Memory consumption of Linux desktop environments

Note Updated on June 3rd 2014 and now includes LXQt and Unity.

For the last 9 months or so I’ve spent my spare time working with the MATE Desktop Team. Every so often, via the various on-line MATE communities, the topic of how “light weight” MATE is when compared to other desktop environments crops up and quite often XFCE is suggested as a lighter alternative. After all MATE and XFCE both provide a traditional desktop environment based on GTK+ so this suggestion is sensible. But is XFCE actually “lighter” than MATE?

I’ve found MATE to be (subjectively) more responsive that XFCE and there have been two recent blog posts that indicate MATE has lower memory requirements than XFCE.

Given that I’m comfortably running MATE on the Raspberry Pi Model B (which has just 512MB RAM) I’ve been stating that MATE is well suited for use on resource constrained hardware and professional workstations alike. This is still true, but I’ve also said that MATE is lighter than XFCE and I might have to eat humble pie on that one.

The topic of measursing desktop environment resource use came up on the #archlinux-tu IRC channel recently and someone suggested using ps_mem.py to gather the memory usage data. ps_mem.py provides a far more robust mechanism for gathering memory usage data than I’ve seen in previous comparisons.

So the seed was planted, I created a bunch of VirtualBox guest machines and set to work comparing the memory requirements of all the Linux desktop environments I could.

Damn it, just tell me what the “lightest” desktop environment is!

OK, for those of you who just want the final answer, with none of the explaination, here it is:

| Desktop Environment  | Memory Used |
| ---------------------|------------:|
| Enlightenment 0.18.8 |    83.8 MiB |
| LXDE 0.5.5           |    87.0 MiB |
| XFCE 4.10.2          |   110.0 MiB |
| LXQt 0.7.0           |   113.0 MiB |
| MATE 1.8.1           |   123.0 MiB |
| Cinnamon 2.2.13      |   176.3 MiB |
| GNOME3 3.12.2        |   245.3 MiB |
| KDE 4.13.1           |   302.6 MiB |
| Unity 7.2.0.14       |   312.5 MiB |

Bullshit! How did you come up with these numbers?

TL;DR

All the VirtualBox VMs are 32-bit with 768MB RAM and based on the same core Arch Linux installation. I achieved this using my ArchInstaller script which is designed for quickly installing reproducible Arch Linux setups.

Each VM differs only by the packages that are required for the given desktop environment. The desktop environments native display manager is also installed but if it doesn’t have one then lightdm was chosen. LXDE, XFCE, MATE, Cinnamon and GNOME all have gvfs-smb installed as this enables accessing Windows and Samba shares (a common requirement for home and office) in their respective file managers and the KDE install includes packages to provide equivalent functionality. You can see the specific desktop environment packages or package groups that were installed here:

Each VM was booted, logged in and any initial desktop environment configuration was completed choosing the default options if prompted. Then ps_mem was installed, the VM shut down and a snapshot made.

Each VM was then started, logged in via the display manager, the desktop environment was fully loaded and waited for disk activity to settle. Then ps -efH and ps_mem were executed via SSH and the results sent back to my workstation. When the process and memory collections were conducted there had been no desktop interaction and no applications had been launched.

Your numbers are wrong I can get xxx desktop to run in yyy less memory!

Well done, you probably can.

Each virtual machine has VirtualBox guest additions, OpenSSH, Network Manager, avahi-daemon, ntpd, rpc.statd, syslog-ng and various other bits and bobs installed and running. Some of these are not required or have lighter alternatives available.

So, while I freely accept that each desktop environment can be run in less memory, the results here are relative to a consistent base setup.

However, what is important to note is that I think the Cinnamon results are too low. Cinnamon is forked from GNOME3 and the Arch Linux package groups for Cinnamon only install the core Cinnamon packages but none of the GNOME3 applications or components that would be required to create a full desktop environment.

So comparing Cinnamon with the other desktops in this test is not a fair comparison. For example, GNOME3 and KDE default installs on Arch Linux include all the accessibility extensions and applications for sight or mobility impaired individuals where as Cinnamon does not. This is just one example of where I think the Cinnamon results are skewed.

The RAM is there to be used. Is lighter actually better?

No, and Yes.

I subscribe to the school of thought that RAM is there to be used. But;

  • I want to preserve as much free RAM for the applications I run, not for feature bloat in the desktop environment. I’m looking at you KDE.
  • I want a fully integrated desktop experience, but not one that is merely lighter because it lacks features. I’m looking at you LXDE.
  • I want a consistent user interface that any of my family could use, not one that favours style over substance. I’m looking at you Enlightenment.

Another take on lightness is that the more RAM used, the more code that needs executing. Therefore, higher CPU utilisation and degraded desktop performance on modest hardware. This could also translate into degraded battery performance.

This is why I choose MATE Desktop. It is a fully integrated desktop environment, that is responsive, feature full, has reasonable memory requirements and scales from single core armv6h CPU with 512MB RAM to multi core x86_64 CPU with 32GB RAM (for me at least).

Without the full stats it never happened. Prove it!

He is the full data capture from ps_mem.py for each desktop environment.

