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Installing to a running system

LXDE requires Debian Lenny (5.0) or later editions to satisfy dependencies to libc6.

aptitude update
aptitude install lxde

Alternatively, if you want a minimal lxde without its recommended applications:

aptitude install --without-recommends lxde-core

Configuring Login Managers

GDM, KDM, LightDM or WDM

No manual configuration is needed. Just select LXDE from the available sessions listed by the display manager. If you don't see LXDE, restart your display manager or reboot.


With this display manager, some manual configuration is needed. Please refer to their official document and write your /etc/slim.conf and ~/.xinitrc. The command you should put in your ~/.xinitrc to start LXDE is:

exec startlxde


XDM reads a file called .xsession in the user's home directory to determine which window manager (resp. desktop environment) to start. As it is usually not present on a fresh Debian installation, we have to create it and put LXDE's startup command there. As an example, this is a minimal working .xsession:

exec startlxde

No display manager, use startx

Run the following command with root access:

update-alternatives --config x-session-manager

Then choose startlxde. (For the option to show-up, you may have to reboot your system first.) The next time you run startx, LXDE will be started.

Configuration for locales and input method

  • GDM or KDM: Setting locale is not needed. Input method can be specified by im-switch.
  • SLIM: put this in your ~/.xinitrc before "exec startlxde" to set locales.

zh_TW.UTF-8 (traditional Chinese, Taiwan) is my locale, please replace it with yours.

export LC_ALL=zh_TW.UTF-8
export LANGUAGE=zh_TW.UTF-8
export LANG=zh_TW.UTF-8

If you need to use input method, add those lines, too. Please refer to the document of your input method. Here I use scim for example. (FIXME: Maybe we can use some im-switch compatible way here. Anyone know how to do it please fix this)

export GTK_IM_MODULE=scim
export QT_IM_MODULE=xim
scim -d

Install to a new system

i386 or amd64

Debian uses codes for system architectures, at the official install images noted as amd64 and i386 the user can select LXDE in the menu marked "Advanced options". Use the following install images.

Read more in the install notes (this is for i386).

Other systems

For other architectures you have to issue a boot parameter to install LXDE as your desktop environment.

  1. Download a install image (the netinst is recomended)
  2. Issue the boot parameter desktop=lxde
  3. Continue the install process as usual.

Read more in the install notes (this is for i386).

Lightweight systems CD

For simpler systems there is a special CD with LXDE (default) as desktop environment.

eee PC

dd if=debian-eeepc.img of=/dev/<USB-DEVICE>

Note: <USB-DEVICE> = the device, not a partition. ( for example: /dev/sdX but NOT /dev/sdX1)

An easy way: Start with CrunchBang

CrunchBang 10 "Statler" is based on Debian Testing with Openbox, with easy setup scripts. Setting up LXDE should usually be straightforward.

See also

  • At more information about the various disc images can be found.
  • Changes to the CD/DVD/Blue ray-images of Debian as of 7th of January 2009 is documented in the Debian mailing list archive
  • Aptosid - a Debian Unstable based distribution with LXDE.
  • Siduction - a Debian Unstable based distribution with LXDE live cd.