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Old 04-21-2006, 02:28 PM   #16
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You've said a couple of times "loads slowly compared to Windows XP". My guess is this is disk related. You also said SLAX was fast for you. Since SLAX runs out of ram, not off a harddisk, this also points me towards a disk problem. Once you've loaded these slow applications from disk, does your performance pick up?

I would investigate your disk. You will need a program called "hdparm" to do this. It is probably not installed by default with Ubuntu, but I really don't know about this. Since Ubuntu is Debian-based, and I use Debian, I can at least tell you how to install hdparm!

From a terminal window, log in as root. Then run "apt-get update". Then run "apt-get install hdparm".

Now, still logged in as root, you can investigate with hdparm. Read the manpage for hdparm before venturing further, because you can do some damage with this command. Safe things to do are to just "look and test" generally. If your harddisk is /dev/hda for example, run "hdparm /dev/hda" to see how it's configured. What you're specifically looking for is DMA access turned on ("using_dma = 1" in the hdparm output). You can also test speeds of you disk settings with "hdparm -t -T /dev/hda".

Here are the results of these two commands on my system, for your reference (testing my second disk, /dev/hdb). The second command will take a few seconds to run. The "cache reads" result is pretty meaningless, what you're interested in is the "buffered disk reads".
$ sudo hdparm /dev/hdb

 multcount    =  0 (off)
 IO_support   =  1 (32-bit)
 unmaskirq    =  1 (on)
 using_dma    =  1 (on)
 keepsettings =  0 (off)
 readonly     =  0 (off)
 readahead    = 256 (on)
 geometry     = 24321/255/63, sectors = 390721968, start = 0
$ sudo hdparm -t -T /dev/hdb

 Timing cached reads:   2360 MB in  2.00 seconds = 1179.59 MB/sec
 Timing buffered disk reads:  188 MB in  3.02 seconds =  62.30 MB/sec
Try running these commands and post your results...
Old 04-21-2006, 02:31 PM   #17
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Try setting up with Arch Linux and XFCE or similar "lite" window manager. Faster than any Windows I have seen.
OpenOffice is slow---on Windows and Linux. But it is FREE!!

Linux has more choices--eg Abiword. REALLY fast and reads .doc format.

There is no universal comparison between Linux and Windows except maybe:
Linux is free
Linux has more flexibility and control
Linux allows escape from the MS tyranny

As they say: "You pays your money and you makes your choice."

Last edited by pixellany; 04-21-2006 at 02:32 PM.
Old 04-21-2006, 02:52 PM   #18
Registered: Nov 2005
Location: Copenhagen
Distribution: Debian E, Vectorlinux 5.1std, Arch, Gentoo 2006.0
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Originally Posted by haertig
I've never used Gentoo, although it was a top contendor when I had narrowed my initial choices to Debian, Slackware, or Gentoo.

However, compiling for days on end does pop right up there on my easy-to-install-o'meter. Maybe I misinterpreted what Gentoo is about when I researched it. Configurable? You betcha. Easy to install? Subject to debate...

Yes I agree with your point. That is why I added the ' ' marks when I wrote easy.

With the new graphical installer it is pretty easy to get it up and running, offcourse it varies, but it is my experience that it detects the most common hardware, and making the adjustments to get it up and running properly is pretty much similar to other distros. And offcourse gentoo has some advanced options you can use if you feel up for it But it will run fast wether you set them or not.

The compiling is ruff, but you can actually find alot of precompiled packages in their repository, and it is growing. When I first installed gentoo it took me 17 hours (also made a HUGE error when I started compiling KDE). When I do the same using XFCE it takes like 3 - 4 hours.

But as you wrote it is still subject to debate.

To get a taste of a quick linux distro I suggest and recommend Arch. Here is a quick get up and running guide:

If you like it when the hardwarerepository is huge, you could also go for SuSe 10 Eval and use FVWM as your windowmanager.

Good luck and have fun

Old 04-21-2006, 02:52 PM   #19
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My personal recommendation - not intended to offend others who have suggested differently - would be to not go changing distros or window managers just yet. I being one who initially suggested a lighter weight window manager several posts back. To be honest, when I made that suggestion I had not reviewed your hardware configuration and was making that recommendation just assuming you were working on older, slower hardware. That was my error.