Enlightenment

Private  +   Shared  =  RAM used    Program

172.0 KiB +  46.5 KiB = 218.5 KiB   dbus-launch
316.0 KiB +  40.0 KiB = 356.0 KiB   dhcpcd
336.0 KiB +  87.5 KiB = 423.5 KiB   rpcbind
560.0 KiB +  37.0 KiB = 597.0 KiB   crond
580.0 KiB +  54.0 KiB = 634.0 KiB   systemd-logind
688.0 KiB +  67.5 KiB = 755.5 KiB   systemd-udevd
480.0 KiB + 276.0 KiB = 756.0 KiB   avahi-daemon (2)
700.0 KiB + 133.5 KiB = 833.5 KiB   ntpd
768.0 KiB +  78.5 KiB = 846.5 KiB   VBoxService
580.0 KiB + 267.0 KiB = 847.0 KiB   tempget
544.0 KiB + 312.0 KiB = 856.0 KiB   enlightenment_start
764.0 KiB +  94.0 KiB = 858.0 KiB   rpc.statd
600.0 KiB + 280.5 KiB = 880.5 KiB   at-spi-bus-launcher
624.0 KiB + 298.0 KiB = 922.0 KiB   at-spi2-registryd
724.0 KiB + 309.5 KiB =   1.0 MiB   accounts-daemon
784.0 KiB + 386.5 KiB =   1.1 MiB   enlightenment_fm
952.0 KiB + 395.0 KiB =   1.3 MiB   efreetd
  1.0 MiB + 517.0 KiB =   1.5 MiB   dbus-daemon (3)
  5.3 MiB + -3781.0 KiB =   1.7 MiB udisksd
  1.2 MiB + 483.0 KiB =   1.7 MiB   (sd-pam) (2)
  1.6 MiB + 234.0 KiB =   1.9 MiB   syslog-ng
  1.1 MiB +   1.0 MiB =   2.1 MiB   systemd (3)
  1.4 MiB + 814.5 KiB =   2.2 MiB   lightdm (2)
  1.3 MiB +   1.1 MiB =   2.4 MiB   sshd (2)
  2.6 MiB + 575.5 KiB =   3.2 MiB   VBoxClient (4)
  2.4 MiB + 781.0 KiB =   3.2 MiB   NetworkManager
 10.9 MiB + -7741.5 KiB =   3.3 MiB polkitd
  6.2 MiB +  68.5 KiB =   6.3 MiB   systemd-journald
 11.3 MiB + -2300.0 KiB =   9.1 MiB nm-applet
 16.3 MiB + 426.0 KiB =  16.7 MiB   Xorg
 19.9 MiB +   1.5 MiB =  21.4 MiB   enlightenment
---------------------------------
                         89.6 MiB
=================================

LXDE

 Private  +   Shared  =  RAM used   Program

184.0 KiB +  45.0 KiB = 229.0 KiB   dbus-launch
320.0 KiB +  36.0 KiB = 356.0 KiB   dhcpcd
340.0 KiB +  83.0 KiB = 423.0 KiB   rpcbind
360.0 KiB +  78.0 KiB = 438.0 KiB   lxdm-binary
384.0 KiB +  93.5 KiB = 477.5 KiB   lxsession
580.0 KiB +  50.0 KiB = 630.0 KiB   systemd-logind
700.0 KiB +  55.0 KiB = 755.0 KiB   systemd-udevd
464.0 KiB + 297.0 KiB = 761.0 KiB   avahi-daemon (2)
  4.6 MiB + -3890.5 KiB = 821.5 KiB menu-cached
612.0 KiB + 213.0 KiB = 825.0 KiB   at-spi-bus-launcher
500.0 KiB + 328.0 KiB = 828.0 KiB   lxdm-session
768.0 KiB +  97.5 KiB = 865.5 KiB   rpc.statd
632.0 KiB + 251.5 KiB = 883.5 KiB   gvfsd
644.0 KiB + 244.5 KiB = 888.5 KiB   at-spi2-registryd
776.0 KiB + 189.0 KiB = 965.0 KiB   accounts-daemon
  4.8 MiB + -3888.5 KiB =   1.0 MiB gvfsd-fuse
884.0 KiB + 305.0 KiB =   1.2 MiB   gvfsd-trash
  1.1 MiB + 322.0 KiB =   1.4 MiB   udisksd
  1.1 MiB + 381.0 KiB =   1.5 MiB   upowerd
  1.1 MiB + 410.0 KiB =   1.5 MiB   gvfs-udisks2-volume-monitor
  1.0 MiB + 485.5 KiB =   1.5 MiB   dbus-daemon (3)
  1.2 MiB + 507.0 KiB =   1.7 MiB   (sd-pam) (2)
  1.6 MiB + 259.0 KiB =   1.9 MiB   syslog-ng
  1.2 MiB + 991.5 KiB =   2.1 MiB   systemd (3)
  1.3 MiB +   1.1 MiB =   2.4 MiB   sshd (2)
  1.5 MiB + 983.0 KiB =   2.4 MiB   lxpolkit
  6.3 MiB + -3414.0 KiB =   3.0 MiB NetworkManager
  3.3 MiB + 706.5 KiB =   4.0 MiB   openbox
  4.4 MiB +  59.5 KiB =   4.4 MiB   systemd-journald
  6.9 MiB + -1941.0 KiB =   5.0 MiB lxpanel
 12.9 MiB + -7745.0 KiB =   5.3 MiB polkitd
  3.6 MiB +   1.8 MiB =   5.4 MiB   pcmanfm
 11.5 MiB + -3637.5 KiB =   8.0 MiB ntpd
  7.1 MiB +   1.8 MiB =   9.0 MiB   nm-applet
 13.9 MiB + 604.5 KiB =  14.5 MiB   Xorg
---------------------------------
                         87.0 MiB
=================================

