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KDE 4 to use much less RAM

KDE 4 to use much less RAM

Pssst! Hey, Duck! KDE 4 uses far less memory but still looks better than before!

Anyone paying the slightest attention to the Linux-on-the-desktop scene will have noticed that desktop environments are featuring more and more eye-candy with every release. While this has had the predictable effect of increasing processor usage and memory requirements (although the pretty things can always be turned off), it seems that the newest version of the K Desktop Environment graphical user interface will use nearly 40% less memory than current version 3.5 despite having a lovely composited windows manager (think Aero but free).

The figure comes from a test run by German magazine Pro-Linux who ran tests comparing the performance and memory footprint of the second release candidate of KDE 4 compared to the latest version of KDE 3.5.

With further good news for those of you with older systems to support, KDE developer Will Stephenson announced in a post to his blog that he'd tried a pre-release build of KDE 4 with the 3D desktop effects enabled on a laptop running at 1GHz and with only 256MB of RAM. Rather than the single-frame-per-second slide show he was expecting, Will was pleasantly surprised to find the desktop completely usable even with all the glitz and glamour turned on.

It's also worth noting that Will had some KDE 3 libraries loaded for compatibility reasons, and that final optimisation of the code has yet to take place: in other words, there's room for still more performance gains.

It's interesting to see Linux, traditionally the home of beardy geeks desperate to eke out every last bit of performance from ageing hardware, finally 'getting' what draws the mass-market to an OS: shiny things moving prettily on screen.

While it's unlikely to encourage me to move from the Gnome environment on my desktop (and don't think I can't hear the KDE fans sharpening their pitchforks at hearing that) it's certainly tempting to give it a shot at making my creaky old laptop look a bit more modern.

The finished version of KDE 4 is due for release on the 9th of January 2008. If you can't wait that long, you can grab the source for the release candidate from the KDE website.

Enough to tempt you away from the folds of Vista, or are you waiting for more games to be supported before switching to Linux? Let us know in the forums.

29 Comments

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chrisb2e9 14th December 2007, 13:42 Quote
while i'm glad to see that this system is getting better milage, it brings up one reason why I haven't bothered trying linux, what the heck is KDE and how is it different from the other programs out there.
proxess 14th December 2007, 13:52 Quote
KDE is a window manager and desktop manager. Like Gnome, xfce, e10, e11, open/black/flux-box and the likes. Think of it as your explorer.exe, but seperating the taskbar from window managing from compositing from filemanager etc (meaning, more foolproof).

I honestly don't like KDE and KDE 4 just looks like a mix between gnome and aero *grabs shield and pitchfork*, but its good to know its optimized. Kubuntu 8.04 will probably use it? Lets hope so!
Glider 14th December 2007, 14:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisb2e9
while i'm glad to see that this system is getting better milage, it brings up one reason why I haven't bothered trying linux, what the heck is KDE and how is it different from the other programs out there.
That's what Linux is about, choice and freedom... But with that also comes that you can choose from a lot of different things...

OT, still, Fluxbox rules! ;)
zerolock 14th December 2007, 14:50 Quote
this does it.. next time I have to fork my setup I'll switch to linux :)
C-Sniper 14th December 2007, 16:27 Quote
well i am quite content with XFCE11 and Blackbox/Fluxbox Although i wouldn't mind trying this out.
chrisb2e9 14th December 2007, 17:01 Quote
let me see if i understand this then, linux is kind of like the base operating system, and then things like kde are the interface that we use?
sort of like how dos had dosshell if you didn't want to use the simple text interface?
Glider 14th December 2007, 17:18 Quote
Linux is even lower then that... Linux is the kernel... The thing between the hardware and the software, that handles the devices and such...

On top of that system utilities are built, and above that user interfaces (like CLI). KDE is a graphical desktop environment. You can best compare it to the think you look when you are looking at your wallpaper in Windows... The start menu, the icons,... (and a lot more), that's KDE ;) Well, KDE is one of the many desktop environments/Window managers (gnome/metacity, xfce, fluxbox, busybox,... are others)
Da Dego 14th December 2007, 17:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisb2e9
let me see if i understand this then, linux is kind of like the base operating system, and then things like kde are the interface that we use?
sort of like how dos had dosshell if you didn't want to use the simple text interface?

Pretty much, yeah. But think about it as having a fully functional DOS, and then having a more stable, more secure, much better performing version of Windows Vista.

