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Make your system Electron free

by imabritishcow

May 2, 2021

Electron is a cancer that soydevs use to build “apps”. These “apps” are just websites running in a web browser. Every Electron app runs an entire Chromium browser, this is why they can eat 500+ MB of memory. My Arch system is 100% Electron free, if I can do it, you can do it too.

Electron uses too many system resources. The average Electron app consumes 500 MB of memory. Imagine having to run 3-4 of these apps, that is 1.5-2 GB of memory. Older computers with only 4 GB of memory will have a hard time. Especially if you run Windows or a heavier desktop environment like GNOME. If we wrote efficient software, these computers could be saved from becoming e-waste.

While Electron is easier to develop for, this usually results in worse apps by lowering the barrier to entry. Electron apps don’t look like native apps, they are websites in window that looks like an app. Native GTK/Qt apps use your system theme, all your apps will fit in together and all look nice.

Alternatives

Replacing Electron apps with native alternatives is a journey. Especially if you have depended on them for a long time and centered your workflow around them. Ditching VSCodium was very hard for me, but worth it. Update: I went back to VSCodium.

Electron AppAlternativeNotes
DiscordUse in browserDiscord does not allow third-party clients. It is proprietary garbage and you should use something like Matrix instead. If you have to, use it in a web browser.
SignalUse on phoneLike Discord, Signal doesn’t want third-party clients to use its servers. Use it on your phone.
Elementgomuks, nheko, FluffyChat
VSCode(ium)Vim/Neovim, Emacs, GNOME Builder
FreeTubeInvidious, RSS+mpv
ElectronmailWebmailUse your email provider’s web email client like a normal person.