XFCE

 Private  +   Shared  =  RAM used   Program

176.0 KiB +  32.0 KiB = 208.0 KiB   dbus-launch
292.0 KiB +  26.5 KiB = 318.5 KiB   gpg-agent
316.0 KiB +  32.0 KiB = 348.0 KiB   dhcpcd
324.0 KiB +  81.0 KiB = 405.0 KiB   rpcbind
488.0 KiB +  96.0 KiB = 584.0 KiB   xfconfd
588.0 KiB +  47.0 KiB = 635.0 KiB   systemd-logind
464.0 KiB + 260.0 KiB = 724.0 KiB   avahi-daemon (2)
712.0 KiB +  49.0 KiB = 761.0 KiB   systemd-udevd
608.0 KiB + 173.0 KiB = 781.0 KiB   at-spi-bus-launcher
644.0 KiB + 169.5 KiB = 813.5 KiB   at-spi2-registryd
768.0 KiB +  57.5 KiB = 825.5 KiB   VBoxService
784.0 KiB +  55.5 KiB = 839.5 KiB   sh
640.0 KiB + 218.5 KiB = 858.5 KiB   gvfsd
764.0 KiB +  94.5 KiB = 858.5 KiB   rpc.statd
760.0 KiB + 160.0 KiB = 920.0 KiB   accounts-daemon
872.0 KiB + 174.0 KiB =   1.0 MiB   gvfsd-fuse
  4.8 MiB + -3831.0 KiB =   1.1 MiB gvfsd-trash
  1.1 MiB + 311.0 KiB =   1.4 MiB   upowerd
  1.1 MiB + 282.0 KiB =   1.4 MiB   tumblerd
  1.1 MiB + 289.0 KiB =   1.4 MiB   udisksd
  1.1 MiB + 369.0 KiB =   1.4 MiB   gvfs-udisks2-volume-monitor
  1.1 MiB + 353.0 KiB =   1.5 MiB   xfce4-notifyd
  1.2 MiB + 515.0 KiB =   1.7 MiB   (sd-pam) (2)
  1.3 MiB + 483.5 KiB =   1.8 MiB   dbus-daemon (3)
  1.6 MiB + 248.5 KiB =   1.9 MiB   syslog-ng
  1.5 MiB + 465.0 KiB =   1.9 MiB   Thunar
  5.4 MiB + -3457.5 KiB =   2.0 MiB lightdm (2)
  1.1 MiB + 992.5 KiB =   2.1 MiB   systemd (3)
  1.4 MiB + 695.5 KiB =   2.1 MiB   panel-6-systray
  1.6 MiB + 651.0 KiB =   2.3 MiB   xfce4-session
  1.3 MiB +   1.1 MiB =   2.3 MiB   sshd (2)
  1.9 MiB + 525.0 KiB =   2.4 MiB   xfsettingsd
  1.6 MiB + 903.0 KiB =   2.5 MiB   panel-2-actions
  6.3 MiB + -3505.0 KiB =   2.9 MiB NetworkManager
  2.6 MiB + 442.5 KiB =   3.0 MiB   VBoxClient (4)
  2.6 MiB + 624.5 KiB =   3.2 MiB   xfce4-power-manager (2)
  2.1 MiB +   1.1 MiB =   3.2 MiB   xfwm4
  3.1 MiB +   1.3 MiB =   4.4 MiB   xfce4-panel
  5.0 MiB +  61.5 KiB =   5.0 MiB   systemd-journald
 12.9 MiB + -7827.0 KiB =   5.3 MiB polkitd
  3.8 MiB +   1.6 MiB =   5.4 MiB   xfdesktop
  6.6 MiB +   1.3 MiB =   7.8 MiB   nm-applet
 11.5 MiB + -3643.5 KiB =   7.9 MiB ntpd
 23.0 MiB + -3258.0 KiB =  19.8 MiB Xorg
---------------------------------
                        110.0 MiB
=================================

