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Emacs as a desktop environment

From: Ted Zlatanov
Subject: Emacs as a desktop environment
Date: Tue, 24 May 2011 20:05:28 -0500
User-agent: Gnus/5.110018 (No Gnus v0.18) Emacs/24.0.50 (gnu/linux)

I've been very frustrated lately with the memory and resource use of
gnome-panel, XFCE, and the new Unity UI in Ubuntu 11.04.  They use
multiple megabytes of memory for trivial things; they are slow, and they
make a machine with 3 GB of RAM feel slow just doing trivial things.

I think GNU Emacs, at least on GNU/Linux systems, can provide much of
the desktop environment functionality, so Emacs + a window manager like
XMonad is a full desktop experience:

- launch bar: a place to put icons associated with a program (simple toolbar)

- Applications, Places, and System menus: not sure how to connect those

- load indicators (CPU, memory, network load, etc.): can be done with SVG

- date, weather, market indicators: SVG and/or plain text

- workspace indicator: needs to talk to the window manager

- all file management: Dired

- icon dock for application and system indicators

I'd like to know how much of this can be achieved with today's GNU Emacs
plus the external packages (GNU ELPA, Tom Tromey's ELPA, EmacsWiki,
etc.) available, and how much will require new packages or changes to
Emacs' internals.


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