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Lecture: Lightweight KDE

Making Modularity and Configurability Work For Us, Not Against Us


KDE is perennially criticised for being excessively configurable and modular. Lightweight desktop environments are currently popular. Lightweight KDE addresses this trend by exploiting these characteristics instead of reinventing the wheel.

Since the end of the 2-desktop consensus that existed around KDE 3 and GNOME 2, many disaffected users have questioned the need for a full-feature desktop environment and have begun using lightweight environments. These typically have a just-enough feature set and approach to configuration possibilities, and achieve these by having been developed from scratch. A lightweight desktop is also of interest for enterprise deployments to manage the scope of maintenance and user support.

At the same time, the major criticisms levelled at KDE 4 are that it is excessively configurable, has nested abstraction layers and loose coupling at every opportunity, and is bloated as a result.

This presents an interesting experiment to try to exploit KDE's modularity and tweakability by cutting down a full feature desktop to the lightweight desktop size, while retaining the ability to use additional components from the full feature set as needed. In addition, a lightweight subset constructed from a whole KDE offers better integration and scope for reuse the combination of separately developed components used by competitors.

This talk shows how we applied years of Linux distribution experience to approach this challenge by examining startup time and different session initialization methods including startkde, systemd, and systemk, as well as runtime footprint, installation footprint and number of dependencies. We present metrics of the different scenarios.


Day: 2013-07-13
Start time: 14:30
Duration: 00:30
Track: New Ideas



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