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Old 04-07-2012, 11:18 AM   #1
Ubunoob001
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Smile does more software (official/repo) = instability


Is there something inherent in the installation of software (even from official repos that makes an OS less stable?).


My experience with Ubuntu and Mint has been that, even when installing only from official sources, that added software ends up slowing the system down, and more importantly leads to more hangups etc.

Is this something distro specific? Universal? And is there a way to organize installed applications such that this is less an issue?
 
Old 04-07-2012, 11:43 AM   #2
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It's a universal problem.

As an analogy, if I have a fixed handle, flat-head screwdriver, it's failures (and uses) are limited. If I upgrade my screwdriver to use a ratcheting handle, the number of potential failures increases (e.g. a breakdown in the ratcheting mechanism), but I increase the number of situations where the screwdriver is useful. Or more universally, something simple is more reliable than something complex.

The same is true with a computer system. Less capability tends to provide more stability via fewer points of failure.

The slowdowns are likely caused by the different pieces of software demanding processor time at recurring intervals--whether for functional work or maintenance tasks.

Software that does not initiate recurring tasks can nevertheless cause slowdowns by making demands for memory, I/O, etc. If you have two or more programs running that compete for the same (set of) resources, you could run into a potential for deadlock: program A has reserved resource X, but needs resource Y to continue & program B has reserved resource Y, but needs resource X to continue.

The method to combat this kind of things is to install only what you need, uninstall things when you you no longer need them, and carefully select the programs you do install based on what resources they need. That's vague, I know, but I'm not sure how else to say it.

Last edited by Dark_Helmet; 04-07-2012 at 11:45 AM.
 
Old 04-07-2012, 11:49 AM   #3
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One issue appears to be that buggy or poorly tried software is released nightly into some repos, and you are, in fact, trying it out for them.

Another issue concerns local installs, which sometimes rely on libs that change over these upgrades, and things gradually go wonky. Symptoms are: Bizarre misbehaviour which nobody has ever heard of, and resists all reasonable attempts to fix it. People then suggest you upgrade, and start at the beginning again . . .

Lastly, Take the example of a release of <something>-1.2; this is released as something-1.2_1<id>.rpm or the like, where id is the distro initials. The first repo 'update' will be 1.2_2id; As something-1.2 proceeds to 1.2.x, 1.3, . . . 2.2, you will find yourself installing something-1.2_64id.rpm. What the hell are they doing? Nobody is sure, but they are patching something-1.2 with some of the updates, and that's thin ice territory. Eventually, it breaks.
 
Old 04-07-2012, 11:58 AM   #4
Ubunoob001
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Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
One issue appears to be that buggy or poorly tried software is released nightly into some repos, and you are, in fact, trying it out for them.

Another issue concerns local installs, which sometimes rely on libs that change over these upgrades, and things gradually go wonky. Symptoms are: Bizarre misbehaviour which nobody has ever heard of, and resists all reasonable attempts to fix it. People then suggest you upgrade, and start at the beginning again . . .

Lastly, Take the example of a release of <something>-1.2; this is released as something-1.2_1<id>.rpm or the like, where id is the distro initials. The first repo 'update' will be 1.2_2id; As something-1.2 proceeds to 1.2.x, 1.3, . . . 2.2, you will find yourself installing something-1.2_64id.rpm. What the hell are they doing? Nobody is sure, but they are patching something-1.2 with some of the updates, and that's thin ice territory. Eventually, it breaks.
is Ubuntu/Mint or Fedora known for pushing more testing software in the official repos? I guess wondering which "beginner-ish" distro is reasonably conservative with its updates.
 
Old 04-07-2012, 01:15 PM   #5
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My apologies if I misunderstood the question. If your focus is stability of software, then I would agree with business_kid. Though, i would add that, if you want stability, you should disable any "testing" repositories. Every distribution I am familiar with separate stable/release repositories from testing/bleeding edge repositories.

A bug in software can still make it into stable, sure. There is no 100% effective testing facility. Tough you can be reasonably sure that most problems have been worked out.

An increase in stability also tends to increase software's age. If you want stable, consider Debian. It may not be seen as a "beginner" distribution, but the differences between it and Ubuntu are minor. The main difference is that Debian doesn't use "sudo" for administration tasks. Debian does have a reputation for stability and a corresponding reputation of having software one or more versions behind current release. If you need bleeding edge software, you can always install that software from source.

Last edited by Dark_Helmet; 04-07-2012 at 01:16 PM.
 
Old 04-07-2012, 01:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ubunoob001 View Post
is Ubuntu/Mint or Fedora known for pushing more testing software in the official repos? I guess wondering which "beginner-ish" distro is reasonably conservative with its updates.
It is more a thing of definitions and the way the distros are released. Distros that are known for stability, like Debian, Slackware or RHEL are released when the developers think they have a stable version that is as bug free as possible (as Dark_Helmet stated there is no 100%).
Ubuntu, for example, that is based on Debian, but they are not based on the stable release, they base either on Debian's Testing repository (for the LTS versions) or on the unstable repository (the normal releases). This wouldn't be a problem at all, if the developers would have enough time to work out the bugs. But they have not. Ubuntu has a static release schedule, they release every six months and the developers have to cope with that. IMHO, it is not possible to release a stable version every six months under that conditions.
A different thing is when you look at Fedora: It is known to be cutting edge and the playground of the RHEL developers for their stable distro. They know that it will occasionally break and the users of Fedora should know that also.
So, if you want something stable and at least somewhat beginner-friendly I would recommend Mepis (based on debian's stable version), SalixOS (based on Slackware) or Scientific Linux (based on RHEL).
 
