Qt-based applications #3: Text Editors (1/2)

In this post we’ll take a look at some Qt-based text editors. Just like with the file managers I’ll split my post in two parts because there’s quite a number (I found 15!) of such editors out there.

While compiling my list of Qt-based editors, I came across something I hadn’t heard of before. A kind of application which is called non-distracting writer. At first I wasn’t sure whether to include these here, but they don’t fit into the category “Office application” either.
From my point of view they are close enough to text editors to include them here (they are written with the idea that the text is the only thing really important – and that’s pretty much what qualifies them as a text editor, though not a classical one).

The candidates

Here are the text editors that were tested (in alphabetical order):

Not tested

Many of the editors didn’t work right away. I got some of them to work in the end, but these are the ones that wouldn’t work at all and thus were not tested:

If anybody can get one or more of these to work on Arch, please let me know (send me PKGBUILDs?). And also tell me if you think that I forgot anything interesting!

Testing system

For this test I’ve set up the VMs as in my first Qt application test + Virtualbox guest additions this time. Here are the new values:

Arch Linux + Razor-qt (0.5.1)
MemTotal: 4052828 kb
MemFree: 3810544 kb
Buffers: 9972 kb
Cached: 80280 kb
Rootfs: 936560 / 915
RAM used at startup: 242284 / ~237 MB

Catlooking Writer

The Catlooking Writer is a non-distracting writer based on Qt. It’s a full-screen application that’s intended to let you focus on the text only.

Razor-qt with Catlooking Writer

Installation

pacman -U catlooking-git-20130217-1-x86_64.pkg.tar.xz (1222156 Bytes / 1,2 MB)

Statistics

Memory usage after starting up Razor-qt and opening Catlooking Writer via the menu (with a second login on tty2) and used disk space after removing pacman cache. Here are the values I got with cat /proc/meminfo and df respectively df -h:

Arch Linux Razor-qt+ Catlooking Writer 1.0
MemTotal: 4052828 kb
MemFree: 3795300 kb
Buffers: 9992 kb
Cached: 87616 kb
Rootfs: 938696 / 917M
RAM used at startup: 15244 / ~15 MB
Disk space (less razor system): 2136 / ~2 MB

CuteNotes

CuteNotes is a simple text editor based on Qt.

Razor-qt with CuteNotes

Installation

pacman -U cutenotes-1.0-1-x86_64.pkg.tar.xz (142740 Bytes / 142,7 kB)

Statistics

Memory usage after starting up Razor-qt and opening CuteNotes via the menu (with a second login on tty2) and used disk space after removing pacman cache. Here are the values I got with cat /proc/meminfo and df respectively df -h:

Arch Linux Razor-qt+ CuteNotes 0.9
MemTotal: 4052828 kb
MemFree: 3802112 kb
Buffers: 9988 kb
Cached: 82472 kb
Rootfs: 937596 / 916M
RAM used at startup: 8432 / ~8 MB
Disk space (less razor system): 1036 / ~1 MB

FocusWriter

FocusWriter is a full-screen, non-disctracting text editor based on Qt. It offers basic support for formats like RTF and ODT, too.

Razor-qt with FocusWriter

Installation

pacman -U focuswriter-1.4.1-1-x86_64.pkg.tar.xz (721800 Bytes / 721,8 kB)
(other packages downloaded as dependencies: 1720320 Bytes / 1,7 MB)

Statistics

Memory usage after starting up Razor-qt and opening FocusWriter via the menu (with a second login on tty2) and used disk space after removing pacman cache. Here are the values I got with cat /proc/meminfo and df respectively df -h:

Arch Linux Razor-qt+ FocusWriter 1.4.1
MemTotal: 4052828 kb
MemFree: 3784348 kb
Buffers: 10472 kb
Cached: 89492 kb
Rootfs: 946180 / 925M
RAM used at startup: 26196 / ~26 MB
Disk space (less razor system): 9620 / ~9 MB

JuffEd

JuffEd is a tabbed editor with syntax highlighting based on Qt.

Razor-qt with JuffEd

Installation

pacman -s juffed (972800 Bytes / 972,8 kB)

Statistics

Memory usage after starting up Razor-qt and opening JuffEd via the menu (with a second login on tty2) and used disk space after removing pacman cache. Here are the values I got with cat /proc/meminfo and df respectively df -h:

Arch Linux Razor-qt+ JuffEd 0.8.1
MemTotal: 4052828 kb
MemFree: 3801856 kb
Buffers: 10272 kb
Cached: 88012 kb
Rootfs: 943344 / 922M
RAM used at startup: 8688 / ~8 MB
Disk space (less razor system): 6784 / ~7 MB

KoalaWriter

The KoalaWriter is a non-distracting writer based on Qt. It offers beautiful backgrounds and can even play relaxing music so that you can completely stick to what’s actually important: Your text! It’s a bit heavy-weight, though.

