The title says it all actually. There might be one or two KDE apps that I might prefer to the Gnome alternative.

  • I'm not afraid of having to install many KDE packages (libs, etc.) which might take considerable amount of disk space.
  • I'm not afraid of having to use some additional packages (libs, etc.), probably meaning more CPU load and/or memory usage than its Gnome equivalent, when that application is running either.
  • But I'm afraid installing a KDE application might entail some KDE software constantly being loaded and running in the background every time Ubuntu starts, even when that application is not being used.

So, I will very much appreciate an answer from people who really know and who really have experience on this subject.


Short answer: NO.

  • Unless you load a KDE application, libs will not be loaded, nothing will run.
  • Even if you load KDE applications, the rest like Nepomuk won't run. So basically that means no extra load.
  • Only kdelibs get loaded most of the time. No plasma, no plasmoids, no stuff like that.
  • If you start a KDE application AT startup, then the boot will be of course, longer. As Ubuntu will have to load the kdelibs just to run your application. (How longer? Depends on your storage speed.)
  • There will be no overhead or CPU load increase because you run KDE apps. They will run just as fast as they would run under KDE. You might want to check "systemsettings" and "qt4-qtconfig" though, to set up a lightweight theme/disable animations, and so on.
  • Loading up Kate gave me ~80MB more memory usage. Closing it dropped this to 40MB. Applying the manual drop cache gave back all the memory.

You guys were right. Kdeinit4 indeed stays in memory.
To read about it, check man kdeinit4.

There is a way to kill it to free up every last bit of memory.
It eats no CPU though. Idles with a ~40MB of memory usage.

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    Thank you very much for the clarity of your answer, except perhaps one little point: "Only kdelibs get loaded most of the time" ;-) Can you please clarify this a little bit more? Will some "kdelibs get loaded most of the time" only when that KDE app is running or even when it's not running, which contradicts with the items above. – Sadi Apr 22 '13 at 14:34
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    Only when KDE app is loaded. The easiest way to see this effect, is to open a Fluxbox, or Openbox. Run a KDE app there. You will see that overhead first time. But that overhead appears for even Gtk apps too for the first time. The system needs to fetch the libs into memory. (Unless you drop your cache, or it gets emptied, next time they will open snappy. Why you can't see this on Unity? Because it's GTK. Your apps are GTK. It gets loaded, and apps just use it. It never goes out of memory, thus never get to load again.) – Shiki Apr 22 '13 at 14:36
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    @Shiki When I start Dolphin or any other KDE app for that matter I'm always left with a number of KDE related processes (krunner, etc.) that seem to persist even after the app is closed. So I wonder, how does this "manual drop cache" you talk about work? I would really love to know. Thanks! – Glutanimate Apr 22 '13 at 16:41
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    Okay I'll check this one out. Manual drop is: 1) sudo su 2) sync 3) echo 3 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches – Shiki Apr 22 '13 at 16:44
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    @Sadi: You could do that. But to be honest, I wouldn't even care. It's not eating that much, and heck, if you can run Unity at all, KDE's kdeinit4 won't hurt your performance a bit. – Shiki Apr 22 '13 at 17:46

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