LXQt

 Private  +   Shared  =  RAM used   Program

176.0 KiB +  35.0 KiB = 211.0 KiB   dbus-launch
320.0 KiB +  35.0 KiB = 355.0 KiB   dhcpcd
324.0 KiB +  83.0 KiB = 407.0 KiB   rpcbind
612.0 KiB +  51.0 KiB = 663.0 KiB   systemd-logind
460.0 KiB + 267.0 KiB = 727.0 KiB   avahi-daemon (2)
676.0 KiB +  53.0 KiB = 729.0 KiB   systemd-udevd
580.0 KiB + 179.0 KiB = 759.0 KiB   menu-cached (2)
768.0 KiB +  63.5 KiB = 831.5 KiB   VBoxService
604.0 KiB + 247.0 KiB = 851.0 KiB   at-spi-bus-launcher
768.0 KiB +  96.5 KiB = 864.5 KiB   rpc.statd
648.0 KiB + 231.5 KiB = 879.5 KiB   at-spi2-registryd
4.7 MiB + -3856.0 KiB = 976.0 KiB accounts-daemon
908.0 KiB + 396.0 KiB =   1.3 MiB   lxqt-globalkeysd
1.1 MiB + 425.0 KiB =   1.5 MiB   upowerd
1.1 MiB + 484.5 KiB =   1.6 MiB   dbus-daemon (3)
1.2 MiB + 551.0 KiB =   1.7 MiB   (sd-pam) (2)
1.6 MiB + 248.0 KiB =   1.9 MiB   syslog-ng
1.1 MiB + 998.5 KiB =   2.1 MiB   systemd (3)
1.3 MiB +   1.0 MiB =   2.3 MiB   sshd (2)
1.5 MiB + 933.5 KiB =   2.4 MiB   lxqt-policykit-agent
1.6 MiB + 901.0 KiB =   2.4 MiB   lxqt-session
1.7 MiB + 837.0 KiB =   2.5 MiB   sddm
2.6 MiB + 456.5 KiB =   3.0 MiB   VBoxClient (4)
6.3 MiB + -3350.0 KiB =   3.1 MiB NetworkManager
2.4 MiB +   1.5 MiB =   3.8 MiB   lxqt-powermanagement
2.6 MiB +   1.5 MiB =   4.1 MiB   lxqt-runner
3.4 MiB + 881.0 KiB =   4.3 MiB   openbox
2.7 MiB +   1.8 MiB =   4.5 MiB   lxqt-notificationd
4.7 MiB +  59.5 KiB =   4.7 MiB   systemd-journald
12.5 MiB + -7812.0 KiB =   4.9 MiB polkitd
3.8 MiB +   2.2 MiB =   6.0 MiB   lxqt-panel
11.5 MiB + -3644.5 KiB =   7.9 MiB ntpd
11.2 MiB + -2581.0 KiB =   8.7 MiB nm-applet
12.2 MiB + 366.0 KiB =  12.6 MiB   pcmanfm-qt
18.2 MiB + -644.0 KiB =  17.6 MiB  Xorg
---------------------------------
                        113.0 MiB
=================================

MATE

 Private  +   Shared  =  RAM used   Program

248.0 KiB +  57.0 KiB = 305.0 KiB   rtkit-daemon
316.0 KiB +  31.0 KiB = 347.0 KiB   dhcpcd
344.0 KiB +  81.0 KiB = 425.0 KiB   rpcbind
388.0 KiB +  80.5 KiB = 468.5 KiB   dbus-launch (2)
  4.4 MiB + -4003.0 KiB = 525.0 KiB dconf-service
588.0 KiB +  45.0 KiB = 633.0 KiB   systemd-logind
552.0 KiB + 117.0 KiB = 669.0 KiB   gconfd-2
456.0 KiB + 259.0 KiB = 715.0 KiB   avahi-daemon (2)
548.0 KiB + 189.0 KiB = 737.0 KiB   gconf-helper
692.0 KiB +  47.0 KiB = 739.0 KiB   systemd-udevd
592.0 KiB + 150.5 KiB = 742.5 KiB   at-spi-bus-launcher
660.0 KiB + 179.5 KiB = 839.5 KiB   at-spi2-registryd
644.0 KiB + 199.5 KiB = 843.5 KiB   gvfsd
768.0 KiB +  92.5 KiB = 860.5 KiB   rpc.statd
  4.7 MiB + -3955.0 KiB = 893.0 KiB accounts-daemon
  4.8 MiB + -3943.5 KiB =   1.0 MiB gvfsd-fuse
  4.8 MiB + -3854.0 KiB =   1.1 MiB gvfsd-trash
  5.0 MiB + -3789.0 KiB =   1.3 MiB upowerd
  5.1 MiB + -3817.0 KiB =   1.4 MiB udisksd
  1.1 MiB + 337.0 KiB =   1.4 MiB   gvfs-udisks2-volume-monitor
  1.6 MiB + 249.5 KiB =   1.9 MiB   syslog-ng
  1.6 MiB + 429.0 KiB =   2.0 MiB   polkit-mate-authentication-agent-1
  5.4 MiB + -3485.5 KiB =   2.0 MiB lightdm (2)
  1.7 MiB + 510.5 KiB =   2.2 MiB   dbus-daemon (4)
  1.3 MiB +   1.0 MiB =   2.3 MiB   sshd (2)
  1.4 MiB +   1.0 MiB =   2.4 MiB   systemd (4)
  1.8 MiB + 679.5 KiB =   2.4 MiB   (sd-pam) (3)
  1.9 MiB + 570.5 KiB =   2.5 MiB   mate-screensaver
  2.0 MiB + 536.0 KiB =   2.5 MiB   mate-session
  1.9 MiB + 679.5 KiB =   2.6 MiB   notification-area-applet
  2.1 MiB + 703.0 KiB =   2.8 MiB   mate-power-manager
  2.2 MiB + 596.0 KiB =   2.8 MiB   NetworkManager
  2.7 MiB + 686.5 KiB =   3.4 MiB   marco
  2.6 MiB + 937.5 KiB =   3.5 MiB   wnck-applet
  3.6 MiB + 309.5 KiB =   3.9 MiB   pulseaudio
  2.7 MiB +   1.2 MiB =   3.9 MiB   mate-volume-control-applet
  3.0 MiB +   1.0 MiB =   4.0 MiB   clock-applet
  7.6 MiB + -2931.0 KiB =   4.7 MiB mate-settings-daemon
  7.7 MiB + -2790.0 KiB =   4.9 MiB mate-panel
  5.0 MiB +  60.5 KiB =   5.1 MiB   systemd-journald
 13.0 MiB + -7854.0 KiB =   5.3 MiB polkitd
 10.2 MiB + -2592.0 KiB =   7.7 MiB caja
 11.5 MiB + -3653.5 KiB =   7.9 MiB ntpd
  7.5 MiB +   1.1 MiB =   8.6 MiB   nm-applet
 14.9 MiB +   1.2 MiB =  16.1 MiB   Xorg
---------------------------------
                        123.0 MiB
=================================

