So continuing the great adventure - recently whenever I've used Gnome there is a string of "Starting file access" or something similar that appears in multiple tabs down the bottom. This continues endlessly and the load on my Blade 1500 gets up to about 5 which is unacceptable. So I hit the net and looked into using something different. I found a great blog (which I neglected to bookmark or make any other notes about) that explained a bit about how to do it. Basically I did this:
# pkg_add -i -vv pkg_mgr
which is an easy way to do searches and install large number of packages and then go to X11 and pick all the XFCE packages. How easy is that? Download and install and off you go. The load on my machine is:
11:43AM up 13 days, 21:04, 3 users, load averages: 0.71, 0.63, 0.59
With 792MB of RAM in use (of 2048MB) and this is with Firefox running while I write this entry.
Overall I find XFCE to be more responsive than Gnome - which is hardly surprising and for the basic features I require it looks quite nice and drives quite well.
I do tend to find that the machine struggles when I'm looking at various webpages on the net - it doesn't handle processor intensive work all that well - and after all, why should it? This computer is old and does only have 1GHz processors so it will go slow. As a basic server type machine - running with the encrypted file systems and the like with SSH access in, it's working quite well.