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mreff555
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 4:33 am    Post subject: rebuilding everything. Need advice Reply with quote

So I'm finally doing it, and I need help. I built my Gentoo system four years ago, before that I run Crunchbang. When I built my Gentoo system my goal was a impressive looking, but fast, functional and lightweight OS. I acheived about 99% of that with Openbox. I had a 3.1mb fully functional kernel that booted very quickly, and a desktop that was attractive and functional. There were a couple of bugs I was never able to work out.

Lately I have been having more problems, I think I'm ready to try again from scratch. I'm buying a new 120gb SSD tomorrow to speed my turd of a laptop up a bit and rebuilding gentoo. This time I'm using a desktop environment. Something I haven't approved of since I started using linux in the mid 90's. I just don't have time to put out fires anymore. Tinkering with my system is one thing, but I don't want to have to worry about the stability of my system anymore. I'm looking for recommendations with these priorities.

1. I want something that is stable. As in, works out of the box. Not a science project. I realize with gentoo there is always some intervention required on behalf if the system architect. I can handle that. I just want something that I can tweak rather than fix.

2. I'm looking for someting that looks good and is accessable for both the layman and the poweruser. ( as far as I'm concerned i3 is the best desktop environment ever but my wife and daughter occasionally use this machine and I'm not even going to try to explain i3 to them)

2. I would prefer something fairly lightweight.

Any suggestions?
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lexflex
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 6:21 am    Post subject: Re: rebuilding everything. Need advice Reply with quote

Hi,


Well, XFCE or LXDE might be suitable, but you probably thought of those yourself.

Environments like KDE (and Gnome) are more extensive and include more 'pre defined stuff' , and are definetely 'not so lightweight'.

Alex.
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khayyam
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 8:48 am    Post subject: Re: rebuilding everything. Need advice Reply with quote

mreff555 wrote:
1. I want something that is stable. As in, works out of the box. Not a science project. I realize with gentoo there is always some intervention required on behalf if the system architect. I can handle that. I just want something that I can tweak rather than fix.

mreff555 ... I'm of the opinion the 95% of stability comes from software selection, the more complex the software the greater the potential for things to go wrong. This is something of a built in limit to how far one can go with design, in that the more that is added to provide an interface (usability, etc) the more there is that functions bellow the level of that interface, and the seeming simplicity of use. Not only do these interfaces end up designing in complexity they make it necessary, as it conditions use, expectations, etc.

I can honestly say that I do not suffer from many of the problems that I see reported, yes, I spend some time maintaining my system, but its so minimal I hardly notice. Its true that such stability has come at a cost, but that is the cost of use rather than the cost of acquisition.

Computation is no substitute for skill, what computers do well is repetitive menial tasks ... so there is inherently some skill involved, and this skill can not be replaced by interface as computers do not have the logic to handle, or replace, skill. An interface is only as good as the capabilities it exposes to the users skill.

mreff555 wrote:
2. I'm looking for someting that looks good and is accessable for both the layman and the poweruser. ( as far as I'm concerned i3 is the best desktop environment ever but my wife and daughter occasionally use this machine and I'm not even going to try to explain i3 to them)

That is the problem of expectation, had they never been exposed to 'usability' they would no doubt approach use without any preconceived ideas about how it should work. In a sense there is a direct relation between that "access" and the acquisition of skill ... the very idea of a layman/poweruser is conditioned by some kind of use. Of course if you've never had access to such a tool then there is effort involved in the acquisition of skill, but there doesn't seem to me to be a way of circumventing this as placing usability before use simply creates a barrier to the latter (a regular "chicken & egg" problem).

But OK, that's hardly helpful, I don't imagine this is the kind of response you might have expected, but then I don't see there being any middle ground between this nominal layman and poweruser ... they are completely different, and incommensurate, ideas of use.

best ... khay
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szatox
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I personaly use lxde, it seems to fit your desires pretty well and it's similar to old KDE (and old windows) enough your girls will not get confused, unless they simply don't want to use it "just because".

