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Old 10-02-2005, 10:39 AM   #1
Fice
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Question Desktop Enviroment and File Managers?


Im planning on buying a new laptop (so far going for a 1.73GHZ centrino Lenovo 100A with a Geforce 6200 128mb video card) and I was wondering about which distro to try out and which Desktop Enviroment. After looking around and doing some research I got confused. Ive used Gnome with Ubuntu and KDE with Arch but I was doing some research with other Desktop Enviroments such as Enlightenment and Fluxbox. Reading I found that even though they both have very good reviews they always mention them not to be as complete as KDE or Gnome and I found even some people that used KDE along with Enlightenment. How is this possible, what is going on here? I tought Englightenment or Fluxbox would replace KDE or Gnome. And what do people mean when they say its not a complete Desktop? What advantages can I have by installing both KDE and Enlightenment? I hear Englightenment is able to handle a lot of eye candy and Im particularly interested in this but at the same time I hear a lot of people saying its not stable yet and Im a bit afraid of this. If I install Enlightenment will I be able to use the programs that I usually used in KDE or Gnome? I found some problems with compatibility when using Gnome and finding some cool programs that only run on KDE or the other way around, is this a bigger problem with Enlightenment? Is choosing a Desktop enviroment the priority before choosing a distro or the other way around? So far about distros I was thinking of installing Slackware, Fedora Core or VectorLinux(this last with the advantage that comes with enlightenment already). Any suggestions on those three, should I really go for vectorlinux because it has enlightenment already with it or should I go for any of the other more robust and find my way through them? Another thing would be I hear enlightenment and Fluxbox are mainly good in speed but having a new laptop with 1GB of ram and 1.73GHZ centrino do I really need to care much about speed, meaning is this advantage usually good mostly for old computers? So far Ive been meddling with the two distros I already mentioned and in the need to continue learning I want to change to another, I dont really understand both of those distros completely yet, Ubuntu more than Arch, Arch I had to give up because I sold my old computer but in anycase I did manage to install Arch myself and solve most of the problems that came with it in my old laptop. In advance Thanks for all.
 
Old 10-02-2005, 11:50 AM   #2
Sargek
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WM vs. DE

Whew! Well, you can get to any programs installed on your system regardless of which desktop environemt (DE) or window manager (WM) you are running. Gnome and KDE offer an easy experience for inexperienced users, because they provide desktop icons, application menus, etc. The disadvantage of DE's, if you perceive this as a disadvantage, is they are resource hogs. They use quite a bit more system resources than a minimal WM. This may or may not be an issue for you. If you have a modern system, it's probably not an issue. If you have a pentium II 350 with 48 meg of ram, it will be an issue.

Both Gnome and KDE provide application menus to just about everything on your system by default, and also provide many GUI tools to manage your system. Xfce4 does this as well, and is much faster than Gnome or KDE, but doesn't have quite as many "bells and whistles". Enlightenment 16.7 is a great WM, and provides desktop configuration (wallpaper, theme), but does not have desktop icons. Enlightenment E17 is still under heavy development and I would not recommend using it on a main system for everyday use. My two cents.

Both Gnome and KDE use WM's to manage their windows. Gnome's is called "Metacity" and KDE's is called "Kwin" (I think - I avoid KDE like the plague). You can use WM's other than the one that comes with Gnome (Metacity), by running Gnome, and substituting Metacity for something else: enlightenment, openbox, etc. I haven't really found any advantages to this because Gnome is still slow (to me), and it's kind of a personal preference thing. There is much documentation out there on how to do this. I have no idea how to change the WM in KDE, or if it can even be done. I don't use KDE.

As for a distro, you can't beat the Debian flavors, especially Ubuntu. Apt is a wonderful tool for installing software and keeping up to date. I have also had great luck with Fedora. Fedora is by and far one of the best, professional looking distros I have seen. Some caveats with Fedora - in the past, it has not supported mp3's because of licensing issues, so you may want to look into this. Fedora has an incredibly easy install as well. Ubuntu is not difficult, but is not graphical, as you may be used to. Slackware is a great distro also, but is a bit more work, in that all configuration is done via command line. No GUI tools in Slack. Slack is also very fast, and will teach you much about GNU/Linux. Suse is another distro option, and is very professional and well put together, but is a HUGE resource hog. It is by far (in my experience), the slowest distro I have ever used. It can be tweaked to speed up, but out of the box, it's a pig.

Keep in mind my perspective is different than most users: I use Gentoo, which is a source (from scratch) built distro, I use a minimal WM, and my system is blazingly fast, BUT, it took me several days to build/install it. When I say other DE's/WM's are slow, consider what I am using in comparison.

Anyway, some food for thought!

Last edited by Sargek; 10-02-2005 at 11:53 AM.
 
Old 10-02-2005, 02:19 PM   #3
Fice
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Thanks. this has been really helpfull.

So basically Enlightenment can be used by itself but does not include such things as desktop icons(Ill research on what else). I dont really use desktop icons(when I used Gnome I managed to Hide them) so Im ok with that. Now basically Ill choose between Enlightenment or Fluxbox(which I think was a nifty one as well). About the Distro, Ive been reading more about VectorLinux and being brought up from Slack itself I think it might be something nice to try so Im basically between VectorLinux or Fedora Core, Ill do more reasearching about those two as well.

Again thanks for all your help.
 
Old 10-02-2005, 02:51 PM   #4
Sargek
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Enlightenment

Quote:
Originally posted by Fice
Thanks. this has been really helpfull.

So basically Enlightenment can be used by itself but does not include such things as desktop icons(Ill research on what else). I dont really use desktop icons(when I used Gnome I managed to Hide them) so Im ok with that. Now basically Ill choose between Enlightenment or Fluxbox(which I think was a nifty one as well). About the Distro, Ive been reading more about VectorLinux and being brought up from Slack itself I think it might be something nice to try so Im basically between VectorLinux or Fedora Core, Ill do more reasearching about those two as well.

Again thanks for all your help.
That is correct. If you go with Enlightenment, I would recommend E16.7, not E17. E17 is beautiful, and Rasterman and the other developers have done a wonderful job on what is done so far, but it is under heavy development and not, IMHO, stable enough for everyday use. Fluxbox is also very nice, very stable, and very fast. Both Fluxbox and Enlightenment use transparency on everything, so they are both very nice looking. There is a LOT of tips/tricks out there for Fluxbox, too. I don't use desktop icons anymore either, although I used to.

Never used Vector, but I used Slack for a few years. I like the polished look and feel of Fedora, but it is very resource hungry, out of the box. You can tweak it to lighten things up by turning off many of the services loaded by default. Normally, Fedora starts services that are not needed by normal users, but they provide a very nice tool to manage these, so they are easy to turn off. Good luck!
 
Old 01-12-2006, 03:19 AM   #5
Fice
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Just to update, I ended up installing Fedora Core 4 and im really happy with the distro itself(altough there is still much to be asked from yum and yum extender) and also installed Enlightenment 17. I was planning on installing E 16 but found it harder to do as there are specific E17 repos for Fedora and a lot more support for 17 than for 16 or at least as far as I found out. I think most of the stuff for 16 is really old by now and usually focuses on older versions of the distros. Anyways Im really happy with E17, although i must admit it is has its bugs they are no big thing to deal with. Also Im still installing a bunch of stuff to it and Im far off of having a complete system runnning but Im getting there... slowly but steady.

Thanks for all.
 
  


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