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Old 10-12-2007, 10:34 PM   #1
kcoriginal
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Location: US -First Baltimore, then MD Sticks, then NC then Cali now San Antonio.
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Where is the SPEED bottleneck ?


I've got a P4 2.8/512 with 1.5GB DDR 3200. This thing cruises GREAT in XP where I am working with Visual Studio and CS2, as well as good ole NOTEPAD. Yeah, I know they hog resources and I am adjusting my expectations accordingly. However, they DO run comfortably.

So, why is it that the Linux distros I am trying to consider switching to run so slow? I've been trying the mainstream distros - Fedora 4/5/6 with Gnome and Ubuntu 6.10 with Gnome, Kubuntu 6.10 with KDE and I've tried Suse 10.

I dont install extra packages. I wanna learn to install and configure Open Office and the IDE options available, myself. Just the basic install with the distro's standard GUI and neither Office/Productivity, nor Development nor Server options, etc.

Using an Intel 865GBF with onboard video that has always served me well.

I'd like to switch to Linux for all but my gaming rig, but if I need to buy a Quad Core power workstation to get it to perform on-par with XP as a power development and general non-gaming power user PC, then forget it!

Oh, and I also dont really wanna deviate from the mainstream Linux GUIs, but I am open to suggestions if that is definitely a strong factor.

Graphics card? Higher on-chip L2? Or is there a software tweak?

Thanks a BUNCH, in advance!

kc


PS - No, this is definitely NOT a troll! I'd appreciate your tips!
 
Old 10-12-2007, 10:45 PM   #2
AceofSpades19
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I would use Debian or Slackware, they both run alot faster then ubuntu, suse or fedora,
 
Old 10-12-2007, 10:54 PM   #3
matthewg42
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Depends what you mean by "SPEED". A lot of the snappy feel of the graphical environment can be improved by having decent graphics drivers installed - ones which take advantage of the hardware acceleration features of your graphics card. I have no experience with the Intel gfx cards, but with the nvidia ones, you have to explicitly say you want to use the faster driver (since it is not open source). It makes a lot of difference to the feel of the system.

If however you're talking about some other metric of system performance, I suppose you would need to provide some benchmarks or something like that so we can at least tell you if what you observe is normal, or if there is something out of the ordinary... Maybe it takes a long on Linux to do some heavy operation like encode some video, but you have much better performance with a program running on XP?
 
Old 10-14-2007, 05:49 AM   #4
salasi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcoriginal View Post
I've got a P4 2.8/512 with 1.5GB DDR 3200. This thing cruises GREAT in XP where I am working with Visual Studio and CS2, as well as good ole NOTEPAD...
This is probably a faster spec of computer than any of the several that are around me now..

Quote:
However, they DO run comfortably., why is it that the Linux distros I am trying to consider switching to run so slow? I've been trying the mainstream distros - Fedora 4/5/6 with Gnome and Ubuntu 6.10 with Gnome, Kubuntu 6.10 with KDE and I've tried Suse 10.
...it should be possible to make any of those work adequately, although some will be (slightly) faster than others (although the bigger difference is how you set them up and which GUI you choose)

Quote:
I dont install extra packages. I wanna learn to install and configure Open Office and the IDE options available, myself. Just the basic install with the distro's standard GUI and neither Office/Productivity, nor Development nor Server options, etc.
It shouldn't really make a perceptible difference if you do add extra packages (but don't run them). Maybe a difference you could measure in benchmarking, but not a difference that would be immediately apparent in casual useage. On the other hand, OpenOffice has been slow, particularly on Linux, until recently. I did see one of the guys from Novell do a dem recently with the latest version of OO and that now starts up significantly more quickly.

Quote:
Using an Intel 865GBF with onboard video that has always served me well.
Onboard video will still some of your main RAM memory. Is it possible that it is stealing too much? It is also possible that you are using an unsuitable driver or are expecting it to do high-end video effects. Does the problem still exist with flashy video effects turned off?

Quote:
Oh, and I also dont really wanna deviate from the mainstream Linux GUIs, but I am open to suggestions if that is definitely a strong factor.
While something like XFCE would be faster than KDE or Gnome, my sense here is that you've got some sort of fault/mis-configuration that is causing a problem. While you might be able to get adequate performance through tweaks and going to a simpler GUI (and it may even be the easiest way to make some progress), it shouldn't be necessary.

