Today I installed Buster, just for a giggle I chose desktop and got Gnome, shock and you guessed it horror!
First thing I did was add ps_mem to my nice clean system. I thought a before and after check would be smart.
I was a bit worried when I downloaded the iso, but figured if must have like 5 DE's for it to be so large at 3.7GB. I was interested to see if I was missing anything and if so what.
I chose not to add the non-free Wi-Fi driver as I have a cable, but it may have caused it to hang gdm on boot, I switched to another console and ran startx... bingo a desktop eventually
Then I realise I'm logged in as root? I thought that wasn't possible?
Anyway I kill the session log out and re-login as user using startx. Fired up Firefox but no connection! weird as network setting said I'm connected. restart Firefox and I'm on line. I add ps_mem. It shows 713MB just for the desktop and without gdm
Of course not having started gdm I couldn't log out of it. Just cancel, reboot and shutdown.
I reboot hangs again at starting gnome display manager something called init mac failed while trying to load the non existing firmware blob. I switch to root and run systemctl restart gdm3. It hangs leaving me with no tty access. Hard reboot. Same error. log into tty2 and end up using startx. I start a Firefox and LibreOffice and before you know it I'm using 1.2GB of ram. No wonder it's like wading through treacle. One thing I did discover was this pc is a "shuttle XPC XS36V" and even though it only has an external display the system see's it as a laptop with a built in display. I set it to the larger external display and all is dandy. Not that it helped GDM3.
Ignoring the login issues.
The interface is like a poor mans version of fittstool with skippy-xd (which I have setup but don't use as it's to cumbersome). Essentially if you use a mouse. You get much better application switching with plain old tint2 as the mouse movement is minimal and instant. If your going to just use a keyboard for switching seriously why would you use gnome?
I liked the clock in the middle of the screen after it logged me out! I didn't like how it logged me out without asking but suspect this could be changed.
Launching applications from the all section is criminally slow compared to a decent menu. The type launcher ridiculously slow compared to most type driven launchers like dmenu or runner. The hot spot launcher supersonically slow compared to fittstool on this same machine without gnome. Now if you have gobs of ram maybe you won't notice but what the heck is going on in the background for the same actions to be so much slower. Is there something you can switch off? Composting etc
My I propose a name change from Gnome to Slowme (slow-me frigging down)
Then I though while I'm here I'll try the other Desktops. KDE and XFCE
I ran software updates and cache refresh froze. Nothing xkill didn't fix
apt-get install xfce4 which offered me to switch from gdm3 the lightdm... I did
after a reboot I get lightdm \o/ select xfce and login I turnoff composting and get 405MB from ps_mem... much snappier useable even.
Rather weirdly icewm is seem as a meta package or so it seems adding xscreensaver?
down to 290MB with at least 80MB of cruft. Not quite the 62MB I get on my usual system with my nc10 and icewm but hey better than 1.2GB. Very usable and more importantly for me and my old hardware a quick desktop.
Comparing my usual desktop: with the most used applications.
Base:a wm (usually icewm or openbox), tint2, xdotool, fittstool, rox-filer, spacefm network: seamonkey, weechat, claws-mail, wicd-gtk, gftp graphics:geeqie, gimp, inkscape, blender editors:leafpad, adie, geany, libre-office multimedia:cplay, gogglesmm, mpv, transmission-gtk utils:lilytermm, thunar-bulkrename, arandr
Clearly if I needed a more streamlined desktop I could remove most of those applications and choose much lighter one's. So what the heck is going on with Gnome and what the heck is going on with Buster... I mean it's due to be stable....
I'm seriously not sure if gnome hates me or I hate it.. It's definitely getting better compared to the last time I tried it but just as well neither the two need meet