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Old 12-31-2011, 01:56 AM   #1
eek450
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Unhappy Ubuntu Performance Issues


I am currently running UBUNTU 10.04 on a Dell Pentium 2.8. I have used UBUNTU for 2 years now and I have been very happy with its performance. A while back I upgraded a different similar machine to UBUNTU 11 from UBUNTU 10. Since then I have had performance issues on 3 different machines of similar vintage and 3 different Distros of UBUNTU. I've installed/reinstalled Distros at least a dozen times in some form or fashion. Its like a grey cloud over my Ubuntu Head. However, for the first 2 years, at least 2 of these machines worked just fine for long periods of time.

... I am baffled. Do I have a Virus/Spyware???

The problem is that the machines run slow, the system fan constantly runs even when idle, and the system monitor shows my memory usage constantly bogged down.

Is there a good way to figure out what is bogging my system down?

Also, I use UBUNTU ONE and Firefox Sync. But even if I disengage their sync functions, I still have the same problem.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 
Old 12-31-2011, 02:59 AM   #2
syg00
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The biggest fan problem I've noticed is video card support. Varies with vendor/kernel/distro/update even. Rarely a simple CPU problem.
And of course in the case of Ubuntu Shuttleworth keeps insisting he knows better than everyone else what UI we all need to use.

*NOT*.

Simple answer - "if it hurts, don't do it". Linux is all about option, distro included.
Hard to give specific advice as things are so sensitive to particular setup. Sorry, but "it depends" ...
Maybe look at Bodhi - I've been impressed in the case of lesser machinery.
 
Old 12-31-2011, 04:58 AM   #3
unSpawn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eek450 View Post
Is there a good way to figure out what is bogging my system down?
Only if you measure things you'll know. For starters check out Atop, collectl, dstat, tools like that.
 
Old 12-31-2011, 05:10 PM   #4
DavidMcCann
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You could start by running top and see if something is hogging the CPU or memory. I don't know much about Ubuntu, but with some distros (particularly Fedora) there are unnecessary daemons running: get BUM and check what you've got starting up automatically.

There is a basic problem of bloat in Gnome/Unity and KDE which is getting worse as they assume that home users have bigger and faster computers every year. In testing various distros I notice that some that were fine a couple of years ago are now running in wounded snail mode.

You could always switch distros: Mint Xfce version (better than Xubuntu) or WattOS (better than Lubuntu).
 
Old 12-31-2011, 06:14 PM   #5
k3lt01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eek450 View Post
I am currently running UBUNTU 10.04 on a Dell Pentium 2.8. I have used UBUNTU for 2 years now and I have been very happy with its performance. A while back I upgraded a different similar machine to UBUNTU 11 from UBUNTU 10. Since then I have had performance issues on 3 different machines of similar vintage and 3 different Distros of UBUNTU. I've installed/reinstalled Distros at least a dozen times in some form or fashion. Its like a grey cloud over my Ubuntu Head. However, for the first 2 years, at least 2 of these machines worked just fine for long periods of time.
Even though you have written alot you don't actually give all that much information. Could you tell use exactly what model Dell and what versions of Ubuntu you have tried. You say Ubuntu 10 and Ubuntu 11. Problem with this is there were 2 Ubuntus in both years 10.04 and 10.10, 11.04 and 11.10. Which ones did you try? I ask because the Ubuntu devs add new stuff (read resource hogs) each release.

A couple of things you can try are totally remove ureadahead (this thing is such a problem on so many machines). After you have done this you should read this thread at Ubuntu Forums and follow the instructions. Then check if you have a version that runs Plymouth, do this by looking in synaptic. If you do have plymouth that could be part of your problem as well as it doesn't run on everything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eek450 View Post
... I am baffled. Do I have a Virus/Spyware???
Highly unlikely although not impossible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eek450 View Post
The problem is that the machines run slow, the system fan constantly runs even when idle, and the system monitor shows my memory usage constantly bogged down.
ok so what service is bogging it down, look at system moniter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eek450 View Post
Is there a good way to figure out what is bogging my system down?
just gave you one hint and others have given you some excellent advice as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eek450 View Post
Also, I use UBUNTU ONE and Firefox Sync. But even if I disengage their sync functions, I still have the same problem.
Trying disabling them totally (at startup) although I seriously doubt they are the issue.

How did you upgrade? did you do a clean install or did you upgrade via update manager? Clean installs are always a prefered option as they get rid of anything that is not needed from previous versions.

Last edited by k3lt01; 01-01-2012 at 11:15 PM.
 
