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GNOME 3 on my Eee PC 1000

Yesterday, I admitted that I got it wrong about GNOME 3 (it really is very nice). I think my admission came as a surprise to some people, I know it came as a surprise to me.

Why did it come as a surprise? Because I was holding on to the misconception that GNOME is sluggish and resource intensive. I am not sure where or when I came to this conclusion, but it simply is not true. This last week, I have found that it performs very nicely and it has been flying along on my machines.

I don’t know how widely my previous misconception is shared amongst non GNOME users, but I have certainly heard it said by others before. As a case in point, yesterday, after stating that I was thinking about trying GNOME on a less powerful system, jotapesse commented:

I would very much like to know the performance you get from an Intel Atom machine (like your EeePC 1000) as I work with 2 of them (EeePC 1000H and an EeeBoxPC 1501P) with Xfce 4.10 (with window composition enabled) wonderfully. I don’t expect Gnome3 to work satisfactorily… am I wrong?

So, this morning, I installed it on my old Eee PC 1000 and the results surprised me again. It performs just fine, in fact, I might be stating the obvious, but GNOME Shell works really well on the small screen format. In the couple of hours that I used it, the only noticeable difference that I could perceive was that the window animations were not quite as smooth as they are on my more powerful systems. Still, nothing critical and certainly not enough to put me off using it.

Now, I don’t have any real metrics to back this up, but, I would say that it performs as well as any Openbox or Xfce set-up that I have previously used on my Eee PC. Surprised? I was.

Tagged with: gnome, gnome-shell, linux

13 responses to “GNOME 3 on my Eee PC 1000”

  • Todd S. Todd S. on,
    Sep 13, 2012 (about 1 year ago)

    Does this mean that #! after Waldorf might ship with Gnome3 instead of Openbox as default UI?

  • corenominal corenominal on,
    Sep 13, 2012 (about 1 year ago)

    @Todd, no. I don’t really see a need, it works pretty well as is on Debian. Also, it might be worth remembering that when I started working on #!, there wasn’t a version of Ubuntu or Debian that shipped with Openbox as default (they both now offer LXDE flavours). This is not the case with GNOME.

  • jpope jpope on,
    Sep 13, 2012 (about 1 year ago)

    Let’s keep the surprising/crazy talk going here. On my EeePC, I’ve somewhat recently revisited GNOME as well and most likely due to needing a bunch of extensions just to be happy with it, it ran like crap. But the really crazy thing is, KDE ran great. Plus the change in workflow is minimal with KDE as compared to Gnome3 for me. KDE running better than Gnome? Yes, it’s crazy.

    But, the times I’ve run Gnome for a while, it usually starts off running good and as time progresses, slows down more and more.

    Of course, with everything Linux, YMMV. :-)

    Side note: Glad to see you posting again. ;-)

  • corenominal corenominal on,
    Sep 13, 2012 (about 1 year ago)

    @jpope, I’m finding the whole extension business quite interesting. I have definitely seen some interesting ones, but currently I’m only using 2 or 3 at most, and they seem quite trivial at that. For the most part, I am running a stock GNOME Shell experience. How much of “it ran like crap” do you think can be attributed the extensions you were using? So far, the only crash I have experienced was due an extension :-/

    Of course, with everything Linux, YMMV. :-)

    Naturally :)

    Side note: Glad to see you posting again. ;-)

    Thanks, buddy. I have missed writing nonsense :D

  • jotapesse jotapesse on,
    Sep 14, 2012 (about 1 year ago)

    corenominal, Thanks for your Eee performance post.

    Now, I don’t have any real metrics to back this up, but, I would say that it performs as well as any Openbox or Xfce set-up that I have previously used on my Eee PC. Surprised? I was.

    I’ll have to believe you but I must say I really find it hard to believe. I guess I’ll have to try and see for myself. Anyway, thanks! I look forward reading more about your Gnome3 incursion.

