Smoothwall Firewall project

Monday 31 October 2011

Using the lightweight Fedora LXDE desktop for snappier Virtual machines

While having a look at Fedora 16 beta within Virtualbox virtualization software, I decided to use a more lightweight desktop environment.

Over the last couple of years as hardware has improved the desktop systems that sit on top of X windows have started to become more complex and powerful, but as a side effect have become resource intensive, which is not ideal for virtual machines.

There are many great different types of lightweight desktop environments, but one that is now supported by all the main distributions is LXDE.

Fedora 16 installation was a breeze - though I recommend upgrading Virtualbox to version 4.1.4 before you start for better support.

The lighter desktop has indeed made a massive improvement over speed and repsonsiveness to the Gnome 3 shell I installed on the Fedora 15 image I tested.

The menus and layout my be a little legacy for some, and perhaps for everyday use, but when most of the time is spent in a terminal widow, that is not the end of the world.

Here is a snap of the initial machine once installed.

There are many new features in this release of Fedora, including the latest 3.1 kernel, deltarpms with presto , the use of systemd instead of the now very old SysV daemon management & control and the use of specifically locked ethernet hardware to configuration definitions - so you see p2p1 instead of eth0 for instance.

The final release is only a few days aways, and for people who like cutting edge open source software Fedora is a good choice.

Give it a try and see what you think.

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