Old 12-31-2011, 06:47 PM   #6
snowpine
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Your System Monitor will give you some clues. If RAM is an issue (as you suggest) then RAM upgrades are cheap; alternately, you could experiment with a lightweight desktop environment such as Xfce or LXDE.
 
Old 12-31-2011, 07:35 PM   #7
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If you have updated from Gnome 2 to Gnome 3 then it may just be that Gnome 3 demands more processing power to do its thing.
You could try installing and logging into LXDE or XFCE and seeing if that helps.
 
Old 01-01-2012, 03:03 PM   #8
eek450
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Thanks everyone! I've gotten a lot of useful info quickly.

As someone posted, "If it hurts don't do it."

I think I will try a quick upgrade to another UBUNTU Release. If that doesn't quickly resolve my issue, I'll try some other distros.
 
Old 01-01-2012, 04:06 PM   #9
k3lt01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eek450 View Post
I think I will try a quick upgrade to another UBUNTU Release.
Why? Do a clean install instead.
Quote:
Originally Posted by eek450 View Post
If that doesn't quickly resolve my issue, I'll try some other distros.
Not being rude but you know the definition of stupidity don't you? Stupidity is doing the exact same thing more than once and expecting a different result. How many times have you upgraded? Has it worked yet? Do something different this time and save yourself even more angst.
 
Old 01-01-2012, 04:50 PM   #10
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I don't understand why you would blindly update instead of opening your System Monitor and studying the data for hints to improve your performance.
 
Old 01-01-2012, 05:00 PM   #11
markseger
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Once again I see a discussion about a slow system and no data. How do you know it's slow? IS the CPU pegged? The network bottlenecked? The disk I/O wait times too long? You say memory is 'bogged down'. What does that mean? I know a lot of people think low free memory is a bad thing but on a linux box that means nothing.

Have you looked at data over a period of time and watched what the system is actually doing with its cycles? I'd run collectl or sar (see syg00, I can talk about other tools) but be sure if you do use sar you run it at a 10-second sampling interval. Then study the data and see what looks off. If the CPU is NOT busy or the network blocked, I'd look to the disks. Are you swapping? Building up long queue wait times? The answer IS in the data but sometimes you have to look very carefully. Randomly reinstalling the O/S might help, but if you haven't tracked down the root cause there's no assurance that you won't degrade again.

-mark
 
Old 01-01-2012, 10:27 PM   #12
eek450
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k3lt01 View Post
Why? Do a clean install instead.
Not being rude but you know the definition of stupidity don't you? Stupidity is doing the exact same thing more than once and expecting a different result. How many times have you upgraded? Has it worked yet? Do something different this time and save yourself even more angst.
Actually, the definition of "Crazy" is doing the exact same thing more than once and expecting a different result.

-As far as upgrades, I had done 4-5 upgrades of UBUNTU on an HP n524 and it worked flawlessly for almost two years. Its just that at one point, when I went to UBUNTU 11.04 on that machine, everything went down hill with performance issues. I then took that same machine, did a fresh install of UBUNTU 10.04, the same machine and the same distro that worked fine before, was having major performance issues. I then tried fresh installs and updates on that machine as well as 2 other machines, and they all have had the same performance issues. (Note each machine had at least 512MB RAM and was a Pentium single core 2.0 MHz-2.8MHz.) The only common denominator here is UBUNTU and a Samsung SYNCMASTER 203B Monitor.

The System monitor has Firefox-Bin as the biggest, by far, Memory Hog. 319MiB Virtual Memory, 126MiB Resident Memory, 116MiB Memory (I just did a Firefox Tweak I found at another forum, but that did not make any difference.) Xorg is the next highest memory user but far behind Firefox. This is pretty much the same memory problems for every machine/distro that I had checked.

I would be just as happy with my system's performance to go back to my first machine using UBUNTU 8.04. UBUNTU was very easy to manage for almost two years and I don't ever want to go back to Windows. All I need is a Browser and the ability to edit MS Office Docs and some other basic stuff.

I will do a fresh install once I get my External Drive to mount so I can do a Backup first.

With all that being said, I do appreciate all of the support that you folks have given me despite my ineptness.
 
Old 01-01-2012, 10:40 PM   #13
snowpine
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Hmmm... if Firefox is the problem, then have you tried using another browser? Chrome, Epiphany, Opera, Midori, etc.

You can also try a lightweight desktop environment such as Xfce or LXDE.

Both of these experiments you can easily try with your current Ubuntu, you don't need to upgrade or reinstall.
 