  • corenominal corenominal on,
    Sep 14, 2012 (about 1 year ago)

    @jotapesse, sorry my post was not very scientific, if I had more time to play with this, I would look into running some benchmarking tests. Truth be told, I rarely use my Eee PC as the battery does not hold any charge. The only time I tend to use it is when I take it camping and my requirements for this are quite light:

    • email via the browser
    • light web browsing
    • terminal for emergency shell sessions
    • music/radio/podcast playback in the mornings
    • video playback in the evenings

    My only concern/doubt with the above was the video playback, but it seems to be fine. Also, something worth considering is that I only used the machine for a few hours yesterday morning, I think a longer test/evaluation period is probably needed, before I can really give GNOME the thumbs up on my Eee PC :)

  • jpope jpope on,
    Sep 16, 2012 (about 1 year ago)

    I can certainly say that a few of the extensions did drag down performance some. The Axe menu was one that would cause some hesitation at times. Most of the others though, didn’t seem to have much of an effect on their own. Very well could be that some were conflicting. :(

    None the less, the Gnome3 is progressing nicely from it’s initial release. I’ll most likely be visiting it again sometime. ;)

  • dtigue dtigue on,
    Sep 19, 2012 (about 1 year ago)

    I seriously doubt that the EeePC performed as well with Gnome3 as it does with OpenBox. I think if you were to look in to the system usage you would see that as well. With Gnome3 I think it would start to run a bit sluggish if you were to have many different applications running at the same time, while OpenBox would still chug along like nothing had happened. This has got to be the case, I use openbox on my laptops and desktops at home and I use Gnome3 Shell, and Unity on my work computers. My work computers are a good bit faster than my personal machines and I know head to head I can open up more applications on my openbox machines than I can on my work machines before noticing the system starting to feel sluggish. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it didn’t sound like you really tested the performance of Gnome3 on your EeePC, as far as seeing how many different types of applications you could open before the system started to feel sluggish.

  • corenominal corenominal on,
    Sep 19, 2012 (about 1 year ago)

    @dtigue, I had previously stated:

    I think a longer test/evaluation period is probably needed, before I can really give GNOME the thumbs up on my Eee PC.

    If I had the time, I would definitely attempt to run some benchmarks and publish the results.

  • SabreWolfy SabreWolfy on,
    Oct 5, 2012 (about 1 year ago)

    @corenominal: What kind of load was the machine under while running GNOME 3? I did a Wheezy netinstall on my Acer Aspire One D250 (Atom with 1GB RAM) and then added a range of WM/DEs. I’m running in GNOME 3 now. It’s quite responsive and works fine, but top shows the machine is churning at a load average of well over 1. I have Chromium open with two static pages, Emacs with a smallish file, terminator doing nothing and two PDF’s open in evince. Xorg and gnome-shell processes seem to be responsible. Maybe this is normal? Using ~400MB RAM. I’m on AC power now, but with a load average this high, battery life on this netbook would be a joke.

  • corenominal corenominal on,
    Oct 5, 2012 (about 1 year ago)

    @SabreWolfy, honestly, I cannot remember. I would boot it and check, but I used the Eee to test the lastest CrunchBang images. Sorry.

  • SabreWolfy SabreWolfy on,
    Oct 5, 2012 (about 1 year ago)

    ^ No worries. Idling usage is now ~0.75, but the moment I start using the machine again, it goes to over 1.

    I share your feelings about GNOME 3. Initially, I was quite dismissive of it, but after having spent some time with it (not a lot, I’ll admit, but some time — and time spent actually trying to get work done), I can also see the potential it has. I quite like the styling and look and feel. Certainly, if I were forced to choose between GNOME 3, Unity or KDE4, I’d go with GNOME 3 :)

  • corenominal corenominal on,
    Oct 5, 2012 (about 1 year ago)

    Certainly, if I were forced to choose between GNOME 3, Unity or KDE4, I’d go with GNOME 3 :)

    Agreed, no competition.

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