Sunday, June 19, 2005

Let there be LIGHT

My machine is a simpleton, VIA C3 800Mhz processor, 128M RAM. It becomes daunting for it to run "todays" OSes with ease, it grasps for breath every time i try to do something more than just file browsing. Be it Windows or Linux, the default graphical desktop is quite a load. Linux off-course can go very light with things like Fluxbox, XFCE using combination of lot of lightweight applications.

But on Windows i hadnt explored much. Not many people know there are other shells (including graphical) other than the Explorer. I had tried Liteshell earlier but it isnt all that light. Then i tried GeoShell its good n customizable but somehow i missed the coziness of Explorer. Then after long hiatus at trying the other things, today i fiddled with Blackbox, its a lookalike of Blackbox of *nix with rewritten code. Its pretty cool, virtual desktops, transparency, hundreds of themes,lot of nice quick hot-keys ( like win+f12 for shutdown, win+space for locking, the list is real long) & firstly very very light though the memory footprint was moderate. Plus you can set your custom hot-key actions, so starting applications is a snap. Win + C(chat) launches my IM program, Win + B for browser and so on.

This was for the shell, but i had to make running all tasks a piece of cake for my old fellow. The next one to go was Firefox. Its the best browser n all...OK, but it takes 5-7 secs to start & occupies hell lot of memory. SO i went for Kmeleon ( a mozilla engine based, win-native code app that makes it fast). It has almost all the features Firefox has, themable, extendable, secure, fast & a small installer.

Then came the chat apps. I had already given up on heavy duty MSN & yahoo messengers & Gaim was the one. But like Firefox it is slow to start & handle events for the same reason that its code isnt native. It runs on win-port of GTK. Here comes Miranda. 995kb of installer, ultra-lite, supports all major protocols, hundreds of just rocks! They are planning a Linux port using something called as minGW.

Nero & me, it just never works :(. This time i dumped it for a nice cute little ( very, 380kb) app, SmallCD Writer. It does isos, multi-session & doesnt require installation. Its one of the sleekest things i have ever seen. And offcourse the win media player has been replaced since ages with Radlight player, light, OSD support like mplayer & convenient keyboard controls.

With all this, my fellow now feels as smooth as the lean-mean machine i have at my workplace. But believe me after reading all this, very few would even try out any of the things. People are just too content with the defaults. There are a million other apps who are better than their counterparts & there are as many developers who would be blessed if you could just give them a chance...

Category [ _Tech_ ]


Sudeep said...

It is very true tht many ppl prefer wht comes default.. i m also one of them.. so many cool players but still stuck on Winamp or Win Media Player.. ha ha.

Parag said...

Well then perhaps you should check out Open Source Software for Windows & mediaplayers in particular.