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Linux, Unix, and *nix like Operating Systems Forum

On the leaner side of computing
fat software just makes me ill...

 8:09 pm on Aug 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

I know this drum is getting beat by me a lot, and that some may think I am going the wrong way with this logic. As you all could tell by my posts, I generally favor smallish bloat free apps. In my opinion a computer from 2002 should run twice as fast, or twice as feature rich as a computer from 1996, but this isn't really happening.

Instead, we get email clients and browsers that take up 20 megs of ram, and office suites that take up 45 megs. This seems to be happening because of three reasons:
1 Laziness, with modern (big) computers you don't have to code efficiently because the power of the hardware will hide the inefficiency.

2 Eye candy -- yeah I know it looks good, but do you need that spinning transparent 3d rendering happy face?

3 Planned obsolescence - how else are you going to keep buying new computers unless you could justify the expense of having the hardware to support the latest programs?

IMO this is one of the major benefits of Linux, you don't have to participate in the bloat race if you chose not to. I am not going to bash KDE because I think it is a great environment, but it does dedicate a lot to eye candy -- more than a lot of older systems can handle (KDE2+). OpenOffice is also great program, but it is nearly intolerable on anything less then a 300 MHz box.

Fortunately, all is open source users have a choice, there are lots of lighter applications that are being developed with an eye on keeping down the bloat. There is a good article here [linuxjournal.com] that outlines one man's approach. It is a good read.

Here is another link that outlines other people's approach to a lean and mean desktop:
It has some very good tips.

So, would I opt for light weight apps and desktop if I were sporting a 2 GHz pentium 4? Yeah, I think so..



 8:57 pm on Aug 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'm running an 800Mhz

I hate the 'bloatware' too - all the more so, now that the OS things happen so quick with Linux.

I am even begrudging the 4 or 5 seconds that Gnome takes to come to life, and I only need to do that a couple of times a day.

Ihave just dropped Evolution and moved over to Sylpheed, just because of the 1 or 2 seconds saved in loading.

I have two spare PCs that are soon to go the Linux root as well - old 200Mhz pentiums - the way I see it, I can still get year or two use out of them using linux.

The only Windows box left will be my laptop:)


 9:15 pm on Aug 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thanks littleman...just d/l'ed ice...real cool..real fast.


 11:38 pm on Aug 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

John, ICEwm really is a great WM, huh? It's fast, light, and very stable. It also has key bindings for everything. Really, the only thing I don't like about it is it's win95 style layout, but that is a personal thing. You could also configure it so that the menu is accessible from anywhere on the screen, so you don't have to drag the mouse to the start button to launch the menu.

If you stick with ICEwm you gotta get ICEpref, it is a configuration utility for ICE. There should be RPMs available.

4eyes, the ony thing I keep MSwindows around for is PageRank checks.


 11:41 pm on Aug 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

Yah, nice modular apps rule.

I'm running a 733MHz Pentuim III box and I don't see any reason so far to upgrade it.

Although I think some apps really need the GUI (eg. browser, I can't use Lynx, Links, etc.).


 11:56 pm on Aug 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

I agree with you on several points, mostly the code bloat and memory hungry apps. Also seeking out the light-weight apps that can give you a 2002 experience.

But the bottom line is speed and I think Computers from 2002 are several times faster then the 1996 generation. Cpu speed is important but memory seems to be the thing that makes the biggest difference with Linux. If you have enough it holds the program in the cache and when you reopen its much quicker. If you end up operating with swap its going to get slow.

Example of todays speed. I can download a new kernel, configure, compile and reboot into it in less then 15 minutes. That would take all day in 1996. The only program that takes more then a couple of seconds to load is that horse Open Office.

The problem I see in todays off the shelf systems is they are built to hit a price point not performance. My old machine was a 450mhz P3. My Sons friends all had new p4 machines that were in his words "Dogs" and they were compared to my old machine built in 1998.

I had my first machine built in 1992 second in 98 and my current 2002. The bummer is my wife says I have to wait until 2006 for my next one (something about a refrigerator )

<< So, would I opt for light weight apps and desktop if I were sporting a 2 GHz pentium 4? Yeah, I think so..>>

I don't know I heard somewhere the human eye can only see 60 frames per second.


 12:16 am on Aug 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hey littleman

I think I learned more about linux in twenty minutes with iceWM than I have with the KDE/Gnome thing in many hours,there is just too much noise with those managers to get focused on the system, even downloaded and installed my first *tarball* for dillo and got it installed and running (real fast browser).