Cinnamon

 Private  +   Shared  =  RAM used   Program

248.0 KiB +  56.0 KiB = 304.0 KiB   rtkit-daemon
316.0 KiB +  31.0 KiB = 347.0 KiB   dhcpcd
340.0 KiB +  82.0 KiB = 422.0 KiB   rpcbind
  4.4 MiB + -3995.0 KiB = 469.0 KiB dconf-service
384.0 KiB +  88.5 KiB = 472.5 KiB   dbus-launch (2)
576.0 KiB +  44.0 KiB = 620.0 KiB   systemd-logind
556.0 KiB + 115.0 KiB = 671.0 KiB   gconfd-2
452.0 KiB + 258.0 KiB = 710.0 KiB   avahi-daemon (2)
544.0 KiB + 185.0 KiB = 729.0 KiB   gconf-helper
596.0 KiB + 174.5 KiB = 770.5 KiB   at-spi-bus-launcher
656.0 KiB + 170.5 KiB = 826.5 KiB   at-spi2-registryd
800.0 KiB +  47.0 KiB = 847.0 KiB   systemd-udevd
640.0 KiB + 208.5 KiB = 848.5 KiB   gvfsd
768.0 KiB +  88.5 KiB = 856.5 KiB   rpc.statd
  4.7 MiB + -3946.0 KiB = 910.0 KiB accounts-daemon
  4.8 MiB + -3938.5 KiB =   1.0 MiB gvfsd-fuse
  4.8 MiB + -3847.0 KiB =   1.1 MiB gvfsd-trash
  5.0 MiB + -3818.0 KiB =   1.3 MiB upowerd
  5.1 MiB + -3819.0 KiB =   1.4 MiB udisksd
  1.1 MiB + 340.0 KiB =   1.4 MiB   gvfs-udisks2-volume-monitor
  1.1 MiB + 303.0 KiB =   1.4 MiB   cupsd
  1.3 MiB + 394.0 KiB =   1.7 MiB   csd-printer
  1.6 MiB + 198.5 KiB =   1.8 MiB   syslog-ng
  1.4 MiB + 599.5 KiB =   2.0 MiB   lightdm (2)
  1.6 MiB + 513.5 KiB =   2.1 MiB   dbus-daemon (4)
  1.3 MiB + 979.0 KiB =   2.2 MiB   sshd (2)
  1.4 MiB +   1.0 MiB =   2.4 MiB   systemd (4)
  1.9 MiB + 784.5 KiB =   2.6 MiB   (sd-pam) (3)
  6.2 MiB + -3555.0 KiB =   2.7 MiB NetworkManager
  6.6 MiB + -3794.5 KiB =   2.9 MiB colord
  2.7 MiB + 713.5 KiB =   3.4 MiB   polkit-gnome-authentication-agent-1
  2.8 MiB + 805.0 KiB =   3.6 MiB   cinnamon-screensaver
  3.6 MiB + 341.5 KiB =   3.9 MiB   pulseaudio
  3.2 MiB + 826.5 KiB =   4.0 MiB   cinnamon-session
  4.9 MiB +  56.5 KiB =   5.0 MiB   systemd-journald
 13.2 MiB + -7890.0 KiB =   5.4 MiB polkitd
  3.9 MiB +   2.1 MiB =   6.0 MiB   nm-applet
  5.5 MiB +   2.0 MiB =   7.5 MiB   cinnamon-settings-daemon
 11.4 MiB + -3668.5 KiB =   7.9 MiB ntpd
  8.2 MiB +   1.1 MiB =   9.3 MiB   cinnamon-launch
  7.7 MiB +   2.0 MiB =   9.8 MiB   nemo
 21.2 MiB + -527.5 KiB =  20.7 MiB  Xorg
 85.9 MiB + -34668.5 KiB =  52.1 MiB    cinnamon
---------------------------------
                        176.3 MiB
=================================

