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

On Tue, 2003-09-02 at 05:40, Scott C. Linnenbringer wrote:
> On 01 Sep 2003 18:02:27 -0400, Neal Lippman <nl@lippman.org> wrote: 
> <...>
> > 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.
> Many have probably told you the issues about large desktop environments
> like GNOME and KDE. Yes, this is true, but your issues could also be
> attributed to bottlenecks which you don't get in Windows.
> If you are running hardware that isn't supported very well with either
> open-source drivers or decent, up-to-date proprietary drivers, you will
> suffer from your system being bottlenecked. Hardware manufacturers tend
> to support only operating systems like Windows, and in proprietary form
> only. Thus, the hardware works well on Windows because the drivers are
> decent and supported, while drivers for alternative platforms like Linux
> are nonexistent. And since Linux is a constantly changing kernel, along
> with every other part of the operating system, it's difficult for
> hardware manufacturers to keep up with proprietary drivers, and
> open-source drivers aren't always an option for them. While Windows
> changes at a snail's pace and is much more restrictive and centralized,
> you get a wider range of hardware that runs well (I don't really know
> of any hardware manufacturer for PCs that doesn't support their
> hardware with Windows drivers.)

Actually ati and nvidia have rather descent support. I have had more
problems with their card under windows then under linux actually. The
only problem I had with ati is running dri on mach64 laptop which took
some work. On windows I have to reinstall directx every two weeks since
3d starts locking up.
And considering gnome and kde are bloated desktops, I still get ~70M of
memory usage under gnome with a bunch of applets, icons, background
image, servers in the background, multi-gnome-terminal + evolution +
mozilla-firebird, and not much more when adding matlab (before I start
making it sweat of course ;-) ). Windows 2k comes up with ~85M memory
footprint before I load anything, xp even more, and thats before anti
virus + ~20M and if you want to connect to the Internet another ~15M for
a firwall.
Laptops tend to be more of a problem, but they are usually not less of a
hustle with windows, in my case even more.
The main problem I see with linux is the lack of commercial programs.
Unfortunately for some stuff there is no way around it. For commercial
quality image/video processing  for example there is no alternative at
the moment, or places where you need to be able to show reliability
certificates, which cost quite a lot with free software. Sometimes you
also need some to be legally liable if something goes wrong when running
critical systems, and that costs money.
I think that whats holding linux back from the home market is mostly
that people tend to stay with the preinstalled os they get with the
computer, since replacing it is usually to daunting for most users. Also
linux currently has a name as a hard to install/configure/maintain for
geeks only os. To get it into the home market, it needs to change its
market image and arrive preinstalled to change the market share.

> This is so true for video acceleration, too. The two leading video card
> manufacturers, NVIDIA and ATi both only release proprietary drivers
> (some better than others) for their latest cards. Support for older
> cards probably doesn't even exist, though ATi has released the full
> specifications on some older cards that are still rather nice, and thus
> we have open-source drivers. Matrox also only has proprietary drivers
> for their Parhelia line of cards. And there's no guarantee how well
> these drivers are, since the manufacturers don't focus too much energy
> in that direction, and there will be a new kernel series approaching
> rapidly. And plus, some of these drivers are built and packaged for Red
> Hat only, so that adds to a variety of problems that could occur if you
> wanted to have it work right on Debian.
> Also, many people are bottlenecked by chipsets and miscellaneous devices
> not well documented/supported. This is a major reason why people aren't
> always getting the hard disk speeds/reads as they do in Windows. Luckily
> for that area, there are many good options. You just have to select
> carefully.
> I personally make sure all my hardware is well supported, documented and
> high quality. And I have a very nice setup that runs excellently with
> any type of operating system and software, with a souped up GNOME
> desktop. Plus, I've been able to do it on a budget of only being in high
> school without a job, so it can be done. ;) You just have to
> research/analyze your hardware decisions, and preferably select your
> hardware yourself.

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