When I start my computer and see the login screen of lubuntu I can choose at least 3 different 'sessions': 'lubuntu', 'LXDE', 'OpenBox'.


Even further confusing: once logged in, you can change settings for at least two of these (LXDE and OpenBox), which makes you wonder what you're really changing, and whether it applies to all (overriding some other setting?) and how those configurations interact (they seem to overlap significantly).

I understand that someone may want to 'experiment' with simultaneous window/desktop/session managers. But does it make sense to have them by default? In case they are actually different things, why are they presented as a list of 'sessions' as if they were functionally equivalent?

I find this a bit confusing.

Edit01: I'm sorry if this sounded like a complaint, I love Lubuntu and hope I'll stick with it forever. So maybe I'm a bit frustrated when I don't understand. I do appreciate the work from all developers!

  • I posted a very general answer but if you have specific questions about any specific aspects of Lubuntu, feel free to ask!
    – DK Bose
    Dec 10, 2019 at 13:44
  • By the way, is your system a clean install or an upgrade from a previous version of Lubuntu? I'm asking because I checked my VM of Lubuntu 18.04 and it doesn't have an entry for LXDE.
    – DK Bose
    Dec 10, 2019 at 16:04
  • 1
    DK Bose, you're right the version I ended up installing (19.10) uses LXQt, not LXDE
    – terauser
    Dec 26, 2019 at 14:17

1 Answer 1


In short,

  • The Lubuntu session is LXDE+Openbox customized by the Lubuntu developers
  • The LXDE session is vanilla LXDE+Openbox
  • The Openbox session is just Openbox

Lubuntu is a distro that uses the LXDE desktop environment, customized, which, in turn, uses the Openbox window manager to manage windows.

If you don't like the customization provided by the Lubuntu team, you can use the LXDE session.

If you want a more minimal experience, login to the Openbox session. This option isn't suitable for newcomers because it's pretty basic, without a taskbar, menu launcher, etc. It's up to users to install additional software to meet their needs.

By the way, Lubuntu 18.04 is the last version of Lubuntu to use LXDE as the desktop environment. Lubuntu 19.04 and 19.10 use the LXQt desktop environment in conjunction with Openbox.

Further reading:

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