Old 04-07-2012, 01:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ubunoob001 View Post
is Ubuntu/Mint or Fedora known for pushing more testing software in the official repos? I guess wondering which "beginner-ish" distro is reasonably conservative with its updates.
I've heard accusations against Fedora. I gave up on it because It sat down on me every ~2 years with bizarre insoluble errors. I must confess to using cheap crappy outdated hardware at the time.

I run Slackware. You can update the system from the command line, and I'm inclined to wait for a new version to do it.
 
Old 04-07-2012, 02:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ubunoob001 View Post
is Ubuntu/Mint or Fedora known for pushing more testing software in the official repos? I guess wondering which "beginner-ish" distro is reasonably conservative with its updates.
Ubuntu, no. Mint, especially no. Fedora, don't know because I have never used it.

Ubuntu does not push testing into its stable releases, you can however change that by enabling backports.
Mint has a system where they number everything from 1-5 1 being a safe update while 5 is considered to be not as safe as it could be. Mint does not even recommend that you update the kernel when the update comes trhough. I think they list kernels at 4 or 5 while all things Mint (the addons they put into a standard Ubuntu or Debian install to make it Mint) are always considered a 1. Mint take a paranoia approach which unfortunately looks like it thinks its users cannot think for themselves so they dictate to them what is safe to update and what isn't.

Your user profile says you are using Ubuntu 10.04 which is an LTS and is also roughly equivalent to Debian 6 (Squeeze). When Ubuntu 10.04 come out it was buggy but those bugs have over time mostly gone. Debian 6 come out and was rock solid stable and that is because Debian spent an extra year working through the bugs to clean the OS up.

Now back to your initial issue. Updates will over time cause a system to slow down. It is like when you get older you over eat and you put on weight. Because of this you are not as slim taught and terrific as the 19 year old you want to be, you cannot run a 4 minute mile (not that you probably ever could anyway) and your system is starting to tell you it needs cleaning up to keep running efficiently. Computers are the same, if you keep adding things without getting rid of the old unused stuff it is going to bloat and slow down. For Ubuntu and Mint, I would recommend you follow this procedure. Be very careful that you read this thoroughly and heed any warnings. This will help to clean your (computers) system up a bt and may help to bring back some of the older speed you were used to.
 
Old 04-07-2012, 03:12 PM   #9
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Just to clarify that:
Neither installing updates nor installing extra software is per se slowing down the system.
When it comes to updates, the only thing that could slow down the system is when the new version is more resource hungry than the old one. This is for minor updates, like security updates or bugfixes, almost never the case. Major upgrades, like from Firefox 4 to Firefox 11 can have impacts, but do not necessary have to.
Regarding software installs: It totally depends on the software. If you install a few games or other software that only runs when you start it, like for example Blender, GIMP, VLC or anything of that type then the effect on the overall performance of your machine is exactly zero. This differs when you install software that runs constantly as a background daemon, like any kind of server (Samba, FTP, Apache, ...), but if they are not heavily used (like in most home environments) and you have somewhat recent hardware (means: not a CPU and amount of RAM that was common in 2000) then the effect should be negligible. Of course only if you don't install tens of services that run concurrently for your resources.
 
Old 04-07-2012, 03:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
Just to clarify that:
Neither installing updates nor installing extra software is per se slowing down the system.
But it does bloat the system and this has an effect on overall performance.
 
Old 04-07-2012, 03:30 PM   #11
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But it does bloat the system and this has an effect on overall performance.
No, it does not. Having more software on your harddrive will not make it run slower just because it is there. The software has to run to have effects on performance. My Slackware will not run slower just because KDE is installed, I just don't use it.

Last edited by TobiSGD; 04-07-2012 at 03:31 PM.
 
Old 04-07-2012, 04:44 PM   #12
k3lt01
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Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
No, it does not.
Yes it does. I'm not arguing with you on this, I get into enough heated debates.

I offered the OP a link he can use if he wishes to, if he finds an improvement as I and many others have done then I have been helpful. If I argue with you over opinions without anyone showing anything factual then this will become yet another thread that gets clogged up with "I know more than you" type arguments. I for one am not going there with you.

Have an excellent weekend.
 
Old 04-07-2012, 05:00 PM   #13
TobiSGD
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A program that is not executed can't compete with other programs for the resources, regardless if it is on your harddisk or not. Simple as that. Nothing about opinions here, that is a fact.
 
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Old 04-07-2012, 05:18 PM   #14
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Yes it does.
No it doesn't.

Last edited by descendant_command; 04-07-2012 at 05:19 PM.
 
Old 04-07-2012, 06:17 PM   #15
k3lt01
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Like I said, I'm not arguing, you have your opinions I have mine. Now you have made your opinion known to everyone lets leave it at that and let the OP do whatever he decides and he can report back what he has found.
 
  


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