Razor-qt with KoalaWriter

Installation

pacman -koalawriter-1.0-1-x86_64.pkg.tar.xz (16714076 Bytes / 16,7 MB)
(other packages downloaded as dependencies: 60160000 Bytes / 60,2 MB)

Statistics

Memory usage after starting up Razor-qt and opening KoalaWriter via the menu (with a second login on tty2) and used disk space after removing pacman cache. Here are the values I got with cat /proc/meminfo and df respectively df -h:

Arch Linux Razor-qt+ KoalaWriter 1.0
MemTotal: 4052828 kb
MemFree: 3774164 kb
Buffers: 11544 kb
Cached: 100784 kb
Rootfs: 1308516 / 1.3G
RAM used at startup: 36380 / ~36 MB
Disk space (less razor system): 371956 / ~363 MB

kWrite

kWrite is the default text editor of KDE. It’s quite a bit on the heavy side.

Razor-qt with kWrite

Installation

pacman -S kdebase-kwrite (126095360 Bytes / 126,1 MB)

Statistics

Memory usage after starting up Razor-qt and opening kWrite via the menu (with a second login on tty2) and used disk space after removing pacman cache. Here are the values I got with cat /proc/meminfo and df respectively df -h:

Arch Linux Razor-qt+ kWrite 4.10
MemTotal: 4052828 kb
MemFree: 3745412 kb
Buffers: 17548 kb
Cached: 108860 kb
Rootfs: 1532732 / 1.5G
RAM used at startup: 65132 / ~64 MB
Disk space (less razor system): 596172 / ~582 MB

Marave

Marave is a non-distracting writer based on Qt. It’s meant to let the user focus on the text rather than the application.

Razor-qt with Marave

Installation

pacman -U marave-0.7-6-any.pkg.tar.xz (1011384 Bytes / 1,0 MB)
(other packages downloaded as dependencies: 23367680 Bytes / 23,4 MB)

Statistics

Memory usage after starting up Razor-qt and opening Marave via the menu (with a second login on tty2) and used disk space after removing pacman cache. Here are the values I got with cat /proc/meminfo and df respectively df -h:

Arch Linux Razor-qt+ Marave 0.7
MemTotal: 4052828 kb
MemFree: 3730568 kb
Buffers: 11232 kb
Cached: 121844 kb
Rootfs: 1093932 / 1.1G
RAM used at startup: 79976 / ~78 MB
Disk space (less razor system): 157372 / ~154 MB

Minerva

Minerva is a tiny tabbed text editor based on Qt.

Razor-qt with Minerva

Installation

pacman -U minerva-git-20130220-1-x86_64.pkg.tar.xz (319276 Bytes / 319,3 kB)

Statistics

Memory usage after starting up Razor-qt and opening Minerva via the menu (with a second login on tty2) and used disk space after removing pacman cache. Here are the values I got with cat /proc/meminfo and df respectively df -h:

Arch Linux Razor-qt+ Minerva GIT20130220
MemTotal: 4052828 kb
MemFree: 3806888 kb
Buffers: 9988 kb
Cached: 81580 kb
Rootfs: 942040 / 920M
RAM used at startup: 3656 / ~4 MB
Disk space (less razor system): 5480 / ~5 MB

Tea Editor

The Tea Editor is an advanced editor based on Qt. It offers a lot of features and is still both small in size and frugal in terms of ram usage.

Razor-qt with Tea Editor

Installation

pacman -S tea (1239040 Bytes / 1,2 MB)

Statistics

Memory usage after starting up Razor-qt and opening Tea via the menu (with a second login on tty2) and used disk space after removing pacman cache. Here are the values I got with cat /proc/meminfo and df respectively df -h:

Arch Linux Razor-qt+ Tea editor 34.0.1
MemTotal: 4052828 kb
MemFree: 3804856 kb
Buffers: 10172 kb
Cached: 84644 kb
Rootfs: 942756 / 921M
RAM used at startup: 5688 / ~6 MB
Disk space (less razor system): 6196 / ~6 MB

What’s next?

My next post will provide tables which will make it easier to compare the important values of the programs tested here.

