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I have Ubuntu running on my laptop, and (especially since my laptop specs are a tad bit higher than budget machines) I need to optimize Ubuntu as much as possible to maximize my battery life.

I've seen a couple of battery life oriented desktop environments, but they seem to be on the visual scale of Windows 98 or something. I'm not asking for high-quality 3D effects and graphics, but I would strongly prefer transparent panels and launchers (or hideable launchers). I don't mind the Window-and-Start-Menu style of some desktop environments. I actually sort of like Cinnamon's approach, but the lack of transparency and a couple of other quirks turned me away from it. And to be quite honest, if I could change the icon size and enable a transparent panel in Unity2D I would just stick with that.

In summation, I want a desktop environment that offers the following

  • panel transparency and launcher hiding
  • optimized for battery performance
  • minimalistic, non-intrusive icons

Any suggestions?

edit; would also prefer an upper panel option, like in Unity, that can switch between transparency on the desktop and matching Chromium's upper edge when it is maximized. Chromium is pretty much the only window I maximize and the disconnect in some environments like gnome classic isn't pretty.

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

kde has transparency but it is not battery friendly as lot of processes keep running in background, in unity also zeitgist and compiz keep running. so for all this things together, you only have xfce left to choose, it is lighter (battery friendly), simplistic, highly configurable (hide/unhide) and you can enable compositor from settings / window manager tweaks to get transparency of panels and menus.

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Only xfce? There has to be tens to hundreds of desktop environments out there. @TrailRider I saw that one earlier, but turned it up for some reason. Still not sure why - I think it might be because I didn't like the look of the start menu. Either way, I'll try out that one and the other. Any idea what the power difference between the two could end up being? – Alex Jul 17 '12 at 3:21
no I do not, I only know minimal information about any of the Ubuntu derivatives that I picked up in passing, I only know that LXDE(used by Lubuntu) and XFCE(used by xubuntu) are light weight and use less memory and cpu/gpu power than Ubuntu hence they use less energy at the cost of some eye candy. Also keep in mind while there are many DE available as you said, getting help with some of them may be difficult. Only LXDE, KDE, XFCE. and a few other "official derivatives" are "suported" at askubuntu, any question regarding Cinnamon, for instance will be closed. – TrailRider Jul 17 '12 at 3:31

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