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#1 2006-02-17 00:13:58

mac57
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From: St. Somewhere
Registered: 2006-01-06
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The Best Light and Fast Applications - 2006 LnF Awards

The mac57 2006 Light n Fast (LnF) Awards

No    red    carpets,    no    papparazzi,   no-one   groping   Scarlett
Johannsen...nope,  these  awards  are  a  little lower key, and a little
less  of a public spectacle. So, what are the Light n Fast Awards? Well,
two  years  ago  when  I  first  got  into Linux, I did so because I was
looking  for  a  lighter,  faster  alternative  to ever growing bloat of
Windows  and  its  applications.  As  I learned about and the n embraced
Linux,  I  found  a  lot of things, but I never found the light and fast
alternative  I  was  looking for. Even so, Linux was SO much better than
Windows  that  I  adopted  it as my new day-to-day computing environment
anyway.  In the back of my mind however, the wish for lighter and faster
never  went  away.  I  read  about  Arch  Linux  recently,  and suddenly
"lighter  and  faster"  was  back  front  and  center.  A  686 optimized
distribution  with  a  stated  philosophy ("the Arch way") of "light and
simple" would surely be the perfect platform for light and fast.

I  installed  Arch  Linux  0.7.1 (Noodle) and decided from the outset to
build  my  environment  around  around a "light and fast" theme, solidly
grounded  in the excellent performance of Arch itself. No KDE, no Gnome,
and  to  the  extent  possible,  no KDE or Gnome applications that would
require  their  respective  environment's hefty run time libraries to be
loaded.  I  have  been  successful  in my quest, and now have a wickedly
responsive  desktop  which  sports  all  the same capabilities I used to
have as a KDE user, but at a fraction of the CPU and memory cost.

The  LnF  Awards  then,  are  my ENTIRELY SUBJECTIVE nominations for the
applications  in  each  of the stated categories that provide 95% of the
needed  functionality  at  a  significantly  lower  CPU/memory cost than
their  heftier  KDE  and/or Gnome cousins. Without further ado, the 2006
LnF Awards:


System

Best LnF Linux Distro: Arch Linux: obvious, n'est pas?  :-)
Runner Up: Vector Linux 5.1. Similar approach, but not 686 optimized, needs better package management

Best LnF Desktop: XFCE4+Rox Desktop - everything you need, nothing you don't
Runner Up: IceWM+Rox Desktop

Best LnF GUI File Manager: Rox File Manager. All the file management you need, nice eye candy too
(note: Rox's default icon set is fairly plain - get yourself the Rox-noia set, very nice)
Runner Up 1: tuxcmd, a dual pane GTK-based file manager rather like a GUI version of mc.
Runner Up 2: XFileExplorer (xfe). Very nice, very fast Fox-based dual pane file manager.

Best LnF Console File Manager: Midnight Commander (mc). Hugely capable and a great FTP client too!
Runner Up: none - nothing in the same class!

Best LnF GUI Archive Manager: Xarchiver. Linux's WinZip. Excellent for peering inside those tarballs
Runner Up: none


Office

Best LnF Word Compatible Word Processor: AbiWord - Most of the features, none of the bloat
Runner Up: none - no obvious contenders

Best LnF Excel Compatible Spreadsheet:  gnumeric. Excellent compatibility, very fast
Runner Up: none - no obvious contenders

Best LnF Powerpoint Compatible Chartware: OO Impress. Neither fast nor light, but no alternatives!
Runner Up: none! No other programs even in this space.

Best LnF PDF Viewer: acroread. Not so light, not so fast, but it is the golden standard
Runner Up: XPDF - amazingly useful after all this time, and very fast


Graphics

Best LnF Image Viewer - feh. Very capable, very flexible, very fast
Runner Up 1: qiv. Not as many functions as feh, but an excellent and fast viewer
Runner Up 2: xv. Venerable image editor/viewer/manager still runs rings around many competitors
Honorable Mention: gqview. Very fast thumbnail oriented image viewer

Best LnF Image Editor - GIMP. Not really very fast or very light, but absolutely alone in its class
Runner Up: xv. Not in the same league, but a surprising array of very useful editing functions


Simple Text Editors (not optimized for programmers)

Best LnF GUI Text Editor: Nedit. Old school, but very, very capable, and very fast
Runner Up: Beaver. Very fast, very functional and some language support too

Best LnF Console Text Editor: VE. Tons of functionality, excellent user manual, tiny 70K executable
Runner Up: nano. The granddaddy of small editors, always a good choice


Multimedia

Best LnF Audio Mixer: qamix. It does it all with style and speed
Runner Up: aumix. Both console and GUI versions available

Best LnF Music Player: xmms. Does it all, takes only minimal screen space. No play lists though
Runner Up 1: wxMusik. An iTunes look-a-like that provides a lot of functionality
Runner Up 2: gtkpod. Play music from (and manages) your iPod

Best LnF Video Player: MPlayer. The king of linux video players. 'nuff said.
Runner Up: gxine.

