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Month: December 2011

Re: [trinity-devel] TDE Light (was Additional TDE Functionality)

From: Darrell Anderson <humanreadable@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Dec 2011 11:30:30 -0800 (PST)
> How about kdelibs+kdebase without arts.  That gives
> konsole and konqueror.  What else is needed? 
> koffice?  kpdf?  kmail?  A couple of apps
> from kdepim?
> Not everything needs to be Trinity.  Other apps such
> as FF and OO are useful in an office environment.

Let me define TDE Light: An almost fully featured TDE that runs *snappily* on older hardware. Key word is snappily. :)

The office machine of the 1990s used PDFs, email, and basic sound support. Only nominal web surfing. Konqueror would suffice for limited web surfing and is far more responsive in a native TDE than Firefox. Although, as we have discussed here in this list, Konqy needs serious attention to again become an enjoyable web browser.

Firefox is impossible on a PI/PII class machine. Been there done that. Firefox takes about 30 seconds just to start. On these old machines, hard drives are bottlenecked by the motherboards, which means nothing faster than ATA-2. Yet even after loading Firefox, the video cards of those days can't handle web 2.0 of today. I have experimented with Firefox on these machines. Not installing the flash plugin helps, as does disabling Java, JavaScript, iframes, etc. Disabling images helps, but many web pages are not well designed and won't format properly without the images. Basically, Firefox performance is embarrassing compared to IE5/6 on NT4 or W2K on those same machines.

OpenOffice/LibreOffice are not good options for old hardware. Been there done that. KOffice will suffice much better, especially in a native TDE. (If I can ever get all the bugs out of KOffice to build properly.) Recently in this list we discussed keeping KOffice as a part of TDE but marketing KOffice as a light weight office suite. People using such hardware are not expecting splendid melodrama. They just want to use old hardware for basics.

Many of these machines have only 128 MB of RAM. Yes, we would recommend updating to 256 MB but that is the limit of what we can recommend because many of the PI motherboards only support 256 MB.

The key here is to run snappily, not what packages get stripped from TDE. I envision almost all TDE packages being available in TDE Light. My focus is reasonable performance speed.
As far as performance speed, on a PI/PII, NT4 runs circles around any Linux based desktop environment, even Xfce and LXDE. I'll side here with Calvin that LXDE is not a true integrated desktop environment but is more a semi-glued hodge-podge of apps. Nonetheless, TDE, Xfce, and LXDE don't compare to NT4 with respect to response speed.

I noticed through the years with KDE3 on these old machines is startup times are slow but once the libraries are in memory, response of KDE3 apps improves noticeably. For example, even the first use of the K-Menu is slow --- there is a noticeable momentary delay. After that first use the menu response is fast. Perhaps a key with TDE Light is to somehow preload or cache certain libraries and files into RAM right away.

My vision is that most of the apps that are packaged with TDE would be packaged with TDE Light. Just all non-essential hooks and dependencies are stripped before building TDE Light so the packages do not build those hooks. My focus for TDE Light is speed.