Don’t worry if it takes me a while to publish it – I’m moving houses so time is an even more scarce resource than usually and I might be left without a working internet connection for a while.

Qt-based applications #2: File managers (2/2)

In the last blog entry I tested 8 Qt-based file managers (those which I got to run on Arch Linux). Since that’s quite a bit of stuff, I’d like to present a nice table in this post for easier comparison.

Overall ranking

Here’s the table with the overall results. The file managers were compared in terms of 1. memory consumption (most important for me and thus weighted *3), 2. disk space used (weighted *2) and 3. size of packages to download:

Rank File manager Version
01 Dfilebrowser 1.1
02 ScOpe GIT20130121
03 QtFM 5.1
04 Dino 0.5
05 NewBreeze 1.1.1
06 Andromeda 0.2.1
07 Hamsi Manager 1.1
08 Dolphin 4.9.5

RAM usage

Here’s the table comparing memory use:

<250 MB 251 – 275 MB 276 – 300 MB > 300 MB
Rank File manager Version
01 Dfilebrowser 1.1 230 MB
02 ScOpe GIT20130121 233 MB
03 QtFM 5.1 236 MB
04 Dino 0.5 240 MB
05 NewBreeze 1.1.1 252 MB
06 Andromeda 0.2.1 260 MB
07 Hamsi Manager 1.1 305 MB
08 Dolphin 4.9.5 306 MB

Drive space needed

Here’s the drive space table:

<50 MB 50 – 100 MB 101 – 300 MB > 300 MB
Rank File Manager Version Disk space used
01 Dfilebrowser 1.1 +2 MB
02 Dino 0.5 +3 MB
02 QtFM 5.1 +3 MB
02 ScOpe GIT20130121 +3 MB
03 Andromeda 0.2.1 +64 MB
04 NewBreeze 1.1.1 +74 MB
05 Hamsi Manager 1.1 +295 MB
06 Dolphin 4.9.5 +598 MB

Download size

And the download size table:

<5 MB 6 – 25 MB 26 – 50 MB >50 MB
Rank File Manager Version size
01 Dfilebrowser 1.1 +70 KB
02 QtFM 5.1 +200 KB
03 ScOpe GIT20130121 +243 KB
04 Dino 0.5 +256 KB
05 NewBreeze 1.1.1 +528 KB
06 Andromeda 0.2.1 +13 MB
07 Hamsi Manager 1.1 +51 MB
08 Dolphin 4.9.5 +109 MB

Conclusion

Not too many surprises here. There are some light-weight file managers and a few which offer more features but are also much more heavy weight. Especially in terms of drive space needed and download size the light-weight ones are rather close to each other. Because of that the RAM comparison came out to be identical to the overall rating. Dfilebrowser is the clear winner in our comparison – it scored the first rank in all three categories. ScOpe and QtFM are doing very well, too. Hamsi Manager is a rather ressource heavy file manager and it’s not surprising either that KDE’s Dolphin is the most heavy of the tested applications.

What’s next?

The next entry will take a look at the Qt-based text editors (of which there’s also quite some around).

Qt-based applications #2: File managers (1/2)

In this post we’ll take a look at some Qt-based file managers. Since there’s quite a lot of them, let’s start right away!

All screenshots from this entry on are in 1024×768 resolution. So if you click on any of the pictures you’ll get a bigger one where you might actually see something…

The candidates

Here are the file managers that were tested (in alphabetical order):

Not tested

Some of the file managers didn’t work right away. These are the ones that I could not get to work at all and that were not tested:

  • Double Commander (“Total Commander” inspired. Would have been especially interesting since it’s written in Pascal. However it won’t compile on my current Arch VM.)
  • Qefem (Won’t compile.)
  • QtCommander (Also “TC” inspired. Doesn’t work with Qt4.)
  • QtFileMan (Won’t compile.)
  • Synopson (Available as binary only, no source. Unacceptable.)

If anybody can get one or more of these to work on Arch, please let me know (send me PKGBUILDs?). And also tell me if you think that I forgot anything interesting!

Testing system

For this test I’m using the same VM as in my previous Qt application test. I haven’t updated it since then.

Andromeda

Andromeda is a cross-platform file manager based on Qt.