You aren't using the 'live CD' versions (and therefore running from CD/DVD) are you? Those are a bit slow, except for the ones that copy themselves entirely to RAM (which are quick 'till they run out of ram and then they are really slow).

i) Is this hard disk beating itself to death? If so, there a couple of possibilities

-there is some program like 'updatedb' or 'beagle' running in the background which is indexing the hard disk. You could either stop it or let it finish and see if that helps

- there may be a memory problem (probably a misconfiguration issue) that is preventing the OS from using the memory that it needs.

(The command line utility 'vmstat' will tell you what is happening with virtual memory; say 'vmstat 10' at a command prompt; but the output is a bit difficult to interpret. Have a look at the hard disk light - that gives a good impression of total disk accesses, not just page swapping.)

ii) You could look at 'top' to see which processes are using a large percentage of the cpu (both kde and gnome have process monitoring apps which are prettier, but the old command-line top does a good job of giving you the maximum information in the minimum space)

iii) A less likely possibility, I guess, but you could have networking mis-configured such that all your network accesses go through some service that does not exist, and that has to time out before the correct service is used. Does the problem still exist if you ensure that you only use resources that are local to your box?

iv) Are you installing to a 'native Linux' partition? While there are continual debates about which is best for which type of duty amongst the Linux candidates, FAT or NTFS are bad candidates for your Linux install (and your Linux swap should be of type 'swap', too).
 
Old 10-14-2007, 01:20 PM   #5
kcoriginal
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OMG - I never DREAMED of this good of help!

OK, WOW! Where do I begin? (four cigarettes and 16 ounces of coffee down... cracking the knuckles... READY!)

I've stalled on Linux for the last 6 years because I started on Red Hat 4, back when it was actually possible to take a month vacation with a few cartons of cigarettes and the number for "Domino's" and learn some good general/mildy-specific knowledge about every single file in the OS. To REALLY know EVERYTHING about it from a configuration standpoint, and then I was planning to progress to development. I'm a nut, I know. I really embraced the idea of Linux, because I was SO FRUSTRATED that MS had 32,000 files, of which, none were Open Source, and there was no way to know what 31,700 even DID for me (in reference to trying to troubleshoot, or to clean a neighbor's viruses).

I lost time in the distro/Linux evolution cycle when I went to college to get back to computing basics and learn things "right". I lost time when I went bankrupt trying to go to college in California with no financial resources and had to work three jobs. And I lost time when I got my first IT job and started a family. I tried to "check-in" with Linux about every year or so and found that it had changed so drastically, that what I recalled from my previous foray was no longer applicable! Now, six years later, Linux is it's own 800-pound gorilla and I can't find an entry point to pick it apart, 'cause everything is so interdependent! And the development cycle is swimmingly FAST now, VERY IMPRESSIVE!

So, I wanna get a ready-made distro, and start with writing code for the electronics hardware I am working on on my tech bench. Home automation (electric door strikes, bt878-controlled video cameras and sprinkler system) through the parallel (soon to be serial) port, and a CNC machine. I wanna get away from VB (bastard crutch language) and move everything into C++/Linux.

I need to be able to pop a Firefox/Google, get some answers and try them in code. But I can't keep my damn train of thought if it takes 5 minutes to get to the threads.

*******


AceofSpades19 -

Debian / Slackware - Slack is OUT. What an UBER-distro! My number one problem is perfectionism and that I can no longer even attempt to learn all of Linux in less than 2 years of hardcore devotion. I'm not about to try Slack again. But, thanks.

Debian is much better. Had it up and running before. Problem is, I can't pay the bills on hardware-tinkering/coding in my garage. I wanna get an entry level Admin job for Red Hat in a year or two, while continuing coding at home, till I am ready for pro-coding in a Linux environment. (I gotta get out of running cables, cleaning Win-viruses and talking people through getting their freaking Outlook email!) Red Hat has, what, 90% + of the market share? All the jobs for Linux administration are in Red Hat, Suse and Solaris. Period.

With that scathing approach... HEH HEH... do you STILL recommend Deb? I have friends who prefer Deb and Ubuntu. But I understand there are major differences between Deb and Red Hat filesystem layouts.

