xubuntu at sheep.art.pl
Wed Feb 6 08:48:02 UTC 2008
I initially didn't want to take part in tis ridiculous flame war,
but looking how it becomes basically a lynch, I decided to at
least state my personal opinion (if anybody cares).
Just to show what position I'm talking from: I use tweaked Xubuntu
on both my desktopand laptop compuers, as well as on about 200
workstations at work at my university -- I take care for them and
make sure everything works for the students. I never managed to
contribute to Xubuntu in code or artwork (although I made several
attempts), mostly due to problems with organizing my time, but
I'm active on the #xubuntu support channel and I try to help the
users in there. That's pretty much all my relation to Xubuntu.
For me this distrubution was always a solid, simple and comfortable
tool -- something perfect to work on, without unnecessary bells and
whistles, but also without the need to manually configure everything.
As I mentioned, I do change some things -- uninstall unneeded
applications and services, sometimes install alternative appslications,
change the configuration -- but the changes are different for every
use case, I don't think it would be possible to make them in the
distribution in a way that would fit all of my installations -- not
to mention installations of other Xubuntu users.
You can only go so far with being lightweight and efficient and still
remain general enough to support a considerably big user base. Further
improvements are achieved by tweaking your installation to be more
specific, more precisely tuned to the particular case. Xubuntu allows
this by leaving wiggle room and allowing you to remove and replace
applicatons without much hassle -- the replacements are also usually
well configured and work out of the box -- you just have to install
If you want to be rally, really lightweight and efficient, then just
changing the applications won't really give you much improvement. I
always find it funny how people recommend disabling the text console
login prompts "to save memory", for example -- it saves maybe hundred
bytes. The real gains are in tweaking the kernel and init scripts --
something that Xubuntu cannot do, as it relies on Ubuntu for this.
You can do it yourself, or, if you don't know how and are only arguing
about it so that others do it for you -- you can use a distribution
where that kind of tweaking is made simple for the users -- like Gentoo.
Last, but not least, I recently see a lot of GNOME bashing, and really,
really primitive "fear, uncertanity and doubt". I don't know where it
comes from, but it's not amusing. Really, complaining about applications
that have "gnome" in their name is rather silly when they don't really
use many gnome libraries and are in fact fast. I had this user at #xubuntu
that kept complaining that the network monitor applet needs to be
rewritten for Xubuntu -- asked why, all he could say is "because it's a
GNOME application". Checking it with ldd shows that the only
GNOME-specific library it uses is gnome-keyring. He also claimed it's
slow, which is a pretty silly claim for an application that is merely a
graphical interface for dealing with network -- network is usually much
slower that any program could be. I bet that just renaming all the "GNOME
apps" would make those users happy -- although I don't advice it. There
are some bloated applications in Xubuntu that make it hard to use on older
hardware -- but surprisingly, nobody opposes against their inclusion. For
example, Firefox, a huge memory hog, was welcomed with open arms.
To sum up, I think that Xubuntu is doing an excellent job and I'm not
against using GNOME (or other) applications where it makes sense. I also
think that including them in Xubuntu gives an additional pressure to make
them even lighter -- which is something that everybody benefits, not just
the Xubuntu community. I find this whole "holy war" ridiculous and unfair.
Radomir `The Sheep' Dopieralski <http://sheep.art.pl>
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