Razor-qt with Andromeda

Installation

pacman -U andromeda-0.2.1-1-x86_64.pkg.tar.xz (1094280 Bytes / 1,1 MB)
(other packages downloaded as dependencies: 11448320 Bytes / 11,4 MB)

Statistics

Memory usage after starting up Razor-qt and opening Andromeda via the menu (with a second login on tty2) and used disk space after removing pacman cache. Here are the values I got with cat /proc/meminfo and df respectively df -h:

Arch Linux Razor-qt+ Andromeda 0.2.1
MemTotal: 4053592 kb
MemFree: 3787652 kb
Buffers: 10716 kb
Cached: 97100 kb
Rootfs: 960924 / 939M
RAM used at startup: 265940 / ~260 MB
Disk space (less razor system): 66000 / ~64 MB

Dfilebrowser

Dfilebrowser is a Qt file manager meant for mobile devices – but of course it works on the pc, too.

Razor-qt with Dfilebrowser

Installation

pacman -U dfbrowser-17-1-x86_64.pkg.tar.xz (68688 Bytes / 68,7 kB)

Statistics

Memory usage after starting up Razor-qt and opening Dfilebrowser via the menu (with a second login on tty2) and used disk space after removing pacman cache. Here are the values I got with cat /proc/meminfo and df respectively df -h:

Arch Linux Razor-qt+ Dfilebrowser 1.1
MemTotal: 4053592 kb
MemFree: 3817596 kb
Buffers: 10148 kb
Cached: 76348 kb
Rootfs: 897172 / 877M
RAM used at startup: 235996 / ~230 MB
Disk space (less razor system): 2248 / ~2 MB

Dino

Dino is simple Qt file manager that does however come with some nice features (like a built-in text editor and such).

Razor-qt with Dino

Installation

pacman -U dino-dfm-0.5-1-x86_64.pkg.tar.xz (256116 Bytes / 256,1 kB)

Statistics

Memory usage after starting up Razor-qt and opening Dino via the menu (with a second login on tty2) and used disk space after removing pacman cache. Here are the values I got with cat /proc/meminfo and df respectively df -h:

Arch Linux Razor-qt+ Dino 0.5
MemTotal: 4053592 kb
MemFree: 3807736 kb
Buffers: 10468 kb
Cached: 79112 kb
Rootfs: 898044 / 877M
RAM used at startup: 245856 / ~240 MB
Disk space (less razor system): 3120 / ~3 MB

Dolphin

Dolphin is the standard file manager of KDE. As such it has a lot of dependencies and is very heavy!

Razor-qt with Dolphin

Installation

pacman -S kdebase-dolphin (108677120 Bytes / 108,7 MB)

Statistics

Memory usage after starting up Razor-qt and opening Dolphin via the menu (with a second login on tty2) and used disk space after removing pacman cache. Here are the values I got with cat /proc/meminfo and df respectively df -h:

Arch Linux Razor-qt+ Dolphin 4.9.5
MemTotal: 4053592 kb
MemFree: 3739960 kb
Buffers: 17320 kb
Cached: 124660 kb
Rootfs: 1507336 / 1.5G
RAM used at startup: 313632 / ~306 MB
Disk space (less razor system): 612412 / ~598 MB

Hamsi Manager

The Hamsi Manager is an advanced Qt file manager with a lot of extras.

Razor-qt with Hamsi Manager

Installation

pacman -U hamsimanager-1.1-1-any.pkg.tar.xz (1173980 Bytes / 1,2 MB)
(other packages downloaded as dependencies: 49428480 Bytes / 49,4 MB)

Statistics

Memory usage after starting up Razor-qt and opening Hamsi Manager via the menu (with a second login on tty2) and used disk space after removing pacman cache. Here are the values I got with cat /proc/meminfo and df respectively df -h:

Arch Linux Razor-qt+ Hamsi Manager 1.1
MemTotal: 4053592 kb
MemFree: 3741396 kb
Buffers: 14596 kb
Cached: 107632 kb
Rootfs: 1197212 / 1.2G
RAM used at startup: 312196 / ~305 MB
Disk space (less razor system): 302288 / ~295 MB

NewBreeze

NewBreeze is a reasonably light-weight Qt file manager.

Razor-qt with NewBreeze

Installation

pacman -U newbreeze-1.1.1-2-x86_64.pkg.tar.xz (528288 Bytes / 528,3 kB)

Statistics

Memory usage after starting up Razor-qt and opening NewBreeze via the menu (with a second login on tty2) and used disk space after removing pacman cache. Here are the values I got with cat /proc/meminfo and df respectively df -h:

Arch Linux Razor-qt+ NewBreeze 1.1.1
MemTotal: 4053592 kb
MemFree: 3795320 kb
Buffers: 10776 kb
Cached: 93268 kb
Rootfs: 969916 / 948M
RAM used at startup: 258272 / ~252 MB
Disk space (less razor system): 74992 / ~74 MB

QtFM

QtFM is meant as a light-weight Qt file manager but it is already a bit on the heavy side. However it’s rather feature rich.