Best LnF CD Burner: xcdroast - quirky interface but it does the trick. Who needs K3B anyway? :-)
Runner Up: none obvious

Best LnF CD Ripper: grip. An excellent, excellent package. You're probably using it now
Runner Up: ripperX


Web, Email, IM

Best LnF Web Browser: Firefox. Not really LnF, but  today's web demands complex browsers
Honorable Mention: dillo - very, very fast, but still quite lacking. Keep your eyes on it!

Best LnF GUI Email Agent: Thunderbird. Not LnF, but today's email demands complex agents
Runner Up: Sylpheed. Streamlined, very fast and quite capable

Best LnF Console Email Agent: pine. An amazing email agent that still packs a punch
Runner Up: mutt.

Best LnF IM Client: gaim - wonderful multi-protocol IM agent.
Runner Up: no obvious LnF contenders (Kopete is very good for KDE users tho...)


Voice Over IP Telephony - With Video (VoIP)

Best LnF VoIP Client: gnomemeeting. OK, its gnome, but like GIMP, its alone in its class
Runner Up: none. Let me know if you find one


That's  it  folks,  the  2006  LnF  Awards.  Hope  you enjoyed them. The
following  are  a  few  notes  on  the  availability of some of the less
widely distributed applications mentioned above.

xv  (image editor/viewer) is available from Arch's community repository,
and  from www.trilon.com/xv.

ve  (console  text  editor)  is available from www.campbellware.com. The
tarball  you  pick  up  there  contains  a 686 compiled binary that runs
beautifully on Arch.

qamix    (audio    mixer)    is    avaible    from    AUR    and    from
http://alsamodular.sourceforge.net.   If   you  have  any  other  distro
installed  elsewhere  that includes qamix you can probably just copy the
executable  to  Arch  and  have  it  work. I got my copy of qamix from a
SuSE-9.3  distro  that  I  had originally installed on my machine. Beats
building  from  source,  and the AUR version doesn't build - gets errors
and stops.

tuxcmd  (dual  pane  file  manager)  is  available from Arch's community
repository  and  from  tuxcmd.sourceforge.net.  It  is  distributed as a
binary, so just get, unpack and run. Very fast, very simple!

Xarchiver  (archive  manager)  is  a  very recent new application. It is
available  from  xarchiver.sourceforge.net.  The  tarball  you  get from
there builds cleanly under Arch 0.7.1 - no muss, no fuss.


Cast off the Microsoft shackles Jan 2005

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#2 2006-02-17 01:04:21

hotsauce
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From: Ann Arbor
Registered: 2005-12-28
Posts: 124

Re: The Best Light and Fast Applications - 2006 LnF Awards

I enjoyed this very much. Switched to Xarchiver, aumix and Nedit because of you. I'm very happy

btw, xarchiver is in AUR...

Ciao

forgot to add Lyx for document writing and skype for voip

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#3 2006-02-17 02:46:47

iphitus
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From: Melbourne, Australia
Registered: 2004-10-09
Posts: 4,927

Re: The Best Light and Fast Applications - 2006 LnF Awards

my best small editor (if you dont let me count vim sad ) would be.... vi!

iphitus tongue

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#4 2006-02-17 02:52:15

Moparx
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Registered: 2006-02-05
Posts: 136
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Re: The Best Light and Fast Applications - 2006 LnF Awards

nice list. i agree with some of your picks
mpd (music player daemon) is the number one audio player in my book smile


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#5 2006-02-17 07:57:31

tomk
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From: Ireland
Registered: 2004-07-21
Posts: 9,835

Re: The Best Light and Fast Applications - 2006 LnF Awards

Nice post. One comment (slightly OT).

mac57 wrote:

qamix (audio mixer) is available from AUR <snip> Beats
building from source, and the AUR version doesn't build - gets errors
and stops.

qamix builds and runs just fine here. If you're having problems with it, why not leave a comment for the maintainer, or post your errors in the forum for a second opinion.

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#6 2006-02-17 08:45:53

LB06
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From: The Netherlands
Registered: 2003-10-29
Posts: 435

Re: The Best Light and Fast Applications - 2006 LnF Awards

Nice read. One remark: kpdf and evince (probably also gpdf) are MUCH lighter than acroread. Startup time is <1sec, compared to 5 for acroread

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#7 2006-02-17 14:22:24

soloport
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Registered: 2005-03-01
Posts: 442

Re: The Best Light and Fast Applications - 2006 LnF Awards

Very interesting.  In reading through your list, I've come to the conclusion: I love bloatware!

