No, LXDE-Qt is not bloated

After posting a preview screenshot for LXDE-Qt, I got quite a lot of feedback from various sources. Generally the responses from the users are positive, but there are also some people saying that LXDE is no longer lightweight.

Please, in the free world we’re all friends and let’s not spread FUDs to hurt each other. I’m not going to respond to groundless accuse or get involved in toolkit wars. Just see the screenshot.

This screenshot is done for a cleanly installed Debian testing system running LXDE-Qt after a cold boot. The Qt theme engine used is “CleanLook”.

The command “free -h” shows that 252 MB is in use. However, most of the space is used for buffers and caches. After excluding caches and buffers, the memory usage is 91 MB. On the same machine, LXDE gtk+ version uses 86 MB. Will you call this “bloated”? Please note that I open “lxterminal”, a GTK+ 2 terminal emulator, to execute the “free” command. That means doing this also loads GTK+ so the actual memory usage should be lower than this. Besides, I’m using zh_TW locale since I’m from Taiwan and we use traditional Chinese here. That means, I also have Chinese fonts and input methods loaded in the memory. If you’re a western user, you probably don’t need them and can save a little bit here.

By default, similar setting under Ubuntu will use around 200 MB of RAM.  That’s caused by differences between distros, not the bloat of LXDE. So, please stop spreading unfounded FUDs. Qt is designed for use with embedded systems and cell phones. How fat and resource hungry can it be? It’s the way you use it that really matters.

Delivering a good lightweight desktop is always our goal no matter what approach we’re using. So stay tunned and be confident.

35 responses to “No, LXDE-Qt is not bloated”

  1. Memory footprint is only one aspect of software complexity , for example requiring x MB of libraries or w/e
    You could also run sysprof and see how the whole system behaves ..
    In any case it is a good thing to try new things and experiment , I didn’t mean disrespect with my reply on the last thread , its just that I for example use LXDE every day in all my (6+) production machines 😛 and the main reason is it is lite and it does not get in the way , I would really hate it if the project took a different direction , the project is called Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment , if we are talking about dropping X , adding memory consumption by 10 megs here and i dont know what else it is not FUD but a good reason to feel distressed 😛

  2. Personally I look forward to playing around with LXDE-Qt. Granted my prefered apps are often GTK, I do understand that QT is a “better” way to go.

    As of right now my install of Lubuntu is using 1.2gb of memory. So 10mb isn’t going to make that big a difference to my standard workload.

    This also doesn’t take into account that GTK2 is going away, and GTK3 is going to “force” things to be more bloated then GTK2. So if you have to update, using a more portable system seems a good idea.

  3. Qt is far better toolkit than Gtk+. Several apps have migrated from Gtk+ to Qt and they are reall applications now. RIP Gtk+, when even GNOME forgot you. 🙂

  4. Glad to know that FUD stops at the doorstep. I really look forward to trying LXDE-Qt.

  5. A script like will give a more accurate accounting.of memory usage. Figures from that would be interesting.

  6. Oh, come on people. Give some credit to the LXDE team for trying to stay up-to-date. It’s a damned preview, things will get better soon (if you think they are bad now), I personally think this is great.

  7. And here comes this blog post from Martin Graesslin (KWin maintainer), in which he argues that “lightweight” is just buzz-word without any actual meaning [0]

    As we can see, LXDE-Qt, that is Lightweight X Desktop Environment Qt suddenly is not “lightweight” anymore, because… it isn’t.

    Personally, I would just ignore such claims and do my job. Each change ever provides negative feedback from people who has nothing better to do than posting hate-speech on Internet. If they want to jump off LXDE wagon, I think LXDE would be better without them.


  8. Can you comment on the possibility of Razor-qt and LXDE merging?

  9. Qt is the only good option. You can rely on it today and you will be able to rely on it in the future.

    I’m looking forward to playing with the new LXDE-qt when it’s ready.

  10. …I very much enjoy XFCE, but this *PROGRESS* looks EXCITING! can’t wait to try it out!

  11. Don’t listen to the “religious” folk, just do what you consider right! I don’t think users will even bother about the toolkit as long as everything works better than it did before.

  12. Measuring using free command is fine. I am getting similar memory values for LXDE (gtk version):

    Ubuntu 13.04 Lubuntu: 184MB
    Fedora 18 LXDE spin: 210MB
    Debian wheezy LXDE: 95MB
    openSUSE 12.3 LXDE: 103MB

    The differences are given by all the other processes running in the box.

    I am waiting for QT version, most of the programs I use are QT-based. Just don’t listen to all the Gnome fans out there. Great job!

  13. Could you not run `free` from a vt? Also, how about disk footprint? Nice to see you’re up and running with Qt already, it certainly shows that the switch is not horribly complex.

  14. Awesome! a lightweight desktop on qt!!
    If anyone want to use the gtk version of LXDE he/she can use it, if anyone want to use the qt version he/she can use it. This is Freedom!!

  15. bloat? one of my favorite distros that i keep using is !#cb with just openbox and i get a little higher memory consumption than that.

    indeed qt is the right move, there are so much better apps, dolphin, krusader, digikam, clementine, k3b, amarok, etc

  16. It doesn’t surprise me at all. You are now entering a world which we KDE developers know for quite some time. There are many people out there saying KDE software is bloated and no matter what we do it will still be bloated. Such people easily deduce that if KDE software is bloated that obviously Qt software is bloated. That Qt powers my smartphone hardly matters – it’s bloated.

    Obviously they will say that LXDE on Qt is now also bloated. My recommendation is to just ignore it, don’t even try to explain it, they won’t believe it.