Old 01-01-2012, 11:11 PM   #14
k3lt01
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I have an old Acer Extensa with Ubuntu 10.04 on it and it has 512 MB RAM (it had 256 MB RAM for years but my sisters machine died so I took its RAM and put it into mine). Anyway, all I needed to do to that was remove ureadahead, install localepurge, and deborphan, and remember this was with 256 MB RAM. I had to install it with the alternate install disc but it still works on that same machine.

Last edited by k3lt01; 01-01-2012 at 11:17 PM.
 
Old 01-02-2012, 10:18 AM   #15
cascade9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eek450 View Post
-As far as upgrades, I had done 4-5 upgrades of UBUNTU on an HP n524 and it worked flawlessly for almost two years. Its just that at one point, when I went to UBUNTU 11.04 on that machine, everything went down hill with performance issues. I then took that same machine, did a fresh install of UBUNTU 10.04, the same machine and the same distro that worked fine before, was having major performance issues. I then tried fresh installs and updates on that machine as well as 2 other machines, and they all have had the same performance issues. (Note each machine had at least 512MB RAM and was a Pentium single core 2.0 MHz-2.8MHz.) The only common denominator here is UBUNTU and a Samsung SYNCMASTER 203B Monitor.
There might be more 'common denominators' than you might think. I would guess that you have at least one of those old dells using an intel i845 video chip, and its possible that all your old dells have i845 video (if they dont have i845, they probably have i915, which isnt much better).

10.04 uses gnome 2.X for a desktop. 11.04 uses unity (by default), and its more resource heavy than gnome2.X is/was. AFAIK unity wont run on i845, but it should run with unity 2D.....but there are also i845 problems with unity 2D. The (possibility) that you are using the horror that is the intel i845 video chip would explain your problems, intel i845 + any real 3D load = heavy CPU use. Also, there are 'known issues' with i845 (and family) with ubuntu 10.XX to 11.04, mostly because as far as canoncial is concerned, i845 is 'low priority'.

BTW, ubuntu 'Recommended Minimum System Requirements' have gone up from 512MB up to 1GB. I cant recall exactly when it changed, but I think it was around 10.04. If your systems have under 1GB, ubuntu probably wont run that well, even if you dont have intel video problems.

Quote:
Sep 27 '10 at 3:57
RAOF

The Intel i855 (along with the i830 and i845) chips have suffered serious stability regressions since the implementation of DRI2 (and the associated GEM kernel work) in the driver. These features have stressed parts of the hardware that haven't previously been heavily used in the past, and turn out to have hardware bugs.

Thus, in Ubuntu 10.04 we turned off KMS for these cards. That didn't help enough, and many users still reported frequent system crashes - from X just not coming up, to the system hanging whenever they tried to play a video, to apparently random freezes every couple of days.

In Maverick we've just disabled the autoloader for the Intel driver on these cards. That should give a baseline stable experience for users of these cards, dropping back to fbdev.

See this page for details of how to use the Intel driver (and possibly sacrifice stability).

Update: The Intel driver will be autoloaded in the upcoming Ubuntu 11.10 release, as upstream has (apparently!) worked around the issues that this hardware has.
http://askubuntu.com/questions/4658/...2-855gm-driver

Even if it is 'fixed' for 11.10 (ha, I've heard that before from canonical) the old i845 isnt going to be that happy with unity 2D unity the bugs are worked out....and again, old i845 video users bugs are low on the list of bugs to fix.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eek450 View Post
The System monitor has Firefox-Bin as the biggest, by far, Memory Hog. 319MiB Virtual Memory, 126MiB Resident Memory, 116MiB Memory (I just did a Firefox Tweak I found at another forum, but that did not make any difference.) Xorg is the next highest memory user but far behind Firefox. This is pretty much the same memory problems for every machine/distro that I had checked.
As long as you still have some free memory, and arent using swap a lot then I'd doubt that its firefox.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eek450 View Post
I would be just as happy with my system's performance to go back to my first machine using UBUNTU 8.04. UBUNTU was very easy to manage for almost two years and I don't ever want to go back to Windows. All I need is a Browser and the ability to edit MS Office Docs and some other basic stuff.
Try debian, if you have basic needs and dont mind learning a bit (and you would only have to learn if something doesnt work 'out of the box' with debian, and that is a lot better with current debian releases than it was a few years ago).

Mint is pretty nice, and if you want more stuff installed 'out of the box' its better than debian. It will be more 'heavy' in than resources used than debian though.

I'd suggest a Xfce or Lxde version of debian or mint....if I'm right, and you are using computers with intel video the less eyecandied up desktops will run a lot better than gnome 2.X (with compiz or other compositing), gnome 3.X, KDE 4.X or unity.
 
  


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