Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ubuntu distros: RAM & CPU usage of Ubuntu, Xubuntu, Kubuntu & Lubuntu

An interesting suggestion came for comparing the RAM & CPU usage of the four Linux sisters: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, Kubuntu 12.04 LTS, Xubuntu 12.04 LTS & Lubuntu 12.04 LTS.

As mentioned in my previous post, Ubuntu seemed to be the most taxing on CPU & RAM whereas Lubuntu seemed to be the least. The same results are validated when I booted each of them from pen drive and checked the RAM & CPU usage.

Distro Xubuntu 12.04 LTS Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Kubuntu 12.04 LTS Lubuntu 12.04 LTS
CPU Usage 6%-10% 17%-18% 3%-10% 1%-11%
RAM Usage 130 MiB 340 MiB 235 MiB 126 MiB

In nutshell, Lubuntu uses least RAM and CPU. Xubuntu is very close to Lubuntu. Kubuntu lies somewhere in the middle with about 235 MiB RAM usage and Ubuntu, of course, with the effects of Unity (2D here) and other graphics, uses about 50% more RAM than Kubuntu.

Limitations: All these are without any programs running and booted from pen drive. After installation and updating, the actual RAM & CPU usage may be slightly higher.


One additional comment: Please check my review on Linux Mint 13 LTS with Gnome 2 before deciding on what distro you would like to install.

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin: The HUD effect

To begin with, I won't go into much of technical nitty gritty - you can check it from the ubuntu website itself.

My blog is from end user perspective. I'll share some cool screen shots of ubuntu and highlight the essential improvement ubuntu has made in it's cool new distro.

Unity interface was bad in Ubuntu 11.10 to be honest and I didn't like it at all. I preferred staying back with Ubuntu Natty 11.04 which I thought was the best Ubuntu distro released. Till I came across Ubuntu Precise.

Unity looks really good in Precise and doesn't feel heavy (like I felt while installing 11.10). Menu is redefined like 11.10 which many users didn't like.
Agreed it may be unsettling initially but once you get used to it, the left side tool bar and the new menu option is quite handy, especially if you have installed too many programs.

Bundled Softwares

AisleRiot Solitaire
FreeCell Solitaire
Mahjongg Mines

Document Viewer
Image Viewer
LibreOffice Draw
Shotwell Photo Manager
Simple Scan

Desktop Sharing

Brasero Disc Burner
Movie Player
Sound Recorder

Document Viewer

New Features

  • HUD
  • Video Lens
  • Linux Kernel 3.2.*
  • UbuntuOne with a control panel

I have kept HUD at the very last intentionally. HUD is really futuristic.

Regular Features

Firefox 12.0 is the default browser but you can download Chrome from Ubuntu Software Center.

Adobe Flash is not installed by default but you can download either from Software center or from the Adobe website itself.  Similarly some handy internet tools like Skype, photoshop softwares like Gimp, etc. needs to be downloaded after installation.

Office productivity suite is LibreOffice and after using Office 2010 in my work computer and the amount of time wasted in opening and saving a document, I prefer LibreOffice more than Office 2010. Functionality and productivity options are same in both, you can automate both using VBA; but LibreOffice is very fast, loads within seconds and is easier to use. Now you can save your documents in LibreOffice format and open in Office 2010 as well!

LibreOffice has Writer (like Word), Calc (like Excel), Impress (like Powerpoint) and Base (Access) along with Draw (somewhat like visio). All in all, a complete office suite. No need for anything else.

For viewing media, however, I don't like the default player. VLC is my preferred choice and you can download VLC from Software Center or directly from website. VLC plays any and every kind of media.

Instant messenger softwares are in abundance for Ubuntu and you can choose between pidgin or empathy. Gwibber is a good Facebook & Twitter client and Thunderbird is a really good email client.

Functionality-wise Ubuntu always has been a complete package. Coming on to the eye-candy part - Ubuntu too is in the Apple mode. Like Mac OS X has a docky, the side bar has similar functionality. You can put your most commonly used programs there. Plus all open programs would be visible there.

Some linux experts simply hate Unity. But users like me, whose Windows desktop would always be full of shortcuts, definitely dig this idea. Instead of going through a long list of menu, the Unity side bar kind of helps increasing efficiency.