Razor-qt with QtFM

Installation

pacman -S qtfm (200108 Bytes / 200,1 kb)

Statistics

Memory usage after starting up Razor-qt and opening QtFM via the menu (with a second login on tty2) and used disk space after removing pacman cache. Here are the values I got with cat /proc/meminfo and df respectively df -h:

Arch Linux Razor-qt+ QtFM 5.5
MemTotal: 4053592 kb
MemFree: 3811512 kb
Buffers: 10312 kb
Cached: 79556 kb
Rootfs: 897684 / 877M
RAM used at startup: 242080 / ~236 MB
Disk space (less razor system): 2976 / ~3 MB

ScOpe

ScOpe is the file manager that belongs to the “Sapphire Desktop” project. It’s developed with focus on usability.

Razor-qt with ScOpe

Installation

libdelta-git-20130121-1-x86_64.pkg.tar.xz (139548 Bytes / 139,5 kB)
scope-git-20130121-1-x86_64.pkg.tar.xz (103936 Bytes / 103,9 kB)

Statistics

Memory usage after starting up Razor-qt and opening ScOpe via the menu (with a second login on tty2) and used disk space after removing pacman cache. Here are the values I got with cat /proc/meminfo and df respectively df -h:

Arch Linux Razor-qt+ ScOpe GIT20130121
MemTotal: 4053592 kb
MemFree: 3815308 kb
Buffers: 10300 kb
Cached: 78244 kb
Rootfs: 898332 / 878M
RAM used at startup: 238284 / ~233 MB
Disk space (less razor system): 3408 / ~3 MB

What’s next?

Since all these values can be a bit confusing, I’ll dedicate another post to the file managers. The next one will feature a table so that comparison is easy. That’s why this post goes without a conclusion for a change.

Qt-based applications #1: Terminal emulators

Alright, finally time for a new entry! I got a nice new laptop – my first one that came Linux pre-installed. It’s currently running Mint (which is ok, I guess, since my wife uses it, too). I didn’t find the time to crawl through all the GB of my old data, so I don’t have everything back to normal, yet. But let’s start with the promised qt-applications test anyways!

The candidates

Taking a quick look around, I found two terminal emulators which are built upon Qt:

(I’m not a KDE/Qt user. So if I missed anything interesting, feel free to tell me!)

Testing system

For the coming tests I set up a new, clean Arch VM today (20.01.2013). This basic machine looks like this:

Arch Linux “base”
MemTotal: 4053592 kb
MemFree: 3972512 kb
Buffers: 5688 kb
Cached: 19920 kb
Rootfs: 612312 / 598M
RAM used at startup: 81080 / ~79 MB

Then I installed Razor-qt (built on a different VM):

pacman -S xorg-server, xorg-xinit, xf86-video-vesa, openbox (packages size: 56647680 Bytes / 56,6 MB)
pacman -U razor-qt-0.5.1-1-x86_64.pkg.tar.xz (6922372 Bytes / 6,9 MB)

Memory usage right after starting up Razor-qt (with a second login on tty2) and used disk space after removing pacman cache. Here are the values I got with cat /proc/meminfo and df respectively df -h:

Arch Linux + Razor-qt (0.5.1)
MemTotal: 4053592 kb
MemFree: 3815280 kb
Buffers: 10316 kb
Cached: 82836 kb
Rootfs: 894924 / 874M
RAM used at startup: 238312 / ~233 MB
Disk space (less basic system): 282612 / ~276 MB

Konsole

Konsole is the standard KDE terminal emulator. It’s quite huge since it pulls in half of KDE…

Razor-qt with Konsole

Installation

pacman -S kdebase-konsole (packages size: 108032000 Bytes / 108 MB)

Statistics

Memory usage after starting up Razor-qt and opening Konsole via the menu (with a second login on tty2) and used disk space after removing pacman cache. Here are the values I got with cat /proc/meminfo and df respectively df -h:

Arch Linux Razor-qt+ Konsole 4.9.5
MemTotal: 4053592 kb
MemFree: 3770416 kb
Buffers: 16768 kb
Cached: 107964 kb
Rootfs: 1503564 / 1.5G
RAM used at startup: 283176 / ~277 MB
Disk space (less razor system): 608640 / ~594 MB

QTerminal

QTerminal is a more light-weight, tabbed terminal emulator based on Qtermwidget. There’s something wrong with the font height on my system, so the console text looks weird.