Am I being too paranoid?

Thanks for your suggestions. It's not the first time someone has suggested Slack or Debian, but to date, no one has successfully argued it for me.



matthewg42 -

SPEED - When I start Firefox, it takes almost a full minute to be "ready"! After 'bout two minutes of working with the system, I pop the CD drive, put in Disk 1 of the next distro and hit "Reset"!

I haven't done anything like encode video, something I specifically wanted to do with Linux (btw), since I can't get "comfy" with it in the first place to get myself into a production learning/exploring/configuring mode.

Thanks for the gfx driver tip. I forgot about seeing that in other posts over the years. I will revisit it, now.



SALASI -

I have heard that XFCE was "better" over the years - I assume it is simpler and therefore more efficient/faster? However, I remember from back in Red Hat 4, that configuration of X is about a three semester GRADUATE course! LOL Configuring X is where I originally DIED with Linux cause there was SOOOO much to learn to get it right. All the development libraries and the make files/build scripts not finding the exact libraries they needed. I couldn't compile "hello world" for bits sakes! I suppose it is better now, but, I am still hesitant to try to tackle a GUI install, 'cause I essentially need to stop and Google the crap outta every single file I encounter, to be sure that later errors weren't caused by a rookie GUI install!

I HAVE used Live CDs in the past. Knoppix runs beautifully. Always has. BUT! It's not a permanent install, so I don't commit to it. Usually, I use it to test a system build for hardware conflicts before commiting to a two-hour install process. (Which I abandon in a week due to burn out! LOL)

I forgot about indexing and db updates on a fresh install. Thank-you!I will look for that, today.

I have a couple of 29160s, various 80/160 RAID controllers and a BUNCH of SCSI drives lying around. Do you think they will noticably improve performance? It's a few minor tweaks to get Windows running with a SCSI C:. OK, mainly just to BIOS. So, nevermind. I am trying to eliminate as many variables as possible. Wasn't trying to add to the complexity of Linux before I got things running smoothly with typical components. If you think it will help much, I supose I will "suck it up" and drop one in. RAID5 of 9GB 160 drives? It's all in hardware/BIOS so it shouldn't screw Linux up, right?

I never imagined the "memory problem". Thanks for pointing out "vmstat". I will run it today, as well!

I don't think that networking is an issue. It is the one subject I know MOST about, as a trojan infection 6 years ago is what got me started on learning the innards of computing, as opposed to just learning to get Win98 to run games! I suppose using "top" to check for network processes running when I am doing something local is a good thing to check today, as well.

Partitions. Heh heh. I see that most distros are installing ext3 by default. I usually back that down to ext2 to save processing resources used by the journalling system. Problems with that approach? I also usually configure from somewhere between RAM or 2x-RAM for a swap, as a Linux swap partition. Is that correct?

Thank-you, salasi, for your lengthy response - full of help!
 
Old 10-14-2007, 01:26 PM   #6
ray_80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcoriginal View Post
I've got a P4 2.8/512 with 1.5GB DDR 3200. This thing cruises GREAT in XP where I am working with Visual Studio and CS2, as well as good ole NOTEPAD. Yeah, I know they hog resources and I am adjusting my expectations accordingly. However, they DO run comfortably.

So, why is it that the Linux distros I am trying to consider switching to run so slow? I've been trying the mainstream distros - Fedora 4/5/6 with Gnome and Ubuntu 6.10 with Gnome, Kubuntu 6.10 with KDE and I've tried Suse 10.

I dont install extra packages. I wanna learn to install and configure Open Office and the IDE options available, myself. Just the basic install with the distro's standard GUI and neither Office/Productivity, nor Development nor Server options, etc.

Using an Intel 865GBF with onboard video that has always served me well.

I'd like to switch to Linux for all but my gaming rig, but if I need to buy a Quad Core power workstation to get it to perform on-par with XP as a power development and general non-gaming power user PC, then forget it!

Oh, and I also dont really wanna deviate from the mainstream Linux GUIs, but I am open to suggestions if that is definitely a strong factor.

Graphics card? Higher on-chip L2? Or is there a software tweak?

