LXDE is a GPL licensed open source desktop environment for Unix and other POSIX compliant platforms, such as Linux. The name LXDE stands for "Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment".

LXDE is an energy saving and extremely fast and performing desktop solution. It works well with computers on the low end of the performance spectrum such as new generation netbooks and other small mobile computers. LXDE is designed for cloud networks such as local freifunk clouds or the global Internet cloud. It can be built on top of various Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, Debian or Fedora. It is the standard for Knoppix and lubuntu. LXDE also runs with OpenSolaris and BSD. It provides a fast desktop experience connecting easily with applications in the cloud and supports a wealth of programs, that can be installed with Linux systems locally. LXDE already supports many computer processor architectures including Intel, MIPS and ARM.

The LXDE project started 2006 when Hong Yen Jee from Taiwan, known as PCMan, published the first component PCMan File Manager. Today the LXDE team has grown into an international community of developers, designers and contributors from all over the world.


It needs less CPU and performs extremely well with reasonable memory.
It runs well even on older computers produced in 1999, and it does not require 3D acceleration.
Energy saving
It requires less energy to perform tasks to other systems on the market.
Simply Beautiful
It includes an internationalized and polished user interface powered by GTK+ 2.
Easy to use
It provides a choice to use the simple eeepc like Launcher user interface or a MS Windows like application panel.
It is easy to customize the look and feel of LXDE.
Additional Features
It offers additional features like tabbed file browsing or menu run dialogs known from operating systems like Mac OS. Icons of new applications show up after install on desktop.
Desktop independent
Every component can be used independently from other components of LXDE offering the flexibility to use LXDE parts with different Unix like systems.
Standard compliant
It follows standards as specified by freedesktop.org.


The ultimate fast and robust file manager. It provides tabbed file browsing and desktop icons with low system resource usage.
Feature-rich yet user-friendly desktop panel providing most crucial functions you expect from a desktop panel. Configuration is done through a graphic user interface.
LXSession Lite
Standard-compliant X11 session manager with shutdown/reboot/suspend supports via HAL and gdm.
LXSession Edit
The standard session edit manager, with ability to turn on disabled applications in LXDE.
LXAppearance is a new feature-rich GTK+ theme switcher able to change GTK+ themes, icon themes, and fonts used by applications.
LXLauncher enables the desktop to have topic oriented desktops.
Lightweight, standard-compliant, and highly-configurable window manager (adapted by LXDE. We suggest using this as default window manager.). This can be replaced by any other window manager like icewm, fluxbox, metacity, ...etc.
A very simple, fast, and lightweight image viewer featuring immediate startup.
Lightweight and simple text editor adapted by LXDE. (We suggest using this as default text editor.).
LXDE Common
LXDE Common is the default settings configuration file for integrating the different components of LXDE. LXDE Common manages the system behavior and functions to integrate icons and artwork.
Desktop-independent VTE-based terminal emulator for LXDE without any unnecessary dependency (All instances share the same process to reduce memory usage).
Lightweight, fast, and desktop-independent gtk+-based file archiver (adapted by LXDE. We suggest using this as as default archiver).
Monitor configuring tool. You can plug in another screen into LXDE or choose to use a big screen projector. Local screen and extenal screen can be used at the same time. LXRandR configures the screen solution automatically.
Lightweight network connection manager. LXNM is a helper daemon for LXDE supporting wireless connections (Linux-only).
The minimalist XMMS2-based music player.
Graphic User Interface for netcat. Netcat provides system functions as a computer networking utility for reading from and writing to network connections on either TCP or UDP.
An easy way to edit application shortcuts.
LXDE Common
The default settings configuration file for integrating the different components of LXDE. LXDE Common manages the system behavior and functions to integrate icons and artwork.
A onfig tool to configure your keyboard and mouse under LXDE # lxde-settings-daemon, configure theme, keyboard and mouse for you. (works with lxinput config tool)

System Requirements

LXDE has been tested under following hardware configurations, and runs well.

CPU RAM Hard Disk Speed
Pentium II 266 MHz 192 MB 5400 rpm moderate - fast
VIA 400 MHz 256 MB 5400 rpm moderate - fast
Pentium III 600 MHz 512 MB 4500 rpm fast
QEMU emulation on AMD Athlon 1.6 (1.4 GHz) 128 MB QEMU disk image fast
AMD Athlon 1.6 (1.4 GHz) 512 MB 7200 rpm very fast
Intel Atom 512 MB Flash Disk very fast

Recommended configuration

  • The hardware requirements of LXDE are similiar to Windows 98 (Maybe a little bit higher). An old Pentium II CPU is enough.
  • After X11 and LXDE are started, the total memory usage is about 45 MB on i386 machines. (This value may be higher or lower according to different system configurations.)
  • Though LXDE itself doesn't require better hardware, other applications under X do need it. For example, Firefox and OpenOffice.org 2 are quite memory-hungry. So it's recommended that you have a RAM of more than 128 MB.

Distros currently using LXDE

Please check out distributions with LXDE in the wiki.