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Old 06-25-2004, 06:52 AM   #1
Jason Chage
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Registered: Jun 2004
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Thumbs down How do I speed Linux up?

I decided to try out this Linux thing and got Fedore Core from a friend. I installed it on my system, 20BG hard drive, pentium III 700mHZ. On the recommendation of my friend, I installed only KDE and skipped GNOME entirely.

Everything is running fine (so far) but the thing is so slow. Could you please help me in making it faster? Right now it is simply mind numbing to use. Its that slow. I cannot try out some other distro as everyone around me is on dial up. So its either FC2 or back to Windows (which zooms).

Any tweaks, installations, removals, anything to make this babe work would be helpful.
Old 06-25-2004, 07:07 AM   #2
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Location: Potchefstroom, South Africa
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Don't know if its your version (FC1 instead of Rh9) but 9 is apparently faster (not that that helps you much). Whay you might try is type this in a console (I suppose you know how to get to one)


and enter.

This will display info about what your system is doing. At right top you will see three sets of numbers - the lower they are the less "busy" your system is. If they are inordinately high (say 4 or around 5) it means you have lots of stuff running in the background. On my Rh9 install I can turn background services I don't need off via the KDE menu under "System Settings" - look for an entry called "services" in there or under the "System Tools" KDE menu option. It might help to speed your system up a bit if you close unneeded services, but will not neccessarily work - your overall system speed still depends on many other hardware and software factors.

How does Linux perform in text mode? If it is perceptibly slow there too it means that it most likely is some system or hardware issue that you cannot do anything about (except stopping to use Linux if is unacceptably slow) but if it is only slow in graphical mode it means that most likely your video card is not fully / partially supported by XWindows, or you do not have enough RAM and CPU speed for that particular Linux version. Since I am not familiar with FC1, I do not know what KDE versions it supports or exactly what cards and stuff it supports. Rh9 works fine for me (on a 900mHz system with 128M) and is plenty fast and satisfactory there.

Hope the top thing helps some
Old 06-25-2004, 07:15 AM   #3
Registered: Feb 2004
Location: Phuket
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Hi Jason, and welcome

I am far from expert in these thing but a few ideas come to mind.

1) How much RAM does your system have

2) If you really want to stay with KDE then you might be able to tweak it by turning off all the cutesy-wutesy graphics and menu animations etc

3) Gnome is a bit less huge than KDE, and a perfectly adequate desktop. When I first tried Linux a few months ago I couldn't get comfortable with KDE so I went with Gnome and I have never looked back.

4) I have experienced very slow performance from my system when I had not configured the X windows system properly

5) Bear in mind that the Fedora is basically a test-bed for things which will eventually become part of the commercial Red Hat enterprise distributions so it is very much a "buyer(user) beware" thing.

Everything is running fine (so far) but the thing is so slow. Could you please help me in making it faster? Right now it is simply mind numbing to use. Its that slow. I cannot try out some other distro as everyone around me is on dial up. So its either FC2 or back to Windows (which zooms).
Well, if you have access to FC2 I guess that would be the way to go first since it is a few months further down the road in terms of development than FC1


Last edited by slackist; 06-25-2004 at 07:19 AM.
Old 06-25-2004, 07:41 AM   #4
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Actually I find KDE faster than gnome on my P III 700, but both are pretty quick - and I run a LOT of stuff, often 10-12 virtual desktops worth. Make sure you're not running neccessary servers and such, but that shouldn't matter. I also find you can get sluggishness with certain video combinations. Like an nvidia card seems a lot better with the binary invidia download enen in 2D.

Slow may be a relative term. I use the latest mandrake and it's a much bigger system than say win98, so it may be a little slower. You'll need a decent amount of ram too, but 256meg works fine.

Maybe you could describe exactly what is slow. I know you will find boot up time slower, but then a lot more is likely to be happening than on most win boxes.
Old 06-25-2004, 07:58 AM   #5
Registered: Mar 2004
Distribution: Fedora 10
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I have a 600mhz comp and Fedora ran really sluggish.

