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As we are going toward Gnome 3, I would like to know what to expect. May be a more responsive desktop, faster startup of apps? Or should I start to thinking in another DE if performance is a concern?

I am wondering about a Gnome-3 vs Gnome-2 comparison, not Gnome Shell vs Unity.

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There may be some confusion here about Gnome 3 and Gnome Shell. Ubuntu 11.04 uses Gnome 2 and Unity runs over it by default. In 11.10, Gnome 3 will be the default DE, but Unity will still be the default UI. The UI that people keep calling Gnome 3 is actually Gnome Shell, which is not currently supported in 11.04. In 11.10 Gnome Shell should have full support as Ubuntu will be running on Gnome 3. –  Kris Harper Aug 22 '11 at 15:38
    
Thank you. I've updated the question to make it more clear. –  desgua Aug 22 '11 at 15:54
    
I don't know if there is a standard on weighing software?? –  TheX Aug 28 '11 at 2:26
    
I think there isn't, but we can do comparisons ;-) –  desgua Aug 28 '11 at 3:03
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3 Answers 3

up vote 14 down vote accepted

First problem to do this comparison: how to decrease the influence of User Interface at the results?

My first solution was to use Lubuntu as both 11.04 and 11.10 has the same LXDE environment (see below the Old). But latter I thought what now sounds obvious: how can someone compare Gnome versions not using Gnome? o_O The comparison had to be done otherwise. So it was. ;-)

I created a virtual machine with VirtualBox then installed 11.04 and Oneiric Ocelot one alongside the other. After that the guest addons were installed and the systems rebooted.

I opened a terminal and type uname -a to see some information:

11.04

enter image description here

Oneiric Ocelot

enter image description here

Then I use the command top to see the running processes and memory usage:

11.04

enter image description here

Oneiric Ocelot

enter image description here

The graphical monitor:

11.04

enter image description here

Oneiric Ocelot

enter image description here

At last I opened in this sequence: Firefox, Libreoffice, Banshee.

11.04

enter image description here

Oneiric Ocelot

enter image description here

Conclusions

With top we can see that in both the 4 most resource intensive processes are in this order:

compiz > Xorg > gnome-terminal > top

The System Monitor shows that
11.04 was using 271.9 MiB of RAM and ~20% of the CPU
while
Oneiric was using 345.1 MiB of RAM and ~20% of the CPU.

After opening some programs these values come closed:
11.04 was using 482.6 MiB of RAM and ~20% of the CPU
while
Oneiric was using 481.1 MiB of RAM and ~20% of the CPU. The swap partition has been used with 19.0 MiB

I think that maybe Oneiric is preloading some libraries so apps can load faster. This would explain why 11.04 has initially less RAM usage but after opening some programs the RAM usage comes virtually equal.

So while some could argue if it is or it isn't fair to compare an alpha to a premium software, these numbers shows just a little change.

Enjoy ;-)


Old
Trying to eliminate others variables to isolate Gnome-3 vs Gnome-2 comparison I've downloaded Lubuntu 11.04 and Lubuntu 11.10 alpha-3. (Here comes another problem: is it fair to compare an alpha software with a premium software? Later I will come back to this point.)

I created a virtual machine with VirtualBox then run both Operating Systems with virtual Live CD.

Then I opened a terminal and type uname -a to see some information:

11.04

enter image description here

Oneiric Ocelot

enter image description here

Then I use the command top to see the running processes and memory usage:

11.04

enter image description here

Oneiric Ocelot

enter image description here

The graphical monitor:

11.04

enter image description here

Oneiric Ocelot

enter image description here

At last I opened in this sequence: Chromium, Archive Manager, Abiword, Gnome MPlayer.

11.04

enter image description here

Oneiric Ocelot

enter image description here

So we can see that Oneiric with LXDE is using less cpu and less memory even at an alpha version. I'm happily surprised here. But after all things are as they should be: evolving for the better.

Hopefully this can ease the intuitive belief that Gnome is getting heavier. (Became heavier is the natural evolution of others systems, not here ;-) )

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I love this test you did. Really awesome. –  user6658 Aug 27 '11 at 4:50
1  
Thank you very much. –  desgua Aug 27 '11 at 10:07
    
Not the same thing but finally Phoronix has made some benchmarks: phoronix.com/… –  desgua Sep 27 '11 at 12:41
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GNOME3 is currently unsupported in Ubuntu 11.04 (at the moment). And like GNOME, it is not the lightest Desktop Environment. It will break things :P If you need a lighter desktop environment, XFCE or LXDE (or whatever the acronym is) are two of the lightest Desktop environments that work at the moment. In future, GNOME3 may be released as stable, but for now I don't recommend using it (because it doesn't at all increase performance - rather it breaks your system)

EDIT
GNOME3 will ship with 11.10, however as I stated, it will not be light. It'll be relatively heavy on your system.

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Thank you very much. But gnome 3 should arrive at Ubuntu 11.10 shouldn't it? And I'm wondering how it compares with its antecessor. –  desgua Aug 22 '11 at 14:51
    
Gnome3 is used by default in 11.10. You should specify that so people don't think Gnome3 is unstable. It just isn't compatible with Ubuntu before 11.10. –  Jo-Erlend Schinstad Aug 22 '11 at 15:03
    
You all realize you're able to edit my post and then i can review the edit later and accept/change it, right? –  Thomas W. Aug 22 '11 at 15:21
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Gnome 3 is heavier, slower, and less-functional. But Ubuntu will use Unity as its default shell.

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Well, but Unity will run at Gnome 3. I'm thinking Gnome 3 vs Gnome 2, not Unity vs Shell. –  desgua Aug 22 '11 at 15:50
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