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I often wondered on the implication of a program being native to a certain desktop environment. Is it just about GUI style or there are other implications on the performance ...
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  1. #1
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    Native to desktop environment


    I often wondered on the implication of a program being native to a certain desktop environment. Is it just about GUI style or there are other implications on the performance side?

    Which means: if I use an old machine, should I try to stick to the DE to which the software I normally use is native or using a "lightweight" desktop environment may compensate a possible decrease in performance when using "non native" programs?

  2. #2
    Penguin of trust elija's Avatar
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    I try to stick to native applications but you don't have to if there is a non-native application you really like. Installing non-native applications does have a downside in that the first one or two will pull in a few dependencies.

    Running Xfce and try installing Kate (KDE's editor which I do love)

    Code:
    richard@andromeda-ascendant:~$ sudo apt-get install kate
    Reading package lists... Done
    Building dependency tree       
    Reading state information... Done
    The following extra packages will be installed:
      consolekit docbook-xsl icoutils kate-data katepart kde-runtime
      kde-runtime-data kdelibs-bin kdelibs5-data kdelibs5-plugins kdoctools
      kubuntu-debug-installer libattica0.4 libbaloocore4 libbaloofiles4
      libbalooxapian4 libcanberra-pulse libdbusmenu-qt2 libdlrestrictions1
      libepub0 libkactivities-bin libkactivities-models1 libkactivities6
      libkateinterfaces4 libkatepartinterfaces4 libkcmutils4 libkde3support4
      libkdeclarative5 libkdecore5 libkdesu5 libkdeui5 libkdewebkit5 libkdnssd4
      libkemoticons4 libkfile4 libkhtml5 libkidletime4 libkio5 libkjsapi4
      libkjsembed4 libkmediaplayer4 libknewstuff3-4 libknotifyconfig4 libkntlm4
      libkparts4 libkpty4 libkrosscore4 libktexteditor4 libkubuntu0
      libkxmlrpcclient4 libnepomuk4 libnepomukcleaner4 libnepomukcore4abi1
      libnepomukquery4a libnepomukutils4 libntrack-qt4-1 libntrack0
      libpam-ck-connector libphonon4 libplasma3 libpolkit-qt-1-1 libpoppler-qt4-4
      libqapt2 libqapt2-runtime libqca2 libqjson0 libqmobipocket1 libsolid4
      libsoprano4 libssh-4 libstreamanalyzer0 libstreams0 libthreadweaver4
      libvirtodbc0 libzip2 nepomuk-core-data nepomuk-core-runtime
      ntrack-module-libnl-0 odbcinst odbcinst1debian2 oxygen-icon-theme phonon
      phonon-backend-gstreamer phonon-backend-gstreamer-common
      phonon-backend-gstreamer1.0 plasma-scriptengine-javascript qapt-batch
      shared-desktop-ontologies soprano-daemon virtuoso-minimal
      virtuoso-opensource-6.1-bin virtuoso-opensource-6.1-common
    Suggested packages:
      dbtoepub docbook-xsl-doc-html docbook-xsl-doc-pdf docbook-xsl-doc-text
      docbook-xsl-doc docbook-xsl-saxon fop libsaxon-java libxalan2-java
      libxslthl-java xalan libterm-readline-gnu-perl libterm-readline-perl-perl
      khelpcenter4 konsole djvulibre-bin finger hspell libqca2-plugin-cyrus-sasl
      libqca2-plugin-gnupg libqca2-plugin-ossl phonon-backend-vlc
      phonon4qt5-backend-gstreamer
    The following NEW packages will be installed
      consolekit docbook-xsl icoutils kate kate-data katepart kde-runtime
      kde-runtime-data kdelibs-bin kdelibs5-data kdelibs5-plugins kdoctools
      kubuntu-debug-installer libattica0.4 libbaloocore4 libbaloofiles4
      libbalooxapian4 libcanberra-pulse libdbusmenu-qt2 libdlrestrictions1
      libepub0 libkactivities-bin libkactivities-models1 libkactivities6
      libkateinterfaces4 libkatepartinterfaces4 libkcmutils4 libkde3support4
      libkdeclarative5 libkdecore5 libkdesu5 libkdeui5 libkdewebkit5 libkdnssd4
      libkemoticons4 libkfile4 libkhtml5 libkidletime4 libkio5 libkjsapi4
      libkjsembed4 libkmediaplayer4 libknewstuff3-4 libknotifyconfig4 libkntlm4
      libkparts4 libkpty4 libkrosscore4 libktexteditor4 libkubuntu0
      libkxmlrpcclient4 libnepomuk4 libnepomukcleaner4 libnepomukcore4abi1
      libnepomukquery4a libnepomukutils4 libntrack-qt4-1 libntrack0
      libpam-ck-connector libphonon4 libplasma3 libpolkit-qt-1-1 libpoppler-qt4-4
      libqapt2 libqapt2-runtime libqca2 libqjson0 libqmobipocket1 libsolid4
      libsoprano4 libssh-4 libstreamanalyzer0 libstreams0 libthreadweaver4
      libvirtodbc0 libzip2 nepomuk-core-data nepomuk-core-runtime
      ntrack-module-libnl-0 odbcinst odbcinst1debian2 oxygen-icon-theme phonon
      phonon-backend-gstreamer phonon-backend-gstreamer-common
      phonon-backend-gstreamer1.0 plasma-scriptengine-javascript qapt-batch
      shared-desktop-ontologies soprano-daemon virtuoso-minimal
      virtuoso-opensource-6.1-bin virtuoso-opensource-6.1-common
    0 to upgrade, 93 to newly install, 0 to remove and 0 not to upgrade.
    Need to get 64.3 MB of archives.
    After this operation, 175 MB of additional disk space will be used.
    Do you want to continue? [Y/n]
    The answer always given at this point is no, Hell no! If I was to answer yes and install it, then it would run fine. In some cases the non-native application may look out of place also. You will find this regardless of which environment you run and which non-native application you install.
    Last edited by elija; 06-22-2014 at 12:26 PM. Reason: A bit more detail.
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  3. #3
    Linux Engineer hazel's Avatar
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    The lightest desktops only have a window manager and no truly native applications at all. The applications bundled with the desktop by default are an eclectic selection. Of course you are free to make your own.

