Switched to XFCE

No posts lately because I have been busy rebuilding my primary desktop. I purchased a discounted OCZ 120GB SSD from 1dealaday.com, thinking that I would use it in my desktop. I spent some time slowly building up a system on another PC box that I have, getting everything just right; installing important applications, etc. I put three drives into the box (1) the SSD for root; (2) a 500GB mechanical drive for home and swap; (3) a 250GB mechanical drive for backup (yes, backup should be at least as large as home, but, I already had the drive). First I loaded Mint13 Xfce Maya amd64 onto the SSD, using various recommended fstab optimizations (noatime,discard,errors=remount-ro). Next I copied my most recent backup of home onto the the new 500GB drive. Next I modified /etc/fstab to mount home and swap on the 500GB mechanical drive. Finally, I moved tmp to a ram-drive for speed (tmpfs /tmp tmpfs defaults,noatime,mode=1777).

ecomer@bergamont ~ $ cat /etc/fstab
# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
# Use ‘blkid’ to print the universally unique identifier for a
# device; this may be used with UUID= as a more robust way to name devices
# that works even if disks are added and removed. See fstab(5).
# <file system> <mount point>   <type>  <options>       <dump>  <pass>
proc            /proc           proc    nodev,noexec,nosuid 0       0
tmpfs           /tmp            tmpfs   defaults,noatime,mode=1777  0   0
# / on /dev/sda1 the SSD
UUID=02ddc7f5-c6c7-4dae-8d99-c8af735adc9c /               ext4    noatime,discard,errors=remount-ro 0       1
# mount rotating drive sdb1 on 2nd drive as /home
UUID=809da98a-f8e3-48d7-afa0-e96ad9e27b7a /home           ext4    errors=remount-ro 0       1
# swap now mounted on rotating drive sdb3
UUID=3b7c6cef-46eb-40ab-9e77-e61e5f3bd883 swap            swap    defaults        0       0
# Mount 3rd drive as backup
UUID=f7199cf8-75fd-44eb-8a4c-03a55d6d5727 /mnt/backup     ext4    defaults        0       2

After installing important applications, etc., I removed the old drives from my old Mint-9 Gnome amd64 system and switched in the three drives that I had been working on, and booted up. Wow – talk about fast! Between the lighter weight Xfce window manager, the SSD root and the ramdrive tmp, my desktop became at least twice as fast as it used to be.

Screenshot of new XFCE Desktop

Screenshot of new XFCE Desktop

Lots of additional tweaking was necessary, due to some differences between Gnome and Xfce, but, as I write this, everything that I can find has been completed.

Why XFCE? Well, I tried Mint-13 Maya Cinnamon and even still have it on a laptop but, for my tastes, it was a bit clumsy. Xfce is lean, intuitive and, frankly, much more like my trusty old Mint-9 than was Mint-13 Gnome/Cinnamon. Ubuntu was out of the question – they have veered way too far into the tablet mode for me. I tested Fedora some on a laptop, in the form of Fuduntu, and really liked it, but it was different enough, in places, that I was occasionally lost and wishing that I had a Debian-based system instead. Many of the distros are way too focused on eye-candy. I just want to do work and have absolutely no need for cpu-robbing spinning cubes, wiggly folders and other eye candy.

Anyway, I am really loving XFCE – it is what a desktop should be – for me, at least.

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