I installed Slackware 9.1. Runs fine. Re-compiled the kernel. Even better
Old 06-25-2004, 08:12 AM   #6
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Is fedora just a slow distro? Mandrake is fine on a 666 celeron, which ain't a great box, and seems to run on things like p2 333's...
Old 06-25-2004, 08:18 AM   #7
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I must say that I found Fedora to be a slower system compared with Mandrake. I run a 2gig celeron box and Mandy 10 flies compared to Fedora. The thing is Fedora is really a cutting-edge/testing distro for RHEL, whereas Mandy is a distro designed as the full final version - it may just be bugs in Fedora that need to be ironed out.
Old 06-25-2004, 08:45 AM   #8
Registered: Mar 2004
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you could try using a different window manager. Windowmaker is good as is iceWM, i havent tried any others but im not a big fan of kde or gnome, they both seem slow to me. You could also check if you have a swap space enabled if you have a low ram machine.

I found fc2 quite sluggish so i reinstalled the minimum system without X then installed the xwindow stuff (without kde or gnome - though many apps need them or their libs) and it was a bit better.

More extreme, but you could compile both the kernal and x for your machine to give a noticable performance increase.

Also when installing use the detailed package selection and install only what you need.

and of course
Old 06-25-2004, 08:52 AM   #9
Registered: May 2004
Location: Bangalore, India
Distribution: Fedora Core 2 (modified), Debian
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Gnome has historically been faster than KDE till the latest release. (no flame wars intended, this is just my humble honest opinion).
Almost all of redhat's distros after 7.2 have been quite sluggish, especially FC1. FC2 is terrible , it requires atleast 512mb of ram for decent performance on either GNOME or KDE. I would recommend a different distro, mandrake maybe, debian would be nice, but you would have to get someone to install it for you.

A kernel recompile, esp the 2.6 series (except 2.6.5 !) seems to boost gui speed a great deal.

Best of luck !

Old 06-25-2004, 09:26 AM   #10
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fedora core 2 is quite bloaed compared to other distro's.

what graphics card ? if its ATI or nVidia, are you running the default generic drivers ? or the accelerated drivers ?

if you are running the default generic drivers, its like running windows without installing OpenGL or your graphics card.

also.... here is how i got my fedora core 2 to fly.

runlevels... runlevels determine what services load, and run at startup and run time.
runlevel 4 is a spare runlevel, so i customised it.....

delete everything in /etc/rc4.d/
now copy the ocntents of rc5.d into rc4.d

rc4 is now an identicle coppy of runlevel 5 (which is default run level)
now delete everyhing in rc4.d except the bare minimum...

which is
S10network S90xfs S99local
S08iptables S20random S55cups S85gpm

the rc#.d folders contain shortcuts to scipts,
the scripts ive left in will run the firewall.... the graphical font server, printing, and random number generator (for encryption)

now.... open /etc/inittab
find the line "id:5:initdefault:"
and change 5 into 4.

and at the bottom, look for the line "x:5:respawn:/etc/X11/prefdm -nodaemon"
just after that line, add the line "y:4:respawn:/etc/X11/prefdm -nodaemon"

now you will find you system boots much much much faster !

also.. this is a little advanced... but re-configureating and re-compiling your kernel cal also speed up you machine.

Install Video drivers.
remove all the startup scripts you dont need.
and when you are up to it, recompile kernel.
Old 06-25-2004, 10:39 AM   #11
Registered: Mar 2004
Distribution: Slackware 10.2, Fedora Core 5, Kubuntu
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Try a different distribution. Fedora seems slow on my computer, too. I like SUSE a lot. I'm assuming that you have a high speed connection, so you can download the iso off of There is also a boot disk for SUSE and it installs from the internet. If you have dialup, you can try that. SUSE is very fast and very compatible with most computers. It's one of the only distributions that allow USB to work in my Pavilion N5470 (the BIOS has some problems with Linux).
Old 06-25-2004, 01:31 PM   #12
Jason Chage
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Registered: Jun 2004
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I seem to have forgotten to mention my RAM, I have 128MB only and the <i>minimum requirement</i> is 192MB so I shouldn't be complaining but still....

I have Fedora Core 2, not one.
Old 06-25-2004, 01:45 PM   #13
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Try xfce4 (Install it from your CD or via APT)
It looks like gnome, it's just as easy but way faster.
Old 07-13-2004, 12:08 AM   #14
Registered: Nov 2003
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Might as well give it your best shot - run . : F L U X B O X : .
Takes some getting used to but does it get much faster than that? If you're not happy with that, change distros maybe.
Old 07-13-2004, 01:00 AM   #15
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i use mainly a 289 mb ram, 566mhz, 10GB hd with fvwm and before fluxbox, and i don't find it slow. I use lightweight applications whenever i can.


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