The LXDE project noticed its Romanian translation is pretty much dead in the water and considered dropping it along with a few other unmaintained translation, in a clean-up effort. rsandu ignited the alarm and in an effort spearheaded by ajoian and alexxed, all the strings got translated in less than 2 days, now there is still needed a validation from alexxed and upstream submission. It was awesome to see so many people lending a hand, including a couple of people at their first translation contribution (trizen, you kick ass!).
All this community effort was impressive and motivated me to an experiment: spend an entire day day with LXDE and evaluate what I like and dislike about it, evaluate how I could deal with it as the primary desktop. Is not my first experience with it, I toyed with LXDE in the past, but usually after 10 minutes I went back to the comfort of a desktop I am used to, but beyond the community enthusiasm, it was a long reaching study, if something goes wrong in the GNOME land, is useful for me to know what the alternatives are.
Installing is fast and easy, just:
For me it was a 5 MB download (all the GTK+ dependencies were already in place) and after that everything was good to go.
yum groupinstall lxde-desktop
What I like about it:
- the desktop is small and fast. Really fast
- it includes a few basic applications, which are also small and fast: image viewer, text editor and so on
- with a bit of customization, it was not hard to bring it to a familiar 2-panels layout
- it has in place all the known paradigms: panels, buttons, menus. It is not distrupting
- is painful to use a file manager without gvfs, I need to transfer files over ssh/scp on a daily basis
- customizing the LXDE panels is hard and limited
- the size of fonts and icons is ugly and hard to adjust
- no drag & drop adding shotcuts to the panel
- icons on the desktop are always auto-arranged, they move all the time and you can't place them where you want
- no integrated screen capture with the PrintScreen, you have to use external applications
I can see me using LXDE as my main desktop? Maybe on one of those underpowered ARM tablets and smartbooks... but if the computer does have the power to run my apps (I would NOT pay money for a computer unable to run GIMP and Inkscape), then it should be pretty much able to run also a normal GNOME desktop.
From an usability and customizability point of view I find it much behind a normal GNOME 2.X setup, but compared with GNOME Shell (as previewed in Fedora 12) it would be less of a productivity drop and a lot less annoying. However, in the case worst nightmares come true, LXDE may not be the best exist choice. Will spend another day sometime with Xfce and report the findings.