    There are two aspects here, I think. One you have already touched on: applications designed from scratch for a particular desktop will look nicer when running natively. They are also easier to configure visually with the native tools. But you also need the libraries that the apps will be using.

    For example, Gnome apps use gtk for their widget set, and also the more specialised gnome library. If you have a KDE desktop and you want to run a Gnome application on it, you will have to install these libraries first. Similarly, to run a KDE application on a non-KDE desktop, you will need qt4 and associated libraries.

    A lot of people don't like the idea of having to have two sets of grahical libraries on disk -- especially on an old machine.
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    Just Joined! Rava's Avatar
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    maja_ldm,

    there is quite some difference in performance.

    I would suggest you try out a live system that is able to run several different GUI's, then you see for yourself if you like the look and feel, and also, if it work's smooth enough on some older machines you probably want to still use.

    I would recommend Home - Porteus - Portable Linux .
    It's a slackware based live linux that comes with quite some GUI's (ATM it has: RazorQT, Mate, KDE, XFCe, LXDE), and it has a live configurator for creating a custom ISO (that can also be copi4ed on a USB pendrive) xD )

    Why no Gnome, you might ask. Well, XFCe comes with the Gnome libraries...

    You would find that live configurator at Porteus Wizard or via the main site "menu" : download / desktop edition.
    Last edited by Rava; 06-22-2014 at 04:23 PM.

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    Thank you,

    If I get your points, while running two or more stacks of unrelated libraries is doable, it will influence to an extent the way in which the system resources are allocated (especially if the different stacks of dependencies are accessed at the same time).

    Still I have to confess I struggle to visualize how much of an additional load any additional libraries set would mean for a system, I guess I would need to run a few benchmarks myself (if I had time and knowledge to do so obviously).


    Summing it up: many people think as choosing either gtk or qt derivatives to be a wise practice especially when setting up older machines.

    Generally speaking it is advisable to think of which programs will be used and try to set up a coherent environment of programs (obviously as enjoyable as possible by the end-user).


    In my case I'm just dealing with the old desktop in my parent's home and I guess I will show them mate and xfce with pclinuxos, both of these DE's should up to the task from scratch install and fast enough to run on a Sempron 2200 with a memory of 1GB.