Guess I can't live without the comfy luxuries of: KDE, OOo, Firefox, Thunderbird, XMMS, Gaim, JPilot and *especially* Kconsole.

Have been a Unix user for 20+ years; It's nice to have the features you could never get out of a stack of punch cards.

smile

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#8 2006-02-17 15:27:00

jaboua
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Registered: 2005-11-05
Posts: 634

Re: The Best Light and Fast Applications - 2006 LnF Awards

IIRC XFE was icon-based, not dual-pane?

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#9 2006-02-17 16:02:25

cactus
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From: t͈̫̹ͨa͖͕͎̱͈ͨ͆ć̥̖̝o̫̫̼s͈̭̱̞͍̃!̰
Registered: 2004-05-25
Posts: 4,615
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Re: The Best Light and Fast Applications - 2006 LnF Awards

Best Light Webserver: Lighttpd

smile


"Be conservative in what you send; be liberal in what you accept." -- Postel's Law
"tacos" -- Cactus' Law
"t̥͍͎̪̪͗a̴̻̩͈͚ͨc̠o̩̙͈ͫͅs͙͎̙͊ ͔͇̫̜t͎̳̀a̜̞̗ͩc̗͍͚o̲̯̿s̖̣̤̙͌ ̖̜̈ț̰̫͓ạ̪͖̳c̲͎͕̰̯̃̈o͉ͅs̪ͪ ̜̻̖̜͕" -- -̖͚̫̙̓-̺̠͇ͤ̃ ̜̪̜ͯZ͔̗̭̞ͪA̝͈̙͖̩L͉̠̺͓G̙̞̦͖O̳̗͍

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#10 2006-02-17 17:07:55

tomk
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From: Ireland
Registered: 2004-07-21
Posts: 9,835

Re: The Best Light and Fast Applications - 2006 LnF Awards

jaboua wrote:

IIRC XFE was icon-based, not dual-pane?

Actually, xfe has four "views", as they are called - single panel, tree & panel, dual panel, and tree & dual panel. All except single panel are shown here.

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#11 2006-02-17 17:18:27

magnum_opus
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Registered: 2005-01-26
Posts: 132

Re: The Best Light and Fast Applications - 2006 LnF Awards

jaboua wrote:

IIRC XFE was icon-based, not dual-pane?

actually it does both. i don't know what its behavior is like in dual-pane mode but the option is there.

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#12 2006-02-17 17:19:23

shadowhand
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From: MN, USA
Registered: 2004-02-19
Posts: 1,142
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Re: The Best Light and Fast Applications - 2006 LnF Awards

I would say that BMP is better than XMMS because of the improved look 'n feel of BMP over XMMS. I'd also pick Graveman over xcdroast. And abcde over Grip. Best LnF GUI text editor should be leafpad, imho.  smile

Best vector graphics editor: Inkscape, nothing compares.

Just my $0.02.

BTW, you never mentioned Thunar... sad


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#13 2006-02-17 17:34:34

Cerebral
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From: Waterloo, ON, CA
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Re: The Best Light and Fast Applications - 2006 LnF Awards

ve now packaged here in the AUR, for those who prefer to manage everything through pacman. smile

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#14 2006-02-17 20:59:21

mac57
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From: St. Somewhere
Registered: 2006-01-06
Posts: 302
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Re: The Best Light and Fast Applications - 2006 LnF Awards

Everybody - thanks for all the comments! Excellent discussion, and I hope it gets people thinking a little about how much they can do without using "heavyweight" applications. Computers can be AMAZINGLY fast if you don't burden them with unecessary code.

Shadowhand, I have to agree with you about leafpad. It was actually on my list until I found and started using Beaver. It was a tough pick. Leafpad, despite being extremely simple, is very, very good for what it is intended for.  Its just that Beaver, for about the same launch time "weight" just does so much more. It *was* a tough pick though - I really like Leafpad. It really resonates with the whole concept of doing one job, and doing just that one job. It is a perfectly focused application.

Re Thunar, it is not "official" yet is it? I thought about it, but given that I think it is not due out officially until XFCE4.4, it seemed best not to include it in the list. Meantime, in this area, tuxcmd is *such* a find that I felt omission of Thunar was acceptable. When it is officially out, I will play around with it and decide.

Thanks again everyone for the lively discussion.


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#15 2006-02-17 21:17:36

kth5
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Re: The Best Light and Fast Applications - 2006 LnF Awards

now that we have a list of lightweight, responsive and ressource saving apps, how about doing it the other way around?

my suggestions as runner up for mc would be coreutils+gftp(-text) obviously. smile


I recognize that while theory and practice are, in theory, the same, they are, in practice, different. -Mark Mitchell

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#16 2006-02-19 17:48:02

mac57
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From: St. Somewhere
Registered: 2006-01-06
Posts: 302
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Re: The Best Light and Fast Applications - 2006 LnF Awards

Checking the Arch repos, I see that Thunar doesn't seem to be there. Nor do I find it in AUR. I am guessing that several people have it running on Arch from the comments I have read. Is there an easy way to pick it up and try it out, or do I have to build from source? Thanks.