Thanks a BUNCH, in advance!

kc


PS - No, this is definitely NOT a troll! I'd appreciate your tips!
It's slow for many reasons. Did you check the running processes? Did you read the logs? You also could be having a DNS issue. This is famous for messing with the X server. Are you getting an IP address via DHCP? What is the hostname of the machine?

Shut off what you don't need to be running. Please post the results of 'ps auwxx' and a snip from the logs and network config.

Your distro is fine. The configuration may not be.
 
Old 10-14-2007, 02:15 PM   #7
AceofSpades19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcoriginal View Post
OK, WOW! Where do I begin? (four cigarettes and 16 ounces of coffee down... cracking the knuckles... READY!)

I've stalled on Linux for the last 6 years because I started on Red Hat 4, back when it was actually possible to take a month vacation with a few cartons of cigarettes and the number for "Domino's" and learn some good general/mildy-specific knowledge about every single file in the OS. To REALLY know EVERYTHING about it from a configuration standpoint, and then I was planning to progress to development. I'm a nut, I know. I really embraced the idea of Linux, because I was SO FRUSTRATED that MS had 32,000 files, of which, none were Open Source, and there was no way to know what 31,700 even DID for me (in reference to trying to troubleshoot, or to clean a neighbor's viruses).

I lost time in the distro/Linux evolution cycle when I went to college to get back to computing basics and learn things "right". I lost time when I went bankrupt trying to go to college in California with no financial resources and had to work three jobs. And I lost time when I got my first IT job and started a family. I tried to "check-in" with Linux about every year or so and found that it had changed so drastically, that what I recalled from my previous foray was no longer applicable! Now, six years later, Linux is it's own 800-pound gorilla and I can't find an entry point to pick it apart, 'cause everything is so interdependent! And the development cycle is swimmingly FAST now, VERY IMPRESSIVE!

So, I wanna get a ready-made distro, and start with writing code for the electronics hardware I am working on on my tech bench. Home automation (electric door strikes, bt878-controlled video cameras and sprinkler system) through the parallel (soon to be serial) port, and a CNC machine. I wanna get away from VB (bastard crutch language) and move everything into C++/Linux.

I need to be able to pop a Firefox/Google, get some answers and try them in code. But I can't keep my damn train of thought if it takes 5 minutes to get to the threads.

*******


AceofSpades19 -

Debian / Slackware - Slack is OUT. What an UBER-distro! My number one problem is perfectionism and that I can no longer even attempt to learn all of Linux in less than 2 years of hardcore devotion. I'm not about to try Slack again. But, thanks.

Debian is much better. Had it up and running before. Problem is, I can't pay the bills on hardware-tinkering/coding in my garage. I wanna get an entry level Admin job for Red Hat in a year or two, while continuing coding at home, till I am ready for pro-coding in a Linux environment. (I gotta get out of running cables, cleaning Win-viruses and talking people through getting their freaking Outlook email!) Red Hat has, what, 90% + of the market share? All the jobs for Linux administration are in Red Hat, Suse and Solaris. Period.

With that scathing approach... HEH HEH... do you STILL recommend Deb? I have friends who prefer Deb and Ubuntu. But I understand there are major differences between Deb and Red Hat filesystem layouts.

Am I being too paranoid?

Thanks for your suggestions. It's not the first time someone has suggested Slack or Debian, but to date, no one has successfully argued it for me.



matthewg42 -

SPEED - When I start Firefox, it takes almost a full minute to be "ready"! After 'bout two minutes of working with the system, I pop the CD drive, put in Disk 1 of the next distro and hit "Reset"!

I haven't done anything like encode video, something I specifically wanted to do with Linux (btw), since I can't get "comfy" with it in the first place to get myself into a production learning/exploring/configuring mode.

Thanks for the gfx driver tip. I forgot about seeing that in other posts over the years. I will revisit it, now.



SALASI -

I have heard that XFCE was "better" over the years - I assume it is simpler and therefore more efficient/faster? However, I remember from back in Red Hat 4, that configuration of X is about a three semester GRADUATE course! LOL Configuring X is where I originally DIED with Linux cause there was SOOOO much to learn to get it right. All the development libraries and the make files/build scripts not finding the exact libraries they needed. I couldn't compile "hello world" for bits sakes! I suppose it is better now, but, I am still hesitant to try to tackle a GUI install, 'cause I essentially need to stop and Google the crap outta every single file I encounter, to be sure that later errors weren't caused by a rookie GUI install!

