Xfce is very, very, very slow

Maximilien Noal noal.maximilien at gmail.com
Mon Jan 13 13:07:18 CET 2014

On 13/01/2014 01:52, Genghis Khan wrote :
> Hello,
> I do not believe that GNOME or KDE applications as Roberto J Dohnert
> suggests, would consist a slowness issue. I suggest to use another
> Xfce 4.10 distro instead, be it a Debian derivative such as Black Lab
> Linux or any other distro.
I do not believe that either, unless you're short on RAM.
> Rants and Thoughts
> ------------------
> I recall comparing version 9.10 of the distro in question against
> Zenwalk GNU/Linux, at the time it was released, and I was astonished
> and heavily outrageous to see how slow, flawed and distorted the "Xfce"
> flavor of that distro was by default which was also slower than its
> GNOME (version 2 at the time) flavor; that distro had the same issue
> with its KDE flavor.
> I suggest, based on the comparison I made when version 9.10 was
> released, that the defaults of non-GNOME (or Unity) flavors are
> deliberately flawed in order to turn users to GNOME3 or Unity.
> Even though the above assumption is irrational, I truly believe that
> Canonical LTD should focus only on their costly and beloved GNOME and
> Unity desktops, because otherwise they are merely perverting KDE, LXDE,
> Xfce and the true abilities of these non-GNOME desktops.
Xubuntu has changed a lot since then, and is one of the best Xfce distros.
Canonical only provides technical support for recognised Ubuntu 
derivatives, such as Canonical servers to host the websites, packages, 
and ISOs. [1].

So, Canonical *is* focused only on Ubuntu. In fact, the only other 
distro that Canonical used to make was Kubuntu < 12.04 [2].

Xubuntu, like Lubuntu, and Kubuntu since 12.04, has always been made by 
people from the Ubuntu community.

As for Xubuntu 9.10, it only needed at least 512 MB of RAM to run 
properly. In 2009, in an era where Windows 7 demanded 2 GB to run 
efficiently, that's really not a lot.

Now, as I said, Xubuntu 13.10 has nothing to do with Xubuntu 9.10. 
That's not surprising, since there is a 4 years gap between them.
Here are reviews of both of them :

In both reviews, you'll see that Xubuntu is rock stable, and more 
lightweight than Ubuntu or Kubuntu.

But why Xubuntu is so good anyway ?

* You get the latest Xfce, and a Xfce 4.12 PPA from the Xubuntu team is 
available (Xubuntu 12.04 has also a Xfce 4.10 PPA avalable from the 
Xubuntu team)
* You get a nice looking and lightweight theme (only old Pentium 3 - 
based computers or bad graphics cards will be slowed down by it)
* You get LTS releases (3 years of support for each of them) every two year.
* You get a Xfce desktop that is tweaked to be more modern (for instance 
:PulseAudio and MPRIS2 support with xfce4-volumed-pulse, 
indicator-sound-gtk2 and pavucontrol)
* Another rarity among Xfce distros : you get an applications menu that 
isn't cluttered with lots of elements. For example, the Settings menu 
only contains the Settings Manager.
* Since Xubuntu 12.10, a lot more tools are integrated in the Settings 
Manager (for instance : the printing and networking preferences)
* There is a large community, and a lot of documentation for Ubuntu and 
Debian works with it.
* You get a Xfce desktop setup. Meaning that the main panel is on top, 
and there is another panel with launchers at the bottom of the screen. 
Manjaro has a more Windows-like setup.

Really, Debian and Zenwalk and others are less user-friendly out-of-the-box.
Sure, there are more lightweight. But unless you use an old Pentium 3 
computer, it won't make any difference. On the other hand, you'll have 
to tweak it alot to have what you get instantly with Xubuntu.

I'm using Archlinux myself, and I have a lot of packages to install and 
tweak to have something close to Xubuntu (but I personally prefer pacman 
to apt-get for managing packages, and to use a rolling-release distro). 
For example, I have to build and install xfce4-volumed-pulse from the 
AUR, and I have to build and install pnmixer-xfce4 too (it's an 
equivalent to indicator-sound-gtk2).

1. http://www.ubuntu.com/about/about-ubuntu/derivatives

> Some intro on *buntu: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxXMpO7SycA
Manjaro has/had quite a few hiccups. For example :
I'd say that if you can manage Archlinux, use Archlinux instead.

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