I’m not sure I want Canonical paying a lot of attention, trying to craft an experience. I’d be happy if they just implemented more Xfce-native applications.