Linux at its core is a command line operating system, just like DOS - but the GUIs you can add to it are MUCH more full featured than anything that DOS used to have. They're like running a full-on Windows machine (albeit faster, more stable, and MUCH more extensible).

The great thing about Linux is that anything you can do in the command line, you can usually do in the window managers. And everything you can do in the windows managers, you can do in the command line - the two are completely complimentary, unlike DOS and Windows, where one always wanted to steal control from the other.
Shielder 14th December 2007, 17:27 Quote
Quote:
Pretty much, yeah. But think about it as having a fully functional DOS, and then having a more stable, more secure, much better performing version of Windows Vista.

That has cost you a new keyboard! Well said Dego!

Andy
plagio 14th December 2007, 17:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisb2e9
let me see if i understand this then, linux is kind of like the base operating system, and then things like kde are the interface that we use?
sort of like how dos had dosshell if you didn't want to use the simple text interface?

As a matter of fact, what a lot of people think is "linux", turns out to be only kde/gnome.
cpemma 14th December 2007, 19:04 Quote
What's the point of having all that cheap RAM just sat there doing nothing?
Quote:
Linux, traditionally the home of desperate beardy geeks...
Phil Rhodes 14th December 2007, 19:22 Quote
This is actually symptomatic of one of the biggest problems in Linux - they're chasing the look and feel of Windows, which to many people isn't even a plus point, which distracts from work towards solutions to any of the problems endemic to the platform.

Nobody is doing any big-picture thinking on Linux. In some ways, that's down to the way opensource software works, and I believe that until we see more community acceptance of commercial software releases this won't be fixed. In many ways, though, it's because there's simply a refusal to accept that many of the problems exist. Making prettier desktops that run in 2K of memory doesn't help. I don't want the desktop to be pretty, and even if I did, RAM is so cheap I really couldn't give two hoots.

P
notatoad 14th December 2007, 19:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by cpemma
What's the point of having all that cheap RAM just sat there doing nothing?

so that when you run something that does need it, you don't have crap clogging it up.
mezz 14th December 2007, 21:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
This is actually symptomatic of one of the biggest problems in Linux - they're chasing the look and feel of Windows, which to many people isn't even a plus point,

Huh? How is using 40% less memory chasing the look and feel of Windows?

Also with the changes of KDE 4, KDE now looks less like Windows than KDE 3 did, it now looks a hell of a lot better than windows. KDE 4's new look "Oxygen" has a very different feel to Aero, IMHO it strikes a wonderful balance between being clean and clear, and also looking fancy and sophisticated.

Yeah, KDE does have many simmilarities to the windows look and feel, but it wouldn't help anyone for it to be completely strange and alienating to new users. What KDE does so well is being accessible to anyone who's used a GUI before, and at the same time cater to the enthusiast crowd by being very flexible, so you can make it look exactly as you want.
dyzophoria 14th December 2007, 21:36 Quote
linux is great in a lot of ways, but it fails in one point, major developers (both productivity & games) are still in windows :(, I think rather than pushing linux to be greater than what it is, alot should be done to convince major developers to shift to it,for example give me a native photoshop install on linux-me loves you big time (and come on linux people stop telling me to shift to gimp :( )
Hamish 14th December 2007, 23:33 Quote
are there any decent screenshots of KDE4 yet, last i looked there were about 5 that some tit had taken at like 800x600 and you couldn't see anything :p
Glider 15th December 2007, 00:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamish
are there any decent screenshots of KDE4 yet, last i looked there were about 5 that some tit had taken at like 800x600 and you couldn't see anything :p

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20071213-afirst-look-at-kde-4-0-release-candidate-2.html
Woodstock 15th December 2007, 00:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by dyzophoria
linux is great in a lot of ways, but it fails in one point, major developers (both productivity & games) are still in windows :(, I think rather than pushing linux to be greater than what it is, alot should be done to convince major developers to shift to it,for example give me a native photoshop install on linux-me loves you big time (and come on linux people stop telling me to shift to gimp :( )

and the problem there is that the devlopers dont see that theres enough people on linux to bother with a linux version and that stops people like you wanting to use linux, so it comes down to the age old question "what came first the chicken or the egg"
DXR_13KE 15th December 2007, 02:26 Quote
using less ram means i can install this on a craptastic pc and still make it look nice....... :D
chrisb2e9 15th December 2007, 05:31 Quote
I hope no one minds another question about linux, but after reading this thread, and looking at this one:
http://forums.bit-tech.net/showthread.php?t=117592&highlight=games
I think that I may try a dual boot when i get my new hard drive to see if i like linux. Question is, how is compatability with games? one of the reasons that I have never tried it in the past is that i didn't think that the majority of games would work on it.
and sorry if this is too far off topic. I didn't think that it deserved a new thread for such a simple question.
notatoad 15th December 2007, 06:03 Quote
games don't work on linux. every now and then you see a blog post or something trying to say there are some cool games on linux, but the reality is that there are no games for linux that come close to comparing with anything on windows.