I now look at what you've got hardware-wise, and I see no reason why you shouldn't be able to run Ubuntu and whatever-the-heck window manager you darn well want to. If you go switching distros or window managers now, you might get something that runs faster, but you'll never know why. Could be some other distro might enable DMA while Ubuntu is not (for whatever reason). Could be different video drivers than optimal are involved in this. I personally don't care to get something working and end up not having any clue why it worked. 99% of the time that comes back to you later, you end up with the same probelm as before, but this time you can't guess your way to get it working.

Old 04-21-2006, 03:05 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by anti.corp
But as you wrote it is still subject to debate.
Don't think I'm knocking Gentoo in the slightest. It's definitely on my list of things "I want to do". But I have much experience writing code in many different languages (decades worth, unfortunately!), compiling, patching, testing, debugging, etc. Even looking at the output of a failed make and determining where the problem actually occurred would be quite an effort for a non-technical person, IMHO. However, if you can successfully compile your entire OS from scratch and get it running, that definitely qualifies you as having advanced from newbie to at least guru-in-training status. At least in MY book!

Last edited by haertig; 04-21-2006 at 03:07 PM.
Old 04-21-2006, 04:22 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by haertig
However, if you can successfully compile your entire OS from scratch and get it running, that definitely qualifies you as having advanced from newbie to at least guru-in-training status. At least in MY book!
Wow, cool! I've compiled my Gentoo kernel four times now. The first time (initial install) I hosed it up and only got CLI. Figured out what I did wrong and fixed it the second time. The third and fourth time were really just to play around; just to see what I could break. However, I still consider myself more of a newbie-in-training.

My natural inquisitive nature has caused me to load four distros simultaneously on two machines (three and one). I have done things on all four distros that are "really gonna make the PC scream" only to wait 10-15 minutes to change from desktop to desktop! It wasn't Linux, it was mis-specification on my part.

I would have to agree with haertig's last recommendation not to change distros. Rather, you should try to figure out why the Ubuntu is lagging now and if it can be sped up. My experience tells me that Linux on a 7 or 8 year old PC outperforms WinXP on a 1.5 year old PC under various conditions present only in my home.
Old 04-23-2006, 10:32 AM   #22
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30-40 seconds is slow for windows Xp to boot up. you have a laptop what do you expect desktop performance.

“not just the boot-up which takes about 30-40secs in XP and about 2 minutes in Ubuntu”

people on desktops have faster hard drives which makes PC's boot and open
apps quicker as well as the 1.6-Ghz which will slow things down

did you get you wifi card working with your laptop? something Linux is not good at

you will need to check this “my SWAP partition isn't big enough” this will cause your laptop to slow down when using Linux your swap partition should be

4.5Gb [ you will need to check with some one elce on this one might be wrong]

your laptop probably came with 256 Mb of ram you probably upgraded your ram to 1024 Mb ram or 1G

that might be the other way around though

you are using a fast distro as ubunto uses gnome and not KDE [you would probably like mepis]

i think the partitioning with kubunto is crap i have tried it, it seems to me that it would like to wipe the hole hard drive and windows to. it has a very strange way to install it self [i think debian is like this]

Linux is slower than windows

I like the amount of ram you have though Linux will like that very much

Dell 700m
1.6ghz Centrino
1280MB pc2700 RAM
Intel 2200 b/g wireless
60gb 5400 rpm
Old 04-23-2006, 10:48 AM   #23
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Sorry to flood you with replies, but I also found Ubuntu to be annoyingly slow. In fact, I found all distros to be slow except for one: Gentoo. Yes, it takes a bit of experience, patience, and time to setup, but it's well worth it in the end. It's by far the fastest distro I've tried, and every time I try a new one I end up going back to it. Let's put it this way: It's so fast, that I can run Gentoo and Windows XP home AT THE SAME TIME using an emulator (Same computer, I'm actually installing Firefox right now), and it's not even slowing down. Now that could be due to the fact that my processor is uber fast, but it's really fast on any machine I put it on. If you want to know more about installing it I'd be glad to help you. Just post again or e-mail me.

Old 04-23-2006, 09:32 PM   #24
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1. the 1.6 ghz won't slow things down at all; he's using a pentium-m class, which does more per clock cycle than a standard pentium 4 (and i believe some athlons). He's got plenty of processor.

2. have you tried other distros? I used slackware 10.2, for example, and it ran pretty fast. solid too. just a suggestion

Good luck with your problem.