GNOME3

 Private  +   Shared  =  RAM used   Program

180.0 KiB +  34.0 KiB = 214.0 KiB   dbus-launch
276.0 KiB +  14.0 KiB = 290.0 KiB   ssh-agent
248.0 KiB +  51.0 KiB = 299.0 KiB   rtkit-daemon
312.0 KiB +  28.0 KiB = 340.0 KiB   dhcpcd
324.0 KiB +  21.5 KiB = 345.5 KiB   systemd-hostnamed
328.0 KiB +  20.0 KiB = 348.0 KiB   systemd-localed
324.0 KiB +  80.0 KiB = 404.0 KiB   rpcbind
580.0 KiB +  52.5 KiB = 632.5 KiB   bluetoothd
604.0 KiB +  40.0 KiB = 644.0 KiB   systemd-logind
556.0 KiB + 109.0 KiB = 665.0 KiB   gconfd-2
452.0 KiB + 252.0 KiB = 704.0 KiB   avahi-daemon (2)
680.0 KiB +  44.0 KiB = 724.0 KiB   systemd-udevd
548.0 KiB + 182.0 KiB = 730.0 KiB   gconf-helper
  4.6 MiB + -3950.5 KiB = 765.5 KiB at-spi2-registryd
596.0 KiB + 185.0 KiB = 781.0 KiB   at-spi-bus-launcher
768.0 KiB +  50.5 KiB = 818.5 KiB   VBoxService
696.0 KiB + 146.5 KiB = 842.5 KiB   gvfsd
768.0 KiB +  86.5 KiB = 854.5 KiB   rpc.statd
  4.8 MiB + -3960.0 KiB = 960.0 KiB accounts-daemon
852.0 KiB + 137.5 KiB = 989.5 KiB   gvfsd-fuse
792.0 KiB + 267.0 KiB =   1.0 MiB   zeitgeist-daemon
  5.1 MiB + -3910.5 KiB =   1.3 MiB gdm
  5.0 MiB + -3853.0 KiB =   1.3 MiB upowerd
  1.0 MiB + 291.0 KiB =   1.3 MiB   gvfs-udisks2-volume-monitor
  5.1 MiB + -3877.0 KiB =   1.3 MiB udisksd
  1.1 MiB + 286.0 KiB =   1.4 MiB   cupsd
  1.4 MiB + 133.0 KiB =   1.5 MiB   gnome-keyring-daemon
  1.1 MiB + 448.0 KiB =   1.5 MiB   gdm-session-worker
  1.3 MiB + 359.0 KiB =   1.7 MiB   gsd-printer
  1.2 MiB + 509.0 KiB =   1.7 MiB   (sd-pam) (2)
  1.6 MiB + 192.5 KiB =   1.8 MiB   syslog-ng
  1.3 MiB + 648.0 KiB =   1.9 MiB   mission-control-5
  5.6 MiB + -3676.5 KiB =   2.0 MiB gnome-session
  1.1 MiB + 984.5 KiB =   2.1 MiB   systemd (3)
  1.5 MiB + 573.5 KiB =   2.1 MiB   zeitgeist-datahub
  1.3 MiB + 953.0 KiB =   2.2 MiB   sshd (2)
  6.1 MiB + -3700.5 KiB =   2.5 MiB colord
  6.1 MiB + -3656.0 KiB =   2.5 MiB NetworkManager
  2.2 MiB + 466.0 KiB =   2.6 MiB   dbus-daemon (3)
  2.0 MiB + 728.5 KiB =   2.7 MiB   gnome-shell-calendar-server
  2.6 MiB + 491.5 KiB =   3.1 MiB   VBoxClient (4)
  2.5 MiB +   1.0 MiB =   3.5 MiB   evolution-source-registry
  6.5 MiB + -2914.5 KiB =   3.6 MiB tracker-extract
  3.5 MiB + 338.5 KiB =   3.9 MiB   pulseaudio
  6.7 MiB + -2828.5 KiB =   3.9 MiB tracker-miner-fs
  3.4 MiB +   2.1 MiB =   5.5 MiB   goa-daemon
 13.3 MiB + -7973.0 KiB =   5.5 MiB polkitd
  4.9 MiB + 728.0 KiB =   5.7 MiB   tracker-store
  6.1 MiB +  51.5 KiB =   6.2 MiB   systemd-journald
  4.2 MiB +   2.1 MiB =   6.3 MiB   nm-applet
 11.4 MiB + -3668.5 KiB =   7.9 MiB ntpd
 10.1 MiB + -1729.0 KiB =   8.4 MiB gnome-settings-daemon
  8.1 MiB +   1.7 MiB =   9.8 MiB   Xorg
 10.7 MiB + -816.5 KiB =   9.9 MiB  evolution-alarm-notify
 24.6 MiB +   1.1 MiB =  25.7 MiB   evolution-calendar-factory
143.2 MiB + -56658.5 KiB =  87.9 MiB    gnome-shell
---------------------------------
                        245.3 MiB
=================================

