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Re: [OT] Why does X need so much CPU power?

Neal Lippman declaimed:
> I'm just wondering if anyone has any info on why X seems to need so much
> CPU power?
> Way back when, probably around 1996 or 1997, I first tried to install
> Linux. Back then, I tried distro's from Corel and Redhat. My system was
> a Pentium 133 with 48 (and then 96) MB Ram. This system ran both Win 95
> and Win NT 4.0 reasonably well, but when I made the switch and installed
> Linux, any sort of desktop - eg Gnome or KDE, not a vanilla WM) was just
> so slow as to be unusable. Eventually I gave up for a while and went
> back to WinNT for some time.
> For the past 3 years or so, my workstation has been exclusively Linux,
> first Mandrake on a PIII-800, and for the last year, I've been hooked on
> Debian on an Athlon XP 1700+, and on both of those systems performance
> has been just fine, so I didn't really think about the troubles I
> originally had, and when I did, I figured I must have done something
> wrong on my first install attempts on the Pentium system.
> A few months ago, I decided to put debian on my old Laptop, an IBM
> Thinkpad 770ED (PII-266, 64MB Ram). Once again, with KDE running, the
> desktop was so slow and unresponsive as to be really unusable (except in
> an xterm window). This is a system that has run Win95, Win98, and WinNT
> just fine over the years.
> So, my question is: Why does X seem to need so much more CPU power than
> windows - such that systems I have tried to use that worked fine with
> various windows flavors just were unusable with KDE loaded? I assume the
> problem isn't in Linux itself, since my old Pentium 133 was just fine
> with X not running, and enough people have attested to the ability of
> systems with Pentium processors running Linux without X being able to
> handle massive firewall, router, web server duties, etc. Maybe the
> problem is KDE and not X - but I had similar trouble with Gnome, so it
> isn't just a KDE issue.
> I'm just curious and wonder if anyone has any thoughts.

Clearly we all think that it's the Window Manager, not X. My history
with various window managers:

Tried Gnome, too big, too broken. 
Tried KDE, too slow. 
Tried Window Maker, nice but config editor was broken. 
Tried Blackbox and haven't ever wanted to look further.

YMMV, Paul
Paul Mackinney

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