Comparison between LXDE and Xfce

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Xfce is another desktop environment which aims to be lightweight. In this article, we'll compare LXDE and Xfce.


  • Xfce is currently more fully featured than LXDE. Xfce has had time to develop some packages which are not yet implemented in LXDE.
  • Xfce is significantly larger, because Xfce focusses the most on features while LXDE focusses on lightness.
  • Xfce is slower, because sometimes they are using code which has not yet been made lean and efficient (to provide new features). However, it is still leaner than GNOME or KDE.

Implementations of Xfce

Most distributions have Xfce in their repositories, and quite a few have Xfce versions on LiveCD. A couple of notable examples:

  • Xubuntu is well known, as the Xfce version of Ubuntu. Some releases have been criticized for being bloated, and not as Xfce was meant to be implemented.
  • CrunchBang Statler (Debian-based) offers a choice of Openbox or Xfce (or both, choosing session at login). The "Xfce" is actually a very slimmed down version, very similar to the Openbox version but using Xfwm. The developer has said that it is intended to demonstrate that a truly lightweight Xfce is possible (not his exact words).

Implementations of LXDE

  • Lubuntu, a distribution based on Ubuntu

Xfce code in LXDE

The LXDE project uses some Xfce code. It is clearly documented in either the source code or the COPYING file in the source repo.

The code which is used by LXDE consists of:

  • ExoIconView and ExoTreeView from libexo. (These make a small fraction of libexo.)
  • libfm contains code of exo. This is properly documented in README, AUTHORS and in the code. Even the git hash is given.
  • LXSession used the HAL code of xfce4-session. This is documented in AUTHORS and README.
  • LXLauncher uses a single function from exo. This is documented in the source and Benny of Xfce is listed in AUTHORS.
  • LXTask is heavily based on xfce4-taskmanager 0.4.x, but without Xfce dependencies. Patches for bugs and enhancements were sent to Xfce but not incorporated. Since then, lxtask now a different GUI, and xfce4-taskmanager has been revived and updated to 1.0.x.
  • the xkb plugin for LXPanel uses code from xfce4-xkb-plugin.

Note: LXPanel is not based on xfce4-panel. It is based on fbpanel (but isn't compatible with fbpanel anymore) and the panel itself does not use any Xfce code - only the xkb plugin uses Xfce code, as noted above.

External links