Now,
Quote:
as far as I'm concerned i3 is the best desktop environment ever

Good, go for it. You can have more than one DE installed and use login manager to launch one.
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mreff555
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very well spoken khayyam

not that any of you have made my decision any easier :)

Maybe I'll just spend the weekend trying fix the 1% and call it done.
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mreff555,

Choose one problem and start a new thread. When thats fixed, move onto the next problem, again in a new thread.
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mv
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use fvwm-crystal for a similar purpose: For myself (need only lightweight) and for the family who is used to a windows-like enviroment. It is a good compromise IMHO.
Unfortunately, there is only an old version in the gentoo tree with some security issues; an ebuild for the current 3.3.2 is in the mv overlay, however.
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mreff555
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2015 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NeddySeagoon wrote:
mreff555,

Choose one problem and start a new thread. When thats fixed, move onto the next problem, again in a new thread.


Neddy,
I believe you are mistaking Criterion for individual issues. You may want to go back and read my post more carefully. I had only one problem.
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2015 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mreff555,

mreff555 wrote:
There were a couple of bugs I was never able to work out.

I must have picked on that.

If we document them, we can call them "features"
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mrbassie
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2015 2:53 pm    Post subject: Re: rebuilding everything. Need advice Reply with quote

mreff555 wrote:
I'm buying a new 120gb SSD tomorrow to speed my turd of a laptop up a bit and rebuilding gentoo.


How much of a turd is it? I've got an acer netbook which I used to have an ssd (kingston hyper-x) in, it made little to no noticeable difference. I think that's down to the limit of the speed of ram you can put in it which is 533mhz.
I was given a better laptop second hand (acer extensa 5235) which I decided to then try Gentoo out on. Installed it, decided I'd found my home and so I took the ssd and put it in the new machine and installed it again. It made a very small difference to running on a 5400rpm hdd. I put gentoo on the netbook too and it runs quicker than Debian did on the ssd.

I've installed windows on ssd's at work and seen a massive performance increase. I wonder if Linuxes are just so performant anyway that you don't notice much benefit.

Anyway, On my 32bit netbook minimal kde (no kdebase-meta or semantic-desktop) runs about as fast as xfce (minimal package set) did when I had Debian on it.

Just food for thought.
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szatox
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2015 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mrbassie, have a look at RAM usage pattern on linux:
Code:
$ free -h
             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:          7.3G       6.4G       883M        16M       590M       3.3G
-/+ buffers/cache:       2.6G       4.8G

So, right now all programs running on my PC are using 2,6GB of my RAM, almost 1 GB is free, and roughly 3,8 GB is being used for making my PC more responsive. Mind this, no disk access is necessary when I reffer to something already in RAM.
This is the way linux uses RAM. It puts there as much data as possible, dropping it when running out of space.

SSD will basicaly make your PC boot slightly faster as there is no data in RAM yet at this point. Afterwars it might have some uses with heavy data crunching, but don't be very surprised gain is minimal otherwise.

Quote:
I've installed windows on ssd's at work and seen a massive performance increase
well... I'm forced to use one at work 5.4k rmp hdd. It crawls. I suppose it doesn't cache anything save for usb drives.
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mrbassie
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2015 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

so am I right in my not at all thought through, half-notion that with reasonable hw they're pretty much a waste of money?
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Jaglover
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2015 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm using SSD's for all my desktops to make apps start faster, and regular HDD's for /home. Indeed, if there is lots of RAM second time you start any particular app it will come up fast ... it is when you have lots of RAM. I use low power nettop class computers for desktops with 2-4 GiB of RAM, SSD for / is speeding up them significantly. And not the second time apps are started, they will start fast first time!
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KEA0463
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
2. I would prefer something fairly lightweight.

Any suggestions?



IMHO I would suggest the MATE desktop as it functions
very good, lightweight, and really stable and functional
I use the MATE desktop and really like it.
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bammbamm808
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1 vote for lxde here. Just dropped XFCE. Am avoiding packages with lots of kde* or gnome* dependencies, this time. This means that I won't have k3b, which has always worked well for me. But here are alternatives that will also work well.
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mreff555
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NeddySeagoon wrote:
mreff555,

If we document them, we can call them "features"


Ha Ha!!!



Anyway, I constantly go back and forth between going big and going small. For example. MATE is fairly large, albeit an attractive desktop which has been around for a while. I would imagine it has to be fairly stable since many distros tend towards it. The problem is the tangled mess of GTK; or in the case of KDE, QT libraries. Every time I spend two days trying to fix a cyclic dependency or version conflict due to a program using that library, I often find myself questioning if I really need that program. I have a suspicion that I would run into the same issue with a large desktop environment.
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