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Office Suite Evaluation: Resources

Please see the earlier discussion of double counting memory. Sizes are given in megabytes. The installed size is as reported by the package in the distro, not be actually counting files on my disc. The virtual size is the sum of the virtual memory commitments of all common components of the desktop suite, such as the window manager and object broker. The resident set size refers to the memory that is referred to frequently enough to be tagged by the kernel's memory management subsystem. If there is not enough physical memory to hold it (i.e. some has to be swapped out), it will radically slow down the program, whereas if initialization code and rarely used subroutines are deleted from memory, there will be little effect on execution speed. Desktop suites generally have large shared libraries which are counted once in each process, so the reported virtual and RS sizes are overestimates.
Suite Installed Virtual Resident
OpenOffice.org 197 114-126 43-53
KDE 230 812 255
Gnome 55 135 71
fvwm2 5 19.9 8.8

Memory use for fvwm2 includes the clock and xexit, which are included in the main package for the desktop suites. OpenOffice.org memory usage is typical for the program itself, exclusive of the window manager and its sub-processes.

Conclusion: Can you say oinkware? KDE is incredibly large. Gnome is far from svelte, but is a lot smaller than KDE. OpenOffice.org is a bit smaller than Gnome, but it is only one application, not a whole desktop management system. fvwm2 is a factor of 10 smaller than Gnome, but of course it does not provide the infrastructure services that the suite managers do.

If we let our users run KDE on a multi-user machine, it will be out of swap space in short order. Gnome is not quite as bad, but we should encourage the use of fvwm2 by improving the menus we offer and the systemwide default xsession.

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