Monday, June 27, 2011

shazaam! bop! boom!

I am totally amazed! All you techies will know what I am talking about. I, your Linuxville guide and madman, has a bad case of distro jumping. That is when the Linux grass is a bit greener in the other distributions, I go for it. It drives anybody nuts until..............I took my own advice!

When I installed my last distro, I made 3 partitions on my hard drive, one for the OS (about 8gigs), one for my home directory or folder (about 20gigs) and a swap space (about 1gig). So when the fever struck me to move back to Xubuntu on my 512mb laptop, there was no sweat. Sweat = complete re-setup tweaking. I told the Xubuntu installer to reformat the OS partition and make it bootable, then told it to make the old home partition the new home partition without formatting. All my files were intact along with my email and web browser settings and bookmarks. The only tweak was to get the wireless to work which requires two apps from the repositories via Synaptic.

Oh, why I moved back? Well I was living on the edge of not having enough resources to do graphics work. The Gnome, KDE and Unity desktops all have built in compositing and requires too much of my meager memory to run both the desktop and graphic/media apps too.

Below's a chart I snatched from a comparison page. Usability wise XFCE4 is lots leaner. Less desktop means more memory for your apps to run. I am thinking Fluxbox as an alternative but the leaner also means less built-in services and tools. If you know what they are, you can add them on your own.

Desktop Required RAM Required CPU
fluxbox/idesk 48 100 MHz
XFCE4 128 200 MHz
Gnome 1.x 256 500 MHz
Gnome 2.x 384 800 MHz
KDE 3.x 512 1 GHz    

Thursday, June 02, 2011

cooler heads are prevailing

My ancient laptop has seen better days as far as wear-n-tear. As you know I switched to Mint 11, partly because the Ubuntu desktop is in flux with Unity and all. And partly because I drool every time I see Mint. So Mint is Ubuntu based and this version has the Gnome desktop but not the new whiz-bang Gnome-shell. I want all that and I hope it runs great, when it comes. Gnome is not that light-weight, which is alright if you are driving 1 gig of ram. I have 512mb ram, Gnome runs but......when I am in Inkscape the cursor disappears when I move it. This makes drawing awkward.

Normally I would add the XFCE desktop, it has lots of well........ Gnome is a full-sized car, XFCE is the mid-size, LXDE a compact and the command line is blade skates.

I didn't like LXDE desktop before but now I think I like it alot. Why, because when I am in Inkscape, I can see my cursor nice and steady all the time. Using less resources in the desktop and more in the application is what I am talking about. Inkscape zips along in a refreshing kind of way.

This mirrors the Linuxville chateau perfectly, a small modest looking retreat on the outside, endless rooms and amenities on the inside. LXDE, when I first saw it was static, you couldn't change anything, today you can tweak it a little bit, good enough. Light and fast and not hogging the road.  So if you don't mind sacrificing some changeability in the desktop to get some power in the application LXDE is the way, especially with 512mb of ram. This is another nerdvana experience, it's cool!