A recurring theme that is usually news from time to time is the one referring to lightweight desks. Many users are looking for desktops that are as complete as possible in terms of functionality light with respect to resource consumption.
In Linux you have a lot of desktops, many of them dedicated to multipurpose environments while others possess a dedicated approach to performing specific tasks. In this article we will review some lightweight desktops that exist for Ubuntu that complement the already known Xfce. If you’re looking for an environment that consumes even fewer resources, lightening the desktop load is always a good start.
The graphical user interface or GUI (Graphical User Interface) is the abstraction layer of the system that allows the interaction of this with the user. Its evolution has moved it from a text-mode command terminal to evolving graphical environments where the system can rule almost exclusively with the mouse.
and Linux there are a lot of desktops, Many of them with a clear functional focus for specific tasks that plot the target operating system in which they are embedded. Others are much more general and are included in multipurpose systems, achieving great fame through the large distributions of the system.
On this occasion, we are looking for lightweight desktops, with low resource consumption and complete in their functionality. Xfce enjoys a well-deserved reputation among users as it has a really low resource consumption (Approximately 110 MB of RAM on boot and 180 frames per second or desktop FPS) but it is not the only one available for Linux (through its specially dedicated distribution, Xubuntu) So, let’s look at some of them.
Escritorio de Xubuntu: limpio y simple, ¿pero el más ligero?
LXDE is a lightweight and fast desktop environment which, without reaching the complexity of KDE or GNOME, is together with MATE the most direct rival of XFCE. Makes limited use of system resources, and their components, rather than integrating them together, they possess their own dependencies, Which gives it some autonomy regardless of the distribution where it is applied.
This desktop has been ported to other Linux systems (and even Android system) though in Ubuntu it has its own distribution thanks to Lubuntu, Where it is promoted with the motto: lightweight, fast, easier. Another variant of this desktop, based on Qt graphics libraries have resulted in LXQt.
In Lubuntu the system makes a variable RAM consumption from its boot, reserving different amount for the desktop depending on the availability of the computer. Approximately, the system reserves 100 MB of RAM, having been tested on computers with 1 GB of RAM where the system took 85 MB and similar with 2 GB of RAM where up to 125 MB were reserved for same purpose. There have even been users who talk about being able to run a Lubuntu system with 36 MB of RAM, which is a great success.
In terms of graphics performance, LXDE gets lower performance in frames per second than XFCE, about 120 FPS (about benchmaks performed with Phoronix in 2014).
Interfaz de Lubuntu en su versión 16.04
Another lightweight desktop is MAT, which is derived directly from GNOME2 i base code maintains a more traditional interface than proposed in GNOME3. MAT has been ported to a multitude of distributions and Ubuntu has its own system adaptation through distribution Ubuntu MAT.
MAT is definitely heavier than Xfce, both in resource consumption and in final performance obtained. However the difference is small (just 10 MB more RAM and a level of images per second similar to LXDE) and its user community supports that it has a more careful aesthetics and greater stability of its applications . They are not really objective data, so the choice between MAT and Xfce can be based more on the taste of the user himself.
Interfaz de Ubuntu MATE 16.04, una clara nostalgia de GNOME 2.
Finally we will talk about another interface perhaps more unknown than the previous two. This is Razor-QT which, as its name suggests, is based on this famous graphic library. There is currently no official branch that supports this desktop within Ubuntu and it is, of all those we have spoken to you, the heaviest and most memory required (About 250 MB on boot).
On the other hand, its response in low-power machines is excellent and maintains one simple and intuitive aesthetics, reminiscent in many cases of KDE’s own Plasma, It is accompanied by good speed in the whole system.
To add this desktop to your system, you must enter the following commands for the console:
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install razorqt-session
Aunque más desconocido para el resto del público, Razor-QT es uno de los interfaces más livianos que existen para Ubuntu.
As you can see the battle is very contentious and in many cases the aesthetics and functionality of the desktop are more important than the resources that this one gets to occupy. We are talking about very subtle and sometimes inappreciable differences in the system as a whole.
What other lightweight desktops do you know apart from LXDE? Cheer up and write your comments.