In light of the last post and this post from a day or two ago, I suppose it’s worth mentioning (or showing) that a simplified Gnome desktop is possible in Ubuntu too. But in showing it, I will probably be underscoring a few other issues that I have grazed in the past.
If you start from a command-line system in Lucid and add xorg, there are a few separate packages you can install that will give you a leaner, meaner Gnome. The first, and probably the least svelte, is gnome-desktop-environment, which will drag down a considerable amount of stuff and looks — omigosh — a lot like Debian.
You get most of the standard-issue Gnome suite in this package, with stuff like GDM, Ekiga, Brasero, Cheese webcam and so forth. If you want Gnome but don’t want the Ubuntu, this might be what you’re after. Then again, if this is what you’re after, you might want to take a look at Debian.
Stepping down, there’s a metapackage called gnome, but to be honest I don’t know if I should include it here or not. aptitude wants more than 340Mb of software with this one, and some of the dependencies were broken for the Lucid beta. Either way, if you install it, you’ll get a sort of in-between version of Ubuntu’s Gnome.I don’t know if I recommend it though, or at least not until the final release of 10.04.
The smallest one I could find that still has some reasonable function is the gnome-core package. This will take up only 84Mb or so of your bandwidth on top of what xorg requires, and you’ll get Gnome, some of its niceties (like automounting), a terminal emulator, a text editor, a system monitor and a few of the preference menus.
Beyond that it’s quite slender, and you’re in a good position to build upward. If you have a preference for certain parts of what Ubuntu delivers, but an extreme distate for anything else, I would recommend starting with gnome-core.
One thing that jumps out at me after this little experiment is what I mentioned obliquely about a week ago — Ubuntu Gnome’s hideous memory demands. It’s now painfully obvious why a 2.2Ghz Celeron with only 256Mb suffered so badly: Both of those want well over 300Mb from a cold start, leaving me with the question … why so cement-uous?
In any case, the lesson learned here is to pick and choose the applications and software you want for your Ubuntu Gnome system carefully, knowing full well that some things in there are going to blimp out like an aggravated blowfish. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. …