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Pigs don’t fly

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Looking for a lightweight desktop environment for a micro PC? Just poking around yields millions of answers from Google on the topic. One of them actually goes into depth trying to measure memory usage for KDE, Gnome, XFCE and WindowMaker.

Desktop memory usage

Surprisingly, the author found out that KDE is actually using less memory than Gnome. According to his experiments, firing up Gnome is likely to eat up just about all memory you can throw at it. Gnome is a real PIG when it comes to memory usage. Sorry, does not fly for me.

So I (briefly) tried KDE and installed kde-full… and regretted it almost immediately. First thing I noticed was that kde has dependencies on mysql-server. Yes, a database server is required on your desktop to run what amounts to a nicely integrated window manager. I repeat: the guys need a FUCKING DATABASE SERVER! Are they insane or what?

Looking for detailed dependencies gave me the answer: KDE boasts a stand-alone data server called akonadi to store all of your personal information, in turn offering it to all KDE-compatible applications with the same interface. Sounds like a nice idea from a design point of view but there has to be another way. Installing mysql-server in Debian means you always start a local instance of a MySQL server, which is a deal breaker on tiny machines like MicroClient. Here comes another PIG. Does not fly better.

Silly but I remember running KDE on a 200MHz machine about 10 years back and it was really responsive, elegant, and resource-respectful. It is now 2009 and the bloat on these graphical environments has reached a level never even imagined before. A MicroClient is 5 times faster than my fastest desktop 10 years ago and cannot even run the default Debian or Ubuntu desktop suite. KDE developers may come up with the best justifications, there is no excuse for exploding bloat like they did.

Oh yes, and I started XFCE and it is working great. From where I sit I see exactly the same functionalities as a brilliant Gnomish or KDEish thingy and does not try to kill my CPU through preposterous use of limited resources.

Written by nicolas314

Saturday 20 June 2009 at 4:55 pm

Posted in desktop, gnome, KDE, xfce

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