GNOME dependencies

Vincent imnotb at
Thu Aug 9 11:24:04 UTC 2007

On 09/08/07, jmak <jozmak at> wrote:
> On 8/8/07, Jani Monoses <jani.monoses at> wrote:
> > Because it came up in the other thread, and also because I have been
> thinking about it lately:
> >
> >
> > I started out with the 'no gnome dependencies' policy in addition to the
> no 'mono/java/kde' one
> > because most apps were covered by GTK only alternatives and we had to
> have some kind of
> > criteria.
> >
> > It is no doubt that having additional dependencies affect performance so
> while not very quantifiable
> > it made sense to avoid those apps.
> >
> > The disadvantages of having gnome deps (or any extra deps for that
> matter) are:
> > - size of packages on the CD (I have not looked at this lately, IIRC it
> was something along 20M or more,
> > I may be wrong though)
> > - installed size on disk (only a minor issue)
> > - startup time - GNOME deps mean an additional 25 or so shared objects
> linked to the app, all of whic are
> > processed at startup. The difference is noticable, especially slower
> CPUs.
> > - memory footprint - the same shared objects, even if possibly shared
> with other apps consume extra RAM,
> > IIRC between 500K and 2M per process using them.
> >
> > In case of long running processes these affect the memory used by the
> desktop permanently. In case of explicitely
> > started apps the main drawback is the startup speed.
> >
> > I have been thinking lately about using even more GNOME apps in Xubuntu.
> Until now in the past cycles we
> > picked evince, gnome-system-tools, gcalctool and some of the python
> tools specific to Ubuntu (update manager,
> > restricted manager). All of these have been previously - and in
> collaboration with upstream - been made
> > buildable with GTK only dependencies. There are some other in the queue
> for Gutsy if upstream GNOME accepts
> > some patches.
> >
> > There are two problems with having separate GTK apps (not GNOME ones
> built without GNOME libs)
> >  - duplication of effort. We would be better off if some apps were
> comaintained with Ubuntu.
> >  - the GTK apps are usually less featureful and less actively maintained
> (ex: xfburn, xarchiver)
> >
> > So we would gain by starting to use some GNOME apps while keeping Xfce
> core obviously. But we'd give up
> > some space on the CD (maybe not that bad) some memory and startup times.
> These will not help in making
> > Xubuntu lighter. That characterization has only been true when compared
> to GNOME or KDE though, with
> > python running in the base system (hplip daemon for HP printers ),
> firefox in the mix and the liveCD no longer
> > installing iwth 128M it is not really a light distro anymore.
> >
> >
> > So we have a choice of keeping it like now, only small GTK only apps and
> let the user add whatever else she needs
> > or start making a more complete and maintainable default at the cost of
> making it too heavy for some hw configurations.
> >
> > And by this I do not mean CD size or startup time or even short term
> memory use, those will probably not make much of a difference
> > but long running processes. Do we want gnome-power-manager and
> network-manager? IS Xubuntu widely used on laptops and wifi setups?
> > Do we want update-notifier (I am sure we do). All these are continually
> running and each eats up somewhere around 3-4 megs of RAM.
> >
> > The printing applet which is the default since feisty is also always
> running and is a python app, 4-5 megs probably.
> >
> >
> > From a developer perspective and long term the easiest would be to add
> in as many GNOME stuff as possible besides the Xfce core and thunar.
> >
> > What's best for most users we don't know. Some use Xubuntu because they
> like Xfce or hate the other desktops but they have powerful computers.
> > Other are more sensible to changes in RAM usage.
> >
> > I would like to hear feedback from more people, more importanlty from
> those who deploy many Xubuntu's either in LTSP setups or preinstalled
> > on old computers who have a better idea of what most people like dislike
> and would like to be changed. Personal opinions are ok as well
> > but those are often far too biased.
> >
> Here is an idea.
> Why don't we set up a poll and ask xubuntu users about the hardware
> they use. IF the majority use middle aged or newer computers, like me
> for instance, (mine is 5 years old and still runs happily under gnome
> kde and xfce) then add gnome components. If the majority still uses
> very ancient ones, then stick with the current setup.

I think it is very difficult to reach most Xubuntu users with a poll.

And anyway, even if it is not a majority that's running ancient computers,
at least it's a big part, I guess we all agree on that. We'd be putting a
large share of our user base in the cold if Xubuntu were to be made heavier.

I do not really mind if Xubuntu was just created "to be shipped with Xfce",
because I like Xfce. However, one of the most attractive features of Xfce to
me, and I guess to most other Xfce users, is its speed. Not so much that my
computer wouldn't be able to handle Gnome, but it just feels better if
everything's snappy.

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