    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    off-topic:

    While trying to determine which programs I may be using without adding different stacks of libraries I found these unrelated but quite interesting references:
    Can i run applications without desktop environment? on linuxquestions.org
    Is it possible to run graphical applications such as Firefox without installing a desktop environment? on superuser.com

    I guess I should come back later to those threads given my usual browsing habits.. (firefox is constantly crashing on me).

  6. #6
    Just Joined! Rava's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maja_ldm View Post
    If I get your points, while running two or more stacks of unrelated libraries is doable, it will influence to an extent the way in which the system resources are allocated (especially if the different stacks of dependencies are accessed at the same time).
    Indeed, especially when you consider how large the libraries for both Gnome and KDE would be...

    Quote Originally Posted by maja_ldm View Post
    Still I have to confess I struggle to visualize how much of an additional load any additional libraries set would mean for a system, I guess I would need to run a few benchmarks myself (if I had time and knowledge to do so obviously).
    That you can do.

    Like with my tip: try a just KDE Porteus, and one with, say, XFCe only, and so: Gnome libraries. Run some benchmarks.

    And then create a drive with all the libraries. But know that you can still only load / start one of the GUIs, and run a new set of benchmarks...

    Of course what I said is not true. Actually with Linux you can do more than one startx (that starts X) from the virtual console, but do know that usually the performance goes down drastically when doing so...
    And it is not recommended for inexperienced users either...

    Quote Originally Posted by maja_ldm View Post
    Summing it up: many people think as choosing either gtk or qt derivatives to be a wise practice especially when setting up older machines.
    Yes, but for older machines consider also LXDE. And for very old machines also think of Puppy Linux or DSL ("Damn Small Linux") Between these two I would recommend a slim, older Puppy, cause there are also Puppy versions that are bloated, aka Fatdog64 Linux

    Generally speaking it is advisable to think of which programs will be used and try to set up a coherent environment of programs (obviously as enjoyable as possible by the end-user).
    Yes, but with the major GUI's you can run everything. When you need a program for writing code with syntax highlighting, e.eg. use geany. Ultra slim, Ultra fast, very reliable.
    usually there are several variants of certain solutions, so you not need the one office that only comes with that one GUI that you not want to use, and so on...

    In my case I'm just dealing with the old desktop in my parent's home and I guess I will show them mate and xfce with pclinuxos, both of these DE's should up to the task from scratch install and fast enough to run on a Sempron 2200 with a memory of 1GB.
    Try it out, I suggest Porteus for the XFCE, but also try Puppy Linux, it's more slim and therefore faster....


    (firefox is constantly crashing on me).
    Why? Do you have too many windows and too many tabs open at once? I recommend NoScript, Adblock* (as in: either AdblockPlus or AdblockEdge) and "Suspend background tabs", the first is good for security, but als makes FFx quicker cause many unneeded JS is not executed, and the 2nd not even loads all the annoying ads.
    And the 3rd just gives the background tabs less system resources when inactive.

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    Thank you Rava,
    I will check out those Firefox add-ons, as far as I knew the extension which had "tab hibernation" functionality weren't compatible with newer versions of Firefox anymore, glad to know there's more to it then this.

  8. #8
    Penguin of trust elija's Avatar
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    I also recommend pale moon for linux. It's basically Firefox but with all the crap removed. It is faster, lighter stronger and unlike Steve Austin doesn't cost $6,000,000 and is compatible with the plug ins mentioned above.

    Download from here

    See here for installation
    What do we want?
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    When do we want 'em?
    Doesn't really matter does it!?


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  9. #9
    Just Joined! Rava's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elija View Post
    I also recommend pale moon for linux. It's basically Firefox but with all the crap removed. It is faster, lighter stronger and unlike Steve Austin doesn't cost $6,000,000 and is compatible with the plug ins mentioned above.

    Download from here
    Now that sounds cool!

    I answered in the linked thread, since we get OT in here.


    @maja_ldm

    Well, I run the current FFx, 30.0 x86_64, and it runs "Suspend background Tabs 1.0.1" just fine!
    Last edited by Rava; 06-22-2014 at 10:38 PM.

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    @eljia I tried Pale Moon, I don't think my browsing (bad) habits combine with it as the palemoon.exe process arrived to occupy over 5GB in the memory (that's in Windows), still even with that kind of load it didn't crash in the couple days I had it installed and that's something.

    @Rava, I can enable "Suspend background tabs", but the memory footprint doesn't change a lot..

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