The only problem I have is a file lock issue with the cookiesrc file in dillo, so I can't login here. Any idea on how to unlock it?

I agree with "minimal", my production machine is mac OS 8.1 with a stripped system folder, it runs real nice on 8 mg of RAM.

>>the ony thing I keep MSwindows around for is PageRank checks.<<

Same here.

<edit>the system only uses 8 meg RAM


 6:11 am on Aug 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

David, I agree with all your points, but it shouldn't take compiling a kernel to appreciate the power of modern hardware, power and speed should be apparent in daily use.

...sorry for the soapbox, :)

John, 8 megs? Wow, I didn't know a mac could get stripped down that much.

Going back to Dillo, it has wrestled with WebmasterWorld's cookie code a lot. Believe me, Brett has put in some time to accommodate Dillo. Dillo's cookie management is a work in progress. Get a copy of the CVS version of Dillo, it seems to work with WebmasterWorld fine now. If you have CVS set up just copy this into your term window:
cvs -d:pserver:anonymous@cvs.dillo.sourceforge.net:/cvsroot/dillo co dillo
That will download the latest development version of Dillo for you. Then just compile it like you did the tarball download.

I really find Dillo the perfect 'forum browser', forums just seem to be where this browser shines above all else for me.

Martin, I could see you really liking Dillo -- it should launch in less than a half second on your 733 MHz P3.


 6:32 am on Aug 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thanks Litleman

You are right, this is a nice forum browser, it's incredibly fast. I finally found the cookiesrc file, somehow there were2 of them in the directory.

If you want to leave cookies on just:


or you can set it up to default deny and manually enter acceptable sites.

dillo Cookies are working now for WebmasterWorld, this post is from dillo.

BTW..I have an old powerbook 520 that is a real system hog..it uses 2.7 meg of RAM, ( OS 7.5.1) It has ms word,excel and a few other goodies on it and runs just fine. Total RAM installed ..8 meg


 6:46 am on Aug 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

Nice! Watch, you will end up using it here a lot.
Screenshot of WebmasterWorld via Dillo [cgi-fun.hypermart.net]


 10:47 am on Aug 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

I don't know littleman, I've heard that Dillo isn't very good at CSS, and it is a must for me.

I am using Opera 6.02 now, it's fast enough for me. I can even run Mozilla but I don't like it, I got used to Opera on Windows.


 11:00 am on Aug 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

Yup - got to admit I just changed to Opera as well.

Galeon is great - definitely the best of the rest. Opera is just a bit quicker.

I used Opera on windows, but switched back to Mozilla because the password manager was too good to miss.

I need it slightly less now, but nevertheless it is Opera's greatest weakness IMO


 4:30 pm on Aug 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

Dillo is not a high function browser, at least not yet. It is a simple renderer -- no CSS, no js, no SSL, and frame support in the same way lynx has it. In fact Links in graphic mode [atrey.karlin.mff.cuni.cz], (server has been down a lot because it is sitting in the center of a flood area), and w3m [w3m.sourceforge.net] are more capable in that respect.

It is a work in progress, those features will end up in the code in the near future, but I don't use it when I need those things. It handles WebmasterWorld and /. fine, as well as most of the geek sites. I wouldn't call it a substitute for a heavier browser like Opera, Mozilla/Galleon, or Konqueror yet.

Really I see Dillo and Links -g in a bit of a competition, they both are striving to be super light weight, full function browsers, but are coming from two different directions. :) They both less than 1/3 the footprint of Opera.

My top pick for high function browsers is Galeon -- it does everything Mozilla does, but it does it all a little better. It is also a bit lighter to, though not as light as Opera.


 5:01 pm on Aug 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

>> but it shouldn't take compiling a kernel to appreciate the power of modern hardware <<

You are correct but until Linux becomes important enough to hardware manufacturers to include drivers on their CD's for new state of the art stuff. We either have to buy 6 months or so old or wait until the community develops a patch or adds it into the beta kernel.It looks like by the time 2.4.20 is released late this year my hardware will be supported in the stock kernel. Even then the stock kernel defaults to a P3, on some machines not all recompiling as a P4 can make a big difference.

Whats interesting is the new development 2.5 series kernel is still faster yet. However it has quite a bit of work to be done before it is fully usable.


 10:31 am on Aug 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

I didn't though there will be a 2.4 after 2.4.18 - it was holding on so long.

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