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I want to install Linux on my notebook (I'm looking at one of the Ubuntus), and am curious as to which desktop environment does the best on power. I heard a lot about Gnome and KDE being bloated and bad on power, and something like Xfce (Xubuntu) being more lightweight, but does it actually use less power (assuming all the other variables are the same, of course)?
I seem to remember recently running across a mention of Fluxbuntu. I personally like Fluxbox, easy to configure, and use it if my laptop is running on battery power. I haven't tried any other like XFCE or Windows Maker.
Alright, thanks for the suggestions, but does anyone know, generally, the differences in power consumption when using identical systems with these different desktop environments? If not, I'll have to try them out myself and find out, but it would be nice to know ahead of time.
My guess would be about an extra 30 minutes of battery time due to the lower resource consumption. The Fluxbox binary is only around 1MB with another ~2MB shared files. Compare that to KDE's 300+MB of various files, many of which load into RAM and stay there until KDE is closed. Gnome isn't any better.
A word of caution, though. Fluxbox can run KDE programs, but in order to do so it has to load the necessary overhead. So if you have some favorite KDE programs also consider finding some non-KDE equivalents. Example: XnView = digikam
I could've mentioned this before, anything that uses electricity is going to affect power consumption. With that in mind, think about cpu frequency scaling, screen brightness, removable media, RAM and disk usage and screensavers.
CPU scaling will slow down the processor when idle, but this requires the kernel ACPI module and the scaling utility. Dim your screen and use dark colors when you can. Try to avoid using cds or dvds. Try not to create or move a lot of files, especially large ones. Use a minimal screensaver and avoid opengl ones.
I would be surprised if there was any noticeable differences in battery life using Gnome, KDE, XFce, Fluxbox, or anything else that requires X.
Generally after initial loading (which is brief) they just sit there being displayed. In fact if for example you use KDE and mostly KDE apps you might save on resource usage due to shared libraries that you might not benefit from when running Fluxbox and a bunch of random applications.
You could always stick to the console for increased battery life