KDE

 Private  +   Shared  =  RAM used   Program

 72.0 KiB +   8.0 KiB =  80.0 KiB   start_kdeinit
 80.0 KiB +  13.5 KiB =  93.5 KiB   kwrapper4
128.0 KiB +  23.0 KiB = 151.0 KiB   agetty
176.0 KiB +  28.0 KiB = 204.0 KiB   dbus-launch
292.0 KiB +  28.5 KiB = 320.5 KiB   gpg-agent
320.0 KiB +  28.0 KiB = 348.0 KiB   dhcpcd
272.0 KiB +  84.0 KiB = 356.0 KiB   cat (4)
340.0 KiB +  79.0 KiB = 419.0 KiB   rpcbind
604.0 KiB +  39.0 KiB = 643.0 KiB   systemd-logind
464.0 KiB + 247.0 KiB = 711.0 KiB   avahi-daemon (2)
768.0 KiB +  87.5 KiB = 855.5 KiB   rpc.statd
852.0 KiB +  51.5 KiB = 903.5 KiB   startkde
352.0 KiB + 669.0 KiB =   1.0 MiB   systemd-udevd (2)
656.0 KiB + 524.5 KiB =   1.2 MiB   kdm (2)
  1.1 MiB + 420.0 KiB =   1.5 MiB   upowerd
852.0 KiB + 780.0 KiB =   1.6 MiB   klauncher
  1.3 MiB + 346.0 KiB =   1.7 MiB   udisksd
  1.5 MiB + 256.5 KiB =   1.8 MiB   akonadi_control
  1.3 MiB + 529.0 KiB =   1.8 MiB   (sd-pam) (2)
  1.6 MiB + 201.5 KiB =   1.8 MiB   syslog-ng
  1.5 MiB + 409.5 KiB =   1.9 MiB   dbus-daemon (2)
  1.2 MiB + 971.5 KiB =   2.1 MiB   systemd (3)
656.0 KiB +   1.5 MiB =   2.2 MiB   kdeinit4
  1.3 MiB + 997.0 KiB =   2.3 MiB   sshd (2)
  1.3 MiB +   1.6 MiB =   2.9 MiB   kio_trash (2)
  2.1 MiB +   1.1 MiB =   3.2 MiB   klipper
  6.9 MiB + -3587.0 KiB =   3.4 MiB NetworkManager
  2.4 MiB +   1.0 MiB =   3.5 MiB   ksmserver
  3.2 MiB + 594.5 KiB =   3.8 MiB   kuiserver
  3.2 MiB + 952.5 KiB =   4.1 MiB   kglobalaccel
  3.4 MiB + 829.5 KiB =   4.2 MiB   akonadi_migration_agent
  3.4 MiB + 837.5 KiB =   4.3 MiB   polkit-kde-authentication-agent-1
  3.8 MiB + 716.5 KiB =   4.5 MiB   knotify4
  4.4 MiB +  49.5 KiB =   4.5 MiB   systemd-journald
  3.8 MiB + 891.0 KiB =   4.7 MiB   baloo_file
  3.8 MiB + 975.0 KiB =   4.7 MiB   akonadi_maildispatcher_agent
  3.8 MiB + 983.0 KiB =   4.7 MiB   akonadi_baloo_indexer
  4.1 MiB +   1.3 MiB =   5.4 MiB   akonadi_newmailnotifier_agent
  4.3 MiB +   1.1 MiB =   5.4 MiB   korgac
 13.2 MiB + -7804.0 KiB =   5.6 MiB polkitd
  5.5 MiB +   1.7 MiB =   7.1 MiB   akonadi_notes_agent
 11.1 MiB + -3575.0 KiB =   7.6 MiB kactivitymanagerd
  5.6 MiB +   2.1 MiB =   7.7 MiB   akonadi_sendlater_agent
 11.4 MiB + -3697.5 KiB =   7.8 MiB ntpd
  7.2 MiB + 777.5 KiB =   8.0 MiB   akonadiserver
  6.0 MiB +   2.9 MiB =   8.9 MiB   akonadi_archivemail_agent
  6.3 MiB +   2.6 MiB =   8.9 MiB   kmix
  6.1 MiB +   2.9 MiB =   9.0 MiB   akonadi_mailfilter_agent
  6.9 MiB +   2.4 MiB =   9.3 MiB   kded4
  9.1 MiB +   2.7 MiB =  11.7 MiB   akonadi_agent_launcher (3)
 13.8 MiB + -1069.5 KiB =  12.8 MiB kwin
 13.2 MiB +   3.2 MiB =  16.5 MiB   krunner
 68.8 MiB + -49024.0 KiB =  21.0 MiB    mysqld
 30.3 MiB + -2270.0 KiB =  28.1 MiB Xorg
 36.9 MiB +   6.8 MiB =  43.7 MiB   plasma-desktop
---------------------------------
                        302.6 MiB
=================================

