Switching from Gnome to XFCE or LXDE [SOLVED]

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josefg
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Switching from Gnome to XFCE or LXDE [SOLVED]

Postby josefg » Fri Oct 28, 2011 6:36 am

Hi everyone,

I have a laptop that is running a bit slow with the Gnome desktop. Especially when the hard disk works hard, such as the first minute or so after boot, the computer is hardly usable.
I thought I'd try lighten it up by switching the Gnome interface to something lighter, XFCE or LXDE.
Can I do this without reinstalling the system from scratch?
Or will there be too many heavy packages hanging around anyway, that I won't be freeing up much memory or processing power?


TIA
Last edited by josefg on Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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sagirfahmid3
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Re: Switching from Gnome to XFCE or LXDE

Postby sagirfahmid3 » Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:23 pm

I thought I'd try lighten it up by switching the Gnome interface to something lighter, XFCE or LXDE.
Can I do this without reinstalling the system from scratch?

Yes you can do it without reinstalling the entire system; whenever you want to switch between each interface, you simple log out and select which session you would like to use--Gnome,Fluxbox,Openbox,Kde,LXDE,or XFCE. You can have all of these desktop environments installed at the same time.

If you want to install the LXDE desktop environment, open the terminal and type in "sudo apt-get install lxde"
If you want XFCE, open the terminal and type in "sudo apt-get install xfce4"
If you want Kde, open the terminal and type in "sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop"

For your computer, LXDE would be the best while XFCE would be the second best, and Kde would be the worst.
Hope that cleared things up.

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Roken
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Re: Switching from Gnome to XFCE or LXDE

Postby Roken » Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:21 pm

Just a quick warning - certainly when switching to XFCE, whilst you can use any customisations that you have made to your GUI, and if you prefer you can continue to use nautilus rather than thunar, there are some caveats:

GTK themes may work to an extent, but you may notice some differences and problems that can only be fixed by manually editing the gtkrc text file in the theme/gtk2 directory
If you want to continue using nautilus, open gconf-editor, navigate to apps/nautilus and disable "use desktop" - otherwise it conflicts with xfwm and you effectively overlay the nautilus desktop with the xfce desktop (not pretty and not much use)
If you use conky on gnome with own_window_type override you may need to change to own_window_type normal or desktop to have it look the same.
You may have some problems using media keys to control volume after switching. To remedy ensure that xfce4-xkb is installed and remove xfce4-volumed. You may even have to write a short script to control the volume and map your media keys to it (this one drove me nuts for 4 days).

I'm sure there are other quirks that I've forgotten, but these are those that stick in my mind.
Kernel Linux Tex 4.8.13-1-ARCH (64 bit) xfce , burg
Arch
GTX680 4Gb
OSS4
AMD Phenom II X4 (965BE) @ 3.6 Ghz
8Gb RAM

lmintnewb
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Re: Switching from Gnome to XFCE or LXDE

Postby lmintnewb » Fri Oct 28, 2011 5:28 pm

Just 2 cents.

A buncha stuff you can do to make LM run smoother and better. Switching to a lighter desktop environment is a good step though. Would do plenty of forum searching on the topic ( tweaking LM) ... As no doubt been discussed to death already in these forums. Disabling apps from automatically starting when you boot you don't need, I think is a good step too. Controls for it should be found in the control center. One of em I liked to get rid of was the update manager. A person can manually start it ( click on its icon, when they want to look for updates ). Doesn't need to be automatically starting/running. Sits there, using RAM checking for updates every 5mins. How many updates are there poss going to be in 5mins ? Ya can also o course adjust that in it's controls. I always canned it and would start it when wanted, but that's up to you. Bluetooth ... do you use BT devices with that PC ? etc.

There's a good app for getting at some others too ... It's called bum, found in software center or synaptic. Kinda goes w/o saying though, when in doubt ... google or research when using summin like bum. Obviously a person doesn't just want to disable everything. Some of that stuff needs to automatically start ... etc.

Lower swappiness from the usual default of 60, to the recommended setting for a desktop comp of 10. Think on a PC w low RAM adjusting swappiness is bound to have a more noticeable effect. Though personally whatever your specs, think it's a good idea. Doesn't make sense to me an OS should start using swap until RAM bottoms out. Reading/writing to disk is slower, has to use more CPU cycles and has to be harder on hardware anyway.
http://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxt ... o-high:-Ub

Ton of stuff ya can do though. Depending on how much time ya feel like putting into it and/or how great a persons impulse is to tweak their OS's. Gnome can be seriously tweaked itself to run better. At one time had LM 10's gnome DE down from 270mbs default to 120-125mbs/ram tweaking it. After tweaking da cr*p out of it, of course it ran mucho faster, smoother ... better. But took more than a tad of time, experimentation and wayyyy too many reinstalls along the way. Cause was too much of a bonehead to make a backup to deal w borkage. :D

josefg
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Re: Switching from Gnome to XFCE or LXDE

Postby josefg » Sun Nov 06, 2011 7:59 am

Thanks for the replies.

Have installed LXDE, and it works correctly, but booting still takes more than 10 minutes.
Specs is a Compaq Presario R3000 with 1GB ram and a 64-bit AMD Athlon 3000+ processor. HD partition available is 46GB, of which 16GB are used.

LMDE boots quite quickly until the Desktop begins showing. Then the hard disk just spins and spins for over 10 minutes, and it is not possible to do anything, often not even to move the mouse cursor, until he is done.

Have tested changing the swappiness, but didn't solve the issue.

Is there some particular log file that could give me good info on what process is consuming all the resources during startup?

I run the 64-bit edition of LMDE.

rtrev
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Re: Switching from Gnome to XFCE or LXDE

Postby rtrev » Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:30 am

I would look through the syslog (the record of bootup events) and look at the time stamps to see where exactly the delay is happening. 10+ minutes is VERY excessive.. something is wrong. Probably something hanging waiting for something else until it times out (just a guess.) The log will tell you, hopefully.

It will be in /var/log, or you can use the log file viewer if you can find it. I'm not familiar with XFCE or LXDE, so am not sure where in the menu system the equivalent app would be located. I'm sure someone here can tell you, though.

Bob

josefg
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Re: Switching from Gnome to XFCE or LXDE

Postby josefg » Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:11 pm

rtrev,

The biggest culprit was apparently skype.
I don't know what becomes it, but more often than not, when it starts up, it chews memory until all ram and the entire swap partition are used up, then crashes. This process takes a long time, and during this time, the computer becomes unusable.
I have now switched skype to manual startup, and can run reasonably well in gnome again (but have XFCE and LXDE installed as well as alternatives). Will have to figure out how to solve the skype issue.

Thanks everyone for good tips.

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Re: Switching from Gnome to XFCE or LXDE [SOLVED]

Postby rtrev » Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:20 pm

@josefg,

Glad that was of at least some help.

Now that Skype has been purchased by Microsoft, one has to wonder about alternatives to Skype. Perhaps it's just childish, but I really don't want any MS code running on my machine. Especially since it works as badly as you report. :lol:

What alternatives do we have, folks?

Bob

josefg
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Re: Switching from Gnome to XFCE or LXDE [SOLVED]

Postby josefg » Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:01 pm

Indeed, skype for linux is not exactly being updated. Doubt that the purchase will change that.
The main feature I want is the ability to phone adequately over internet connections of low bandwitdh. Saves me on my international calls.


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