While looking around for alternatives to Ubuntu, I stumbled upon two lightweight derivatives of Ubuntu: Xubuntu and Lubuntu. They're both derivatives of Ubuntu, which means they get the same great up-to-date packages, community support, and can benefit from PPAs. Plus they're both lightweight enough to be run on older computers, which is a nice change of pace from regular Ubuntu, whose Unity interface is too bloated to run well on older machines.
Lubuntu is a little more lightweight than Xubuntu, but on closer inspection it's clear that Lubuntu's advantages end there.
Here are some reasons why Xubuntu is the better choice:
- Xubuntu is more mature; it's been around since 2006, whereas Lubuntu was introduced in 2010.
- Related to the previous point, Xfce (the desktop environment which Xubuntu is based on) is more mature and has been around much longer than LXDE (which Lubuntu is based on).
- LXDE is largely developed by one person, whereas Xfce has a large and robust development team.
- Every two years Ubuntu releases an LTS (Long Term Support) version. Xubuntu follows Ubuntu in providing LTS releases, but Lubuntu doesn't.
- Xubuntu has an integrated settings manager, but Lubuntu doesn't.
- Lubuntu is a little too bare bones and requires more work to configure and customise (Sources: 1 2 3)
- This is mostly a matter of opinion, but Xubuntu/Xfce looks better (and I'm not the only one that thinks so). It also looks more like GNOME 2.
Oh, and the screenshot at the top is Xubuntu :)