Unity

 Private  +   Shared  =  RAM used   Program

 92.0 KiB +  14.0 KiB = 106.0 KiB   cat
128.0 KiB +  21.0 KiB = 149.0 KiB   agetty
180.0 KiB +  28.0 KiB = 208.0 KiB   dbus-launch
252.0 KiB +  47.0 KiB = 299.0 KiB   rtkit-daemon
312.0 KiB +  27.0 KiB = 339.0 KiB   dhcpcd
324.0 KiB +  18.0 KiB = 342.0 KiB   systemd-localed
336.0 KiB +  21.0 KiB = 357.0 KiB   systemd-timedated
344.0 KiB +  79.0 KiB = 423.0 KiB   rpcbind
412.0 KiB +  69.0 KiB = 481.0 KiB   dconf-service
592.0 KiB +  39.0 KiB = 631.0 KiB   systemd-logind
588.0 KiB +  92.5 KiB = 680.5 KiB   indicator-messages-service
448.0 KiB + 245.0 KiB = 693.0 KiB   avahi-daemon (2)
604.0 KiB +  89.5 KiB = 693.5 KiB   indicator-bluetooth-service
548.0 KiB + 168.0 KiB = 716.0 KiB   gconf-helper
  4.6 MiB + -3955.0 KiB = 725.0 KiB at-spi-bus-launcher
684.0 KiB +  42.0 KiB = 726.0 KiB   systemd-udevd
640.0 KiB + 100.0 KiB = 740.0 KiB   gconfd-2
636.0 KiB + 115.5 KiB = 751.5 KiB   at-spi2-registryd
652.0 KiB + 144.5 KiB = 796.5 KiB   indicator-power-service
648.0 KiB + 158.5 KiB = 806.5 KiB   gvfsd
772.0 KiB +  45.5 KiB = 817.5 KiB   VBoxService
768.0 KiB +  85.5 KiB = 853.5 KiB   rpc.statd
796.0 KiB + 122.0 KiB = 918.0 KiB   accounts-daemon
568.0 KiB + 391.5 KiB = 959.5 KiB   (sd-pam)
  4.8 MiB + -3982.5 KiB = 969.5 KiB gvfsd-fuse
824.0 KiB + 253.0 KiB =   1.1 MiB   dbus (2)
828.0 KiB + 271.0 KiB =   1.1 MiB   zeitgeist-daemon
  4.9 MiB + -3904.0 KiB =   1.1 MiB gvfsd-trash
  1.0 MiB + 131.5 KiB =   1.2 MiB   indicator-session-service
  5.0 MiB + -3883.0 KiB =   1.2 MiB upowerd
  1.1 MiB + 237.0 KiB =   1.3 MiB   cupsd
  1.1 MiB + 279.0 KiB =   1.4 MiB   gvfs-udisks2-volume-monitor
  5.1 MiB + -3857.0 KiB =   1.4 MiB udisksd
  1.1 MiB + 324.5 KiB =   1.4 MiB   zeitgeist-fts
  5.1 MiB + -3833.0 KiB =   1.4 MiB indicator-application-service
  1.2 MiB + 382.0 KiB =   1.6 MiB   indicator-sound-service
  1.6 MiB + 174.5 KiB =   1.8 MiB   syslog-ng
  5.6 MiB + -3769.0 KiB =   1.9 MiB gnome-session
932.0 KiB +   1.0 MiB =   1.9 MiB   systemd (2)
  1.4 MiB + 537.0 KiB =   2.0 MiB   lightdm (2)
  1.4 MiB + 753.0 KiB =   2.1 MiB   mission-control-5
  1.3 MiB + 936.0 KiB =   2.2 MiB   sshd (2)
  1.8 MiB + 531.0 KiB =   2.3 MiB   zeitgeist-datahub
  6.2 MiB + -3779.0 KiB =   2.5 MiB colord
  2.2 MiB + 458.5 KiB =   2.6 MiB   dbus-daemon (3)
  6.2 MiB + -3682.0 KiB =   2.6 MiB NetworkManager
  2.3 MiB + 515.0 KiB =   2.8 MiB   gnome-fallback-mount-helper
  2.3 MiB + 485.0 KiB =   2.8 MiB   polkit-gnome-authentication-agent-1
  2.4 MiB + 514.0 KiB =   2.9 MiB   notify-osd
  2.5 MiB + 417.5 KiB =   3.0 MiB   VBoxClient (4)
  2.6 MiB + 547.5 KiB =   3.1 MiB   indicator-keyboard-service
  2.7 MiB + 657.0 KiB =   3.3 MiB   indicator-printers-service
  2.7 MiB + 854.0 KiB =   3.5 MiB   telepathy-indicator
  2.5 MiB +   1.1 MiB =   3.6 MiB   evolution-source-registry
  3.1 MiB + 577.0 KiB =   3.7 MiB   bamfdaemon
  3.6 MiB + 306.5 KiB =   3.9 MiB   pulseaudio
  3.0 MiB + 933.0 KiB =   3.9 MiB   indicator-datetime-service
  3.9 MiB +   1.3 MiB =   5.3 MiB   unity-panel-service
 13.2 MiB + -7982.0 KiB =   5.4 MiB polkitd
  4.4 MiB +   1.8 MiB =   6.1 MiB   nm-applet
  6.1 MiB + 747.0 KiB =   6.9 MiB   goa-daemon
  7.3 MiB +  50.5 KiB =   7.3 MiB   systemd-journald
 11.4 MiB + -3690.5 KiB =   7.8 MiB ntpd
  5.3 MiB +   4.5 MiB =   9.8 MiB   gnome-settings-daemon
 11.6 MiB +   1.0 MiB =  12.6 MiB   nautilus
 24.7 MiB +   1.2 MiB =  25.8 MiB   evolution-calendar-factory
 40.2 MiB + -351.0 KiB =  39.9 MiB  Xorg
103.2 MiB + -4818.0 KiB =  98.5 MiB compiz
---------------------------------
                        312.5 MiB
=================================

Final thoughts

On Arch Linux at least, XFCE has lower resource requirements than MATE. When I said different in the past I was wrong, unless you use openSUSE in which case I was probably right, maybe.

Anyone want to share some humble pie?

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