Why is XFCE the Most Popular “Lightweight” Choice?

When I first started playing with Linux I found myself looking at a lot of articles and forum posts to help me build Linux to my liking. The computers I was messing around with were generally old and slow: around 500 Mhz processor and 128 MB RAM. Most of the things I read suggested that I should try out Xubuntu or another XFCE-based distribution. As I tried Xubuntu I realized that even though it may have ran slightly faster than Ubuntu, it was still definitely slow on the computers I was using. After a long while of trying to tweak XFCE for the best performance I stumbled upon Fluxbox.

After installing Fluxbox for the first time I was really perplexed, as most people find themselves after looking at the default Fluxbox desktop, but after I figured out how to use it I was happily surprised at how fast it was. Fluxbox is much faster than any full desktop environment and I find it surprising that the majority of people suggest XFCE as a lightweight alternative most of the time. It makes sense if someone wants a desktop environment, but if they are interested in making their aging hardware as fast as possible they should definitely consider Fluxbox, or any window manager instead of a desktop environment, before being dissapointed with XFCE. Fluxbox easily can take an unusable computer and make it functional, maybe even usable for everyday tasks.

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