Looking at htop I notice that most of my memory is sucked up in graphics-intensive desktop applications (surprise). Here are the big memory killers I’m going to address:
- Browser* – 1.2GiB
- compiz – 225MiB
- X – 175MiB
- spotify – 113MiB
*I’ve recently switched to Opera Developer for performance reasons.
4 gibibytes of RAM depleted within an hour of using Ubuntu
The window manager & graphics server take up 400 MiB of RAM combined just by themselves. Reducing the use of windowed applications kills two birds with one stone: less load on the window and composition manager and lower # of SO’s in memory interfacing with X.
The alternative command line work flow
- tmux – Rather than opening multiple terminal windows. I use Guake as an omni-present terminal.
- gcalcli – Instead of leaving the Google Calendar tab open. ccal and pal are good alternatives.
- despotify – Replaces the resource-hungry Linux Spotify client.
- vim/emacs – RedNotebook is a great lightweight desktop journaling application, but I still find it preferable to maintain a personal journal using vim.
- mutt with offlineimap – Mutt and offlineimap for email make a great team. Backing up and archiving all your email using this configuration can be automated with one or two line scripts. Side note: Linus himself uses pine for email.
- bitlbee & weechat – Bitlbee acts as an IRC server, fully managing all of your chat accounts including Google talk (hangouts), Facebook and Twitter. weechat is then used to connect to your bitlbee server. I found this combination yields the smallest returns on performance but it is an important part of my work flow.
- elinks – Lightweight cli browser.
- sc – Great for doing simple spreadsheets and calculations without having to load LibreOffice.
There was an order of magnitude gains in memory usage here. I can run all of these at once and the system’s overall response is still much snappier. If you’re comfortable using the command line I will always suggest test-driving CLI alternatives for your favorite applications.