I like Ubuntu 12.04 LTS for it's cool transparent looks and Ubuntu has created a new identity from a boring linux desktop (of course, you can make it look like anything, from Mac to Windows, like I made my 11.04 desktop look like a Mac) to a true competitor to Mac and Windows - it has come a long way. And in HUD, it has surpassed it's competition.

Now I guess Ubuntu can capture some market share from Linux Mint :).

All the results shown above are after booting from a pen drive. Now I am installing Ubuntu Precise to my desktop. Already my Asus Eee PC 1101HA, from which I am typing this entry, has Xubuntu 12.04 LTS and it is the fastest OS I ever had on my netbook. Why I installed Xubuntu? I wanted to try it and I wanted something less resource intensive. That's it!

Once I install Precise to my PC, I'll update this blog entry - hopefully tomorrow.

HUD, finally

28th April 2012, 12:45 PM IST:
Ubuntu is installed to my system, without any hassles. Only I had to blacklist poulsbo. It connected to my earthlink broadband without any problem and downloaded some 400 mb updates with new linux kernel.

I am unable to run Unity 3D due to system limitation but Unity 2D gives pretty decent performance. Of course, I have installed xubuntu-desktop as an additional backup.

The best thing I like about Precise is HUD. Going away from the standard menu that we see across all OSs and coming up with something so different is absolutely path-breaking. I hope I'll come to see more on this line in future versions.

All in all, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS is a neat distro which can take on any operating system in the world with it's path-breaking Unity and HUD. Kudos to the developers for coming up with such a refined OS.

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ubuntu 12.04 vs Xubuntu 12.04 vs Kubuntu 12.04 vs Lubuntu 12.04: Results

Check out also my latest comparison:

As mentioned in my previous post, tonight I tested all the Ubuntu sisters on my PC from pen drive. Specifications of my HP PC are:

Processor: 2.4 Ghz Pentium 4, single core
Build: 2003

A tabular view of the results is given below:

Distro Xubuntu 12.04 LTS Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Kubuntu 12.04 LTS Lubuntu 12.04
Booting Time 5 min. 7 min. 7 min. 3 min.
Speed Immediately loads and fast Initially hangs but fast once loaded Initially hangs but fast once loaded Immediately loads and superfast
Feel Light, less RAM intensive and
requires very little RAM to run
CPU: 6-10%
RAM: 130 MiB
Moderate, requires higher RAM to run
CPU: 17-18%
RAM: 340 MiB
Light, requires RAM lower than Ubuntu but higher
than Xubuntu or Lubuntu
CPU: 3-10%
RAM: 235 MiB
Very light and requires the least RAM
CPU: 1-11%
RAM: 126 MiB

Desktop XFCE Unity KDE LXDE

Adobe Flash
Adobe Flash inbuilt Flash needs to be installed Flash needs to be installed Flash needs to be installed
Ease of Use Easy even for entry level Easy Difficult for Entry Level, mostly for Geeks
 but highly functional
Easy even for entry level
Eye candy Factor Less but looks good Real eye candy Eye candy Minimalistic but looks good
Extra software required Skype
Adobe Flash
Adobe Flash
Adobe Flash

LAN/Wifi Immediate Immediate Immediate Immediate

Lubuntu & Xubuntu are the lightest using around 130 MiB of RAM whereas Ubuntu uses about 3 times more and Kubuntu two times more. I posted a detailed comparison at

Screenshots of each distro is given below. Remember, these are from as-it-is distros and not a single change is from my side. A short review for each, without going into technical nitty-gritty (which you can get from the respective websites, as hyperlinked below), along with the pictures to tell an end-user's story:

Xubuntu 12.04 LTS:

Looks like a typical linux distro, based on extremely light XFCE desktop and super fast. Those who have low RAM old systems, Xubuntu is for them. Also, those who hate Unity, Xubuntu can be a viable option for them. It comes with Adobe Flash & GIMP pre-installed, which is good. I installed Libreoffice along with Abiword and Gnumeric as Libreoffice offers more functionality. Repository wise no worry - all the Ubuntu softwares are available here.