    There might be one thing you could do. Some time ago I looked into what defines a lightweight desktop ( ) and I could not find any definition. My conclusion was that a lightweigth desktop is lightweight if it is called so and if users believe it. If you setup some definition and rules about what makes a desktop lightweight you would have valid numbers to compare to and show that you are not bloated.

  17. I think saying “its hard to come up with an exact definition” is not a valid excuse for throwing ones hands up in the air.

    A great example is right here. The memory footprint has been quantified, and shown to be little different to the original case. Perfect.

    Now, to benchmark other numbers, like install size given a standard and minimal set of features, boot speeds, time to open a particular application etc.

    Benchmarking is a worthwhile part of the development process. Just because its not easy to come up with a universal definition, does not imply that all definitions are invalid.

    A “status quo” set of benchmarks is required.

  18. “bloat? one of my favorite distros that i keep using is !#cb with just openbox and i get a little higher memory consumption than that.”

    Hey, its good for you that you spend your time measuring your memory consumption? Geeks tend to do that, and not picking on you specifically. Geeks also tend to get into arguments over stuff that’s under the hood, deep in the operating system.

    To the average user bloat means nothing, but those who are posting hate words on the internet about anything probably do notice when the little meter on conky (or better for them some command line util) sets off an early warning signal.

    Well, great enjoy your fun, and don’t get anything in your eye from the other thing your playing with. Bring tissues to your next Linux user meeting, and hand wipes.

  19. Hi,
    I think it’s fair to give you the benefit of doubt.
    After all, time will tell if switching to qt (and then wayland).

    I think most critics simply fear that c++ = bloat.
    Because OOP almost always lead to more code in the long run.

    But in this case it’s different since the purpose of the project if being lightweight.

  20. mvowijfalwkfsp

    If that’s true, then those critics probably don’t know much about programming. GTK+ IS object oriented. The fact that C doesn’t support OOP out of the box just means that the developers have to implement all those mecanisms (passing “object” pointers to functions, mantainig virtual function tables, and so on) that C++ has built-in. So, the (big or small) cost of OOP is there, no matter what language you use.

    Anyway, I’m not much of a LXDE person, but as a long-time Qt developer, I think this is an excellent decision, and I wish the LXDE community the best of luck.

  21. something i would like to see in lxde is a menu like Whisker (xfce alternative) would be awesome to have a menu like that, with search box

  22. @XmirrorX: in fact, razor-qt and LXDE already talked about co-operation. It’s not fully merge just because we still had different start but it is close to merge term.

    We will try to get both GTK2 and QT versions of LXDE as close as possible.
    Yes, we have no intentions to abandon GTK2, it is still used and will be, and some old installations have no Qt installed.
    No, we have no intentions to support GTK3 any further than it has already done.
    Yes, Qt will be the future of LXDE.

    If someone is worrying if moving to LXDE will affect promised improvements for PCManFM, I can tell you that I’m going to finish promised 1.2 version with GTK2 still, and only after its final release I’ll take a look into Qt version to import all new features into it as well. Therefore that will not delay pcmanfm 1.2 even a bit. And you know, you can use GTK and Qt applications together, and pcmanfm 1.2 should be almost the same featureful as Dolphin or Nautilus are but still very lightweight.

  23. @Martin
    Except KDE 4 *IS* bloated. I know because I use it pretty much since 4.0. And I know nowadays RAM is cheap and it’s not the issue. KDE could use some refactoring. There is to much half-working non polished things all over the place. KDE is to big project for current management. I know freedom is nice and corroboration is nice too but you should focus more on “product” and “clients”. I really think that KDE should get strong leader, its own Linus Torvalds who will say who’s who when things go crazy. Do you really think that this guy would agree on so many technical decisions that were made in KDE camp? SQL database to run calendar events? by default? even if I don’t use anything from kde-pim. Really?? 300MB of RAM for Amarok to play ONE mp3 file? Also… we lack professional tools. Partition manager died years ago for example. And I’m looking forward to KDE5 maybe things will change – 5-10s of loading on SSD is not bloat at all…

  24. i don’t want qt, there should be an alternative, a fork, maybe lqde
    i won’t be using it if it is qt

  25. I’m entousiastic about seeing LXDE-Qt in the future,
    GTK2 will be death soon,GTK3 is heavy for lightweight computers, I think that Qt will make a difference here

  26. “It takes time for distros to adopt Qt 5.1, though.”

    in u’r tests, says that runs almost same.. but qt apps load faster only when lib are done preloaded.. so then whe a qt lib extension are loaded takes more ram, and so..

    example, LXDEqt only uses qtcore, qtgui and qtxdg etc only load 3 libs with respective symbols.. and goes to 92MB of ram..

    if i run another qt app that implements xml scripting.. load qtxml and this ram are nor free (unless user made manualy of course) so then “light” goes …

    the code of these apps takes more cycles to cpu to execute, and this are not taken in consideration.. qt are C++ and apps made on C runs faster..

    and more and more.. due one reason: powerfully that makes sense on the port to qt from GTK
    QT its a framework, and GTK only are a toolkit of widgets… so then qt it ovbiosly more heavy… in many aspects.. but more usefully in devel sense

  27. >>>i don’t want qt, there should be an alternative, a fork, maybe
    >>> lqdei won’t be using it if it is qt

    I was cryyyyyiiing when i met you!♬
    Crying to forget yoooou!…♬

    GTK is dead. Gnome Foundation is lost, and they have no focus on improving their gtk libs so, Qt is natural selection. Gnome/GTK fans, get this point

    Please, make LXDE a Qt-based Desktop so i can use Amarok on it, and i shall stop using KDE, and try to make this razor-qt shit work