Resource Usage Balloons After Themeing
I was redirected here by a mod on the Xfce forums after having an issue that he also seemed to have. That forum thread can be found here - https://forum.xfce.org/viewtopic.php?pid=59002 - but I will explain my issue here anyways.
I used Xubuntu from February to May of this year on an Asus E403SA with a quad-core Intel Pentium N3700 @ 2.4000 GHz and 4 GB of RAM. Initially I loved it - it did decently well in terms of performance (470 MB with Adwaita for everything, later downloaded a new WM theme called Solarized Dark and changed just the WM theme and it stayed around there). However, after fully themeing it using Arc Darkest Solarized/Material Solarized (switched between both once), Material Solarized Icons and PearDark Cursor, and even with debloating it (removed GNOME Software and some other software) it used 626 MB of RAM on startup at first and then went to 700 MB of RAM on startup over time. This isn't too much more than other Xfce distros - Debian Xfce and Fedora Xfce both used 650 fully themed, and Artix Xfce Runit went from around 290 MB of RAM usage on fresh boot to 421 MB after being fully themed - but it's still quite a lot more than I'd expect. I can provide screenshots for Xubuntu's resource usage, I lost the Artix Xfce ones in an error on my machine. I looked online and there's just not much information on this but surely I can't be the only one having this. The other person who had this issue reported having 500 MB of RAM used with Greybird, followed by 550 with Arc and it stayed that way even after switching back to Greybird.
From my tests on Ubuntu MATE and regular Ubuntu and Fedora, neither have this balloon. Granted, the Arc Darkest Solarized GTK theme I was using did not work on MATE but instead I used Material Solarized Complete Desktop for the GTK theme and Arc Darkest Solarized for the WM theme. On GNOME it did work. Neither had a major balloon - MATE went from 441 MB to 502 on bootup whereas GNOME stayed at 1 GB. I have screenshots of these 2 if anyone desires them (the GNOME one is from Fedora, the MATE one is from Ubuntu MATE).
Does GTK/window manager themeing inherently take up a lot of RAM? Is it the theme I'm using (Arc Darkest Solarized for GTK and WM, Material Solarized Suru for the icons, PearDark for the cursor)? Does Xfce do this by design? Or is it Xfce having a memory leak? I'm pretty sure it's Xfce at this point. I'm looking for max 500 MB of RAM used on bootup and I'd love to get Xubuntu back down to that seeing that I do prefer it to Ubuntu MATE in all other aspects.