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

As usual the best looking linux distro and now the Unity interface has really improved and become fast. It is the most complete linux distro I have ever seen, although a bit on the heavier side than the other three in comparison here. A lot of new functionalities have been added, which I'll cover in a later post.

Kubuntu 12.04 LTS

A distro for the KDE lovers! Although a bit geeky but amazingly good looking distro. Those who prefer Windows XP would definitely like it. Software list is more-or-less complete and definitely lighter than Ubuntu. But I felt, it is slightly heavier than Xubuntu though almost equally fast on my low resource system.

Lubuntu 12.04

Lightest and fastest of them all. Unfortunately, it is not an LTS, as John pointed out in the comments section. That means, no 3 or 5 years support for it but only 18 months of support, just like a regular release. But, if you have a low resource computer, Lubuntu is perfect for you. It is more-or-less rich in pre-loaded softwares and you can install what-ever softwares you like from the Ubuntu repository. I have a 2003 P-4 1GB DDR RAM running on Lubuntu 12.04 without any hassles.


Who's the winner? It depends. If you have an old, low resource computer (512 mb RAM, less than 1.5 Ghz processor), possibly Lubuntu and Xubuntu will win hands down.

If you have a modern computer, Ubuntu and Kubuntu would be the preferred distro. If you like eye-candies Ubuntu is a sure-shot choice. If you like functionality more and is a linux purist, one would prefer Kubuntu.

In essence, what I saw all the distros are really damn good. Much refined than 11.10 versions which came out. Somehow, I didn't like the 11.10 versions and felt that they were released somewhat uncooked with a lot of bugs. Especially Unity was a real pain and forced me to stick to Ubuntu Natty (11.04). Now, I guess it's the time for a change and 5 years of support from Canonical is too tempting to resist. I'll install either one of these four tomorrow evening.

I have decided which one to install - first Ubuntu, if unsuccessful - Xubuntu! My choice :).

Jun 11, 2012:

Please check my posts on Linux Mint, Bodhi Linux and Debian Squeeze as well before you decide which OS to install.

Oct 21, 2012:

Check out the comparison between Ubuntu 12.10 vs Kubuntu 12.10 vs Xubuntu 12.10 vs Lubuntu 12.10.

Read more!

Linux 12.04 LTS adventure tonight: Ubuntu, Xubuntu & Kubuntu

Tonight I am trying out Ubuntu, Xubuntu and Kubuntu 12.04 LTS on my desktop. These are the beta2 versions. I am narrowing down on what distro to install in my HP 2003 era desktop with 1 GB DDR RAM and 2.4 Ghz Pentium 4 processor. It still has enough life to pull off the modern linux OSs.

Already, as mentioned in my previous blog post, I have installed Xubuntu 12.04 LTS in my Asus Eee PC 1101HA and it works like a charm there. Possibly I won't install Xubuntu again in my desktop, just for variety. But if Ubuntu Precise is too much for it I'll install Xubuntu. I am not considering Lubuntu as I feel it is kind of a stripped down version and perhaps I need more from the OS I install.

Wait for my review with splendid screenshots from each distro. The two 4 GB Sony pendrives which I bought recently from Flipkart will come handy tonight :).

Read more!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

[SOLVED] Precise Pangolin: Asus eee PC Issue with GMD500 & display problem with half screen display

For quite sometime I was trying to load Ubuntu 12.04 LTS beta1 and beta2 to my Asus Eee PC 1101HA with 1.34 Ghz Intel Atom processor and 1 GB DDR3 RAM. Somehow the distro would get installed but not boot to a GUI due to GMD500.

Either it won't  load or even if it loads the display would be half the screen.

Finally I found a way to get around. Once the black screen comes press Ctrl - Alt - F2, it will go to the terminal boot. Enter your login and password.

What we need to do now is edit grub. Write

sudo nano /etc/default/grub

It will open the grub to edit.

Change the line -



GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="poulsbo.blacklist=yes console=tty1"

Press Ctrl+x to exit and Y to save the change.

Type in terminal

sudo update-grub

 Grub would be updated in a minute and then type

sudo reboot

to restart.

Now the GUI would appear without any pain and Ubuntu 12.04 would run smoothly on your Asus laptop.

The same solution works for other systems with GMD500.

Below is a screenshot of Xubuntu 12.04 on my 1101HA.

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