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chickenlinux 12-19-2009 09:49 AM

HOWTO: Slim down SuSE and other somewhat bloated distros

After a somewhat unpleasant experience with SuSE 10.2, I didn't come back to it for a while. Well, now I did come back to it, and was in horror that a 64-bit Gnome install used over 700 MB of RAM! That's fairly high for most of the Linuxes I use. It wasn't really an issue, I've got a total of 3GB + Swap, but some people really can't live with that, and I managed to get mine just slightly over 300Mb, which is better than my FC11 installation on my Desktop, and I still have a awesome desktop.

Similar steps may be performed for a non-SuSE distribution, as I understand many are pointlessly bloated. Please deviate from this miniguide if what I'm doing doesn't suit you.

And do these things at your own risk please! Just because they worked for me DOESN'T mean they'll work for you! If something seems scary, don't do it.

Finally, if there's a better way to do something that I don't know about or if I neglected to mention something -- tell me!

These instructions should be easy, but if you're a total noob, then some might not be for you. Should you need help, I'd love to help you.

1. Eyecandy
While it's still something to be able to boast about, having REALLY fancy eyecandy while having less memory usage than Windows 7 (eww), sometimes it is a little excessive or annoying, especially on older computers.

I'll get to the point: I removed compiz. So many people try to get compiz working that this may seem absurd. Suit yourself.

I ran "zypper remove compiz" as root. Make sure it doesn't kill gnome or anything as a dependency! (mine didn't)

If you miss your eyecandy, then follow the next step to get new eyecandy - with memory savings!

2. Enlightenment > Gnome/KDE4
Not recommended for noobs, as the terminal is necessary to perform more tasks with enlightenment. It is, after all, a desktop shell.

KDE4 and the newer Gnome are a bit bloated in my opinion. What's the solution? IceWM? Yuck! That's a bit TOO minimalistic! As a Linux user, you want to have a light, customizable system that looks good enough that you can laugh at your best friend's foolish Windows 7 installation.

The solution is the Enlightenment Desktop. It's fast, easily themed, and doesn't take too much getting used to. It's shiny, fast, glows, and whirs, and I think it's by far the best looking thing I've used! Just don't install from the normal SuSE repositories - that's E16, which is far inferior to DR17/E17

Add this repository:
Now, install "Enlightenment-DR17" packages with your favorite PM tool. Also install "entrance." We'll get to entrance by step 4.

Next time you login, after clicking on your name, for "Session" select Enlightenment. But, before doing so, I'd recommend the next step so that the first run wizard in DR17 can add Wicd!


3. Wicd > NetworkManager
You might have noticed that you cannot connect to your network after logging in with enlightenment because you do not have a network manager applet! Well, to fix this, install wicd. Wicd is a network manager, and it works better than the one called NetworkManager. Most distributions don't like it because it's less fancy and you have to click one more time. It's only slightly less user friendly.

"zypper install wicd" as root will fix your problems. Then, start enlightenment and add Wicd to your list of applications, it'll save you time. You'll notice Wicd doesn't work at first. NM is still interfering! Open up an xterm, or gnome term, or whatever you want. Run "ps -A | grep et". From there, you'll see 2 nm services. Kill them as root. No interference for you :)!
These services seemed to die after I uninstalled NetworkManager and reconfigured runlevels (step 4). Kind of strange, but they stopped starting suddenly :D kind of a lucky accident...
I don't know how to automate this, help is appreciated. Wicd is not hard to figure out, there's documentation on the internet. Make sure you can connect, and then run "zypper remove NetworkManager." It's gone for good! :D

4. Prune your Processes!

This is one thing that you really should do. Open up YaST or YaST2 and go to system -> system services (runlevel). From here, this is where the fun starts. Remove anything that you know what it is and what it does that you don't need. If in doubt, don't stop the service!

Some good ones to get rid of:
atd (disabled by default, usually not important)
avahi-daemon (needed for ZeroConf/Bonjour)
bluez-coldplug (if you have no blueteeth)
brld (Most of us don't need braille...)
postfix (if you need system mail or you're on a mailserver, don't do this one!)
sshd (unless you're using ssh, the port is closed by default)
rpcbind (unless you're using RPC, nobody does)

Some ones you might want to get rid of:
splash (this removes pretty bootup)
splash_early (kills animation at network start)
smbfs (if you're not mounting smb filesystems)

And two you'll want enabled for this guide:
Entrance (To compliment your DR17 install, this saves memory)

So, that concludes my guide. I'll probably modify this to help people better. If you found this guide very useful, thank me using that thumbs up button, and if you hated this guide, then please flame me on a separate thread, and tell me what I did wrong.

This is my first howto ever, so I probably messed up somewhere. Anyway, I need your help and responses to help yall by this guide. And, BTW, correct my grammar if necessary. THANKS!

**UPDATE 1**
After removing network manager and replacing it with wicd, it is probably in your best interests to open /etc/sysconfig/network/config and find the line that says NETWORKMANAGER="yes" and change it to NETWORKMANAGER="no" so that it doesn't try to use a old network configuration method that really won't work under most circumstances - and having it realize that it's failing takes a long time, adding around 10 or more seconds to your boot! OUCH! D:

MTK358 12-19-2009 10:16 AM

Nice tutorial!

I remember when I tried openSUSE 11.2, it was so bloated that I could hardly stand using it. All those little animations in KDE4 just got in the way and drove me crazy!

Fedora's OK, but I wish it could be slimmer. Maybe I'll try a few things from here.

chickenlinux 12-19-2009 03:56 PM

Glad this guide was useful! KDE4 is a pretty bloated desktop :( I don't like excessive animations either. Be careful with Wicd on Fedora though: I tried it with 11, and it nuked my network manager (idk how, wicd just made it crash) and wouldn't even manage my network because it couldn't start because of a DBus error! Yikes!

So, do some research before trying some of this stuff with Fedora. I agree though, it's a TON better than SuSE for bloatedness, but I like the supportedness of SuSE.

kdelover 12-19-2009 06:16 PM

awesome! Does this work only on suse? Can i try this on kubuntu?

linus72 12-19-2009 06:19 PM

its pretty easy to make your own Kubuntu,etc too

I got some scripts to make ubuntu's from a ubuntu-mini-remix-9.10 iso

you want em?

kdelover 12-19-2009 06:20 PM

^ Yup.Is ubuntu-mini something like arch-linux

linus72 12-19-2009 06:25 PM

OK, basically go over my posts for the last $months
start here

this is nice too

thats just a sample
thats like a Mage's Tome:)

kdelover 12-19-2009 06:30 PM

^^ I think that would take me atleast a day or 2 to go through all the links you mentioned :) Thanks Ill check them out.

chickenlinux 12-20-2009 09:52 AM

KDE Does use a lot of memory by itself, but you could trim some unnecessary processes and clamp down on desktop effects. Personally, I made a SuSE (gnome) that ran on 119MB of RAM with SuSE Studio, which is often the best thing.

So, yes, if you want serious memory savings, you are better off building your own Kubuntu - it wont have all those annoying bloated packages... **shudders**

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