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I have a dual boot laptop with 512 MB RAM running Windows XP/Xubuntu. I try to load student.portal.chalmers.se (a huge bloat site) in Firefox.

  • On XP, I can load the site without any swapping, but all my RAM is eaten as shown in ProcessExplorer.

  • On Xubuntu (with linux 3.11) I get a huge swapping when the site loads.

Both Windows and Linux has swap space. Is the reason linux disk cache eating the last RAM needed or is Xubuntu more resource hungry than XP. If the former, is it possible to configure the kernel to not cache too mutch in RAM? If the latter, can anyone suggest a more lightweight desktop environment than XFCE.

EDIT:

After visiting the same site on my 64-bit desktop with 8 GB RAM, firefox did not eat more than 150 MB. So I guess Firefox put all images on the graphics card and the laptop has not great graphics performance.

EDIT 2:

Try open https://student.portal.chalmers.se/_layouts/Chalmers.Core.UI/images/box-light-map2.png which is a background image that automatically loads. You have been warned if you are low on memory!

EDIT 3:

The implementation of the web-page layout has now changed, and now it is possible to visit the page.

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1 Answer 1

Yes, Xubuntu is more resource hungry the Windows XP. Xubuntu is comparable to Windows Vista in look and feel. Lubuntu is comparable to Windows XP in look and feel. Your computer has enough RAM to run Xubuntu. The minimum systems requirements for Xubuntu are 512MB RAM. I have also noticed the Xubuntu has difficulty managing some websites in Firefox with only 512MB RAM. These problems would go away if you had 1GB RAM. Xubuntu runs quite well on a computer that has at least 1GB RAM.

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Are you suggesting LXDE or EDE instead of XFCE? Well I may test them. I thought of the kernel issue because these kernels have several years between them, and back in 2001 would not playing disk with RAM make sense. –  user877329 Feb 18 at 14:56
    
Personally I like Xubuntu better than Lubuntu, so I would be willing to put up with some difficulties on one or two websites in order to use the XFCE desktop environment and the Ubuntu Software Center, both of which are installed by default in Xubuntu. –  karel Feb 18 at 15:00
    
@user877329 Following my own advice, I visited the mozillaZine Reducing memory usage - Firefox website and found some ways to limit memory usage in Firefox under the heading: Settings that reduce memory usage. –  karel Feb 18 at 15:18
    
Do you know any particular setting that is effective. It is a huge transient in virtual memory usage when the pages loads. Then it drops down to 450 MB. –  user877329 Feb 18 at 16:07
2  
RAM use depends on a number of variables including what services one is running and the window manager does not typically make much difference in performance. For example, on Fedora, xcfe uses 175 mb RAM while lxde uses 151 Mb see - blog.bodhizazen.net/linux/desktop-environments-ram-use . the problem is that 512 is insufficient for firefox + the site and changing window managers is not going to solve the problem. Increase your RAM, reduce your services / ram use, or use an alternate light weight distro (puppy) or browser. –  bodhi.zazen Feb 18 at 17:40

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