Still applies: 13.10
The readers of this review are most probably Linux fans. But have you ever given the opposition a second look? I am currently writing this from a Windows 7 computer and I am not having trouble with anything. I haven’t for years. So why is Linux so good? I found this out recently as my laptop became extremely slow while running Windows 7. It was running fine for about a year, but (probably due to a recent computer upgrade) seemed to take a millennia to load and shut-down. I wanted the fast loading time I was accustomed to, so decided to purchase advanced system care which, unlike my desktop, didn’t seem to make any effect. According to my friends, the solution to this was simple – load Xubuntu 12.10, the XFCE variant of Ubuntu.
Surprisingly enough, the results were, at first, remarkable. I felt like Microsoft had kept me in the dark ages of computing as my laptop loaded at a blistering pace. My first instinct was to load my browser of choice – Chrome. I went through the daunting procedure of copying lines of code into the command prompt – sorry, terminal emulator (I’m a bit of a Linux newbie) – and was disappointed by the loading times. My previous browser was Firefox, the recommended browser for Xubuntu, and once it was loaded there was a massive difference in the speed web-pages were loading.
The next on my priority list was Steam. The new release of Steam for Linux was a pivotal point in my decision to test it out. All I ever do on my laptop is play TF2 (Team Fortress 2), browse the Internet and, occasionally, play Minecraft – all of which could now be completed with, supposedly, more speed. Over the course of downloading the game, I was massively disappointed as, this time, the download kept on stopping (edit: although in the massive list of Xubuntu settings you can change the sleep times). I found myself rushing to my laptop throughout the evening trying to wake it up so that the download would resume – it was even stopping when the screen hadn’t timed out. Before, this had only taken well under 3 hours as my Internet speed should be 20 – 30mbs (according to various broadband speed check sites) and once it had finished I was relieved that it had worked. You may say that this is down to that the fact that I didn’t hard-wire it, but I have done this before and it was fine.
The problems with Steam didn’t stop there (edit: but Steam for Linux is still in Beta and only supports Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, not Xubuntu 12.10). When I finally got around to launching the game it was lagging. I love to play on these custom maps as I find the stock maps repetitive and once I spawned in, after an agonisingly long wait, the frame rates were horrendous – unplayable even. Never before had I endured such a bad gaming experience. But what made this even worse was when I booted back into Windows and found that it took about five minutes to load (much longer then before I partitioned the drive) and at least another 10 to get into the game. Once I was in though, the results were the same – what had I done!
So far with Linux all I have done is make my computer faster at some things, but slower with others. I was impressed at first but after using it for a few hours I got Windows withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms caused by withdrawal from the OS of ultimate compatibility. And for this reason, as much as I hate Windows, my desktop is staying Linux free. My laptop, however, is a completely different story. My laptop is staying with Xubuntu as I love the fast loading times and speedy Internet browsing. But for it to earn a place on my gaming rig it needs to be compatible with everything and beat Windows at it. But at the moment that seems to be a steep hill to climb, but luckily for Linux – with the release of Windows 8 – Windows are in a much bigger hole than Linux have a steep hill to climb.
Usability: 8/10 (Very usable but the one of the two main things I wanted to do with it was run TF2 on Steam, which is still in Beta and not supported so very slow, also Firefox stops by default.)
Size: 10/10 (Not mentioned in the review but it is VERY small (like Lubuntu).)
Performance: 9/10 (Very fast, only problem is Steam again.)
Overall: 9/10 (Using it on my laptop for good reason, when Steam for Linux Gold comes out for more Linux platforms/versions, it will be even better. Also beats Windows 8 by a long shot.)
Written by Chris. Edit this review here (not live): https://github.com/Ads20000/fossreviews/wiki/Xubuntu/_edit