Friday, May 16, 2008

A Better Update on Quad Core Xubuntu Performance

Looking over my recent posts I realized that I never really followed up that well with a report on Xubuntu on the Quad Core Dell. In short, it's working great! The thin clients load faster than ever and flash is responsive enough that kids are able to play their games after school, even if they still complain about the performance. Watching the system monitor for a while revealed what I judged to be adequate load balancing between the cores. All four of them were doing something all the time, and while one or another would max out occasionally, they seemed to trade off the job at pretty regular intervals. From everything I know, that was the expected results so I was happy.

Like I mentioned before, XFCE gives a little more control over the desktop and by logging on as each user I was able to unclick the "enable XFCE to manage the desktop" option which got rid of students' ability to change the desktop to some scantily clad Brittany Spears picture or something. Of course many of the students are smart enough to figure out how to undo this which is why I also installed Sabayon from the repositories and hid the "settings" option from the menu. This is a sophisticated enough solution that I think most students won't figure out how to undo it, but even if they did I could always use Sabayon to completely delete the taskbars and just have firefox start up when the user logs on.

All in all I'm very happy with Xubuntu. It does sacrifice a bit in usability when compared to GNOME. Some annoyances include some sacrifices in Firefox integration (pdf's don't open as smoothly when downloaded), and the mouse can't be clicked and dragged on the desktop to select multiple icons at one time. For the most part though, the experience is very similar to what I had with GNOME and regular Ubuntu. Now I just have to wait to get my Eee 900 (shipped today!) and experiment with eeeXubuntu a bit and see what I think. Cheers! -joe

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