David Gerard fun at
Fri Jan 21 02:47:37 PST 2005

Matthias Buelow (mkb at [050121 17:21]:
> David Gerard wrote:
> >So something around 500MHz will happily run Pango and the other
> >cutting-edge internationalisation stuff if you fill it with memory.
> My experience is that with a 500Mhz Pentium 3 (512K cache, 512mb RAM, 
> Matrox G450 AGP graphics), Gnome (2.6 tested) is unbearably slow.  A 
> large factor here is the Xft font rendering (Ok, you could use xterm 
> instead of gnome-terminal, or switch off antialiasing), which is 
> unaccelerated (at least was then), and _brutally_ slow.  If you run 
> something with copious output in gnome-terminal, it'll more or less lock 
> up the entire machine.  I don't normally use Gnome, but evaluated it on 
> that old machine for some reason that is of no interest here.  KDE is a 
> bit faster, don't know why, but seems to use more RAM.  IMHO you need at 
> least a 2.8 or 3GHz P-IV for that kind of desktop to get things to run 
> well, and, in my experience, raw CPU power here is the dominating 
> factor.

Hrmmm. OK, I was guessing on GNOME.

I have read that pango is grossly CPU-hungry, but that the project is
keenly aware of the problem. (But refuses to do the easy thing of special
optimisation for ISO-8859-1, specifically so that the international stuff
will actually get attention.) And that this is the big problem with Gnome

>  Of course these machines are still perfectly usable with 
> windowmaker, or fvwm, or similar.

That's why the underpowered Debian laptop uses twm with programs launched
from an xterm ;-)

- d.

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