lean X

I use Eclipse JDT with a huge project code, and naturally it hogs memory and does annoying swapping. Among others are Thunderbird, amarok, firefox(with ~50 tabs open on an average) and pidin. I happen to use mere 1G RAM. With no alternative to eclipse (mainly because of productivity boost), I started looking at other processes that consumed quite some memory. After some review, I found that GNOME was an important candidate.

So, instead of running a full fledged GNOME session, I just ran the parts of it that are absolutely necessary to me (after all, that's the beauty of xNIX systems).

This is what I did -

  • modify /etc/inittab to start in runlevel 3 by default
and wrote a script

export DISPLAY=:0

That's pretty much it. Within xterm, I can run almost anything :). Although the xterm is not necessary, it saves me from the pain of going to console mode and launching something.

This has saved me a few bucks for RAM upgrade !

The story doesn't end here. If you want almost all GNOME functionality like panel and menus, task list panel and stuff; without crap like wallpaper, session and other accesibility related features - you could well do this :


export DISPLAY=:0
metacity& (or fusion-icon&)
pulseaudio& (if you are interested in having sound support)
gnome-session&(if you want the pre-saved session to be restored. I wouldn't use this though)

There are other desktops too - like xfce and cde, but I really like the feeling of closeness to GNOME - can't explain why :)

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