I love questions about the Linux desktop, and the following question from reader Bill Cauley is especially close to my heart because it’s about the efficient Linux desktop.
Q: I have: Ubuntu release 11.10 (oneirec), Kernal Linux 3.2.0-16-generic, Gnome 3.2.1 as stated in my System Monitor. With it I use “Gnome Do” that enables the activation and use of just about anything on my computer by merely pressing the activation key super-space and the first letter of and then enter to get what I want. My question: Is there a Linux desktop configuration out there more efficient than what I’ve described?
A: GNOME Do is one of the most efficient desktop apps available, and the combination of GNOME 3 and GNOME Do is a pretty killer combo. GNOME Do brings serious power back to the keyboard of a desktop that is not nearly as keyboard friendly as what Linux users expect.
But as far as the most efficient Linux desktop, I would hand that title over to either Xfce or Enlightenment E17. Both are faster running desktops than GNOME and much more configurable, and with both desktops, you can set up as many keyboard shortcuts as you like. With E17, I particularly like the desktop menu — you left-click on any blank spot in the desktop, and you get a menu where you can access every application and setting on your system; you can even create a keyboard shortcut to make that pop up.
If you prefer a more integrated, modern desktop, you won’t find a more efficient combination than GNOME 3/GNOME Do.