Phoronix: Features Coming In The Xfce 4.12 Desktop
Xfce 4.12 still hasn't been released yet and it's running months behind schedule. Xfce 4.12 will be a major update to the lightweight desktop that's becoming an increasingly used alternative to Unity and the GNOME Shell. Here's an update on some of the completed features...
I have fallen in love with Xfce after using Manjaro Xfce for a while. Xfce has to be my second favourite desktop environment, right after KDE. It's only going to get better!
.icc profiles support would be nice
XFCE is a fantastic desktop environment for hardware-outdated systems! It consumes just 130-150mb of RAM on x32 versions and its GPU requirements are very basic.
Of course visual experience is basic too, so on a modern system Unity is more reasonable choice.
I use Xubuntu but switched the desktop to E17, and the memory used went down from 150ish mb down to about 50 mb; looks better AND has more features than KDE, which is a memory hog and takes ages to load, comparable to Unity and Gnome 3 of course.
But aside from E17 which might look intimidating for having so much customization (like KDE), XFCE, and LXDE are very good. For true old machines, you might go with IceWM or similar.
The base system also helps. Instead of Xubuntu, try ubuntu minimal, (pick option command line only) then just the apt-get the package xfce4. Or switch distro if you don't care about Canonical repositories. I'm hoping for Bodhi Linux to improve, but they need to fix PXE install using their ISO. You might also try the Linux Mint flavors.