a few windows games run in cadega or wine, but that isn't a real solution. if you are purely interested in gaming, don't bother with linux. if you are a developer or sysadmin or something linux might be better. if you have a crappy old computer linux is definitely better. unless you have a specific need for something that linux can do well that windows can't, then you are probably better off with windows. and this is coming from a guy who only boots into windows (instead of linux) once or twice a week to play grand theft auto.
Woodstock 15th December 2007, 06:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by supertoad
games don't work on linux. every now and then you see a blog post or something trying to say there are some cool games on linux, but the reality is that there are no games for linux that come close to comparing with anything on windows.

a few windows games run in cadega or wine, but that isn't a real solution. if you are purely interested in gaming, don't bother with linux. if you are a developer or sysadmin or something linux might be better. if you have a crappy old computer linux is definitely better. unless you have a specific need for something that linux can do well that windows can't, then you are probably better off with windows. and this is coming from a guy who only boots into windows once or twice a week to play GTA.

or like me (most of the time), windows for games, linux for everything else. If a game has opengl then there is a chance for a linux native installer but there few and far between i can only think of quake 4 and doom 3 in the semi recent times for that
completemadness 15th December 2007, 09:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by plagio
As a matter of fact, what a lot of people think is "linux", turns out to be only kde/gnome.
Very true, Windows and Linux actually work quite similarly, you have a kernel running underneath, and then you have a window manager on top of that

the difference is, its damn hard to change the windows display manager (and i think a lot of the projects doing are a bit dead)
Glider 15th December 2007, 10:28 Quote
Gaming in Linux is often a 'hit and miss'. Some games work, some don't. Cedega is a huge improvement, but it isn't native nor free (unless you know how to work with CVS).

But don't say there aren't games on Linux either. There are a lot that DO work. Everything from Introvision works, and Uplink is about the gratest game I ever played, it only lacks multiplayer. Defcon got me still thrilled fro hours on end, and Darwinia... you just have to try it.

But I know a lot want FPS's... Look into nexuiz, sauerbraten,...

Or just look here :D
proxess 15th December 2007, 10:35 Quote
I found it funny when someone said to me "ehh... windows is made to run on every kind of computer, thats why it gives a lot of problems on some setups"... now I think everyone here knew why i rotflmao'd at this! I've had linux on my ipod, my celeron 500mhz 64mb ram, my main rig and my laptop.
Lazarus Dark 15th December 2007, 17:10 Quote
Nice. My decrepit craptop is 1.1ghz with 256 ram. I was about to retire it with the completion of my new desktop, but it should be fun to play around with KDE4 on it for a while first.
Kipman725 15th December 2007, 21:14 Quote
fluxbox is still best... KDE might bost running on only 1Ghz but my debian based fluxbox running laptop has only 128mB of ram and a 266Mhz cpu and can run open office, simetrix, firefox (although slow) fine :D
Kipman725 16th December 2007, 16:05 Quote
as for the game doubters more games run on linux than any single version of windows. HAve you actualy tried playing games from 95 on an Xp install and had much success? how about DOS games? how about linux games which only distribute source and binaries designed to run on linux?

you are wrong linux has game it's just not last weaks realeases.
Cupboard 16th December 2007, 19:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kipman725
as for the game doubters more games run on linux than any single version of windows. HAve you actualy tried playing games from 95 on an Xp install and had much success? how about DOS games? how about linux games which only distribute source and binaries designed to run on linux?

Vista is actually surprisingly good, but it can be a bit of an effort. (Diablo 2 got me for a while)
Not so sure about programs that are 16bit only (AFAIK Diablo 2 does both 16 and 32)

The prettiness with Compiz doesn't use that many resources, it works fine on my laptop with 512MB ram and a 1.8GHz processor (Radeon 9700 helps), or it did until I broke the graphics drivers :(
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