I HAVE used Live CDs in the past. Knoppix runs beautifully. Always has. BUT! It's not a permanent install, so I don't commit to it. Usually, I use it to test a system build for hardware conflicts before commiting to a two-hour install process. (Which I abandon in a week due to burn out! LOL)

I forgot about indexing and db updates on a fresh install. Thank-you!I will look for that, today.

I have a couple of 29160s, various 80/160 RAID controllers and a BUNCH of SCSI drives lying around. Do you think they will noticably improve performance? It's a few minor tweaks to get Windows running with a SCSI C:. OK, mainly just to BIOS. So, nevermind. I am trying to eliminate as many variables as possible. Wasn't trying to add to the complexity of Linux before I got things running smoothly with typical components. If you think it will help much, I supose I will "suck it up" and drop one in. RAID5 of 9GB 160 drives? It's all in hardware/BIOS so it shouldn't screw Linux up, right?

I never imagined the "memory problem". Thanks for pointing out "vmstat". I will run it today, as well!

I don't think that networking is an issue. It is the one subject I know MOST about, as a trojan infection 6 years ago is what got me started on learning the innards of computing, as opposed to just learning to get Win98 to run games! I suppose using "top" to check for network processes running when I am doing something local is a good thing to check today, as well.

Partitions. Heh heh. I see that most distros are installing ext3 by default. I usually back that down to ext2 to save processing resources used by the journalling system. Problems with that approach? I also usually configure from somewhere between RAM or 2x-RAM for a swap, as a Linux swap partition. Is that correct?

Thank-you, salasi, for your lengthy response - full of help!
You don't really have to do any x configuring anymore except to change a resolution or a driver once in a while. Ubuntu 7.10 even has a GUI tool to configure x I belive. So I don't belive that you will have any trouble configuring x in just about any distro
 
Old 10-14-2007, 06:14 PM   #8
kcoriginal
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I think salasi was right about the OS doing some work behind the scenes for a day or two after install. I set to it this morning and the dayum thing is just flying! Firefox pops open as fast as it does on XP. IDK. Hey, at least my problem is solved. I will eventually encounter the reason, but for now, I am off to choose an IDE and libraries, etc to install.

Thanks for all the suggestions. I have compiled a note from them and posted it on the wall next to my desk. I'll be catching up on all your suggestions. Over the next month or two.

I will also be working to cut out some of these processes soon, as they CANNOT all be entirely necessary! Nutz! ps auwxx netted me several pages of running processes! But at least there are not several THOUSAND. I can begin to Google em all one by one as my entry into "picking Linux apart".

Thanks, again! Even though my problem seems to have resolved itself, your tips gave me places to start my research today!

kc
 
Old 10-14-2007, 06:31 PM   #9
matthewg42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcoriginal View Post
SPEED - When I start Firefox, it takes almost a full minute to be "ready"! After 'bout two minutes of working with the system, I pop the CD drive, put in Disk 1 of the next distro and hit "Reset"!

I haven't done anything like encode video, something I specifically wanted to do with Linux (btw), since I can't get "comfy" with it in the first place to get myself into a production learning/exploring/configuring mode.

Thanks for the gfx driver tip. I forgot about seeing that in other posts over the years. I will revisit it, now.
It is not clear what you mean. Firstly, in that minute, are you including boot time? From a LiveCD? If this is the case, a minute is quick! LiveCDs are a lot slower than using a hard drive-installed system. This is simply because the drive is an order of magnitude slower device to read data from than a fixed disk. The up side of Live CDs is that you can run from a CD or DVD without installing anything, but you should not expect them to be fast - that is not what they are for.

If this minute is not including boot/login time, - just from clicking the firefox icon to having the application ready to be used on a system which is installed on the hard disc, then this is unusually slow - there is most certainly something wrong in this case. It's difficult to say what would cause this without more information. Some things which can slow a system down:
  • Some other program(s) hogging system resources (memory, CPU or IO bandwidth)
  • Hard disk which is failing (SMART-enabled hard drives can spend a lot of time on trivial operations if they detect some errors. This might not result in corrupted data to start with as the drive has some internal redundancy, but it can cause very slow response from the drive)
  • Something screwy with your firefox installation. e.g. unusually massive cache files / history / bookmarks or some bad extensions which are messing up pas they load.
 
