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Making KDE Software Compilation 4 Desktop Lightweight

Posted 04-08-2014 at 12:52 AM by s.verma
Updated 04-08-2014 at 12:55 AM by s.verma (Forgot the simley!)

A short story of (En)Lightening KDE SC 4 Desktop

This is my personal experience with KDE SC 4 (specifically 4.12) on Arch Linux.
I have been using KDE SC 4 for few days and on startup, my RAM usage were ~600 MB (Nepomuk disabled, but akonadi server running). Then one day there was thunderstorm outside, there began raining, and suddenly with a flash of lightening a change came into my mind. I opened KDE SystemSettings, then go to Default Applications-> Window Manager and selected openbox as my window manager. (openbox had to be installed first.)

My experience with openbox was better than that of default KWin. KWin have some extra functionalities than openbox. It allows window snapping feature where two windows can be tiled to two edges (which I do not use much often). Also there are some cool graphical effects like cover switch which I was initially thinking that will aid to my window management but to my surprise I found it to be hard rather than using window list plugin in KDE plasma panel (which is same as provided in openbox window list menu, to which I have assigned shortcut key Win+w). I do not know why cover switch was harder to me to use, but anyway since there was not a single difficulty for me to abandon extra feature of KWin in favour of openbox, hence I loved it.

Now after few days, when there was another thunderstorm, with a flash of lightening another change came to my mind and I found that out of several good plugins of plasma I just use few plugins and liked only Luna plugin, world time, RSS feed reader. Additionally, Krunner is so good to use that I do seldom use plasma menu. Hence I decided to ditch plasma to a more simple desktop. Hence I opened SystemSettings->Startup and Shutdown->Autostart and disabled Plasma Desktop Workspace. (or can be disabled from ~/.kde4/share/autostart/plasma-desktop.desktop). Then starting KDE with openbox gives me memory usage of ~400 MB.

That all saved me ~200 MB of RAM without ditching KDE completely, because still all KDE apps are well running. KDE SystemSettings gives me control over mouse, keyboard, themes, colour, autostart, session management, hardware settings etc. and above all we have the superior Krunner (The standard launcher invoked by Alt+F2). I have enabled desktop sessions in Krunner configuration, hence to Shutdown system, I just need to press Alt+F2 and type shutdown in it and Enter. (Similarly logout and reboot). There are many Krunner plugins (So check them out).

Coming back to plasma applets there are lot many things which can be done without them. All PIM applications run freely without plasma. Also Orage gives me a nice calendar to be put on system tray and orage globaltime is also useful . As far as luna applet is concerned I can live without it. Or I can have pngphoon installed which put current moon phase on my desktop. Akregator can be used instead of RSS feed on desktop.
For panel applications tint2 panel can be used. Although I use Win+w to invoke openbox window list menu (can be accessed with middle click on desktop also). Hence I use dzen2 as information panel with stalonetray as my system tray (One feature has to be disabled for KDE icons i.e. SystemSettings->Startup and Shutdown->Service Manager->Status Notifier Manager).

Have fun with KDE SC 4.

Disclaimer: All the above things are true except thunderstorm, rain and lightening.

And remember "A Megabyte saved is a Megabyte earned by another process."
Have a good day!
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