Old 04-23-2006, 09:48 PM   #25
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ubuntu has better hardware detection and autoconfiguration, than most distros. however, the reason it does so well is because its setup to support/search for alot more hardware/software than other more 'manual' distros.

i think of it as a comparison in DE's: KDE vs Gnome
KDE - has all the looks and fancy features, however more resource-demanding
GNOME - just works.. it doesnt look as nice, but runs faster and is more intuitive to use

same with this distro.
ubuntu - easier and more fun to use (more autodetection/autoconfiguration), however it will be slower
slackware - more manual setup and knowledge, however, it runs exactly what you want, and how you want, and, usually, faster

please note, this is all my _opinion_.

good luck!

Last edited by nadroj; 04-23-2006 at 09:50 PM.
Old 05-08-2006, 03:56 AM   #26
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[QUOTE=jgeeky]As an aside, OpenOffice is slow to load on any OS, but it loaded in SLAX from my thumbdrive in about half the time it takes in XP or Ubuntu. This was impressive./QUOTE]

My 2 Cents Worth:

The reason that you like SLAX is that it is based upon Slackware. The PC that you have and the results that you are looking for will only be achieved on slackware.

I'm not trying to bash other distro's in any way shape or form. But the distro's you are trying are not for your pc. The distro's you are trying have scripts, daemons and god only knows what else running in the background eating away at your valuable resources.

If you can do dual boot that is what you need to do. Put slackware in along side and tell yourself that you are going to learn linux. That you are going to give it time to learn. You spent years learning windows, and you should therefore agree that it will take time to learn Linux. If you cannot accept that it takes time to learn another OS then yes, you need to only run Windows. If you do not want to learn, Linux is not for you, regardless of the distro you choose.

I have pc's that are older than what you have, and I acheive those speeds you are looking for, but with Slackware. There is a reason the grand-daddy of all Linux' is still around.

Another thing to keep in mind is why you came to Linux. You claimed you were tired of viruses, malware, etc. Is One to two seconds more of your time to launch your browser ...reallllly that bad knowing you are safe? And what about stability, I bet you could have 50 browser sessions open and launch a game, and not crash. Is that not worth something to you. Worth spending time to learn.

Your swap should be under 800 meg ...your current distro is probably kicking you into High mem mode; and you really dont need to be there.

Just the thought of an old FOO

Old 05-08-2006, 01:56 PM   #27
Registered: Nov 2005
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I am not disapointed but looking for a solution

This Thread is a Question i had in mind for a very long time since i started using LINUX

programs that are supported on both windows and linux start slower on linux
programs that is equivalent to windows are also slower like konqueror
but that did not make me quit using linux which i like very much because it is the FIRST legal OS i have ever had (in fact i am a microsoft certified MSCE)

Originally Posted by haertig
My guess is this is disk related
i liked the idea and downloaded the program and found that

using_dma    =  1 (on)
and the proposed solution of changing the distro
i have tried mandrake 10.1, fedora core 4, mandriva 2006, suse 9.2 live cd and ubuntu live cd all with the same results
and i will download suse 10.1 as soon its released for hardware related problems not for the speed but i really wish that it is faster than madriva

the reason i wrote this post is alot of people said that LINUX needs tweaking BUT no one said how except for the "top" command that only told me that you got 4 mega bytes only used from my swap and the programs on the top of the list where X ,opera, skype, Gkerellem, init and some other programs that keep coming and going and i do not know on what basis

so what tweaking do i need to improve my Beloved linux not

and the last thing

Originally Posted by Old_Fogie
Another thing to keep in mind is why you came to Linux. You claimed you were tired of viruses, malware, etc. Is One to two seconds more of your time to launch your browser ...reallllly that bad knowing you are safe? And what about stability, I bet you could have 50 browser sessions open and launch a game, and not crash. Is that not worth something to you. Worth spending time to learn.
that is really describing me and why i am still using linux disregarding 10 seconds delay

processor 2.4 Ghz
256 RAM
32 MB built in VGA card

Last edited by AGazzaz; 05-08-2006 at 02:02 PM.
Old 05-08-2006, 02:35 PM   #28
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why dont you try mepis it's the quickest i have seen yet on boot up faster than ubuntu and i have used the newest virson of that to 6.10
Old 05-09-2006, 07:07 AM   #29
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This thread seems to be going round in circles. The most useful suggestion I've seen has been that the problem is related to the hard drive DMA. It really does sound like the most likely thing to be happening.

