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Old 07-09-2004, 04:53 PM   #1
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Question why is linux slow in the GUI

I was wondering why everything seems slow when I'm running in the GUI. I don't have that problem (most of the time) when running with just the shell up. I am running RedHat from a remote terminal, but I also noticed this on a completely different (with same RedHat) machine before I was running remotely.
I thought Linux was supposed to be better than Windows, but Windows is definitely alot faster than what I've experienced so far with Linux.
does anybody have any comments?

Thanks and God bless,

Old 07-09-2004, 04:56 PM   #2
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Linux doesn't have a GUI itself, that's just an arbitrary bit of software runnign ontop of an X server.... if you are running a fat lump of bloat like KDE, then sure the system will suffer as a result. but run a decent lightweight window manager like fluxbox, and you'll notice the difference a mile off...
Old 07-09-2004, 05:05 PM   #3
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What kind of computer do you have? If you list specs, we could kind of gauge what's going. If you have a Pentium at 90 Mhz with an onboard 1 MB video card, then there's no way any Linux distribution/interface would help you speed up your GUI.
Old 07-09-2004, 05:10 PM   #4
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Distros like Mandrake, RedHat and Fedora are slower than many other, Slackware and Gentoo are fast but they aren't very newbie friendly.

What desktop environment you use has allot to say also, Gnome and KDE are probably the 'heaviest' desktop environments out there while Fluxbox is very light.

If you want good performance and control, use Gentoo and Fluxbox, if you want easy-to-setup and user friendly interface use Mandrake and Gnome.

Last edited by brynjarh; 07-09-2004 at 05:18 PM.
Old 07-09-2004, 05:10 PM   #5
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I thought Linux was supposed to be better than Windows, but Windows is definitely alot faster than what I've experienced so far with Linux.
does anybody have any comments?
In addition to what Acid said there's two things
to bear in mind:

a) You can't really directly compare X to an
environment like Windows, either. X was designed
with a whole different concept, foremost with
network transparency in mind.

b) MS Applications (that includes exploder) pretty
much pre-load their entire functionality on boot.
The penalty is longer boot times ... i.e., Slack on my
notebook boots in 21 seconds, and another 5 seconds
for me to log-in into xdm and have flux up and running.
XP boots in about 120 seconds. To start Mozilla in
Flux takes about 8 seconds, OO takes about 10.
IE or Word in Win start in ~ 1 second. You get the idea.

Old 07-09-2004, 05:24 PM   #6
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The speed also depends on what video driver you use. If you have an ATI or NVIDIA and you are using the generic vesa drivers instead of the specific vendor drivers, then X will run slower.
Old 07-09-2004, 06:17 PM   #7
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Nobody mentioned mandrake/fluxbox, or for that matter to keep Red Hat and change the GUI. I run a P-III 700 with 256mb RAM. My hard drive is on an ATA 33 controller (until I decide to buy a promise card). I have run most popular distros and a few that aren't. My experience with this machine is that KDE and Windows XP with the crayon colored "aqua" interface react with the same speed (okay, some apps in XP are slower). Gnome is a bit faster to use. Any distro will work with any window environment. I usually have either KDE or Gnome installed, cos I like a lot of integration at times, but I always have either windowmaker, fluxbox, afterstep, or xfce4 as a "back up" when I just wanna zip along.

If your computer is only used by one or two users, and you want to speed the GUI up the most, use XDM instead of GDM or KDM as your login manager. KDM running underneath has been the biggest cause for a speed difference on my modest machine.

A remote X session will be slower anyways. If you've tried a "live-cd" you'd know what I mean. If you want to try making things faster, do the same thing you'd do in Win. Start turning off services you never use on your computer. Be sure that your Video card is being run by the right module. Compare the Windows XP driver for the Rage 128 Pro (which I have). It doesn't have 3d accelleration. To get that, you need to replace it with the one directly from ATI. You'll run into the same thing with most NVidea cards on Linux. Its all according to what you have. Likely, there are some things that you can do to tweak your computer. Of course, if you have a P-II or higher, you might want to try an i686-optimized distro, like Mandrake or Crux (Or Yoper, which is recompiled Red Hat, I believe). Good luck.


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