retooling desktop setup again

Thought I would write out a few thoughts on stuff as I have been tweaking my desktop work environment.

I have been trying out Kupfer (install it yourself!). I have found it to be very stable and haven’t even encountered any bugs over the past couple months using it. I talked in a previous post about it being more light-weight than Gnome-Do. Well that seems to true …sometimes and depending on how you are using Do. In Docky mode Do gets a little heavier, and it uses more system memory after being open for a while, but so does Kupfer. The difference is probably less than 5 MB realistically. Do is still the prettier of the two by far, and has significantly more features, but Kupfer is catching up on plugins.

DockBarX is a nice tool that I found this week. It works very similarly to the new Windows 7 dock (which is actually very nice! ) It manages to be a very nice blend between launcher and task manager. The fact that it integrates into the Gnome Panel so well is a big advantage! Docks like AWN, Cairo, or Docky have to figure out some hiding, morphing into a panel like thing in order to not occupy to much screen real-estate, or getting so much functionality that the gnome panel can be removed. It is a bit heavier on system resources than I would have hoped – around the 22MB range. The combination of Kupfer and DockBarX is a really good one.  I think I prefer it to Gnome-Do with Docky. I can’t help wonder if they could be integrated together since they seem to touch so much of the same stuff.

I know some people and Linux distros want to avoid Mono applications. I suppose this would be an appealing solution to get some of the coolness that Gnome-Do brings in that case as well.

Update: I have been running with Compiz disabled lately. An upside to the dockbar/kupfer combo is, unlike GnomeDo or Docky, they don’t require compositing to work well. In addition they both run leaner (17-18 MB each) when compositing is disabled.

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moving past Gnome-Do docky

The past year or so I have had Gnome-Do in docky mode as a staple of my desktop environment. It beat out AWN and Cario for simplicity and stability, and I love the keyboard shortcuts it provides. The more I get used to actually using the core of Gnome-Do with its keyboard shortcuts the less I find myself actually utilizing the dock. When I upgraded to Karmic I decided I would try out going without and actually stumbled upon a more lightweight, less popular alternative to Gnome-Do called Kupfer.



Gnome-Do is pretty, and it works, what’s not to like? Well, it has always stuggled to open Nautilus for me, and occasionally it has just crashed. It crashes gracefully though, just isn’t there anymore, it doesn’t freeze anything and simply starting again is all it takes to solve this rare issue. Another down side it is a little heavy, eats about 28-35 MB of Ram according to my system monitor.It has way more features/plugins than I ever use.


Kupfer is simpler, not quite so nice looking (though not bad) and I haven’t had it fail yet. Nautilus opens fast. It can act as a file browser in itself, and even moving files around and using it as an application switcher seems to work slicker than Do did. It has a fair amount of plugins, many of the same basic ones that Do does. The one I am missing is a pastebin type thing. In Do I could highlight some code, trigger Do, type ‘sel’ for selected text, tab over, and pick ‘send to pastebin’, then it would put the URL in my clipboard. Slick! However, Kupfer runs from 9-12MB according to system monitor, so about one third of Do. There are tradeoffs both ways I guess. I am going to stick with it for a while on my work machines because I like the simplistic approach it takes, and how it encourages me to use the keyboard more and mouse less. It just feels more efficient.

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