Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Installing SLiM on Karmic

SLiM is a nice, simple, lightweight display manager thats actually
coming to Ubuntu Lucid. To install it in Karmic, run the following:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:stemp/xfce

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install slim

If you want to enable automatic logins, see /etc/slim.conf and set
auto logins to yes and your default user to who you want automatically
logged in.

For those of you who have multiple desktops installed, you may have to be more specific as to what you want started. SLiM will load default x-session-manager unless specified otherwise.

To select your default desktop environment, run:

sudo update-alternatives --config x-session-manager

Friday, February 12, 2010

GDM 2 Themes and Backgrounds

Learned tonight that GDM 2 can be adjusted by running:

gksu -u gdm dbus-launch gnome-appearance-properties

You can set the theme, background, etc just like the appearance
properties in regular GNOME.

UPDATE: Obviously this relies on GNOME being installed. If you don't have GNOME installed, you can use this nifty little trick on Karmic:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gdm2setup/gdm2setup

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install python-gdm2setup


You should now have a menu entry under: System / Administration menu as “Login (GDM2Setup)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

GNOME as a Lean Ubuntu Choice

GNOME is often criticized for its overuse of resources, but its not technically GNOME's fault. Ubuntu installs a lot of applications and services that cause its implementation of this venerable desktop environment to gain a reputation as a heavy desktop environment.

In a recent experiment, I took the famous Presario 700 with 256 megs of RAM and installed just the core gnome environment. You can do this by running:

sudo apt-get install gnome-core

After you have this installed, you can run GNOME by the "gnome-session" command in .xinitrc or by selecting the GNOME session in GDM. This provides all the basics that xfce4 provides. If your installing from the command line only install of Ubuntu, you may have to install some other components, but all the dependencies should be met by this metapackage. You may have to install the xorg package.

I had some interesting results in memory usage. Here is the results of free on a fresh reboot using GDM to log into the X session:

GNOME Session: 60 megs
XFCE4 Session: 58 megs

So GNOME core uses just about the same amount of RAM as XFCE4! Very interesting results.

UPDATE: I received an old Dell Latitude at work, and figured this would be perfect for my article. After some playing around, I had to use the following to get the basic desktop up:

sudo apt-get install xorg xinit gnome-core

Then I installed some themes and whatnot to make my desktop a bit more attractive:

sudo apt-get install gnome-themes gnome-themes-ubuntu ubuntu-artwork

UPDATE: The memory tests were done on Ubuntu 9.04. I ran the same tests on Ubuntu 9.10, and it appears as if GNOME has somehow picked up some more bulk. GNOME is using about 10 to 15 more megs of RAM than XFCE4. Still not a lot, but could mean all the difference if your running lean. Also, performance wise, XFCE4 seems to be a tad faster, especially on machines using CPU scaling.