Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 1st Dec 2008 23:31 UTC, submitted by linuxlinks
Window Managers "Mainstream Linux distributions typically default to one of two desktop environments, KDE or GNOME. Both of these environments provide users with an intuitive and attractive desktop, as well as offering a large raft of multimedia software, games, administration programs, network tools, educational applications, utilities, artwork, web development tools and more. However, these two desktops focus more on providing users with a modern computing environment with all the bells and whistles featured in Windows Vista, rather than minimising the amount of system resources they need. For users and developers who want to run an attractive Linux desktop on older hardware, netbooks, or mobile internet devices, neither KDE or GNOME may be a viable option, as they run too slowly on low spec machines (such as less than 256MB RAM and a 1 GHz processor). This article seeks to identify the best lean desktops for Linux, for users that have old or even ancient hardware."
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Xfce 4.6 beta
by irbis on Tue 2nd Dec 2008 14:36 UTC
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I don't know if the Xfce 4 is very lightweight or not, but I've always liked their balanced approach a lot: trying to avoid bloat but still offering many advanced features. Xfce gives users the choice of adding what they like to their desktop environments instead of defaulting to everything and the kitchen sink like some others may do too much.

Too bad that their developer resources have been so small and that there have been a few small problems and bugs. However, those problems that have turned me off have been mostly aesthetical only, and only few having to do with stability or usability.

Lately I installed the new Xfce 4.6 beta version and although most changes may look only small and a few parts are still missing, quite many of the small problems that have irritated me before seem gone now. You can now quickly select desktop icons and folders with your mouse just like in Gnome. The window manager buttons have mouse over effects now and so on. Small things but at least I'm impressed.

Xfce also has some things missing from Gnome. While Gnome interface designers may have been removing some features and options from some Gnome apps and irritated many users by doing so, Xfce may have been keeping or adding such features but still staying smaller than Gnome. Also, Xfce has a rock solid and stable minimal kind of window compositing integrated that works like a dream while Compiz-fusion used by Gnome still has many bugs and is unstable. Yet another small example: the weather panel applet for Gnome only shows the current weather and temperature (you know, I can see the current weather just by looking out of my window..), but the Xfce weather applet shows predictions for a few days too.

Edited 2008-12-02 14:46 UTC

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