I really have this feeling that after changing the theme on my Ubuntu (10.10 - but it also happened on a different version) the system is much quicker, or to say more precisely, the system is not loaded anymore. Maybe it's just a feeling and nothing more but I hope that I'm not the only one seeing this!

  • 2
    Mention your original theme and the current one.
    – Oxwivi
    Mar 9 '11 at 19:25
  • Before had the Dust theme and now Elementary.
    – vasiauvi
    Mar 9 '11 at 20:38

It is certainly possible, some GTK engines/themes render faster than others.

You can test this yourself using the benchmarking software GtkPerf.

  1. Install the package gtkperf

    sudo apt-get install gtkperf
  2. Open it Applications ➜ System Tools ➜ GtkPerf:

    enter image description here

  3. Click Start and sit back while it does its tests:

    enter image description here

    The results will be listed in the first tab.

  4. Switch to a different theme and then run it again. Compare the results with the first theme. Personally, I ran this test on Elementary and Ambiance, and the former ran the test about 2 seconds faster, your results may vary.

  • (not related to changing themes).. I get a non-linear result for "Add text"... It takes 100 times longer when testing 5000 itterations, vs 500 (for "Add text" only): GtkTextView - Add text - time: 1478.43 vs 14.69 ... I wonder if this is GTK itslef, or GtkPerf .... come to think of it, it may be because it is "redrawing" or handling the entire expanding buffer and not just the displayed section.....
    – Peter.O
    Mar 10 '11 at 1:39

The theme does change the redraw rate because a theme could have (maybe) a blurred background-frame (like in Windows Vista). This would require a lot more CPU. Maybe it might have a gradient for a background and it would have to redraw that every-time you move or resize a window, change it's content. I'm not 100% sure but I believe that would be the cause.

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