Razor-qt with QTerminal

Installation

pacman -U qtermwidget-git-20130120-1-x86_64.pkg.tar.xz (188800 Bytes / 188,8 kB)
pacman -U qterminal-git-20130120-1-x86_64.pkg.tar.xz (89980 Bytes / 90,0 kB)

Statistics

Memory usage after starting up Razor-qt and opening QTerminal via the menu (with a second login on tty2) and used disk space after removing pacman cache. Here are the values I got with cat /proc/meminfo and df respectively df -h:

Arch Linux Razor-qt+ QTerminal git-20130120
MemTotal: 4053592 kb
MemFree: 3811560 kb
Buffers: 10512 kb
Cached: 78216 kb
Rootfs: 897752 / 877M
RAM used at startup: 242032 / ~236 MB
Disk space (less razor system): 2828 / ~3 MB

Conclusion

Here we have two Qt terminal emulators. One is rather big and requires almost 600 (!) MB of disk space with its dependencies and uses 44 MB of RAM on the 4GB testing system. The other one is far more frugal with just 3 MB of disk space required and another 3 MB of RAM used… Yes, Qt applications can still be nice and small! 🙂

What’s next?

Next we’ll take a look at file managers based on Qt. There are LOTS of them, so the next post will be far longer than this one!

Linux desktop comparison summary – 20 solutions for your desktop!

Our first Linux desktop comparison is over. I took a look at quite some projects during the last weeks. 20 of those (including modes that are behaving differently) proved to be full DEs which should be covered by a broadscale test.

Some others, like UDE for example, had to be skipped. While it does have a very interesting concept, it’s not currently a DE but only offers a window manager (despite the name “Unix Desktop Environment”). In the end 18 DEs were actually tested (I failed to get the other two to run on Arch).

Problems

Comparing DEs over the time of several weeks on a rolling release system might not really wield the best results. I also wanted to add something new to this post so that it’s not just a boring summary for those who have read the past entries. Therefore I decided to add the size of the packages that are downloaded to install the DE, too. After all network traffic can still be an issue for some people. Well, and for some DEs new versions have been released in the meantime and I’d feel stupid to write a new entry by just warming up old stuff.

For these reasons I repeated most of the tests last Monday and Tuesday and use the new values here (which sometimes make a huge difference!). Only CDE uses the old package; I was able to build a current package but did not succeed in making the DE start. Unity2d is now obsolete just like the old GNOME 2 (which I essentially added so that MATE can be compared to it, anyway).

Overall Ranking

I’ll begin with the overall rating here since that’s the most important thing. I’ve compared all DEs in terms of 1. memory consumption (most important for me and thus weighted *3), 2. disk space used (weighted *2) and 3. size of packages to download. So, here’s the result:

Rank DE Version
01 OpenCDE 620
02 Equinox DE 2 2.0
03 CDE 2.2.0a/b
04 LXDE 0.5.x
05 ROX DE 0.41.0
06 Enlightenment 17 svn-75246
07 Razor-Qt 0.4.1
08 Xfce 4.10.0
09 Sugar 0.94.1
10 MATE DE 1.4
11 Cinnamon UI 1.5.7
12 GNOME 3 Classic 3.4.2
13 GNOME 3 Shell 3.4.2
14 Trinity DE 3.5.13
15 Unity 3D 6.4.0
16 KDE Plasma 4.9.0

RAM usage

Here’s the table that compares memory usage of the tested DEs:

<101 MB 101 – 200 MB 201 – 300 MB >300 MB
obsolete not working
Rank DE Version Memory usage
00 Arch Linux 08/2012 37 MB
00 X11, VBoxadds, xterm 08/2012 54 MB
01 OpenCDE 620 57 MB
02 Equinox DE 2 2.0 71 MB
03 CDE 2.2.0a 72 MB
04 ROX DE 0.41.0 72 MB
05 LXDE 0.5.x 83 MB
06 Enlightenment 17 svn-75246 97 MB
07 Xfce 4.10.0 104 MB
08 Razor-Qt 0.4.1 117 MB
09 Sugar 0.94.1 122 MB
10 GNOME 2 2.32 137 MB
11 MATE DE 1.4 139 MB
12 Trinity DE 3.5.13 202 MB
13 GNOME 3 Classic 3.4.2 211 MB
14 Cinnamon UI 1.5.7 224 MB
15 GNOME Shell 3.4.2 253 MB
16 Unity 3D 6.4.0 312 MB
17 KDE Plasma 4.9.0 354 MB
18 Unity 2D 6.0.0 404 MB
xx Ètoilè 0.4.2 ??
xx Mezzo ?? ??

