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submitted 1 month ago by [email protected] to c/[email protected]

I often hear folks in the Linux community discussing their preference for Arch (and Linux in general) because they can install only the packages they want or need - no bloat.

I've come across users with a couple of hundred packages installed (likely fresh installs), but I've also seen others with thousands.

Personally, I'm currently at 1.7k packages on my desktop and 1.3k on my laptop (both running EndeavourOS). There might be a few packages I could remove, but I don't feel like my system is bloated.

I guess it's subjective, but when do you consider a system to be bloated?

I'm asking as a relatively new Linux user - been daily driving for about 7/8 months

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[-] [email protected] 74 points 1 month ago

I find it bloated if the system have things I don't need are noticeably using up RAM and CPU. I couldn't care less about extra unused packages on disk, they're dormant. I don't care about a few daemons or resident apps I don't use either if they're idle all the time and use minimal RAM. Bloat for me is something that noticeably affects my running system.

[-] [email protected] 23 points 1 month ago

I would probably add (as a couple of others have already mentioned) if it slows down the update process by pulling loads of software/dependencies that I'm not using.

[-] [email protected] 5 points 1 month ago

Who sits and watches the update process?

[-] [email protected] 9 points 1 month ago

Me, occasionally. I like seeing the little Pac-Man eat away at progress of a download on EndeavourOS.

Also, this video covers it slightly.

[-] [email protected] 9 points 1 month ago

Oh god, the "your computer slows down over time" BS from people who have no idea what they are talking about so "fuck it - just nuke and reinstall".

Remove repos you aren't using. Uninstall / purge things you don't want anymore. If you don't know how to fix it then you'll just re-do everything that made it "slow" again.

[-] [email protected] 5 points 1 month ago

Maybe not watching it per se, but it's nice to catch a problem before I reboot (ie a grub upgrade failure for example)

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[-] [email protected] 12 points 1 month ago

I completely agree. This is also why I find find teams and discord to be especially frustrating; they're slow out of the box on the literal best possible hardware.

[-] [email protected] 9 points 1 month ago

Yup. Fretting over a light daemon while running a hundred browser tabs is really missing the forest for the trees.

[-] [email protected] 9 points 1 month ago

But I neeeeed 587 browser tabs for research!

[-] [email protected] 34 points 1 month ago

When there's ads in my terminal

[-] [email protected] 31 points 1 month ago

I'm not against bloat, I just want it to be MY bloat

[-] [email protected] 23 points 1 month ago

The minute any Electron application is installed, it’s GG

[-] [email protected] 22 points 1 month ago

It's relative. If you installed everything you need, then it probably isn't bloated. Bloat is something you don't need and keep getting updates. My home server has 300+ packages while my desktop has 900+ packages (cannot tell the exact numbers on mobile). I'm currently on EndeavourOS as well, though I'm thinking about moving to Void.

[-] [email protected] 22 points 1 month ago

I love a bloated Linux system. Zeitgeist running in the background? Sweet, that means when I search for the file I was editing 3 days ago I’ll find it fast. Tracker busy indexing my files? Nice, next time I search for something the results will be near instantaneous.

That’s why I bought the ram, CPU and disk. To work for me, not the other way around. I’m daily driving a PC, not a server.

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[-] [email protected] 20 points 1 month ago

When my calculator app in windows is suspended, but has locked 29 threads and is using 60megs of ram. Not that those two values are significant, but why is my caluclator-app "suspended" when I closed it a few days ago since the last time I used it? Shouldn't it just be closed and not showing up at all.

[-] [email protected] 12 points 1 month ago

And why the fuck does a calculator app take 60MB of RAM when perfectly functional calculators ran on Windows 3.1 on systems with 8-24MB of RAM total?

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[-] [email protected] 18 points 1 month ago

Personally, I consider a "bloated system" to be one that has a bunch of installed apps that I'll never use....

[-] [email protected] 8 points 1 month ago

The worst is when they can't even be uninstalled.

[-] [email protected] 7 points 1 month ago

Anxiety at its finest !!

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[-] [email protected] 17 points 1 month ago

I don't. Modern computers have a LOT of resources. The whole 'minimalist computing' thing some people go on about is really odd to me. And I say that as someone who remembers when 16K was impressive. I can see it for restricted environments, where every byte counts, but not for desktops.

[-] [email protected] 16 points 1 month ago

My laptop is 6 years old and has been running arch Linux with xfce for most of that time. I got tired of maintaining it and changed to an "easy" Linux mint distro. It takes much longer to boot up now and feels generally sluggish in comparison to a minimal arch install. So from experience, in older hardware having a bloated distro can really slow down your system.

[-] [email protected] 13 points 1 month ago

I'd define "bloat" as functionality (as in: program code) present on my system that I cannot imagine ever needing to use.

There will never be a system that is perfectly tailored to my needs because there will always be some piece of functional code that I have no intention of using. Therefore, any system is "bloated" and it's a question to which degree it is "bloated".

