Best Gnome Performance Tweaks – Notebook Optimization

By Pratik Shivarkar | Labels: , , , ,

Curse all those who say Gnome is slow and fat, actually I’m also the one who say that.
For some reasons Gnome can’t be used for low-end machines or notebook computers.
I’m going to write down some performance tweaks and tricks that will cut-off the least used features and some eye-candy from your gnome setup.

In this guide I’m not going to make any irreversible direct changes to configuration files which cannot be revert back automatically.

Tweak #1
Do not use SVG/Vector Icon themes. While using SVG icon theme, Icons are rendered every time the default icon size is changed.
The best way is to use PNG Icon theme or Convert SVG Scalable Icons to 128x128 PNG Icons.
Tweak #2
Improve Nautilus performance by disabling the File Previews / Thumb-nailing
Either use these commands
Disable Text Preview
gconftool-2 --type string --set /apps/nautilus/preferences/show_icon_text never
Disable Folder Item Counter
gconftool-2 --type string --set /apps/nautilus/preferences/show_directory_item_counts never
Disable Image Thumb-nailing
gconftool-2 --type string --set /apps/nautilus/preferences/show_image_thumbnails never
Disable Audio Previews
gconftool-2 --type string --set /apps/nautilus/preferences/preview_sound never
Or Edit these settings in Nautilus Menu [ Edit > Preferences ] >> Preview

Tweak #3
Once You have disabled Nautilus Desktop, You will not be able to see any Icons on Desktop or change the Wallpaper. To recover this functionality you can use alternate desktop manager. PCMan File Manager can also handle desktop.
Turn off Nautilus Desktop, Replace it with PCManFM
gconftool-2 --type bool --set /apps/nautilus/preferences/show_desktop false
Install PCManFM
sudo apt-get install pcmanfm
Launch PCMan File Manager >> Menu > Edit > Preferences >> Desktop and Allow PCManFM to Manager Desktop.
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You can add the PCManFM to Gnome Startup Applications to make it run on login.
Tweak #4
Turn off menu icons. [ It may look sad, but It will make menus faster, However people who use OpenBox / Fluxbox are more familiar to this.
gconftool-2 --type bool --set /desktop/gnome/interface/menus_have_icons false
Tweak #5
Turn off Gnome-Panel animations. [ You actually don’t need those, there are very few small animations does not make noticeable difference in the user experience ]
gconftool-2 --type bool --set /apps/panel/global/enable_animations false
Tweak #6
Use Simple Metacity themes.
Metacity themes containing images have more CPU usage than simple themes like MetaBox.
Less consumption of resources More consumption of resources
Tweak #7
Use GTK themes and Wallpapers having Solid and Web Safe colors
Keep your theme as simple as you can. Xfce-GTK themes are also good choices.
[ Note: GTK themes which allows to edit its colors, are the simplest ]
Tweak #8
Turn off Metacity animations.
gconftool-2 --type bool --set /apps/metacity/general/reduced_resources true
Then remove the wireframe
gconftool-2 --type bool --set /desktop/gnome/interface/accessibility true
Tweak #9
Remove unwanted Start-Up application from Gnome Session.
Many people don’t use RDP Server, Alarms or Visual Assistance on their desktop, these can be simply turned off.
Tweak #10
Avoid using Compiz as Screen Compositor, use Metacity or Xcompmgr instead.
And the Last but not Least…
Do no use Full hinting on Fonts ( Set hinting to slight, If you turn off hinting fonts may look fuzzy )
If you Implement all these, You will notice that Gnome behaving faster like XFCE/LXDE. and much more lighter [ Replacing Nautilus saves around 100MB memory load ]. Somehow the Eye-Candy effects of Gnome will be reduced but rest all the gnome features will be utilized.
Some references from Gnome Documentation
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