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LXDE: four distributions compared

Posted 08-31-2011 at 09:30 AM by caieng

What is the purpose of LXDE?

In my opinion, LXDE is intended as a light desktop environment, by which one means, an operating system requiring fewer resources, than are required by more typical environments: KDE and Gnome.

One would think, then, that LXDE ought to perform reasonably well, on a standardized test, performing an activity for which older, less powerful hardware is well suited.

Such an activity is internet radio receiver. This task is well performed by older, slower computers with only half a gigabyte of memory, running at only 1 GHz.

In fact, DSL based, streaming audio reception on such an antiquated device, with a PIII chugging along, is indistinguishable to the human ear, when compared, in real time, with streaming audio reception on a more modern computer, placing both outputs into a stereo receiver of high quality, and switching between them.

The test devised to evaluate different distributions and different browsers, has been previously described, at length, in earlier submissions to this forum: see "Change in the testing Algorithm", and "Two Linuxes: Streaming Audio". In brief: the test devised requires three days of timing reception of 12 different radio stations, broadcasting in any of three non-proprietary formats: mp3, aac+, OGG. This total of 36 times is then summed, for each distribution tested. Finally, to compare results from one computer to another, the data is "normalized", by dividing the summed quantity of GIPS and GB/sec, by the quantity of seconds needed to record the 36 trials. The streaming audio player used in these studies is exclusively VLC, by far the best available.

The current effort employs an Intel 1GHz PIII cpu with half a gigabyte of SDRAM. Benchmarks: 2.4 GIPS, 1.3 GFLOPS; 0.8 GB/second bandwidth.


Operating systems tested:

Four from previous studies, one identical, three upgraded:

1. Windows 98 SE;
2. Windows XP SP-II, with upgraded VLC, Opera, SeaMonkey, and Chrome;
3. CrunchBang Linux XFCE, with Kernel 2.6.32-5, dated 13 June 2011
4. PCLINUXOS LXDE, kernel 2.6.33-7 from October 2010;

Three new LXDE versions were also tested:

5. Ultimate 3.0 lite, (Lubuntu 11.04), kernel 2.6.38-10;
6. Lubuntu kernel 2.6.38-11 from 29 July 2011;
7. Mint LXDE (Lubuntu)kernel 2.6.38-8 from 11 April 2011;

Times recorded:

..seconds..................seconds................seconds.......seconds
O.S.boot...browser..version..boot....VLC version....36 trial ..... OFF

1....65....Opera....10.10......5......0.86f..........210............2
2....70....Opera....11.50......9......1.1.11.........138............18
..........SeaMonkey 2.2.0......10....................153............
...........Chrome...9.0.597....7.....................133............
3....55....Opera....11.50......9......1.1.3..........199............12
..........SeaMonkey 2.0.11.....9.....................211............
...........Chrome...9.0.597....7.....................153............
4....75....Opera....11.50......6......1.1.10.........172............16
5....75....Opera....11.50......8......1.1.11.........196............14
6....65....Opera....11.50......5......1.1.9..........191............7
7....68....Opera....11.10......9......1.1.9..........221............7

These results are, for me, disappointing.

Measurements were made during a three week period in August 2011. An effort was made to ensure that each operating system was tested at three different times of the day (morning, afternoon, evening), keeping in mind that the radio stations are broadcasting from Europe with a 5-6 hour difference in time, compared with USA, so that evening here would correspond to sometime after midnight in Europe, with a concomitant drop in internet traffic, and slightly faster times, when compared with early morning testing--> early afternoon in Europe.

For the present, I remain convinced that LXDE is not properly configured, at least in my hands, having installed a standard release.

CrunchBang remains, as before, the best Linux distro.

As previous data showed, XP continues to be the fastest OS.

My supposition is that it is possible to create a Linux distro that works as fast as XP, I simply haven't yet encountered one....

CAI ENG
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Comments

  1. Old Comment
    Have you ever tried Slackware with fluxbox and all services turned off? Additionally, I find that my 128MB ram laptop with Pentium III can only run Midori as the browser.
    Posted 09-04-2011 at 01:21 AM by lumak lumak is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Thank you Lumak.

    No, I have not tried Slackware, in quite a few years, now. Last time was probably 04 or thereaabouts.

    One problem, for me, with several of these distributions, including Slackware, Fedora, Suse, and others, is that they REQUIRE users to behave in a fashion which was quite understandable, FIFTY years ago, but, today, when each person can have his or her own computer, there is no need to DEMAND that the user name is more than one character.

    Passwords/logins is another problem, for me. When I turned on a radio, back in the 1950's, I did not require a password.....Why should I need one now?

    Fluxbox: no experience.

    PIII with tiny memory:
    a. jettison, else
    b. upgrade the memory.

    I remember when I purchased my first RAM, 128 locations, wow. What excitement. So many flipflops eliminated with one tiny chip, the size of my thumb. Amazing.

    But today, that same tiny chip holds a gigabyte.

    My PIII's work fine, BUT, the motherboards are not very reliable any more. I still have a couple that work, but, the newer boards accommodate the Celeron 450 which is just 35 watts, not too far from the 25 watts put out by my ancient PIII.

    Thanks again for your comment....

    CAI ENG
    Posted 09-04-2011 at 07:59 PM by caieng caieng is offline
 

  



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