Xfce Digest, Vol 91, Issue 19

Edscott Wilson Garcia edscott at xfce.org
Thu Jun 23 00:04:51 CEST 2011

El 22/06/11 11:32, Nick Schermer escribió:
> On Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 5:09 PM, Edscott Wilson Garcia <edscott at xfce.org> wrote:
>> Other fm's like nautilus or dolphin are automobiles,equipped with
>> stereos, vanity mirrors, air conditioning, seat belts. Rodent is a plain
>> and simple bicycle, light and nimble. And faster.
> Can you prove that (with numbers)? Because from my first look at
> Rodent it's not faster (startup, folder loading etc) then Thunar
> (which uses the same backend as Nautilus). Rodent also keeps using 5%
> cpu (ouch!) and uses more memory (I admit, not counting the gvfs
> daemons that are also started for Thunar/GIO).

That's tricky. I'll begin with a bicycle simile. An automobile can reach
a cruise speed of 100 kph in seconds,  a bicycle will take longer to
reach a cruise speed of 20 kph. A simple mind will quickly reach the
conclusion that any auto is faster than the best bike. Why is this is
not true?

Numbers. Speed is the magnitud of the spatial derivative of space with
respect to time. But average speed is real life. On my bicycle I can get
from any two points in the city (about 20 kilometers) in 50 to 65
minutes. The same trip takes from 90 to 120 minutes in an automobile.

So which is faster? From a tecnical viewpoint, under ideal conditions,
the automobile is faster. There is no arguing  that. But from the user's
view point (which is what matters), the bicycle has no rival (well,
maybe the horse, but horses are too expensive to maintain...).

Rodent is meant to be fast for the user, not for the stop watch under
laboratory conditions.

I'll take the time to do some explanations, although I am slow to write.
Bear in mind that all references to Nautilus are to Nautilus, not to

How long does it take a user to identify a paper in pdf format, when the
title is unknown? With Nautilus you have to click and click and click,
and then back to the click and click and click.

How long does it take a user to run a command in background? With
Nautilus you have to click and click and click and then realize you have
to install something extra, restart and then click and click and click
before you can type (if you can still remember what you wanted to do by

How long does it take a user to customize an application to use when
opening a certain type of file? With Nautilus you have to click and
click and click, and maybe you'll figure it out.

Rodent's idea of being fast is allowing the user to do stuff faster, not
microseconds to display a label. Nautilus plays in a totally different
ball park. Nautilus wants to appeal the greatest number of potential
users, most of which do not know what "command line" means.

I'm sure Nautilus can be configured to allow the user to work faster (so
he has more time to play), but that configuration takes a good deal of
effort, so it becomes a contradition.

I could go on and on and on. You might say that not all users want skim
through dozens of scientific pdf articles, or run simulation programs in
the background or use an application other than the officially gnome
santioned ones. And you are right. Rodent is not for everybody.

More numbers? On initial installation Rodent will not appear as fast as
it actually is. On virgin installs, disk and memory caches are empty.
Once you are using Rodent in a realistic way (not stress testing under
ideal conditions), these caches bring the numbers down significantly.

CPU usage? Rodent is built around a multithreaded design. CPU speed has
reached a plateau and the only way go faster is to do more work in
parallel. If you do not have a multicore processor, Rodent's design will
make is slower than any other program doing the exact same thing. But
multicore processors are here to stay.

At my office I have "common Joe" box, and it has 4 cores in the chip.
Last time I looked (at least a year ago) AMD was attaching 12 cores to
the chip. Does 5% of one, hurt? Not for me. After all, that's one of the
reasons why I have a computer, to put it to work.

Memory consumption? Let's take a look at the this unstable svn version
I'm running:                                                        

      PID USER      PR  NI  VIRT  RES  SHR S %CPU %MEM    TIME+ 

     2101 edscott   20   0  370m  84m 7388 S    6  2.2 677:23.50

    28532 edscott   20   0  447m 167m  13m R    4  4.3 804:50.15

    10441 edscott   20   0  976m 575m 546m S    3 14.7 383:54.15

    22862 edscott   20   0  514m  35m  13m S    2  0.9   4:35.02

    17964 root      20   0  273m 135m  11m S    2  3.4 628:17.09

    17985 edscott   20   0  228m 3896 2600 S    1  0.1 320:15.85

    23429 edscott   20   0  464m  18m  11m S    1  0.5   1:46.21

    27359 edscott   20   0 19120 1300  888 R    0  0.0   0:00.01

    27834 edscott   20   0  473m  17m 7860 S    0  0.5   6:25.40

The important number here is RES. Considering I have 8GB on this
"run-of-the-mill" box, what's 35 MB on the  rodent instance? Answer:
tiny. Even firefox does not have me worried. At this time I cannot
compare with Nautilus because, well, I don't even have it installed. Why
not? Dependencies.

What about dependencies? If I do an "emerge -p Nautilus" on this Gentoo
box, I would need to install no less than 38 packages before it even
considers installing Nautilus. Everything from libsoup to
gnome-desktop.  Gvfs brings in 34 packages by itself (practically the
gnome desktop). That's too much for me, especially when I compare it to
the emerge for Rodent.

The bottom line is that Rodent is small, fast and powerful. If your
definition of small, fast or powerful is different, that's fine too.




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