More fodder for the revolution

I dug around a little more on the Xubuntu mailing list, looking for propaganda — oops, I mean facts 😳 that might support my quest to convince just about every other Ubuntu advocate on the planet to stop suggesting Xubuntu for older hardware.

The issue has been discussed quite a bit recently, with Jani Monoses making a concession to the size of Xubuntu, and its weight gain problem. From the original post in a megathread entitled “Gnome dependencies“. …

These will not help in making Xubuntu lighter. That characterization has only been true when compared to GNOME or KDE though, with python running in the base system (hplip daemon for HP printers ), firefox in the mix and the liveCD no longer installing iwth 128M it is not really a light distro anymore.

(Emphasis is mine.) And as a reply, there’s this from today.

On really old computer you don’t install Xfce, it’s too close in memory usage to KDE and Gnome … as the plain desktop takes the memory you would like to reserve for applications.

I could go on, I guess. The point I’d like to make is that the resounding majority of people — perhaps Xubuntu users, perhaps not — willing to vote on the issue in an unscientific poll prefer a Gnome-less Xubuntu. That might fly in the face of what the developers are predicting — a shift toward more Gnome, with speed and leanness sacrificed for “usability.”

To be honest, I’m at a point now where it’s neither here nor there to me. I installed a full Xubuntu environment about a month ago when I was still living offline, and it looked good, ran well, didn’t break anything and had about a third of the software I personally prefer, already installed. I guess I should be content.

But that was on a 1Ghz machine with 512Mb of memory, and it was performing at a level I would call “barely acceptable.” If I had been using anything slower, I would’ve looked for another distro. And if I was that enthused — or possessed, I should say — by the idea of an exceptionally lightweight Ubuntu variant, I’d spend more time actually working on one of my own, and less time pecking around on a lame-o Linux blog. Right? 😈


5 thoughts on “More fodder for the revolution

  1. Sutekh

    I’m in total agreeance with you here. I would definately like to see Xubuntu trim the fat.

    Similar to your recent experience, I run Xubuntu Edgy at work on a 2GHz CPU/512MB RAM PC. I’ll admit the experience is not as bad as ‘barely acceptable’, but after logging in I am using over 300MB of my precious RAM, applications aside.

    Once I have a couple of applications running, and I try to use lightweight ones, it does start to get bogged down.

    I think in future I’ll be using Openbox (plenty of good resources here)


  2. Danny

    Our Free Geek Central Florida org has been installing Xubuntu on anything between 400-800 MHz, and anything over 800 MHz gets Ubuntu. We make sure the Xubuntu machines get at least 256 MB memory, and they seem to work just fine. They aren’t speed demons, but they aren’t sluggish either. For someone who can’t afford a computer, it seems to work fine.

    Puppy is still MUCH faster on old equipment. I’d like to see a group make an Ubuntu version somewhat like puppy.

    “Obsolescence is just a lack of imagination.”

  3. K.Mandla Post author

    That shouldn’t be too hard. What’s the default software in Puppy? I’ve never used it; I couldn’t get past the chihuahua on the home page. Ech.

  4. Kadath

    I’ve noticed that on my machine, Xubuntu is just a bit faster than regular Ubuntu. I think all of the stuff Ubuntu/Xubuntu/Kubuntu run by default (services and daemons and whatnot) are what give Ubuntu and its spinoffs a reputation for being slow, but I’m no Linux guru.

    Xubuntu simply *can’t* be as user-friendly as Gnome or KDE, because Xfce doesn’t strive to do that. I think the Xubuntu devs need to understand that, because loading it up with a bunch of Gnome stuff is only going to make it slower, at which point you might as well just install Ubuntu/Gnome and be done with it.

    Just my $0.02.

  5. Danny

    I’m not sure about the default software on most recent versions. They do a pretty good job of keeping it updated. I’ve set up a few pentium machines in the 200 MHz range with puppy. It needs at least 128 MB ram to run, so that can be a problem. The best thing about puppy is the automatic persistent mode thing, and being able to save you LiveCD settings to HD or USB drive. I usually have people just run Puppy off the CD, and use their HD only for file storage and custom settings. The CD is faster than most older hard drives anyway.

    Puppy’s impressive on older equipment. It won’t go as far back as DSL can, but it’s better able to handle a Win98 user than DSL.

    With Xubuntu, or any ‘buntu’s, I’ve noticed the system seems to run slower if installed from a LiveCD. Not sure why. When I install from alternate CD, systems run quicker.


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