Linked by Howard Fosdick on Sat 7th Jun 2014 00:53 UTC
Xfce Over the past several years, mobile devices have greatly influenced user interfaces. That's great for handheld users but leaves those of us who rely on laptops and desktops in the lurch. Windows 8, Ubuntu Unity, and GNOME have all radically changed in ways that leave personal computer users scratching their heads.

One user interface completely avoided this controversy: Xfce. This review takes a quick look at Xfce today. Who is this product for? Who should pass it by?
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RE: Not so light under the hood
by Savior on Sun 8th Jun 2014 08:24 UTC in reply to "Not so light under the hood"
Savior
Member since:
2006-09-02

Might be not so light under the hood, but what I am asking is this: is it important at all? What need do these "light" desktop environments serve at all?

I mean, they are all fine and dandy, until you start your first program. Any modern browser takes more resources than the OS and the DE combined, perhaps several times so. If you want to edit documents offline, you are stuck with LibreOffice (no, gEdit or Abiword do not cut it) -- not exactly lightweight, either. If you do programming (not in Python), you will need an IDE; and if you are so unlucky to be a Java programmer, you will need something really heavy, like Eclipse. Games? Don't make me laugh.

So I guess these lightweight DEs are more like a beautiful wallpaper: it makes you feel better for the first 5 seconds after your desktop starts up. After that, it doesn't matter anymore.

Reply Parent Score: 6

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

Might be not so light under the hood, but what I am asking is this: is it important at all? What need do these "light" desktop environments serve at all?


I think some people have the nostalgic idea of still running on decade old hardware, probably without a modern web browser.

For the rest of us, there's SSDs and tons of RAM.

Reply Parent Score: 4

Savior Member since:
2006-09-02

I think some people have the nostalgic idea of still running on decade old hardware, probably without a modern web browser.

For the rest of us, there's SSDs and tons of RAM.


My point was that mostly we need that SSD and tons of RAM because of our web browser & co. and not because of the DE -- and there is no reak replacement for those. I have used KDE, Unity, even XFCE on the same Core2Duo laptop, and what I found is that aside from bugs (such as Unity menu intergration making Firefox unbearably slow), the DE hardly matters. Granted, if you wanted to run Linux on an Amiga 500, you would have to choose everything very carefully. ;)

Reply Parent Score: 6

Hypnos Member since:
2008-11-19

There is a difference between resources going to software complexity and resources going to multimedia. Software complexity brings a host of problems: maintainability, security, and vendor lock-in.

We can examine your examples by these criteria --

* Gaming: optional, doesn't handle private information, other software doesn't depend on it => don't care, just need RAM and disk space

* Browser: essential, handles private information, other software doesn't depend on it => a reliability and security risk, must remain vigilant, but luckily there are a lot of drop-in replacements to choose from

* IDE/word processor: same as with browsers, but less easy to replace with alternatives. I use the Unix shell for coding and LaTeX for big documents, but understand that these are not viable solutions in many spaces.

* OS/desktop: same as with IDEs/word processors, but even more difficult to replace. Special care must also be taken since many parts of the OS and DE run with elevated privileges. This is where one should demand good design and execution, and invest in platforms that deliver it. So far Linux works for me (I use Gentoo), but I might move to FreeBSD in the future.

Desktops are more of a problem as they try to strike a balance between Grandma-usability and being maintainable. I understand XFCE's choices given their limited manpower, but they introduce a problem.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

I think the idea is that the desktop environment should not be the one consuming resources, but leaving those to things like the IDE, Office Suite, Games, etc.

Reply Parent Score: 2

jrincayc Member since:
2007-07-24

First of all, I do have hardware that gnome and kde don't run on and XFCE does.

Secondly, a lot of the applications that I do run such as Emacs and a terminal, that use relatively few resources.

Reply Parent Score: 2