Old 10-14-2007, 06:32 PM   #10
jschiwal
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As mentioned already, the "top" program will help you find programs that are eating up cpu cycles or memory resources. One thing to look into is disabling IPv6 support.
 
Old 10-15-2007, 06:20 PM   #11
salasi
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Glad to have been of help...Just to clear up any loose ends (in as much as I can/know what the loose ends are)

Quote:
Originally Posted by kcoriginal View Post
OK, WOW! Where do I begin? (four cigarettes and 16 ounces of coffee down... cracking the knuckles... READY!)

I've stalled on Linux for the last 6 years because I started on Red Hat 4...Now, six years later, Linux is it's own 800-pound gorilla and I can't find an entry point to pick it apart, 'cause everything is so interdependent! And the development cycle is swimmingly FAST now, VERY IMPRESSIVE!
Under the hood, a command line linux system still looks quite similar to the way it was under RH 4. There is probably a different choice of default programs (say MTA as an example) and some of the other stuff, but a lot of command line stuff looks to the user just like it ever did. On the other hand, a lot of the flashy stuff with GUIs does change dizzyingly rapidly. As do kernel internals that you don't really have to worry about.

Quote:
So, I wanna get a ready-made distro, and start with writing code for the electronics hardware I am working on on my tech bench. Home automation (electric door strikes, bt878-controlled video cameras and sprinkler system) through the parallel (soon to be serial) port, and a CNC machine. I wanna get away from VB (bastard crutch language) and move everything into C++/Linux.
Good to hear that someone is still trying to do real stuff with Linux!

Quote:
I need to be able to pop a Firefox/Google, get some answers and try them in code. But I can't keep my damn train of thought if it takes 5 minutes to get to the threads.
The computer is a tool to do a job. However attractive the ideology, you shouldn't have to put up with a blunt tool just because you like the principles. And you don't! And one of the things about Linux is that problems are debuggable: Under some systems you get the nice, easy to use, GUI, but no real way of understanding what is going on when something under the hood is 'bad'.


Quote:
AceofSpades19 -

Debian / Slackware - Slack is OUT.
...for me too, but some people love it.

Quote:
Debian is much better. Had it up and running before. Problem is, I can't pay the bills on hardware-tinkering/coding in my garage. I wanna get an entry level Admin job for Red Hat in a year or two, while continuing coding at home, till I am ready for pro-coding in a Linux environment. (I gotta get out of running cables, cleaning Win-viruses and talking people through getting their freaking Outlook email!) Red Hat has, what, 90% + of the market share? All the jobs for Linux administration are in Red Hat, Suse and Solaris. Period.
RedHat doesn't have the dominant prescence here in Europe that it does over there. I'm guessing that it runs a similar share to SuSE depending on who and where you ask. But if your job prospects are RH, learn RH.

I've recently made a 'semi-switch' from SuSE to Debian/Kubuntu and the whole system with apt and synaptic is brilliant. But, as I say, if you need to learn RH, learn RH (still not my favourite, though).

Quote:
With that scathing approach... HEH HEH... do you STILL recommend Deb? I have friends who prefer Deb and Ubuntu. But I understand there are major differences between Deb and Red Hat filesystem layouts.
There are some differences, but its easily overstated. The layout of the filesystems is sort of standardised by LSB. And for anything obscure you are (well, I would) going to start with something like 'locate myapp.conf' if you are looking for the conf file for 'myapp'.

If however, you are writing scripts that could run on either Debian or RedHat systems, a bit of defensive programming is the order of the day because utilities could be in different directories.

OTOH, package management is really different between RH/SuSE and debian-derived distros.



Quote:
SALASI -

I have heard that XFCE was "better" over the years - I assume it is simpler and therefore more efficient/faster?
Simpler, yes. The biggies come with a lot of little server programs running away in the background, but probably of more significance to many is the fact that its lighter on memory. If you don't have much memory, don't use KDE or Gnome!


