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LXDE is a free and open source
Free and open source software
Free and open-source software or free/libre/open-source software is software that is liberally licensed to grant users the right to use, study, change, and improve its design through the availability of its source code...

 desktop environment
Desktop environment
In graphical computing, a desktop environment commonly refers to a style of graphical user interface derived from the desktop metaphor that is seen on most modern personal computers. These GUIs help the user in easily accessing, configuring, and modifying many important and frequently accessed...

 for Unix
Unix
Unix is a multitasking, multi-user computer operating system originally developed in 1969 by a group of AT&T employees at Bell Labs, including Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, Brian Kernighan, Douglas McIlroy, and Joe Ossanna...

 and other POSIX
POSIX
POSIX , an acronym for "Portable Operating System Interface", is a family of standards specified by the IEEE for maintaining compatibility between operating systems...

 compliant platforms, such as Linux
Linux
Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of any Linux system is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released October 5, 1991 by Linus Torvalds...

 or BSD. The goal of the project is to provide a desktop environment that is fast and energy efficient. The name LXDE stands for "Lightweight X11
X Window System
The X window system is a computer software system and network protocol that provides a basis for graphical user interfaces and rich input device capability for networked computers...

 Desktop Environment".

LXDE is designed to work well with computers on the low end of the performance spectrum such as older resource-constrained machines, new generation netbook
Netbook
Netbooks are a category of small, lightweight, legacy-free, and inexpensive laptop computers.At their inception in late 2007 as smaller notebooks optimized for low weight and low cost — netbooks omitted certain features , featured smaller screens and keyboards, and offered reduced computing...

s, and other small computers, especially those with low amounts of RAM. Testing on Ubuntu has shown that LXDE 0.5 has the lowest memory usage compared to GNOME
GNOME
GNOME is a desktop environment and graphical user interface that runs on top of a computer operating system. It is composed entirely of free and open source software...

 2.29, KDE
KDE
KDE is an international free software community producing an integrated set of cross-platform applications designed to run on Linux, FreeBSD, Microsoft Windows, Solaris and Mac OS X systems...

 4.4, and Xfce
Xfce
Xfce is a free software desktop environment for Unix and other Unix-like platforms, such as Linux, Solaris, and BSD – though recent compatibility issues have arisen with regard to BSD Unix platforms...

 4.6, and also consumes less energy, which means mobile computers with LXDE drain their battery at a slower pace than those with other desktop environments.

LXDE can be built on top of various Linux distributions such as Arch Linux
Arch Linux
Arch Linux is an independently developed, Linux-based operating system for i686 and x86-64 computers. It is composed predominantly of free and open source software, and supports community involvement....

, Debian
Debian
Debian is a computer operating system composed of software packages released as free and open source software primarily under the GNU General Public License along with other free software licenses. Debian GNU/Linux, which includes the GNU OS tools and Linux kernel, is a popular and influential...

 and Ubuntu
Ubuntu (operating system)
Ubuntu is a computer operating system based on the Debian Linux distribution and distributed as free and open source software. It is named after the Southern African philosophy of Ubuntu...

. It is also the native desktop environment
Desktop environment
In graphical computing, a desktop environment commonly refers to a style of graphical user interface derived from the desktop metaphor that is seen on most modern personal computers. These GUIs help the user in easily accessing, configuring, and modifying many important and frequently accessed...

 of Knoppix
Knoppix
Knoppix, or KNOPPIX , is an operating system based on Debian designed to be run directly from a CD / DVD or a USB key , one of the first of its kind for any operating system. Knoppix was developed by Linux consultant Klaus Knopper. When starting a program, it is loaded from the removable medium...

, Lubuntu
Lubuntu
Lubuntu is a lightweight Linux operating system based on Ubuntu but using the LXDE desktop environment in place of Ubuntu's Unity shell and GNOME desktop...

 and U-lite, among others.

History


The project was started in 2006 by Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

ese programmer Hong Jen Yee, also known as PCMan, when he published PCManFM, a new file manager and the first module of LXDE.

