Clear Linux Switches From Xfce To GNOME, Benchmarks
The Intel-developed high-performance Clear Linux operating system has decided to shift their desktop focus from Xfce to GNOME.
For those using this rolling-release, performance-minded distribution, the change-over happened a few days ago with GNOME becoming the default desktop environment while Xfce is still bundled via the os-utils-gui bundle for the time being.
Originally they made use of Xfce for it being lightweight and easier to package, but in seemingly realizing its somewhat stagnate development and plans for making use of Wayland, they are now focusing on GNOME. With the switch-over to GNOME also comes many of the GNOME desktop components being packaged in Clear Linux bundles, making the distribution a bit more useful as a desktop/workstation platform rather than just for cloud/container/server applications.
The experience in using GNOME on Clear Linux has been stable and they are making use of the upstream GNOME 3.24 packages with a relatively stock package set. GNOME Shell is the default via GDM while the GNOME Flashback session is also available for those wishing to use the more classic/Metacity experience. With the new desktop stack, they are also now starting GDM by default rather than requiring users to run "startx" each time as was previously the case.
Curious about the performance impact of changing over the desktops, I ran some Intel HD Graphics tests using the latest Clear Linux release as of yesterday. Xfce 4.12 vs. GNOME Shell 3.24 was compared along with the GNOME Flashback session. Clear Linux 15430 shipped with the Linux 4.11.1 kernel, X.Org Server 1.19.3, and Mesa 17.2-dev as the most noteworthy components for this graphics comparison. Tests were done on an Intel Xeon E3-1245 v5 Skylake box featuring HD Graphics P530.