A Lightweight Linux Desktop Environment Built With KDE Technologies

With LXQt, your wish has finally been granted. Do you like the look of KDE, but wish it were less resource-hungry?

Why Use LXQt?

Why would you want to use LXQt? It’s simple. There are a lot of desktop environments that have their own goals, but each one usually has some positives and negatives. LXQt brings the best of both worlds together, so now you can enjoy a KDE-like desktop that’s much lighter. Think of it as KDE and LXDE getting together and having a baby. LXQt is that baby.

That also brings us to the second reason why you’d want to use LXQt: speed. Because LXQt is so much lighter than KDE, it can speed up your system. It can also be installed on systems that cannot support KDE. The Qt framework isn’t necessarily more resource-heavy than GTK is — it might just be perceived that way since KDE is the only major desktop environment available that uses it.

About LXQt

LXQt is the result of the LXDE Qt team and the Razor-qt team merging together to create a single desktop environment. Both teams had very similar goals, so it made sense. The end result is what they call a Qt (pronounced “cute”) port of the LXDE desktop, one of the lightest full-fledged options currently available. In other words, they’ve made a very lightweight desktop environment that uses the same technology that KDE, a full-featured major desktop environment, is based on — it can even use the same KWin window manager and the Oxygen icons.

LXQt Looks

The developers weren’t kidding when they said that they made a Qt port of LXDE. The desktop looks very similar to LXDE, and even offers similar minimalistic settings, but these are all displayed with KDE-like styling, which is where the changes due to Qt come in. Since there aren’t any distributions yet that feature LXQt, there aren’t any default applications. Therefore, you can choose whatever apps you’d like to bundle with the distribution, although you might want to opt for lighter-weight ones so you’re not offsetting the benefits you’re getting from LXQt.

Stability and Progress

While progress has been great, LXQt is currently in an awkward position where it’s both beta yet stable. The latest release at time of writing is 0.7.0, which usually signifies that the software in question is not yet considered stable. However, the homepage of LXQt says that it’s stable enough to be used on production machines. That leads me to believe that the desktop environment is considered stable (which my own testing has confirmed) but it might still be missing a few features that the developers have planned. Which would be great, since LXQt already feels quite complete.

LXQt Installation

Getting LXQt isn’t as easy as other Linux distributions, but it’s far from difficult. It’s easiest if you’re running Ubuntu or an Ubuntu-based derivative, because you can enable the Lubuntu Daily PPA and download the desktop environment that way. The command to do all of this would be:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:lubuntu-dev/lubuntu-daily && sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install lxqt-metapackage.

For other distributions, you can head over to the LXQt homepage and click on an available distribution — that list currently includes Arch Linux, Fedora, openSUSE, Siduction, Gentoo, and ALT Linux. From there, you need to follow any provided instructions or install the packages that you find there. Make sure that you’re downloading packages for your architecture, meaning i686 for 32-bit and amd64 for 64-bit.

Once you have the desktop environment installed, you must log out and then choose the LXQt session from your login manager. In Ubuntu, this means clicking on the Ubuntu logo next to your name and choosing the LXQt Desktop session from the list. After choosing the LXQt session, you can log back in and  you should be greeted by LXQt!

Try LXqt From Lubuntu

If you want to install LXQt, it may be better to install it from Lubuntu, the Ubuntu flavor with LXDE by default, rather than Ubuntu. Otherwise, you’ll see a lot of duplicate items in the menus which can get annoying if you want to use LXQt for production purposes.

I have a lot of hope that LXQt can go far. I think that it’s the best looking lightweight desktop environment yet — definitely better than the original LXDE and even better than Xfce (without any customizations). We’ll have to see how official adoption by distributions looks once the desktop environment hits version 1.0.

What do you think about LXQt? Is it a desktop environment you’re interested in trying, or is it missing something you need/want? Let us know in the comments!