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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Comment by moleskine
by moleskine on Tue 2nd Dec 2008 15:19 UTC
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My lappie is an old Toshiba from 2001: 1 ghz PIII, 384 megs of ram and a very slow old HD. Gnome will run on it fine, just rather slowly and clunkily. I also have Xfce on it as my default DE. I really like Xfce. I've found it a little faster than Gnome, though not much. But I like it's elegance and simplicity, with none of the hints of "our way or the highway" one can find in Gnome. Speed may also be distro-dependent: there was a bigger difference on SuSE 11 between Xfce (SuSE do a very nice iteration of this) and Gnome than there is on Debian Unstable, at least to me.

The real difference in speed and resources is being selective about which proggies you use too. Firefox 3 is very slow on this lappy. Epiphany is the way to go, then Opera. Thunar is a lot nippier than Nautilus, Mousepad is a little faster than Gedit, etc. Besides, I like graphical DEs and have never found barebones ones very appealing. A computer should be enjoyed as well as used, and I think that simple enjoyment and pleasure can be much underrated.

I did use Fluxbox quite a bit at one stage. That's another really nice one. However, the speed and resource advantages were nixed once I fired up a big proggie like Firefox or Open Office, so I went for XFCE as a kind of compromise.

Just my 2 cents, but I think everyone should have a "third desktop" on their HD after KDE and Gnome. If you don't suppport some alternatives then eventually there won't be any, I guess.

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