Tag Archives: Desktop

A Memory Comparison of Light Linux Desktops – Part 3

Linux kernel manages all RAM memory in your computer. Unused memory goes into a special buffering pool, where the kernel caches all recently used data. If a process attempts to read a file and the kernel already has the file cached, reading it is as fast as reading RAM.

Filesystem-heavy task, such as compiling source code, processing video files, etc. benefit from as much free memory as possible in buffering pool. It is not uncommon today to see users with powerful systems running tiling window managers in only a few megabytes of memory. Also, with the personal computer market in decline, people tend to keep their computers longer.

In this article I continue the measurements started in part 1 and part 2 of this series.

I use free command to measure memory. It basically prints out values provided by the kernel. Of interest to us is the number on -/+ buffers/cache line, 121MB in the example below:

Measuring desktop memory

Measuring desktop memory

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Adding Home, Trash and Web Icons to Linux Desktop

Home, Trash and Web icons used to be enabled by default on most Linux desktops – not anymore! I am often asked to add them back when I install Linux for some other people. They are part of the workflow, and I am not interested in changing workflows. I am simply interested in moving the user from Windows to Linux. This article describes how I do it for various Linux desktops.


To create the icons in LXDE, right-click on the desktop and select Create New/Blank File. Name the file Home.desktop. Right-click on the file and open it in Leafpad. Copy the following text in the file:

[Desktop Entry]

Similarly, create a new Trash.desktop file with the following content:

[Desktop Entry]
Exec=pcmanfm trash:///

/usr/share/applications stores desktop files for all installed GUI applications. Copy firefox.desktop file in ~/Desktop folder. If you want to change the name appearing under the icon, edit Name= line in the file.

$ cp /usr/share/applications/firefox.desktop ~/Desktop/.
LXDE Desktop

LXDE Desktop

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How to Download and Burn YouTube Videos on a DVD in Linux

This is a short tutorial on how to burn YouTube videos on a DVD. It might come in handy if you want to watch them on a big TV, or if you want to send them to friends. Or maybe you published them on YouTube for your small business, and you need to send a copy to a client. There are basically three steps: downloading, converting the video to MPEG format, and building the DVD image. All these steps can be accomplished in Linux with free open-source programs.


An easy way to download is to use Video DownloadHelper Firefox extension. It is just a matter of starting the video in YouTube and saving it – always choose the highest quality version available when saving.

Video DownloadHelper Mozilla Extension

Video DownloadHelper Mozilla Extension

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Window Mangers/Desktop Environment Blog Clicks

I think it would be interesting to share with you the click-trough stats for my WM/DE memory articles, as reported by wordpress.com. This is not a poll by any stretch of the imagination.

enlightenment.org 2036
dwm.suckless.org 1557
trinitydesktop.org 1025
joewing.net/projects/jwm/ 893
lxde.org 830
mate-desktop.org 775
awesome.naquadah.org 743
i3wm.org 729
blackboxwm.sourceforge.net 613
nongnu.org/ratpoison 557
incise.org/tinywm.html 530
all-day-breakfast.com/wm2/ 516
openbox.org 474
fluxbox.org 454
cinnamon.linuxmint.com 453
unauthorised.org/dhog/9wm.html 405
icewm.org 387
razor-qt.org 385
xfce.org 311
xmonad.org 269
windowmaker.org 210
fvwm.org 210
sawfish.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page 121
kde.org 108
xwinman.org/vtwm.php 106
unity.ubuntu.com 101
miwm.sourceforge.net 99
github.com/GNOME/mutter 90
gnome.org/gnome-3/ 83
afterstep.org 55
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NeXTSTEP 44
pekwm.org 43
userbase.kde.org/KWin 34

Last update: May 1, 2014

A Memory Comparison of Light Linux Desktops – Part 2

In my previous article I’ve tried to investigate the RAM memory requirements for running some of the most common light window managers and desktop environments available in the Linux world. Prompted by several readers, I’ve decided to include also the big, well-known memory hogs that grab most of the Linux market, i.e. KDE, Unity and Gnome.

I am using the same setup, based on virtenv. It includes its own xserver (Xephyr) and a virtualization container (LXC). The computer is an older 64-bit machine, running Ubuntu 12.04 with LXDE as desktop environment.

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A Memory Comparison of Light Linux Desktops

After I install a new version of Linux, I usually take a good look at the screen. Does it have a task bar? Can I find my window after it was minimized? The direction some desktops are going is not clear. Making it easier for current users or for the people coming from Windows or Mac is not a goal anymore. User complains are dismissed, chalking it up to the fact that people don’t like change.

Fortunately, in Linux we have plenty of other choices, and we do like change. We have no need to keep using desktops we don’t like.

I will describe some of choices in this article, and I’ll attempt to measure the RAM memory requirements. I use free command in an xterm before and after the graphic environment is started on a separate X server (Xephyr). free command prints on the screen data made available by Linux kernel. The kernel knows at any moment how much memory is using and how many buffers are available.

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How to Speed Up Mozilla Firefox

firefox logo

As the Internet goes slower and slower and your Internet Service Provider refuses to go faster and faster, these are three easy things you can do to speed up Mozilla Firefox:

1. Disable IPv6

For a regular web page such as slashdot.org, Firefox needs to resolve more than 40 domain names. Each domain name is resolved twice, once for an IPv4 address and once for an IPv6 address. This results in lots of DNS requests, slowing down your web access. If you are like 99.999% of the population without IPv6 access, translating domain names in IPv6 addresses is useless.

To disable this functionality, type about:config into the address bar. Type ipv6 into the search bar and toggle network.dns.disableIPv6 to true.

2. Install Adblock Plus extension

The extension will cut down most, if not all, advertisements and annoying banners.

3. Install Ghostery extension

The extension removes “invisible” trackers, web bugs, pixels, and beacons placed on web pages by Facebook, Google Analytics, and over 1,000 other ad networks.