LXDE is written in the C programming language, using the GTK+
GTK+
GTK+ is a cross-platform widget toolkit for creating graphical user interfaces. It is licensed under the terms of the GNU LGPL, allowing both free and proprietary software to use it. It is one of the most popular toolkits for the X Window System, along with Qt.The name GTK+ originates from GTK;...

 toolkit, and runs on Unix
Unix
Unix is a multitasking, multi-user computer operating system originally developed in 1969 by a group of AT&T employees at Bell Labs, including Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, Brian Kernighan, Douglas McIlroy, and Joe Ossanna...

 and other POSIX
POSIX
POSIX , an acronym for "Portable Operating System Interface", is a family of standards specified by the IEEE for maintaining compatibility between operating systems...

 compliant platforms, such as Linux
Linux
Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of any Linux system is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released October 5, 1991 by Linus Torvalds...

 and BSD. GTK+ is commonly used in many Linux distribution
Linux distribution
A Linux distribution is a member of the family of Unix-like operating systems built on top of the Linux kernel. Such distributions are operating systems including a large collection of software applications such as word processors, spreadsheets, media players, and database applications...

s and allows applications to run on different platforms. LXDE uses rolling releases for the individual components (or group of components with coupled dependencies). LXDE includes GPL licensed code as well as LGPL licensed code.

In reviewing Linux distribution
Linux distribution
A Linux distribution is a member of the family of Unix-like operating systems built on top of the Linux kernel. Such distributions are operating systems including a large collection of software applications such as word processors, spreadsheets, media players, and database applications...

 rankings for DistroWatch
DistroWatch
DistroWatch is a website which provides news, popularity rankings, and other general information about various Linux distributions as well as other free software/open source Unix-like operating systems such as OpenSolaris, MINIX and BSD. It now contains information on several hundred distributions...

 in early January 2011 for the year 2010 versus 2009, Ladislav Bodnar noted the increase in popularity of LXDE versus other desktop environments. He said, "Looking through the tables, an interesting thing is the rise of distributions that use the lightweight, but full-featured LXDE desktop or the Openbox
Openbox
Openbox is a free window manager for the X Window System, licensed under the GNU General Public License. Originally derived from Blackbox 0.65.0 , Openbox has now been totally rewritten in the C programming language and since version 3.0 is not based upon any code from Blackbox.Openbox is designed...

 window manager. As an example, Lubuntu now comfortably beats Kubuntu in terms of page hits, while CrunchBang Linux, a lightweight distribution with Openbox is still in the top 25 even though it failed to produce a stable release for well over a year. Many other distributions started offering LXDE-based editions of their products, further contributing to the dramatic rise in popularity of this relatively new desktop environment."

Components


Unlike other major desktop environments such as GNOME
GNOME
GNOME is a desktop environment and graphical user interface that runs on top of a computer operating system. It is composed entirely of free and open source software...

 and the KDE Plasma Desktop, the components of LXDE have few dependencies
Dependency hell
Dependency hell is a colloquial term for the frustration of some software users who have installed software packages which have dependencies on specific versions of other software packages. This was mainly attributable to old Linux package managers...

 and are not tightly integrated. Instead, they can run independently of each other.

LXDE consists of several components:
PCMan File Manager
PCMan File Manager
PCMan File Manager is a file manager application developed by Hong Jen Yee from Taiwan which is meant to be a replacement for Nautilus, Konqueror and Thunar. Released under the GNU General Public License, PCManFM is free software. PCManFM is the standard file manager in LXDE, which is also...

File manager
File manager
A file manager or file browser is a computer program that provides a user interface to work with file systems. The most common operations performed on files or groups of files are: create, open, edit, view, print, play, rename, move, copy, delete, search/find, and modify file attributes, properties...

LXInput Mouse and keyboard configuration tool
LXLauncher Easy-mode application launcher
LXPanel Desktop panel
Taskbar
In computing, a taskbar is a bar displayed on a full edge of a GUI desktop that is used to launch and monitor running applications. Microsoft incorporated a taskbar in Windows 95 and it has been a defining aspect of Microsoft Windows's graphical user interface ever since. Some desktop environments,...

