s/GNOME/LXDE/ as alternate desktop?
bernie at codewiz.org
Tue Feb 23 14:43:37 UTC 2010
On Tue, 2010-02-23 at 08:49 +0000, Rui Miguel Silva Seabra wrote:
> I don't see any reason why GNOME would be particularly better suited
> than LXDE, if someone can point me towards why, perhaps I can see if
> anything and/or what can be done; other than that, I'm not saying to
> exclude libraries, just that the alternate desktop that's running should
> be better suited to less powerfull machines.
> GNOME (which I use on my desktop/laptop) is fairly memory and cpu
> hungry. It is quite evident on the XO. As an alternate desktop it...
> mind boggles my mind.
I tried LXDE for some time because I couldn't stand the sluggishness of
GNOME and KDE. Unfortunately, my personal experience is that LXDE uses
less memory only as long as you're not using any mainstream application.
Because many popular desktop applications are linked against the GNOME
libraries, soon or later you end up loading most of the GNOME runtime
libraries in memory in addition to the LXDE ones. Application startup
time may get worse, if the libraries do not stay in memory.
Most of GNOME's bloat was in the CORBA crap (Bonobo, ORBit...), which is
being progressively phased out. Most of the existing GNOME libraries
have been deprecated in 2.28 and will die in 3.0. Equivalent
functionality has been re-implemented cleanly within GTK.
Since GTK is also a dependency of LXDE, the only savings possible are in
the core desktop components: file manager, panel, screensaver, window
manager, power manager...
My impression is that these tiny processes combined tend to use just a
fraction of the memory required by a Firefox session, which can easily
reach 1GB. There seems to be a lot more to be gained in switching the
browser than the entire desktop. (note that any streamlined browser
built around Gecko will provide only marginal savings once you've been
browsing for a while and you have a bunch of open tabs).
> And no, adding swap in an SD card is not a good solution (weariness of
> the SD card *and* it will make it quite slow. I have no swap and it's
> perfectly usable for email, browsing, chat, viewing PDFs and CBRs.
Out of curiosity, what applications are you using to avoid loading
> Isn't the idea of an alternate desktop to be able to run "normal" tasks
> outside the Sugar environment? Perhaps I got it wrong, but with the
> designs of the Sugar environment, running it under GNOME/LXDE/whatever
> seems to defeat the purpose a little bit.
Better integration of Sugar with traditional desktops is an important
goal. There has been some progress in this direction, but more work
would be needed to make most activities run well outside of Sugar.
> > I don't know if it's even possible, but I guess the question I'd ask
> > is, "are you willing to try to configure LXDE+Sugar yourself?"
> > Because that's exactly how lots of cool stuff happens: someone smart
> > says, "yes, that *will* work, and I'll show you."
> I don't know if I can do it alone, I'm involved in a lot of stuff already :|
While I've been arguing mostly in favor of GNOME, I support competition
in free software. Christoph Wicket (on cc) has already been working on
bringing LXDE to the XO, he may provide useful advice.
You may start by forking off the the current F11-XO1 builds and changing
the package selections. Let me know if you need a suitable build
environment (Fedora 11 i386) or a place to distribute the resulting
images (such as http://people.sugarlabs.org).
// Bernie Innocenti - http://codewiz.org/
\X/ Sugar Labs - http://sugarlabs.org/
More information about the olpc