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Thread: Which X and apps for slow laptop

  1. #1

    Default Which X and apps for slow laptop

    Dear all,
    I got today a small laptop to use from my work. The laptop is running ubuntu 12.x with gnome and it has Intel (M) 1.1GHz and 1.5Gb Ram (Notice: These details might be slightly wrong. I will update tomorrow if needed).

    1.The first thought is to install opensuse and replace ubuntu. Luckily the ubuntu supports everything in the laptop (sleep, function keys) so I guess that would be the same for opensuse. The laptop is quite old and I think that is a good reason that also opensuse would be supporting those features as well

    2. Second even gnome is kind of slow. Processor jumps to 80-90% when launching new apps (like firefox and thunderbird) and on idle is at 16%. This is a first indicator that the laptop is not "strong" enough for today's apps. I would like to ask you to suggest me an X (well I am end user so for me a Χ is something like kde,gnome,xfce, xfwm). it would be nice if this already configured for laptops with small screen and have worked a bit on the desktop, shortcuts. The ubuntu 12.x with gnome had quite nice desktop have to admit. Memory wise gnome was consuming 200mb out of 1.5Gb . The main idea is to "relax" cpu as much as possible

    3. Suggest me lightweight versions of the following applications. Firefox, Thunderbird, Kile, kwrite.

    4. Would it make difference instead of using kde and their apps to have for example xfce and launching from there konsole, kile, thunderbird. Is the main environment (like kde,gnome) that is a burder or also the apps one loads?

    5. What is your laptop, what is your setup, which apps also use?

    6. How to sync between working pc and the new laptop. My idea is to put files of the working pc to the laptop, work during my train-trips and when back to office to sync back changes I did to the working pc. Of course there are tools like rsync but I was just wondering if there are guis that can better support my synchronization needs.

    I would like to thank you in advance for your reply

    Regards
    Alex

  2. #2

    Default Re: Which X and apps for slow laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by alaios View Post
    3. Suggest me lightweight versions of the following applications. Firefox, Thunderbird, Kile, kwrite.
    • Firefox
      opera, but it's not open source
      epiphany, but it's part of Gnome
      chrome or chromium, but it's not lightweight
      dillo (in my repo) is definitely lightweight, but might not do everything you need.
    • Thunderbird
      sylpheed (in my repo) or claws-mail (actually a fork of sylpheed)
    • kwrite
      maybe mousepad or leafpad

  3. #3

    Default Re: Which X and apps for slow laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by alaios View Post

    4. Would it make difference instead of using kde and their apps to have for example xfce and launching from there konsole, kile, thunderbird. Is the main environment (like kde,gnome) that is a burder or also the apps one loads?
    Xfce is not lightweight (anymore) specially if you start Gnome and/or KDE services. LXDE and icewm are lightweight.

  4. #4
    dd NNTP User

    Default Re: Which X and apps for slow laptop

    On 11/20/2012 10:36 PM, alaios wrote:
    > Luckily
    > the ubuntu supports everything in the laptop (sleep, function keys) so I
    > guess that would be the same for opensuse. The laptop is quite old and I
    > think that is a good reason that also opensuse would be supporting those
    > features as well


    faulty logic!!
    the old ubuntu has a different kernel, different X, different desktop
    environment, and most certainly needs more power to run, etc etc etc..

    some of my 'rules':
    it it works, do NOT mess with it...
    if it ain't broke do not fix it..
    just use it.

    however, if you absolutely MUST take the chance of messing it up, then:

    1) boot from a live openSUSE CD and run from the CD...see how you like
    it....see what works, and what does not......if everything is smooth, then

    2) do a complete full system backup to an off machine medium....just in
    case you have problems you can always go back to what worked--before you
    broke it.

    3) format/install..

    --
    dd http://tinyurl.com/DD-Caveat

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Which X and apps for slow laptop

    On 2012-11-20 22:36, alaios wrote:

    > 1.The first thought is to install opensuse and replace ubuntu.


    Try it first from a Live. If you go ahead, make a full backup with dd.

    Being a work machine, I would not touch it unless you are more
    productive with openSUSE. I would, probably.

    > 3. Suggest me lightweight versions of the following applications.
    > Firefox, Thunderbird, Kile, kwrite.


    I would not :-)

    I need FF and Th, anything less is not productive - assuming we are
    talking business mail (http). If plain text, use alpine (no offline mode).


    > Of
    > course there are tools like rsync but I was just wondering if there are
    > guis that can better support my synchronization needs.


    Unison. Requires the exact same version on both ends.

    --
    Cheers / Saludos,

    Carlos E. R.
    (from 11.4 x86_64 "Celadon" (Minas Tirith))

  6. #6

    Default Re: Which X and apps for slow laptop

    I agree with LXDE being lightweight,I wouldn't replace Firefox,it's true that it isn't lightwieght,btu compareig to Chrome it's lighter for sureand it makes everything you need on the internet with no fuss and no worrying about compatibility!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Which X and apps for slow laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by alaios View Post
    it has Intel (M) 1.1GHz and 1.5Gb Ram
    This should be sufficient for a 32-bit system. I can heartily recommend xfce or lxde for this setup.

    Luckily the ubuntu supports everything in the laptop (sleep, function keys) so I guess that would be the same for opensuse.
    It is probable, but not guaranteed. It depends on your specific hardware. The suggestion of testing the live cd might be in order to ensure everything works smoothly. Even the major desktops should run on those specs. If Ubuntu's Unity worked, KDE and Gnome 3 should work. Though you might be happier with something lighter on the real install. You can install xfce/lxde from the DVD image.

