In May 2015 we installed Linux on four of our nine public access desktops.

We chose Xubuntu because of its familair XP-like environment (which we felt our users would prefer to stock Ubuntu's Unity desktop). Also, the XFCE desktop in Xubuntu is less resource intensive than Unity - important because our PACs are vintage 2006.

Initally we installed the 32-bit version of Xubuntu 14.04 LTS (long-term support). This was done to err on the side familiarity - drivers and hardware compatibility. By March 2016, Google stopped supporting the 32-bit version of Chrome browser, so we switched to 64-bit version (same operating system).

Our systems have had no performance problems and no driver issues.

The following programs constitute the major usage on our PACs, with the web browser of course being the most used.

  • Browsers: Firefox (default) and Google Chrome (added after installation)
  • Office suite: Libreoffice 4 (replacing default installs of Abiword and Gnumeric)
  • PDF viewer: Evince (default)
  • File manager: Thunar (XFCE default)

There is a lingering issue with slow PDF printing.

From time to time a PDF document will remain in the process of printing for a very long time - like over 10 minutes.  We have to abort the print job at the desktop and do a cold restart of the printer to clear the queue.

We have been using the Linux driver from our printer manufacturer's website. Briefly tried the driver bundled with the installation package but it made no difference.

We are in the process of trying alternative PDF viewers - currently trying qpdfviewer instead of evince.