Quote:
However, I remember from back in Red Hat 4, that configuration of X is about a three semester GRADUATE course! LOL Configuring X is where I originally DIED with Linux cause there was SOOOO much to learn to get it right. All the development libraries and the make files/build scripts not finding the exact libraries they needed. I couldn't compile "hello world" for bits sakes! I suppose it is better now, but, I am still hesitant to try to tackle a GUI install, 'cause I essentially need to stop and Google the crap outta every single file I encounter, to be sure that later errors weren't caused by a rookie GUI install!
Someone needs to know this c**p (X configuration), but fortunately its not me at the moment. X can be a pain to configure, but these days mostly it just happens. I used to be able to do this stuff back in 2000, but now its so long and X has changed so much I doubt I can anymore. If your distro doesn't just sort this out for you, consider changing distro.


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I have a couple of 29160s, various 80/160 RAID controllers and a BUNCH of SCSI drives lying around. Do you think they will noticably improve performance? It's a few minor tweaks to get Windows running with a SCSI C:. OK, mainly just to BIOS. So, nevermind. I am trying to eliminate as many variables as possible. Wasn't trying to add to the complexity of Linux before I got things running smoothly with typical components. If you think it will help much, I supose I will "suck it up" and drop one in. RAID5 of 9GB 160 drives? It's all in hardware/BIOS so it shouldn't screw Linux up, right?
I'd only bother with the SCSI if the disks are fast: If they are old, they won't be. The interface doesn't make the disk any faster and mostly a newer faster version of interface comes out just in time to stop the newer, faster disks being limited by the interface. So, if you've got a new mainstream disk against a five year old high end disk, I doubt you'll notice a gain with the older one, except in noise and heat. If you want to go raid, it might make sense, but mostly these days I regard raid as a bit of a pain unless it is really, really necessary.


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Partitions. Heh heh. I see that most distros are installing ext3 by default. I usually back that down to ext2 to save processing resources used by the journalling system. Problems with that approach? I also usually configure from somewhere between RAM or 2x-RAM for a swap, as a Linux swap partition. Is that correct?
Basing swap size on a multiple of ram is a flawed approach, but it won't be doing you much harm. For what you do (in other words, for the programs and data sets that you use) there will be a certain amount of memory required. You should always have, at the very least, that amount of ram + swap. You should always have some swap (so, if the unexpected happens, your system slows gracefully, rather than suddenly hitting the wall). And a little safety margin isn't a bad thing.

The 'at least equal to the amount of ram' kind of rule made some kind of sense when no one had enough ram and the ram that you bought was related to your working set. And, by the way, 'too much' swap doesn't do any real harm and these days disks are so big that adding more swap isn't a concern for most people.

I did an experiment, years ago, on boot time with ext2 and reiser and found (at that time, on that hardware) resiser to be faster. I was a bit shocked, but converted to reiser and haven't had problems, though some people have. ext4, if properly configured (with extents) can be significantly faster than ext2/3. Reiser 4 can be significantly faster than reiser 3. But neither ext4 or reiser 4 are completely mature and nor are they available in all distros (by any means). So, for the moment I'm sticking with reiser, but may eventually change to reiser 4 or ext4. (And that's in spite of the fact that the reisers - 4 particularly -has a high cpu usage. Fortunately cpu power has increased dramatically in recent years too.) I think I'd always want a journalling filesystem of some kind, unless there was a very good reason not to.

In the mean time, there is a performance boost by turning off 'atime' (or turning on 'noatime' if that's the way that you want to look at it) in some load profiles. You lose 'access time' as file metadata, but not the modification time.

Something else that can be worthwhile is turning down 'swappiness'. With a low swappiness (google it!) value, a desktop can feel more responsive and the default for many distros is 60. You can go way lower...I've tried 15, but some reccomend values as low as 1, which I haven't tried.

(There wasn't any point in 'general performance tuning stuff' while you still had a fault....a sticking plaster on a broken leg.)
 
Old 10-15-2007, 07:42 PM   #12
Hern_28
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Distribution: Slackware 12.0, Gentoo, LFS, Debian, Kubuntu.
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smp kernel

Make sure you have the smp kernel for multi-core processors installed. My computer ran quick without but lightening with it.
 
  


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