There were actually two lightwieght distros based on Ubuntu that caught my attention, namely Lubuntu and Xubuntu. Lubuntu is a much newer distro when compared to Xubuntu. To me, Xubuntu felt like a more mature distro with robust userbase. So I finally decided to give it a go.
May be I should not expect anything better from a single core 1.66 GHz Intel Atom processor. May be I should try something even lighter. I am not sure. Anyway, Xubuntu 12.04 fared much better when compared to Ubuntu 12.04. Even the time it took to ‘reach’ the desktop from login window was way better with XFCE powered Xubuntu 12.04 LTS.
If you were a genuine fan of good old GNOME 2.x UI, Xubuntu 12.04′s XFCE desktop will pleasently surprise you. In terms of usability, especially when your PC don’t have high-end processing and 3D acceleration capabilities, Xubuntu 12.04 can be a real saviour. It is blazing fast. XFCE desktop basically has a GNOME 2-ish looking dropdown menu, top panel with widgets support (you can add/remove widgets at will, like in the old days), and two workspaces by default. Just try switching workspaces (keyboard shortcut: Ctrl + Alt + right/left arrow keys), there won’t be no fancy visual effects, but it gets the job done and fast, really fast.
There is a bottom panel as well, which gets activated when you move the cursor towards the bottom of the desktop. It basically acts as a dock, albeit requires much lesser resources. And like most other XFCE features, dock is customizable, you can even remove it if you don’t want it, like it used to be in earlier GNOME 2.0 days.