The degree depends on which kind of resources the "bloat" uses and how much of it. The more significant the resource usage, the more significant the effect of the "bloat". The kind of resource is used defines how critical some amount of usage is. 5% Power, CPU, IO, RAM or disk usage have varying degrees of criticality for instance.

Some examples:

This system has a calendar app installed by default. I don't use it, so it's certainly bloat but I also don't care because it's just a few megs on disk at worst and that doesn't hurt me in any way.

Firefox frequently uses most of my RAM and >1% CPU util at "idle" but it's a useful application that I use all the time, so it's not bloat.

The most critical resource usage of systemd (pid1) on my system is RAM which is <0.1%. It provides tonnes of essential features required on a modern system and therefore not even worth thinking about when it comes to bloat.

I just noticed that mbrola voices sneaked into my closure again which is like 700MiB of voice synthesis data for many languages that I don't have a need for. Quite a lot of storage for something I don't ever need. This is significant bloat. It appears Firefox is drawing it in but it looks like that can be disabled via an override, so I'll do that right now.

[-] [email protected] 11 points 1 month ago

When do you consider a system to be bloated?

When I see a service or process running and I have no idea what it's for.

Disk space isn't so much of a concern for me so package size and count is fairly irrelevant (this system is above 1500) because a lot of it is just things I use rarely.

[-] [email protected] 10 points 1 month ago

if you don't have a printer, but it runs cups (and maybe even re-installs it when you remove it)

looking at you, ubuntu 😐

[-] [email protected] 10 points 1 month ago

A linux is bloated if it has packages installed thaz you don’t need.

I love my bloated Arch.btw (honestly after installing arch once normally, I installed it using EndeavourOS installer (still Arch in my opinion))

[-] [email protected] 4 points 1 month ago

EOS is definitely Arch. There are only a handful of EOS packages. 99.9% of the packages ( including the kernel ) are from the real Arch repos.

[-] [email protected] 10 points 1 month ago

My definition of software bloat is when the feature set creeps up to including features that the vast majority of users do not need to a degree that starts impeding the usefulness and usability of the software.

FreeCAD, for example. FreeCAD has several workbenches that it did or still does ship with that no one has a use for. The Robot bench, for example, which simulates those giant robot arms that build cars. The venn diagram of people who work with those robots and people who use FreeCAD are two circles 284 miles apart. There is/was a Ship bench that could draw a boat hull in one click. No one on earth needs that. A working Assembly bench? Still years away. Who on earth needs that? I've hidden a full third of the stock workbenches just to reduce the noise in the dropdown menu and it's made the software more comfortable to use.

Linux Mint includes a LOT of little utilities, lots of little CLI programs and whatnot that the majority of users will never use, but other than occupying a few dozen MB of disk space it's not really a problem. It doesn't get in the way.

[-] KISSmyOSFeddit 9 points 1 month ago

I don't even care anymore. I've got a system with 1TB of SSD space and 16GB of RAM that I mostly use to open a browser.
Install all the desktop environments for all I care.

[-] [email protected] 8 points 1 month ago

I just installed Red Hat 5.2 a couple of days ago ( true story ). It is so light-weight with its Fvwm window manager, bash 1.2, and GCC 2.7.2. It even had Netscape Navigator! Who could ask for more? Anything more is bloat!

Just kidding. Bloat is installing things you do not use or that do not make your system better. I think some desktop environments add bloat. Mostly though, even the heavy ones represent a smaller fraction of system resources than their ancestors did on older systems.

If you have 3000 packages you use, who cares? However, if you have 3000 packages and only use a dozen of them, maybe your system is bloated.

I use a lot of older hardware. So, I like a fairly lean base system. I still use a lot of software though. I don’t think that is bloat.

[-] shotgun_crab 8 points 1 month ago

Any stuff that I'll only rarely use and that isn't essential to make the OS work, I guess. It has nothing to do with resource usage for me

[-] [email protected] 8 points 1 month ago

Idk. I use Ubuntu (although the MATE flavour, not sure about the default version) and I don't feel it's bloated (there are preinstalled apps that I don't use but I stilk don't feel it's bloated). One example that I consider bloated is stock Android on most phones where you have Facebook and Instagram preinstalled (two social media ffs), GDrive and OneDrive, and those useless vendor apps (Samsung Pay, Samsung Store or whatever that is). It's just too much. Worse is they're all privacy nightmares.

[-] [email protected] 8 points 1 month ago

I'd say that bloat is whatever you define it to be and can vary depending on the power of your system.

I care less about how much resources apps are taking up on my desktop (32GB RAM, Ryzen 7700X), but I do bring my concerns over to my laptop (8GB RAM, Ryzen 4500U).

the one thing I cannot stand are electron apps and anything similar. they are a whole browser bundled with an unoptimized interface, and will eat up what used to be a decent amount of RAM for a laptop back then, as well as my battery life. for this reason I always try to find native apps that use less power and less RAM, which in turn improve my battery life.

this is just one example of where you can draw the line for bloat, although you are completely correct in saying that it is subjective.

