I understand that Lubuntu utilizes LXDE over Ubuntu's Unity(Gnome?); But being new to Linux I'm not sure if that change is going to be simply cosmetic, or if there will be functional differences I need to be aware of. The Ubuntu wiki says no, but it is also seems to be a very superficial discussion. I am comfortable(ish) with the command line and I suppose my question is more directed in that direction, but any information would be great.
As Ubuntu wiki says:
Both Lubuntu and Ubuntu share:
Same Core System Same Repositories
The differences between Lubuntu and Ubuntu are:
Different DE - Lubuntu uses LXDE while Ubuntu uses Unity as the default DE. Different Default Applications
Rather than that, they are the same. The DE is what makes Lubuntu a lightweight OS and of course the selected applications too because we make sure to use the lightest applications which are not resource hungry.
The default applications differ. For example, Lubuntu comes with Sylpheed instead of Thunderbird. But you can manually install whatever you need because the repositories are the same.
Anything you do on the command-line will likely be the same, except that some applications may not be installed by default or you may need to edit slightly. For example, Gnome's
gnome-open command to open a file with the default application is
xdg-open in Unity, and in Lubuntu may be something else.