Debian desktop environment choices stink in Wheezy
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Distribution: Debian Testing, Stable, Sid and Manjaro, Mageia 3, LMDE
I enjoy these arguments on bloat. Very entertaining.
Bloat is in the eye of the beholder and always will be.
To me, KDE is terribly bloated. So is Gnome. Why? Because about half of the "features" are of absolutley no use to me what so ever. That is bloat.
On the other hand my Xfce install is actually bigger and uses more resources than my installs of KDE or Gnome. Is it bloated. Undoubtedly it is in the view of many if not most users. It is not to me. It has a lot of stuff installed on it. I use them all. Therefore my install is not bloated although it would be if on just about anyone elses box.
As for Openbox, I have an install of that too. It has all the extra applications that I use here. It is smaller and uses less resources than my Xfce install. I don't use it much because I prefer Xfce.
If Xfce decides to go with what I concider to be "entertainment" add ons like Gnome, which I dropped as my production DE for Xfce, or KDE which appears to be mainly aimed at people that want to spend a large amount of time configuring its desktop appearance (my opinion) then Openbox will be my next DE although it is not a DE at all but a window manager.
I use 6 workstations. They are generally all populated with something I am doing. I don't see my desktop. Any kind of eye candy is pretty much wasted on me. I like a menu. I don't like extra added layers for getting my applications up. I find the launchers for Xfce very handy for my most used applications so I use them.
Conky does not blow my skirt up at all. It does do that for a lot of people. It is also capable of doing most of the things that the KDE desktop will do in a much less obtrusive way. So while I consider it bloat as used by most people it is not to them.
I can see why people like KDE. I started testing Gnome Shell in 2010. It is interesting and I can see what people like about it, I don't like it a bit.
I have a loaner drive, an external enclosure with a number of installs on it. This is for interested people to borrow to see what Linux looks like on their box and running at speed. Gnome and KDE are on there and fully configured, with advice from folks that acutally like them, to give people a choice. Also have Mate, Cinnamon, Xfce and OpenBox on there.
Linux is about choice. We can even have tiny, fast, non resource using installs. Or huge installs. We have a choice of a number of different gui environments. We can customize any part of it we want.
My installs have replaced Windows. My wifes install replaced Windows. I use Xfce and she prefers Mate. This is great. We can do more with our installs than we ever could on Windows. Haven't ever used a Mac. I suspect that we would still be able to do more with our Linux installs.
I don't know what all she has on hers. Haven't checked lately. Some of it would simply be bloat on mine. She has, for instance, GnuCash on hers. Have no idea what I would do with that. Pretty sure she has little or no use for the Gimp that is installed on mine.
If you enjoy the DE you are using it is great. If you don't find one that is close and change it so it suits you. There are an awful lot of them available. New ones pop up all the time. Run a search. Appears that there are a lot of people not content with the DEs currently available. They build one that suits them. Try some.
Very few distros have actually created DEs. I suppose Ubuntu with Unity is one of the very few that have and it started life as a concept for an extention for Gnome Shell.
There are a number of distros that have been released, however, that are built strictly, based on some old distro like Debian, to show off some new DE. This is an easy way to look at them if you do not want to install them on your current OS. Have some FUN with Linux.
I am certainly not some sort of geek guru. Even I can customize a DE. Config files are all there. Mess with them. Break your DE a few times and learn something. I am in my 60s, never touched a computer until well into my 40s (MSDos), and even I can learn this stuff.
Or sit around and pout that no one has made something for you.
But carry on. I am enjoying this thread a lot. May even glean something out of it besides entertainment.