[-] [email protected] 7 points 1 month ago

I don't really care about "bloat" (whatever that means) I care about the system not being in chaos. I keep my bare system as clean as possible and install everything in a container, flatpak or VM.

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[-] GustavoM 7 points 1 month ago

"Bloat" implies "excess", "overloaded" -- anything that has been installed and used without my consent or a badly optimized package/command.

[-] [email protected] 7 points 1 month ago

I have 12 cores and 64 GB RAM. I am not worried about "bloat". The people trying to keep 20 year old Thinkpads running are.

[-] [email protected] 11 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

16c/64gb Zen4 system here with optimised packages and kernel. I still care about bloat. Not from a performance reason obviously, but from a systems management / updates / attack surface point of view. Fewer packages == fewer breakages == fewer headaches.

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[-] [email protected] 7 points 1 month ago

People favor Arch Linux for configurability, not lack of bloat. With the level of configurability that Arch offers, any DE can look bloated. On the other hand, if you are a new Linux user or someone who just wants to use the computer without so much personalization, anything Linux offers is lightweight enough. Even a decade old system has enough hardware to handle modern Linux distros effortlessly. This is probably what a regular user wants anyway.

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[-] TechNerdWizard42 7 points 1 month ago

If it affects system performance and gives me no noticeable benefit. Otherwise, flash bytes are cheap. I've got 30TB+ in my laptop. Why do I care if I have a 3GB OS or a 2.95GB OS?

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[-] solidgrue 7 points 1 month ago

When it's Ubuntu? When it's Fedora?

Relaaax. I keed, I keed.

It's bloated when I cant look at any given package having been installed and understand within three dependencies why.

[-] Deckweiss 6 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

You answered it yourself in your post.

It is subjective.


I think the concept applies more to whats preinstalled and less to what you yourself install

To illustrate, personally I think:

Ubuntu is bloat, because when I used it it was a hassle to remove everythink I knew I never would use.

Archinstall without template is not bloat, because there is nothing installed that I would not use.

But archinstall with for example the KDE Plasma template is very bloated and it is a pain to uninstall what I don't need because of the meta packages.

[-] [email protected] 6 points 1 month ago

When it got software/features I don’t use.

[-] [email protected] 6 points 1 month ago

When installing pandoc, it’s doomed :)

For real, when I typed in the command to install it, there was a hundred package to install (Haskell bloat) so I gave up

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[-] [email protected] 6 points 1 month ago

To me bloat is anything using resources when I didn’t ask it to. Someday I’ll have more than 16 gigs of ram to throw around, maybe then I won’t be such a memory miser. One of the biggest things that pushed me into linux was the myriad of live service-esque background processes windows was forcing on me.

If I was a little less dyslexic I’d have a CLI for everything, now THAT’S efficiency!

[-] [email protected] 5 points 1 month ago

When it affects stability, functionality, or exceeds my abilty to secure it properly.

[-] cafuneandchill 5 points 1 month ago
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[-] [email protected] 4 points 1 month ago

A system us bloated when I feel it is bloated. It is highly subjective and there is no real line to cross. It is just more of a sliding scale, at one end there is no code on your system that you never use and at the other there is nothing on it that you ever want to use.

The former can likely on be reached on small microcontrollers where you have written everything exactly how you want it, and you would never even consider using the latter.

Realistically every system has things younever use, even the kernel has modules you will never load. And every non tiny program has features you never use. All of that is technically bloat but each instance I don't think makes your system or even an application feel bloated.

So really the question is when does the bloat bother you or get in your way. If you are trying to install an OS on a tiny embedded device where space is a premiumthenn you are going to draw that line at a different point to on the latest desktop with multi terabytes of storages and oodles of ram.

Anyone that claims there system has no bloat is technically lying to themselves. But if it makes them happy who cares? If your system has every package installed and it does not bother you at all thenitt does not matter at all.

[-] eager_eagle 4 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

maybe if it has too many things I don't want.

But I find the concept a bit silly. A large number of installed things doesn't usually matter if they're not running. I had over 5k packages in my previous kubuntu that I was running for some 3y and it was just fine. The time and effort I'd spend cleaning it up and installing things as needed wouldn't translate into any perceived benefit imo.

I'm now running endeavour with a third of this number of packages, since it's a fresh install and not ubuntu. But other than some storage space and missing packages if I try to build something, I can't say there's much of a difference. As for storage, packages rank low in usage, for my desktop anyway.

[-] [email protected] 4 points 1 month ago

When you notice it takes a long time to scroll past a lot of unused software in your application launcher to get to the one you want

[-] art 4 points 1 month ago

It's bloat if it slows me down and brings me zero benefit. I have a few extra packages on my system, but it's still snappy. That's not bloat to me.

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this post was submitted on 18 Apr 2024
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