- 1 Installing XFCE Desktop
- 2 Use Gnumeric instead of OpenOffice Calc
- 3 Use Abiword instead of OpenOffice Writer
- 4 Use the Epiphany web browser instead of Firefox
- 5 Use the SeaMonkey internet suite instead of Firefox+Thunderbird/Evolution+Xchat
- 6 Optimizing Firefox
- 7 Installing Ubuntu on systems with minimal RAM
Installing XFCE Desktop
Some systems with lower memory configurations will be more responsive without the extra eye candy provided by the Gnome interface. To install XFCE, a lightweight alternative to Gnome:
- Make sure the Universe repository is enabled (see AddingRepositoriesHowto)
- Install the package xubuntu-desktop (see SynapticHowto)
- Once all the packages are successfully installed you may log out
- Select xfce from the Session option on the log in screen.
Enjoy your snappy new desktop interface! You can always choose Gnome again later through the Session option if you get a memory upgrade or decide you don't mind the boggy interface.
Currently XFCE has its own volume-manager so there is no need to use e.g. gnome-volume-manager. To make sure it is enabled:
- Open Thunar (xfce default file manager)
- Navigate to Edit - Preferences
- Click on Advanced Tab
- Select 'Enable Volume Manager'
- Optionally, click Configure for additional configuration
This will enable automatic mounting of devices such as USB drives, cdroms and cameras in /media/ and bring up an icon onto your desktop.
Use Gnumeric instead of OpenOffice Calc
Gnumeric is an accomplished spreadsheet package which loads in seconds and uses very little RAM. It can open files in Microsoft Excel (.XLS) and OpenDocument Spreadsheet (.ODS) formats, and can also save in Microsoft Excel format (saving in OpenDocument Spreadsheet support is not yet included). To get Gnumeric, install the package named gnumeric. You may also want to install the online help (gnumeric-doc) and various other of the complementary packages.
Use Abiword instead of OpenOffice Writer
Abiword is an fully-featured word processing package which, like Gnumeric, launches in a flash and uses very little RAM. It can both open and save files in Microsoft Word (.DOC) and OpenDocument Text (.ODT) formats, along with dozens of other formats. To get Abiword, install the package named abiword. You may also want to install the online help (abiword-help) and various other of the suggested complementary packages.
Use the Epiphany web browser instead of Firefox
If your system has 192 MB of RAM or less, the Epiphany web browser will probably give significantly better performance than Firefox. To get Epiphany, simply install the Ubuntu package named epiphany-browser. You may also want to install the epiphany-extensions package, which contains a handful of extensions including an ad-blocker. One thing to be aware of is that there are fewer extensions available for Epiphany than for Firefox, however Epiphany has lots of nice features including tagged bookmarks and support for Avahi to automatically discover certain web pages (such as those offered by modern networked printers).
Use the SeaMonkey internet suite instead of Firefox+Thunderbird/Evolution+Xchat
SeaMonkey is a Mozilla project, a fork of Mozilla Suite. It includes browser, mail client and the Chatzilla extension. It's more lightweight than specialized projects. To install it, go to its site and get the latest tarball of it. Unpack it and run ./seamonkey.
- The 'adblock' extension can make browsing particularly slow. You might have better results using a separate proxy server like Privoxy instead (available in the repositories)
- You can try using the mozilla.org build of Firefox instead of Ubuntu's version. For some reason, it is significantly faster. See FirefoxNewVersion.
- Limit the amount of memory used for caching as described at Simplehelp
Installing Ubuntu on systems with minimal RAM
For an even more bare-bones install, you may wish to refer to the following web pages.
- Low Memory SystemsInstallation/LowMemorySystems