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Old 04-10-2008, 08:12 PM   #1
Registered: Jan 2008
Location: Tennessee
Distribution: Arch, Debian, Ubuntu, Puppy
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Gentoo, Arch, or Slackware: which for speed and stability on a general use laptop?

Hello LQ'ers,

I'm putting Linux on my laptop and I'm concerned about speed. This laptop will be turning on and off quite frequently (school) and these custom, KISS distros are faster and slimmer than, say, Ubuntu, Debian, or openSuSE.

I'm really leaning toward Gentoo. I don't mind tinkering to get everything working (as long as I remember to image it in case it fails) and my application set is pretty static, so it would have a massive initial compile time, then it would be pretty rare adding another application. My concern with Gentoo is using the few non-free applications I need: Flash, Java, mp3 codecs, et cetera (which, once adequately matured, will be replaced with Gnash/swfdec, IcedTea, ogg when I get a Rockbox/Vorbis-compatible player, etc.). Are these as easy to get as in binary-based distros?

Any reason I should pick Arch or Slackware (or even a bloated one, like Debian (I'd use Dreamlinux) or openSuSE, etc.) over Gentoo? (No Sabayon, don't want pre-built and don't want Compiz leaving artifact files after un-installation.)

My system is as such: I press power, and (in preferably less than 45 seconds) I am presented with a SLiM prompt. After I log in, it transports me to a Fluxbox desktop with Conky, a calendar app (probably Rainlendar, if I can't find an open-source app what I need; simply a calendar with a basic to-do list functionality, not a full GTD suite), and a few tray apps.
Old 04-10-2008, 08:42 PM   #2
Registered: Oct 2006
Location: Stirling in Scotland
Distribution: Slackware 13.37 64 bit
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Hi Sajro.Having used Gentoo,Arch and Slackware I have found no noticable difference between them in terms of speed.I have stuck with Slackware because the initial install is quick and then I compile all the apps I use from source.You will have to install the codecs etc that you need manually or by using a Slackbuild.To finish all I can say is ive used Slackware for over five years and found it to be good reliable stuff.Hope you find what you need I know other users will have their favorites so listen to their arguments too.

Last edited by hoodooman; 04-10-2008 at 08:45 PM.
Old 04-10-2008, 08:44 PM   #3
Registered: Jun 2006
Location: Lake District, Chile
Distribution: Arch
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From what I've read from ex-Gentooers on the Arch forum, Arch is as fast as Gentoo. I'd go for Arch.
Old 04-10-2008, 09:41 PM   #4
Registered: Jul 2005
Distribution: Arch
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I haven't had problems with stability with Arch, though it can actually be easier to keep it working with frequent updates, rather than the occasional big update. That way if something does break it's easier to track down what needs to be done for fixing it when you know exactly what update broke things and news posts are little fresher.

If you want to have a system you can setup and forget about slackware might be a little more what you're looking for.

I never ran gentoo, compiling everything just didn't seem worth it hearing the same thing chilebiker said, though I am a little curious to try it out sometime, maybe if I get my 2nd desktop working again as a test system. But between arch and slackware I didn't notice a whole lot of difference in speed, arch might have booted a bit faster but the response of an already up system seemed wasn't significant to stand out.
Old 04-11-2008, 05:46 AM   #5
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If you want stability, I say Slackware. Speed is generally very similar between the three you mentioned, but you could probably squeeze out a few extra drops of performance with Gentoo, at the cost of many hours of compile time.

If you want extra performance is Slackware, you should recompile the kernel.
Old 04-11-2008, 08:15 AM   #6
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Registered: Jan 2008
Location: noida
Distribution: archlinux, slackware
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Arch is my choice. Its fast and easily customizable. I can get my desktop to present a login prompt in less than 15 sec (I have my customizations, including kernel!). Its based on slackware and has a very good package management system. Occasionally you just have to run a simple command to get all your system updated.
Old 04-11-2008, 08:26 AM   #7
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I am having very good luck so far with Arch on an HP Compaq 8510. The only issue so far is getting the network profiles to work. I'm about to post a thread on this specific issue.

I appreciate the philosophy of Slackware and I have done several installations. Arch, however, is friendlier.

Originally Posted by premnarayan
Its based on slackware...
That's a new one...


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