A couple of years ago, I had a brand new machine when Suse 9.0 first came out, and as I had previously enjoyed using Suse, I decided to try it again. But although it installed okay on that particular box, it ran incredibly slowly. It turned out to be the disc DMA -- the machine had a HD controller that wasn't supported, so Suse used the wrong driver (but without telling me), and left the DMA turned off, and it was painfully slow. It was only when Suse 9.2 came out that it became usable. And more recently, a friend of mine had a similar problem with his laptop with Suse 9.3, which put him off Linux completely (I'd only just persuaded him to try it, and it just didn't work for him at all).

It sounds like you may have a similar problem. I don't really know Ubuntu, but I'm sure you'd be able to find out fairly easily whether DMA is where the problem lies. In Suse I can see the info in Yast, so it may also be available in Ubuntu's config software. Otherwise, I'm sure there's a simple command line program to see it.

Hope that helps
Old 05-09-2006, 03:07 PM   #30
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You wanted a technical tip and I told you . Get rid of mandriva, mepis, ubuntu and go slackware if you want speed for one.

Running to another distro like mentioned here is not your answer.

Go slackware, it's no bloat, clean and mean. You liked slax, so like you slackware u just didnt realize it

Running slackware you control the pc. The distro does not hold your hand and it does not limit you at all ever!

In slackware to verify hard drive performance and settings I do the following:

assuming "hda" is your hard drive you have linux on.

bash:/sbin/hdparm -i /dev/hda
The above will tell you information and udma, dma and speed transfer rates that your current hard drive is using.

And I can tell you that UBUNTU and MEPIS are DOGS and default to safe and dont enable DMA transfers so if any one tells you otherwiser they are ignorant.

edit to add disclaimer: the below is for informational purposes only. you must know what you have for hardware before trying anything with hdparm. you risk data corruption, data loss or hardware failure. use at your own risk.

bash:/sbin/hdparm -tT /dev/hda
This will perform a bench mark on your hard drive. Write those values down to compare to later.

Now let's say, and I know it will for you on UBUNTU that dev/hda is in multimode....and you know for example (and we're assuming here) that you want go with UDMA 2 (aka ata/66) for example ONLY.

bash:/sbin/hdparm -X66 /dev/hda
that puts the hda into ata66 speed's.

then run:
bash:/sbin/hdparm -tT /dev/hda
now compare the speeds....and wow your faster now

There are a ton of other tweaks for the hard drive that you can do, just check out "man hdparm" if Mandriva allows you to see it

Now in slackware my startup's are in "/etc/rc.d/rc.local"

so I su to root...which you cant do in UBUNTU becuase they limit you...they think you are dumb and deny you root access...and go sudo..OMG

anyway...for me I go into my rc.local and just type in:

/sbin/hdparm -X66 /dev/hda

I save the file...reboot and the pc now has ata/66 transfer rates.

You see I am new to linux. I went with slackware. I'm learning linux. The fact that I can tell you the above for your problem shows that in under two months I have surpassed where I would have been with any other distro becuase I went slackware. These things will happen for you once you step away from GUI driven, wizard driven distro's. Or run to a different distro becuase one does not work, and you live in hopes that they will be faster.

All of the distro's can do this. They are all Linux. They are all nice in their own respect's.

Oh and Mepis puts the darn "nomce" in command line on start up....that utterly killed all my AMD's performance.

Another thing is compiling the kernel. Many distro's don't allow you to recompile the easily. Why do I recompile my kernel. Performance!!!!! I take SATA out of my kernel if I don't need it. Getting out all the stuff that I dont need and recompiling allows me to optimize the kernel for my machine. My kernel is now for me, and me only and not every pc that the distro could have possibly been installed on.

With slackware I just go into my source directory, run "make xconfig" and I have a gui to tweak the settings of my kernel...hit save, make, make modules_install. Copy a few files over to my /boot, run lilo and I'm done. Those other distro's use proprietary kernels, and make it a pain to get the source.

You have to spend time in Linux to optimize the system. Linux cannot at this time optimize itself for you. These distro's and Live cd's are trying to be able to run on every pc known to man in just one CD. Which is good, because in my case and live CD from Mepis got me into Linux. But I couldnt do an darn thing with it afterwords.

Also, have you looked at your 'dmesg' in console. Have you looked at your 'syslog' 'xorg.log' all those items for me are in /var Again you will have to sudo to view those files. There is a ton of information that linux is telling you. You may even have errors, and so you should check them out.

I can say with confidence, as I've done this numerous times here, that if you load in slackware, and tweak your kernels, and your HD you will fly. And you will be stable, and ...well the list goes on and on.

Last edited by Old_Fogie; 06-09-2006 at 11:41 PM.


speed, tweak

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