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9. Performance Considerations

As has been discussed, what we call X, is actually a convergence of various components: X server, Window Manager, Desktop, etc. With MS Windows, the GUI desktop is tightly integrated with the operating system itself. This is not the case in Linux which follows the Unix tradition of combining various independent components to achieve some end result. So we have choices with each component and it's attendant configuration and implementation. In short, much flexibility. This is where you come in. You can try various possibilities and decide what you gives you the most bang for the buck.

On low end hardware, this gives us much latitude to decrease the demand on available system resources. This is good because, if given the opportunity, X can be quite greedy with system resources. If you've recently installed a new Linux distribution, you've probably been given a default Desktop with many bells and whistles. And something that will probably need a fair amount of memory and CPU to achieve a reasonable level of performance. If you have the horse power, this should not be a problem.

It is often said that Linux functions very well with relatively little memory. This is true to a point. It does not mean though that every possible configuration will run with low memory. So if you want to use memory hungry applications, then you will have to have the memory. Or you will have to make sacrifices to achieve a satisfactory level of performance. It is quite possible to run X with reasonable performance on 16 Meg of RAM, and even less if you really want to push it. But you would have to live with some real limitations.

Let's look at some of the components and ways to decrease the demand on system resources, in case you are at the low end on hardware, or performance is not up to expectations.

9.1. Hardware

9.2. Memory

The more memory, the better. X will do a lot caching to help performance. But caching requires memory, and if there isn't much to start with, then we would need to reduce memory requirements. Some tips for those with low memory or performance problems:

9.3. X over the Network

X is not particularly network friendly. In other words, it is a bandwidth hog. This should not be a problem in LAN situations, but may be if trying to use X over the Internet.

9.4. Other Tips

Other tips to eek out better performance:

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