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I've got a nagging suspicion that this is a dumb question, but I was wondering how much functionality you can get with linux without KDE/gnome/kfce/etc.?? If you just bootup straight ...
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  1. #1
    Linux Guru smolloy's Avatar
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    Using linux without a desktop environment


    I've got a nagging suspicion that this is a dumb question, but I was wondering how much functionality you can get with linux without KDE/gnome/kfce/etc.?? If you just bootup straight to the bash prompt, are you still able to view pdf files, listen to mp3s, surf the web (using something prettier than lynx )?? Is a desktop environment necessary to do all this, or is it just a "pretty extra"?? Could you do all this if you had the necessary software installed and made sure to boot into runlevel 5?? Maybe you'd need X as well??

    if this is a dumb question, don't hesitate to let me know.
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  2. #2
    Linux Guru lakerdonald's Avatar
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    You could theoretically view a pdf in text mode (but it would go through a conversion, pipeline, etc.), and you can listen to mp3's via CLI. However, when it comes to surfing the web, elinks/lynx is about as pretty as it gets. You could also opt for a very light-weight WM such as fluxbox, or even RatPoison http://www.nongnu.org/ratpoison/

  3. #3
    Linux Guru smolloy's Avatar
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    So windows managers are not just pretty extras?? They are necessary to do standard multimedia and internet things??
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  4. #4
    Linux Guru lakerdonald's Avatar
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    Actually, you can just run X by itself, and then spawn graphical utilities from the command line specifying server :0 manually, however this is a hassle. If you'll notice http://www.nongnu.org/ratpoison/ is a very minimal implementation that has no pretty extras.

  5. #5
    Linux Guru Cabhan's Avatar
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    Well, you can do a lot through the CLI.

    If you want to avoid the bloat, just use a minimalist WM. I personally use Fluxbox: it's extremely lightweight but it's got some cool stuff. Also, it comes with nothing except the WM: no icons and no apps. You can, of course, use apps in it, and you can get icons (iDesk), but you don't need them.

    WM's make it far easier to do stuff. You don't need 'em, but for personal use, I'd recommend having one.

  6. #6
    Linux Guru smolloy's Avatar
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    On my working partition I have SuSE with KDE, and I'm busy building LFS on my "play" partition. I've just installed X and I was gonna go ahead and build KDE, but then I thought I might try something different. I've been building up LFS with the idea of making it as slim as possible -- everything I need, but NOTHING extra, and that thought led me to the daft idea of working without a WM, but maybe that's a little too dumb!!

    I kinda like the idea of Xfce since it's not got as much additional "stuff" as KDE, but can still be made nice and pretty!!!

    Thanks people.
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  7. #7
    Linux Guru bryansmith's Avatar
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    MP3's - use mpg321 to play them.

    I don't use X on my Slack partition and I love it. I am slowly getting used to it but find it to be very efficient.

    Bryan
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  8. #8
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    links in graphical mode is extremely prettier than lynx or elinks. Graphical mode does not need X either.

  9. #9
    Linux Guru smolloy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bryansmith
    MP3's - use mpg321 to play them.

    I don't use X on my Slack partition and I love it. I am slowly getting used to it but find it to be very efficient.

    Bryan
    What do you use your slack partition for??
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  10. #10
    Linux Guru anomie's Avatar
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    CLI capability is up there with GUI, until you get into multimedia - watching videos for example. Yes, you can watch ascii art videos, but that is silly to me. Same goes for viewing and editing photos - that is where GUI is obviously much better.

    And you can still cruise the web happily in CLI with Links (or others) as was mentioned.

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