NetBSD: Will It Stand As A Light Desktop?
Written by Michael Larabel in BSD on 3 June 2012 at 01:45 PM EDT. 13 Comments
Back in 2009 there was the announcement that there was going to be a new project out of the NetBSD camp aiming for am x86 NetBSD desktop system that would be fairly easy to use. It's been over three years and there hasn't been much work on the NetBSD desktop front, but now there comes word of a new NetBSD "light desktop" effort inspired by the LXDE Ubuntu derivative.

Hitting the rarely used netbsd-desktop mailing list on Saturday was a message from Jeremy Read about establishing a NetBSD desktop based upon the ideas of Lubuntu -- the LXDE desktop derivative of Ubuntu Linux.

A NetBSD light-desktop Wiki area has been setup to focus upon this new BSD desktop initiative. There's still a lot of work to do, but it's possible now to use the light-desktop package with NetBSD's pkgsrc followed by then running start-netbsd-light-desktop.

The reasons for doing this LXDE NetBSD version and basing it off of Lubuntu principles were:
- It works for a known audience. (Ubuntu's popularity contest shows 16037 installations and 2779 very recent uses.)
- It is a simpler case than maintaining Gnome, KDE, or XFce.
- It is considered "lightweight" versus more popular alternatives.
- By using outsider's choices it alleviates bikesheds. Let's stay with this decision for at least six months. (No bikeshedding until mid-November 2012.)
Will NetBSD stand a chance on the desktop?

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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