Saturday, October 9, 2010

Speedup Desktop Environment

Hey,

one of the last post I was wondering what made my system idle for 3 sec before finishing boot. I think I've found. I asked Sherlock Holmes and he revealed me the truth. So let's take the chance and find the best way to get a responsive and fast environment.

First of all unless you have a good dedicated graphic card I suggest to forget about compiz and other beautiful but useless beautifiers. I even suggest Xfce which is very light fast and reliable. This means that Gnome and KDE are good if you want a cool look, but not always the best choice.

In my case I have an Integrated Intel Graphics, so I have to do without compiz, I love very minimalist desktops, so decided to do without compiz, without KDE and without Gnome, just Xfce, and an even lighter panel manager, tint2.
In my experience moving a working system from a desktop environment to another can mess up lots of things. So the better choice is to make a fresh install in another partition where you can try the new environment.

In our case we are going to pull in Xfce, so you'd better follow the official handbook:
Gentoo> Linux Documentation -- The Xfce Configuration Guide

You'll see Xfce is more lightweight, can support almost any gnome application (using gnome libs) and has a quite good appeal. Panels are very customizable both in their settings and their components. The most interesting option is to not show any icon on the desktop, and application menu with right click on it. So when you want to open an application just right click anywhere on the desktop and here you go. All these settings are easily reachable from xfce4 settings manager, just take a look in its sections.

If you want an even more lightweight panel manager, with a cool flavour, then what you look for is tint2. You can see some configs and some screenshots here. The strong point is the extreme customization: it can be a wonderful thing for patient users... if you're not... hem... better keep xfce panel ;].

If you want to give it a try it can be installed without troubles even over existing xfce installation, without issues. You can find it in the Gentoo repository, just emerge it with
emerge -pv tint2
if you want to keep it and not to use xfce panel you can remove xfce4-panel in the session settings.

Now the Sherlock Holmes' answer: delete xfce stuff in ~/.cache folder and... whoa! load in no time!

Cheers

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