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#17 2006-02-19 17:53:51

shadowhand
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From: MN, USA
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Re: The Best Light and Fast Applications - 2006 LnF Awards

mac57 wrote:

Checking the Arch repos, I see that Thunar doesn't seem to be there. Nor do I find it in AUR. I am guessing that several people have it running on Arch from the comments I have read. Is there an easy way to pick it up and try it out, or do I have to build from source? Thanks.

http://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?t=18127


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#18 2006-02-19 18:16:40

ozar
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From: USA
Registered: 2005-02-18
Posts: 1,681

Re: The Best Light and Fast Applications - 2006 LnF Awards

Thunar?  I've tried it three different times now and so far have found it to be rather unimpressive, but that's not to say that I still won't like it by the time it goes official.

It's just that so far, I fail to see what all the fuss is about.


oz

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#19 2006-02-20 02:34:58

barjo
Member
Registered: 2006-02-20
Posts: 33

Re: The Best Light and Fast Applications - 2006 LnF Awards

My patchs:

Thunar. Fast & Simple.

Xarchive. runner up.

acroread is evil smile

Text editor: gvim and vim, sure

CD Burner: graveman

opera. faster than firefox but his UI sux. (and is evil)

Sylpheed do all I need... Runner up, hum, gmail !  (but is evil)

Seamonkey. Better choice than Fx+thunderbird IMO

IM Client: no doubt; it's psi.

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#20 2006-02-20 03:53:53

SleepyDog
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Registered: 2004-10-15
Posts: 114

Re: The Best Light and Fast Applications - 2006 LnF Awards

File browser:     cat
Man pages:     cat
Web Browser: cat

wget -O - | cat

Text editor:     cat

cat > file.txt <<EOF

Archives:        cat

zcat

Music:             cat

cat playlist | mpc add

System Monitor: cat

while true; do cat /proc/loadavg; sleep 2; done

Mail reader:     cat
System scuttling: cat

cat /dev/urandom | sudo perl

jajajajaja

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#21 2006-02-20 03:56:16

Cerebral
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From: Waterloo, ON, CA
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Posts: 3,108
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Re: The Best Light and Fast Applications - 2006 LnF Awards

SleepyDog wrote:

Music:             cat

cat playlist | mpc add

cheap!  it should be:
Music: cat

cat /dev/urandom >> /dev/dsp

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#22 2006-02-20 13:11:38

SleepyDog
Member
Registered: 2004-10-15
Posts: 114

Re: The Best Light and Fast Applications - 2006 LnF Awards

Cerebral wrote:

cheap!  it should be:
Music: cat

cat /dev/urandom >> /dev/dsp

I think you'd hear the voice of God tongue

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#23 2006-02-20 13:15:29

Husio
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From: Europe
Registered: 2005-12-04
Posts: 359
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Re: The Best Light and Fast Applications - 2006 LnF Awards

Hi there,

Simple Text Editors (optimized for programmers)
SciTE - very light, and quite powerfull text editor. Use GTK.

FTP downloading client
aria - not too eye-candy but small and quick.


BTW : How about light web browser ? Dillo - quite nice, but it doesn't use css, java... only html?   :?

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#24 2006-02-20 13:20:19

arooaroo
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From: London, UK
Registered: 2005-01-13
Posts: 1,268
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Re: The Best Light and Fast Applications - 2006 LnF Awards

kth5 wrote:

now that we have a list of lightweight, responsive and ressource saving apps, how about doing it the other way around?

Ah ha! At last, I get to plug Jacman wink

Time for a bit of blues:

"... I was built for comfort. I wasn't built for speed..."

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#25 2006-02-20 15:22:21

mac57
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From: St. Somewhere
Registered: 2006-01-06
Posts: 302
Website

Re: The Best Light and Fast Applications - 2006 LnF Awards

Ahhhh.... you are right, I *completely* failed to mention FTP clients (or servers for that matter). And thanks for the suggestion of sciTE. I have not heard of it before, but I will check it out.

For FTP clients, I have to admit that at present, my picks would be:
- command line ftp command - VERY lightweight at fast!   big_smile
- mc's ftp capability (this is what I use mc for the most!
- similar to mc, both XNC and tuxcmd have an ftp capbility

gFTP is of course always an option, but the integrated file manager approach taken by mc and others is very powerful.


Cast off the Microsoft shackles Jan 2005

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