Ubuntu and Gnome
I have been using Ubuntu for a long time, and while I don’t hate the Unity desktop manager, I was growing increasingly disillusioned with it. I’ve also always been irritated at resource usage. Especially with Compiz turned on, RAM usage is fairly substantial. My workstation has 16GB of RAM, so I’m not that concerned for general usage, but I also tend to do a lot of heavy computation on this system and testing for development. When your processes use RAM in the GB range you want to keep as much free as possible so you don’t run into any issues. Further I’m usually runnin a Virualbox instance of Windows, because within the hospital we have managed desktops that are all that can have access to Clinical Applications and the Shared drive. I don’t NEED to run this all of the time, as the most important thing (Outlook) also runs on my phone. But it is easier if it is running in the background as much as possible. I give it 4 GB of RAM because otherwise it tends to run pretty slowly and I hate any sort of lag in my program response. Like I said, I can turn it off or reduce it’s RAM usage whenever I need. And if I have Cassandra running for my testing database, it uses a good 4GB of RAM as well. Anyway, long story short I found Unity uses a fair number of resources as well so I decided to do some experimenting.
I’ve been testing Gnome 3, and while its resource usage isn’t that much less, at least not enough to make a big difference, man do I like this Desktop Manager. Especially with a few widgets turned on and some other options it is just really clean and minimalist. Looks great too. It was very easy to install the packages and switch to whatever desktop manager I want at log-in time on the system. If you haven’t, I highly recommend checking it out.