    This is a first indicator that the laptop is not "strong" enough for today's apps.
    Ubuntu uses a desktop based on Gnome called Unity that is quite resource intensive. So it may just be that. I can run gnome 3 and kde in a virtual machine but Unity does not even get off the ground.

    it would be nice if this already configured for laptops with small screen and have worked a bit on the desktop, shortcuts.
    For me KDE and Xfce work well on small screens. I have not tested LXDE much. KDE has an optional netbook workspace. Also the main "desktop" workspace has vector widgets, so even at low resolutions they look and work well. XFCE has a panel that is easy to make it take up very little screen space (20 pixels or less).

    3. Suggest me lightweight versions of the following applications. Firefox, Thunderbird, Kile, kwrite.
    I use Seamonkey. It is exactly like Firefox but includes email, browser, and irc in the same program so it saves memory.

    4. Would it make difference instead of using kde and their apps to have for example xfce and launching from there konsole, kile, thunderbird. Is the main environment (like kde,gnome) that is a burder or also the apps one loads?
    There is a slight memory hit using multiple toolkits and libraries. To put this into perspective, a lot of programs can open a library only once and share it with all programs that use the same one. If you load both gtk and qt, they will not share this memory. Though to be honest, even on 1.5gb, it shouldn't be that much of a problem. A browser on its own (pretty much any graphical one except netsurf) will most certainly use more memory than the overhead of running qt and gtk at the same time.

    5. What is your laptop, what is your setup, which apps also use?
    Right now I am using KDE 64-bit (64-bit uses much more memory than 32-bit). I am using 988mb out of 3gb. 372mb of which is seamonkey browser. I am also running clementine, qbittorrent, terminal, skype, pidgin, and have desktop effects enabled (which uses a lot of extra memory). So even on 64-bit and even with all of this running, I am still not using more than the 1.5gb you have for the laptop in question. So running something lighter like xfce/lxde, or even using kde and disabling desktop effects and running 32-bit you should certainly be using less.

    6. How to sync between working pc and the new laptop. My idea is to put files of the working pc to the laptop, work during my train-trips and when back to office to sync back changes I did to the working pc. Of course there are tools like rsync but I was just wondering if there are guis that can better support my synchronization needs.
    I use SFTP via SSH. Run an openssh server on the machine you are copying files to, and you can use file managers like nautilus or dolphin to connect to it and copy files via GUI. I am not sure if thunar (xfce) supports such a feature.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Which X and apps for slow laptop

    Hello evgeryone very short updates (Very very busy working days).

    I booted yesterday with live cd kde and gnome (yep opensuse 12.1). Still everything is recognized (sleep works, function keys e.t.c)

    IS pretty clear that the memory consumption is not a problem. The cpu utilization is a problem which is always 16% on idle states and jumps to 80+% just for launching,moviing window.

    a.Will it help to install ligher X , xfce for example to relax cpu at idle states?
    b. I would like my X environment have large icons and fonts as my screen is small.

    What I want to do with my laptop is quite primitivea.

    1. Checking websites . It would be good to have 5-10 tabs open and the possibility to enable flash on demans (default: disabeld but if some video for work appears it would be nice to see it)
    2. Reading/ reply emails over imap. In work I have thunderbird working over imap. The program you suggest should not mess with thunderbird (I think that is not possible as imap was made for that)
    3. Reading pdf documents. Usually I have 10-15 open
    4. Writing latex documents. In Kde I was using kile + the dictionaries for corrections
    5. Nice editor to work on for conding. In kde I had kwrite
    6. Terminals of course that support tabs and are configurable (font size, shortcuts)
    7. Two virtual desktops and shortcut configuration (so I can have ctrl+1 , ctrl+2 moving between virtual desktops)

    c. If now lets say install xfce or this magic "X ennvironment" that would allow me to lower cpu utilization and want to run kwrite wouldnt that mean that I would be stuck again with kde's high cpu utilization.? Would it be better to stay to the native applications of the magic "X environment"?



    I would like to thank you in advance for your help

    REgards
    Alex

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Which X and apps for slow laptop

    On 2012-11-22 09:06, alaios wrote:

    > a.Will it help to install ligher X , xfce for example to relax cpu at
    > idle states?


    A desktop with few niceties (effects) should help a bit. Xfce is a
    possibility, similar to gnome 2. There is another project that I don't
    remember the name that is similar to kde with lighter/simpler desktop -
    I think you use several kde tools.


    > What I want to do with my laptop is quite primitivea.


    I don't see anything "primitive" there...


    > c. If now lets say install xfce or this magic "X ennvironment" that
    > would allow me to lower cpu utilization and want to run kwrite wouldnt
    > that mean that I would be stuck again with kde's high cpu utilization.?
    > Would it be better to stay to the native applications of the magic "X
    > environment"?


    Not entirely. Using separate apps is lighter than the full desktop, at
    least in my experience.

    --
    Cheers / Saludos,

    Carlos E. R.
    (from 11.4 x86_64 "Celadon" (Minas Tirith))

  10. #10

    Default Re: Which X and apps for slow laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by robin_listas View Post
    On 2012-11-22 09:06, alaios wrote:


    > What I want to do with my laptop is quite primitivea.


    I don't see anything "primitive" there...


    Hehe your answer made me laugh

    more replies tomorrow. I will try to have some time this evening try to understand how to relax cpu a bit

    Alex

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