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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 25th November, 2009, 11:45 PM
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Help with display and window managers

I have an old PC I use for a server and sometime desktop.
It is a dell with a 1.8 Celeron and 256MB RAM

Well I am looking into different display and window managers to lighten the amount of resources used. I will be sticking with Ubuntu but installing a command line system first. Mainly its because its what I use, and because I know it works on the hardware and in a VM the same way (only slower on the hardware).

I've looked at xfwm4 and xfce which is nice and light, but was wondering if there is something lighter with what I need:

Required;
auto login
auto mount
Tellico (which uses kde libraries)
spe - I like it and I'm learning. I wont be changing until I'm far more comfortable with python
python 3 with tkinter
ddclient


Programmes which I am using and can change on recommendations;
pdf reader - using epdfview
ktorrent - unless someone can suggest something lighter (no azureus I don't intend on installing java at all) with: rss feeds, web interface, scheduler, a queue manager and being able to create own torrents
bash terminal client - using xfce4-terminal
text editor with highlighting - like kate or gedit
vino - need to be able to remote in using vnc
office suite - say abiword and gnumetrics or similar I don't need full openoffice suite
samba with system-config-samba for easy updates - there are windows machines on the network
web browser - been using konqueror, don't really care which browser, it only gets used for a small amount.

Because of Tellico, I have been using other kde based apps to reduce dependencies. HDD space is ample, I just need to reduce RAM and paging usage.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 26th November, 2009, 02:04 AM
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There are lighter options, most will not have what you need installed by default, but you can piece together the items required.

Openbox and Fluxbox are fairly light, usually taking up around 90MB to run the basic desktop, but you will need to add items such as a file manager, background setter etc. If you just want to check out openbox on a ubuntu base there is crunchbang linux.

Depending on your needs, I have found wmii and awesome to be pretty decent, but pretty much everything needs to be done with config files.
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Old 26th November, 2009, 02:38 AM
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Thanks Cliff, don't mind piecing together stuff, its easier than removing it.
I also don't mind config files - means I just backup, and if something goes wrong, a quick copy fixes it, as opposed to tracking down the config file - deleting it and praying a restart of the application fixes it.

Any suggestions on apps to auto login and auto mount?
For starters I'll probably stick with some of the xfce standards like thunar until something better comes along.

Just to let you know - the box is going to struggle on in kde until I have a working config as a VM so I can copy settings, and know at least 99% will work.

I think I'll have a look at wmii and awesome, then openbox and fluxbox.
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Old 26th November, 2009, 02:44 AM
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You might want to check out NFS instead of Samba. Samba and I have a long-running hate affair; I just have never been able to get it to work reliably enough. Too many vagaries.

To use NFS you'll need the free Windows SFU (services for unix, it's in version 3.5) on the windows machines. It's fairly easy to configure, and much more reliable than Samba(at least for me).
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Old 26th November, 2009, 03:14 AM
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Thunar along with thunar-volman will handle automounting.

You can use Slim (simple login manager) and then edit /etc/slim.conf to autologin a user.
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Old 26th November, 2009, 06:59 AM
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Figured I would mention that wmii and awesome are both tiling window managers, they are also both easier to control with the keyboard than with a mouse.

If you need a more traditional layout I would recommend starting with flux or openbox.

I included a screenshot of my wmii setup. It's pretty much the default config, using links-g as a browser and moc (music on console) for playing tunes, about as light as it gets. It's a bare minimum setup on an old 600E thinkpad, 400mhz cpu, 196MB ram 6GB drive and pretty much everything done in a terminal. It uses 88MB just as you see it and leaves an old laptop feeling pretty good. As a bonus, noone has ever tried to steal that laptop..
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Old 26th November, 2009, 08:56 AM
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On a similar system a few years ago, I had some good success by using KDE but replacing kwin with enlightenment. Given how large Qt/KDE and GTK+/Gnome have grown since then, it may be less useful.

Still, it might be worth a try.
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Old 30th November, 2009, 05:01 AM
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[QUOTE=Kaitain;500837Given how large Qt/KDE and GTK+/Gnome have grown since then, it may be less useful.[/QUOTE]

This is exactly the reason why I'm looking at something else.
XFCE is still pretty good, and I have put that on an old P233 with 128MB RAM for the inlaws, which runs slow but stable.

Well thanks for all the input, I've decided on the following:

SLiM - allows the autologin
Awesome - has a couple of extra features over wmii
Thunar - It seems to be as light as they get apart from a terminal
epdfview
Transmission - having your login details in the URL probably wasn't a good idea. I'm not surprised no one touched this due to the main use people tend to put these to.
SAMBA
X11vnc - its lighter and more configurable than others.
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Old 30th November, 2009, 05:37 AM
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I guess I missed some of your post.

For torrents I use rtorrent, command line client, fast and light.

Terminal = xterm or urxvt

Editor = vim
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Old 30th November, 2009, 05:54 AM
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I've used xbuntu on an old 500 mhz celeron system and it ran pretty well.
Just thought I'd put my $.02 in.

Oh, I'm sure you've heard about DSL (damn small linux)
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Old 3rd December, 2009, 05:20 AM
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xbuntu runs pretty well on some of my older gear as well. I started using minimal tiling window managers just out of curiosity, but soon found they are really quite productive for me.

I'm checking out xmonad now. Seems pretty cool, written in haskel, which I am starting to come to terms with. Multiple monitor support is about the best I've seen, so good it makes me want to get a second video card to run a 3rd monitor..
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Old 6th December, 2009, 02:49 AM
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How's awesome coming along for you? I spent a week with xmonad and ended up going back to awesome. Just didn't feel like putting in the required work to get xmonad the way I wanted it.
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Old 7th December, 2009, 07:49 PM
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Thanks guys, sorry for the late reply - its been a hell week with work.

awesome is great, the system is consuming around 65MB RAM at boot. This system is now responsive enough that VNC actually works as designed, and videos actually play without stuttering. Its gone from being a 2L family wagon to a 2L sports car.

Removed Thunar - automount didn't work properly. Using halevt for automount, and terminal for browsing.

I'm definitely getting used to the tiling, though leaving it for a few days means I'm glad I left it at the default keys as I haven't quite memorised them.
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Old 9th December, 2009, 02:19 AM
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I kept a sheet at ~/keybindings for awhile. I figured I would always remember modkey + return and could just cat my keybindings file if I forgot something else.

If I ever finish configuring awesome for myself I'll throw my rc.lua up. Just not enough hours in a day to learn the languages everything is programmed and configured in..
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Old 9th December, 2009, 03:49 AM
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Copy and pasted a txt file directly from their site - kept in ~/ figured I would remember mod + enter or mod + r

I while heartedly agree with you about the languages. Everytime I turn around something is written in a different language, that I've never heard of.
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