LXSession X session manager
X session manager
In the X Window System, an X session manager is a session management program, a program that can save and restore the current state of a set of running applications.- Overview:...

LXAppearance GTK+ theme
Theme (computing)
In computing, a theme is a preset package containing graphical appearance details, used to customize the look and feel of an operating system, widget set or window manager....

 switcher
Leafpad
Leafpad
Leafpad is an open source text editor for Linux, BSD, and Maemo. Designed as a lightweight text editor with minimal dependencies, it is designed to be a simple, easy-to-compile text editor, and is the default text editor for both the LXDE Desktop environment and Xubuntu 11.10.Released under the...

Text editor
Text editor
A text editor is a type of program used for editing plain text files.Text editors are often provided with operating systems or software development packages, and can be used to change configuration files and programming language source code....

Xarchiver
Xarchiver
Xarchiver is a front-end to various command line archiving tools for Linux and BSD operating systems, designed to be independent of the desktop environment. It is the default archiving application of Xfce and LXDE....

File archiver
File archiver
A file archiver is a computer program that combines a number of files together into one archive file, or a series of archive files, for easier transportation or storage...

GPicView Image viewer
Image viewer
An image viewer or image browser is a computer program that can display stored graphical image; it can often handle various graphics file formats...

LXMusic An XMMS2
XMMS2
XMMS2 is a new generation of the XMMS audio player. It is a new design, written from scratch, separate from the XMMS codebase...

 client, audio player
Audio player
Audio player refers to a device or application that is capable of playback of audio data. In the strict sense of the term any device capable of audio playback falls under this category, although usually only digital equipment or software is meant....

LXTerminal Terminal emulator
Terminal emulator
A terminal emulator, terminal application, term, or tty for short, is a program that emulates a video terminal within some other display architecture....

LXTask Task manager
Task manager
A task manager is a program used to provide information about the processes and programs running on a computer, as well as the general status of the computer. It can also be used to terminate processes and programs, as well as change the processes priority...

LXRandR A GUI
Graphical user interface
In computing, a graphical user interface is a type of user interface that allows users to interact with electronic devices with images rather than text commands. GUIs can be used in computers, hand-held devices such as MP3 players, portable media players or gaming devices, household appliances and...

 front-end to RandR
RandR
The X Resize, Rotate and Reflect Extension is a X Window System extension, which allows clients to dynamically change X screens, so as to resize, rotate and reflect the root window of a screen. The initial X11 design did not anticipate the need for dynamic resizing and it was necessary to restart...

LXDM X display manager
X display manager
In the X Window System, an X display manager runs as a program that allows the starting of a session on an X server from the same or another computer.A display manager presents the user with a login screen which prompts for a username and password...

LXNM Lightweight network connection helper daemon
Daemon (computer software)
In Unix and other multitasking computer operating systems, a daemon is a computer program that runs as a background process, rather than being under the direct control of an interactive user...

. Supports wireless connections (Linux only).
Openbox
Openbox
Openbox is a free window manager for the X Window System, licensed under the GNU General Public License. Originally derived from Blackbox 0.65.0 , Openbox has now been totally rewritten in the C programming language and since version 3.0 is not based upon any code from Blackbox.Openbox is designed...

Window manager
Window manager
A window manager is system software that controls the placement and appearance of windows within a windowing system in a graphical user interface. Most window managers are designed to help provide a desktop environment...

obconf A GUI
Graphical user interface
In computing, a graphical user interface is a type of user interface that allows users to interact with electronic devices with images rather than text commands. GUIs can be used in computers, hand-held devices such as MP3 players, portable media players or gaming devices, household appliances and...

 tool to configure Openbox
Openbox
Openbox is a free window manager for the X Window System, licensed under the GNU General Public License. Originally derived from Blackbox 0.65.0 , Openbox has now been totally rewritten in the C programming language and since version 3.0 is not based upon any code from Blackbox.Openbox is designed...


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