I have been using an Ubuntu desktop for the last few years doing the version upgrades and having no issues to speak of with it. But I also started to notice that the system was being a bit slow with larger applications like Firefox and others. Recently I have been moving back to my roots in terms of using terminal apps over pretty GUI versions. So I decided to take on the challenge of doing my once every two years complete reinstall of my home desktop with a slant on minimalism and cleanness.
I looked at various “distributions” like Crunch Bang, Dream Linux, Arch Linux, and countless others. Yet it is somewhat of a stretch to call most of them distributions since just bundling and branding or Debian based packages. So I decided to just go to the source and roll my own. This is by far the best option for a clean minimal desktop with only what you need and will use on it.
For some time I have been using Ubuntu as my desktop distribution. Recently even though my computer is quite powerful I have run into issues of slow going. The first thing I did was change to using Google Chrome for my daily browsing and Firefox as my backup browser for certain things. This has helped the issue greatly by just using Chrome and closing Firefox on occasion and restarting it when slowness occurs. Yet the speed still was not there as it use to be for me. So I made a simple but effective change to my desktop environment. I switched from Gnome to IceWM which has made all the difference in the world. Gone are the nifty yet resource intensive Compiz trickery replaced by pure simplistic beauty. Reminding me more of the basic X Windows days when all you needed was a terminal and your favorite shell. It seems in an effort to appease the Windows types the Linux sect has made their desktops bloated just like what they were trying to avoid doing. I only use a small handful of things throughout my day.
- gedit (or similar text editor)
- pidgin (for IM)
That is about it. I sometimes might open GIMP to edit an image or something to manage images when I upload them. But this is not a daily occurrence. For work I now use Google Apps which includes Google Docs so there is not even a need to use OpenOffice or a PDF viewer for that matter. It’s a minimal new world and I am just fine with that.
I use Linux (Ubuntu) as my desktop and have used some flavor of Linux as my desktop for many years now. Most of this time I have used Firefox as my main browser. Recently I have started using Chrome as well as a secondary browser in order to see if I like it more. There are a few things that I like about Chrome more than Firefox. Chrome seems to hog less memory and not hang as much when a lot of tabs are open. Which is a big plus for me since I always end up with many tabs open. Being that I use Google Apps for a lot of things it helps to have a browser that does not come to a crawl after half a day of using it heavily. Now for the things I do not like (yet) about Chrome.
- The Firefox Delicious plugin is very nice and integrated. Chrome equivalents are just prettied up basic bookmarker.
- The strange download manager
- Flash player crashing on regular basis (for Linux at least)
- Strange formatting of some sites including GMail and other Google Apps sites
For the most part I see myself using Chrome more often and if I could get the same sort of Delicious plugin as Firefox has I would be much more likely to use it exclusively. Although I have read that the next version of Firefox is suppose to fill the gap Chrome is creating.
We shall see. . .