Drive space needed

Here’s the next table:

<301 MB 301 – 600 MB 601 – 1.2 GB >1.2 GB
obsolete not working
Rank DE Version Disk space used
00 Arch Linux 08/2012 561 MB
00 X11, VBoxadds, xterm 08/2012 +68 MB
01 OpenCDE 620 +83 MB
02 Equinox DE 2 2.0 +174 MB
03 CDE 2.2.0b +192 MB
04 Razor-Qt 0.4.1 +226 MB
05 LXDE 0.5.x +325 MB
06 Enlightenment 17 svn-75246 +340 MB
07 ROX DE 0.41.0 +497 MB
08 Xfce 4.10.0 +559 MB
09 Sugar 0.94.1 +604 MB
10 GNOME 2 2.32 +630 MB
11 MATE DE 1.4 +675 MB
12 Cinnamon UI 1.5.7 +947 MB
13 GNOME Shell 3.4.2 +1023 MB
14 GNOME 3 Classic 3.4.2 +1023 MB
15 Unity 3D 6.4.0 +1121 MB
16 KDE Plasma 4.9.0 +1232 MB
17 Trinity DE 3.5.13 +2098 MB
18 Unity 2D 6.0.0 ??
xx Ètoilè 0.4.2 ??
xx Mezzo ?? ??

Download size

And here’s the last one:

<51 MB 51 – 100 MB 101 – 200 MB >200 MB
Rank DE Version size default / max
00 Arch Linux 08/2012 123 MB
00 X11, VBoxadds, xterm 08/2012 +15 MB
01 OpenCDE 620 +19 MB
02 Equinox DE 2 2.0 +38 MB
03 CDE 2.2.0b +49 MB
04 Razor-Qt 0.4.1 +53 MB
04 LXDE 0.5.x +53 MB
05 ROX DE 0.41.0 +75 MB
05 Enlightenment 17 svn-75246 +75 MB
06 Xfce 4.10.0 +82 / 99 MB
07 Sugar 0.94.1 +89 MB
08 MATE DE 1.4 +119 /169 MB
09 Cinnamon UI 1.5.7 +147 / 347 MB
10 Unity 3D 6.4.0 +163 /302 MB
11 GNOME 3 Shell 3.4.2 +167 / 366 MB
11 GNOME 3 Classic 3.4.2 +167 / 366 MB
12 KDE Plasma 4.9.0 +306 / 774 MB
13 Trinity DE 3.5.13 +485 MB

Conclusion

The most light-weight DE tested is OpenCDE, based upon Motif. The second best is Equinox DE using FLTK as its toolkit. The lightest GTK+-based DE is LXDE, ranked No. 5 and the lightest Qt one Razor-Qt which scored rank 7. So these will be the candidates to examine closer in a future testing series.

What’s next?

The next entry will deal with what Eerie’s last two letters stand for.

Linux desktop comparison (pt. 3): Qt-based DEs

This is part 3 of our desktop testing series. We’ll deal with the 4 Qt-based desktop environments in this entry.

These are:

For test criteria and the basic Arch system, please refer to the first part of this test.

KDE Plasma

KDE was the first big Linux desktop project. In the beginning it was inspired by CDE (Common Desktop Environment), the classical Unix desktop. Depending on the at that time unfree Qt toolkit, many people stated that a free DE should rather be based on something else (This was in fact why the coding of GNOME begun). Qt was later released under the GPL so this is no longer an issue. KDE has become a heavy-weight DE in the meantime – it consists of a huge amount of applications and there’s probably nothing you would ever miss there. All these programs are coordinated so that they provide a assortative experience and feeling. Since KDE version 4 the whole project has been renamed to “KDE Software Compilation” and the former actual “K Desktop Environment” is now known as “Plasma Workspaces”. KDE has always tried to offer a visually appealing desktop. Many people also like it because it is multi-functional, very configurable and highly customizable. Others call it a classical example for unneccessary bloat.

