Is Linux Annoying?
Subject:   Huge, slow gnome and gnome-terminal
Date:   2003-09-18 14:45:24
From:   anonymous2
Another annoyance, at least for the long-time Linux user, is how sluggish and bloated Linux has become. I used to use OpenLook Virtual Window Manager on a 486 with 8MB of RAM. I could open multiple xterms (or, rather rxvt windows) and it's all be rather snappy. Sometimes it'd bog down (I certainly didn't use Mosaic on that beast), but for multiple text windows, it was pretty good. If I compiled an app or displayed a lot of text, X and xterm weren't horrible CPU hogs during the process.

Now, if I leave a gnome-terminal open and compile a large app with lots of small files, gnome-terminal and X take nearly half the CPU, rather than GCC. If I leave a window open w/ top running, I see the corresponding gnome-terminal taking 5% of the CPU and raising X up similarly--just to refresh once every 15 seconds. What? I'm not even using transparency or antialiased fonts or anything. I'm using the exact same features I used back in 1994, only my computer is about 100 times the speed--as is my video card. Resolution and color-depth aren't the issue either--I went from 1152x900 at 8bpp to 1400x1050x32bpp. This is roughly 5x the data to move, but like I said, with a nearly 100x the speed machine. This bloat makes no sense!

Similarly annoying is the sluggish GNOME interface. It's often snappy, but wait until tomorrow. That updatedb run at 4AM pushed your entire desktop to swap. Gee, thanks. It wouldn't be so much of an issue if gnome-cd didn't have a 20MB memory footprint. (It seems to keep growing if you leave it open.) And then there's the panel (20MB), and the volume control (16MB), gnome-terminal (30MB), the settings daemon (17MB), the session manager (17MB), and so on. And let's not forget Mozilla, which seems to grow without bound if you don't restart it every day. (Right now, it's at 120MB on my box.)

And to think I used to run with only 8MB of RAM once upon a time. (I do admit, X was more comfortable with 16MB.) I don't see why a machine with 512MB of RAM should be 80MB to 200MB into swap on a regular basis, just running plain old desktop apps. That old 8MB machine only had ~32MB of swap at the time. (I had installed SLS 1.03 on a 120MB drive. Approx 90MB for OS and /home, and the rest was for /boot and swap!)

FWIW, I don't notice as many of these problems at work. That machine runs RedHat 7.2. My machine at home, though, runs BloatHat 9. Bleh. If it weren't for the fact that RH is end-of-lifing support for 7.x, I'd "upgrade" to the earlier release. *sigh*

1 to 1 of 1
1 to 1 of 1