It might not get the attention Fedora and Ubuntu do, but its parent is still one of the major enterprise Linux distributions. Released on schedule as always, openSUSE is considered by many to be the best KDE distribution, constantly contributing directly to upstream KDE project. A number of other desktops are also supported, I will take a look at some of them in this article.
I’ve installed openSUSE 13.1 using openSUSE Network Installation CD (netinstall). I brought in the desktop environments one by one, reboot the computer, log in, and measure the startup memory for each one of them in a terminal. I left the desktops as they were installed by default, without any modifications.
Measuring memory is easy, Linux kernel keeps track of it all the time. Kernel data is accessed by free command, and printed on the screen. Of interest to us is the value on -/+ buffers/cache line, 121MB in the example below:
The Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment was specially designed for computers with low hardware specifications, such as netbooks, mobile devices or older computers. LXDE is an install option on netinstall CD, and it can also be installed manually as follows:
# zypper install patterns-openSUSE-lxde
The desktop environment starts in 180MB of memory.
Xfce is probably the most popular lightweight desktop environment today. It is based on GTK+ 2 toolkit, and it aims to be light and fast, while still being visually appealing and easy to use. Available as an install option on netinstall CD, it can also be installed manually as:
# zypper install patterns-openSUSE-xfce
Xfce runs in 242MB of memory.
e17 is the latest version of Enlightenment desktop environment. It was recently included as an installation option on netinstall CD, or it can also be installed manually as follows:
# zypper install patterns-openSUSE-e17
e17 runs in 134MB of memory.
MATE is not included officially in openSUSE repositories, however, you can install it using YaST 1-click installer. For this, with your web browser go to http://en.opensuse.org/Portal:MATE and click on MATE Desktop for openSUSE 13.1. MATE runs in 214MB.
This is the memory chart for openSUSE 13.1. I also added a number of very light Window Managers, and KDE. Enjoy your Linux desktop!