I have been planning to do this for quite some time now. So finally I did this today. Actually I wanted to use some features of gnome like tracker and gnome-settings and quite a few other things along with running cairo-dock and still wanted the system to use less memory and faster response. It is well known fact that gnome/kde takes a lot of memory and CPU thus wanted to run some other window manager like fluxbox or blackbox. I went with fluxbox, as that suits my needs very well, so heres what I did:
First install the window manager of your choice using yum (in my case fluxbox):
yum install fluxbox
Once this is done, follow carefully to change the window manger, a wrong step here would really create a mess for you:
run gnome-session-properties from terminal
go to Preference -> Personal -> Sessions
Here is the screenshot of the Dialogue box that pops up:
<img class="size-full wp-image-477" title="sessionprefernces" src="http://blog.amit-agarwal.co.in/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/sessionprefernces.jpg" alt="sessionprefernces" width="494" height="346" />
Here we will add an entry to start the window manager. Add an entry with the exec as the name of your window manager. Verify that you can execute the exec command given in the box in the terminal. In this case, you will probably get a warning that some other window manager is already running and thus the new window manager will not run. This is okay.
Now we will remove starting the panel and disable Gnome from starting the Window Manager. I know this is not the best approach, but this is the best I could do. Enter the command below in a terminal:
gconftool-2 –type string –set /desktop/gnome/session/required_components/windowmanager amit
Any value here as the last argument will not matter as GNome does not honor this value. Once this is done, gnome will try to start this window manager from the list of window mangers but this will not work and hence will not start any window manager. And since we have given our window manager in the autostart in the gnome settings so our window manager will be started.
BE CAREFUL IN DOING THE STEPS ABOVE OR YOU MAY RENDER YOUR SESSION UNUSABLE. Do this at your own risk. I would try to help but cannot assure you on resolution in case you land into problems.
Ok now the speed part, before doing the changes, I was seeing my Memory usage constantly at 98% or so but with this change I am seeing it at values of 57% also and system is responding much faster. Also the CPU usage is at 9-10% with Firefox also running. I am really loving it.
Heres the screenshot of my desktop as it looks now 🙂
<img class="size-full wp-image-478" title="Desktop" src="http://blog.amit-agarwal.co.in/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/desktop.jpg" alt="Desktop" width="840" height="525" />