The KDE Plasma desktop

Installation

pacman -S xorg-server xorg-xinit dbus virtualbox-archlinux-additions kdebase

Statistics

Memory usage right after starting up KDE Plasma (with a second login on tty2) and used disk space after removing pacman cache. Here are the values I got with cat /proc/meminfo and df respectively df -h:

Arch Linux + KDE Plasma (4.9.0)
MemTotal: 1030652 kb
MemFree: 650340 kb
Buffers: 18348 kb
Cached: 181256 kb
Rootfs: 2001712 / 2.0G
RAM used at startup: 380312 / ~371 MB
Disk space (less basic system): 1347424 / 1.3 GB

Razor-Qt

Razor-Qt is a rather young project with the aim to deliver a light-weight DE based upon the Qt toolkit. So far it is rather “bare bones”: it doesn’t come with a lot of its own applications (e.g. no default file manager!) or its own WM (Openbox is suggested). It just offers a simple, light-weight DE; nothing more and nothing less. It’s a bit like “LXDE on Qt” – in its early stages. Definitely a promising project!

The Razor-Qt desktop

Installation

pacman -S xorg-server xorg-xinit dbus virtualbox-archlinux-additions openbox
pacman -U razor-qt-0.4.1-3-i686.pkg.tar.xz

Statistics

Memory usage right after starting up Razor-Qt (with a second login on tty2) and used disk space after removing pacman cache. Here are the values I got with cat /proc/meminfo and df respectively df -h:

Arch Linux + Razor-Qt (0.4.1)
MemTotal: 1030652 kb
MemFree: 911849 kb
Buffers: 9724 kb
Cached: 58784 kb
Rootfs: 885320 / 865M
RAM used at startup: 118803 / ~116 MB
Disk space (less basic system): 231032 / 226 MB

Unity 2D

Unity2d is merely the “fallback mode” of the Unity UI on machines that do not provide hardware accelerated 3D graphics. Except for it being build upon Qt, it’s more or less the same thing without too many differences. It is more than questionable whether this desktop will continue to be developed in the future.

The Unity2D desktop

Installation

pacman -U freetype2-ubuntu-2.4.10-1-i686.pkg.tar.xz
pacman -U fontconfig-ubuntu-2.8.0-10-i686.pkg.tar.xz
pacman -U libxft-ubuntu-2.3.1-1-i686.pkg.tar.xz
pacman -U glew1.7-1.7.0-1-i686.pkg.tar.xz
pacman -S xorg-server xorg-xinit dbus virtualbox-archlinux-additions
Additional repository “unity”: http://unity.xe-xe.org/$arch
pacman -S $(pacman -Slq unity)

Statistics

Memory usage right after starting up Unity2D (with a second login on tty2) and used disk space after removing pacman cache. Here are the values I got with cat /proc/meminfo and df respectively df -h:

Arch Linux + Unity2D (6.0.0)
MemTotal: 1030652 kb
MemFree: 616580 kb
Buffers: 25884 kb
Cached: 163848 kb
Rootfs: 2862336 / 2,8G
RAM used at startup: 414072 / ~404 MB
Disk space (less basic system): 2208048 / 2,15 GB

Trinity DE

The Trinity DE is a fork of the former KDE series 3. Not everybody was happy with what Plasma is all about – not even every KDE user. Because of this some people have volunteered to continue development of KDE 3 under the name Trinity DE. The next version which is expected some time this fall should fix all incompatibilities so that KDE 4 and Trinity can be installed on the same machine. HAL will still be used in this version but will be replaced in the future. Quite some new features have been implemented since the latest 3.x release of KDE. Trinity DE is for KDE 3 what MATE is for GNOME 2: More than just a “keep-alive-project”! If you used KDE in the past but did not like the way that Plasma took, take a look at Trinity!

The Trinity desktop

Installation

Additional repo “tde3513”: http://archlinux.us.to/3.5.13/i686/
pacman -S xorg-server xorg-xinit dbus virtualbox-archlinux-additions tde-base

Statistics

Memory usage right after starting up Trinity (with a second login on tty2) and used disk space after removing pacman cache. Here are the values I got with cat /proc/meminfo and df respectively df -h:

Arch Linux + Trinity (3.5.13)
MemTotal: 1030652 kb
MemFree: 823912 kb
Buffers: 18272 kb
Cached: 97764 kb
Rootfs: 2720876 / 2.6G
RAM used at startup: 206740 / ~202 MB
Disk space (less basic system): 2066588 / 2.02 GB

Conclusion

The Qt-based DEs are quite a bit on the heavier side in terms of general RAM usage. Trinity is rather high and KDE Plasma even higher, just as one would expect. Only Razor-Qt is a lot more slim than the others and doing rather good. I guess, we don’t need to even talk about Unity2d and the demand of RAM…

What’s next?

The next entry will cover some of the less common desktop environments.