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I've tried a couple distros Mandrake 10, SuSe, Ubuntu, Gentoo and finally settled on Debian Sarge. But with each and every one it takes ages for any app to load. ...
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  1. #1
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    Improving performance


    I've tried a couple distros Mandrake 10, SuSe, Ubuntu, Gentoo and finally settled on Debian Sarge. But with each and every one it takes ages for any app to load. It takes about 8seconds for firefox to load and about 20 seconds for the OpenOffice progress box to display when openning writter. This isn't the best computer 256mb of ram, amd duron process, not sure the hard drive speed, but it seems they should be starting a little faster.

    I'm not too sure where to begin. I've read about hdparm and experimented with it but haven't noticed a difference.

    If I run lsmod it shows a whole bunch of modules being used by nothing, or so it seams. But stuff like netsemi shows 0 under used by, but if I end it I can't get online since it's used by my network card. So I don't know how to go about determining which modules I need and don't need.

    I'm running gnome since the parents use that computer and need something similar to windows to function so changing wm is out of the questions unless they'res a littler one which looks similar.

  2. #2
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    Debian Sarge, eh? If you like that distro, you might want to try Arch Linux... Its package management is similar to apt-get in terms of completeness, but has BSD-style initscripts, is optimized for i686 machines, and is a bit more up-to-date. </shameless plug>

    Anyway, back to things that are not shameless plugs... What does 'hdparm -i' give for your hard drive?

  3. #3
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    Here we are:
    Code:
    debian&#58;/home/family# hdparm -i /dev/hda
    
    /dev/hda&#58;
    
     Model=WDC WD400BB-00AUA1, FwRev=18.20D18, SerialNo=WD-WMA6R2899084
     Config=&#123; HardSect NotMFM HdSw>15uSec SpinMotCtl Fixed DTR>5Mbs FmtGapReq &#125;
     RawCHS=16383/16/63, TrkSize=57600, SectSize=600, ECCbytes=40
     BuffType=DualPortCache, BuffSize=2048kB, MaxMultSect=16, MultSect=off
     CurCHS=4047/16/255, CurSects=16511760, LBA=yes, LBAsects=78165360
     IORDY=on/off, tPIO=&#123;min&#58;120,w/IORDY&#58;120&#125;, tDMA=&#123;min&#58;120,rec&#58;120&#125;
     PIO modes&#58;  pio0 pio1 pio2 pio3 pio4
     DMA modes&#58;  mdma0 mdma1 mdma2
     UDMA modes&#58; udma0 udma1 udma2 udma3 *udma4 udma5
     AdvancedPM=no WriteCache=enabled
     Drive conforms to&#58; device does not report version&#58;
    
     * signifies the current active mode

  4. #4
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    Your drive is UDMA 5 capable, isn't it?

  5. #5
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    yes, his drive is UDMA5 capable, it is currently running UDMA4, personaly i am not sure how to force udma5, since dma is already active on the drive. but I don't think your hardrive is the bottleneck, to confirm this run

    hdparm -Tt /dev/hda

    for R/W test results
    my results:
    Code:
    /dev/hda&#58;
     Timing cached reads&#58;   1580 MB in  2.00 seconds = 789.95 MB/sec
     Timing buffered disk reads&#58;  104 MB in  3.05 seconds =  34.07 MB/sec
    on this
    /dev/hda:
    Code:
     Model=Maxtor 4D080H4, FwRev=DAH017K0, SerialNo=D41AD05E
     Config=&#123; Fixed &#125;
     RawCHS=16383/16/63, TrkSize=0, SectSize=0, ECCbytes=57
     BuffType=DualPortCache, BuffSize=2048kB, MaxMultSect=16, MultSect=off
     CurCHS=16383/16/63, CurSects=16514064, LBA=yes, LBAsects=156301488
     IORDY=on/off, tPIO=&#123;min&#58;120,w/IORDY&#58;120&#125;, tDMA=&#123;min&#58;120,rec&#58;120&#125;
     PIO modes&#58;  pio0 pio1 pio2 pio3 pio4
     DMA modes&#58;  mdma0 mdma1 mdma2
     UDMA modes&#58; udma0 udma1 udma2 udma3 udma4 *udma5
     AdvancedPM=yes&#58; disabled &#40;255&#41; WriteCache=enabled
     Drive conforms to&#58; ATA/ATAPI-6 T13 1410D revision 0&#58;
    If you could post the results of a uname -a and free -t then we can get a better idea of you system. Also, (if your comfortable, since the information could assist a maliscious attempt at your computer) post the results of a 'ps aux' (if you want, you could remove process names, were just looking for resource hungry programs)

    the big one (if your willing) is to try running a prelink. Most common applications make use of shared libraries. These shared libraries need to be loaded into memory at runtime and the various symbol references need to be resolved. For most small programs this dynamic linking is very quick. But for programs written in C++ and that have many library dependencies, the dynamic linking can take a fair amount of time.

    On most systems, libraries are not changed very often and when a program is run, the operations taken to link the program are the same every time. Prelink takes advantage of this by carrying out the linking and storing it in the executable, in effect prelinking it.

    Prelinking can cut the startup times of applications. For example, a typical KDE program's loading time can be cut by as much as 50%. The only maintenance required is re-running prelink every time a library is upgraded for a pre-linked executable. Debian has the prelink program in its repositories so a simple

    apt-get update && apt-get install prelink
    will instal the application, once installed, become root (recommened through su or sudo) and run

    prelink -afmRv

    the flags mean (in brief, man prelink provides more robust documentation)

    a -- prelink all binaries
    f -- force the prelink
    m -- conserve virtual memory (needed since the first prelink entails alot of libs
    R -- randomize the address ordering, in short, significantly increased protection against buffer overflows.
    v -- verbose, I just use it because I like it, no real need

    that will prelink your system for the first time, this is a processer/memory/time intesive procedure the first time, but its worth it, turst me.

    Once completed, you now have a prelinked system! to update your prelinks whenever libraries change (could cause breaks if you make a major version jump in something like glibc without updating your prelinks)

    prelink -amRv

    will update your prelinks if any libraries change, I still occasionaly run it with the f flag for good measure, but I don't think it has any real effect.


    Quote Originally Posted by Gentoo Prelink Guide
    KDE's loading time can be greatly reduced after prelinking. If you inform KDE that it has been prelinked it will disable the loading of kdeinit (as it isn't required anymore) which speeds up KDE even more.

    Set KDE_IS_PRELINKED="true" in /etc/env.d/99kde-env to inform KDE about the prelinking.
    I don't use KDE anymore, but back around 3.1 this held true for me, and it really can knock your socks off.
    Avoid the Gates of Hell. Use Linux
    A Penny for your Thoughts

    Formerly Known as qub333

  6. #6
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    Alright my hdarm -Tt results.
    Code:
    debian&#58;~# hdparm -Tt /dev/hda
    
    /dev/hda&#58;
     Timing cached reads&#58;   676 MB in  2.00 seconds = 337.88 MB/sec
     Timing buffered disk reads&#58;   10 MB in  3.37 seconds =   2.97 MB/sec
    uname -a and free-t results
    Code:
    debian&#58;~# uname -a
    Linux debian 2.6.8-2-k7 #1 Thu May 19 18&#58;03&#58;29 JST 2005 i686 GNU/Linux
    debian&#58;~# free -t
                 total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
    Mem&#58;        126912     112808      14104          0      11880      37876
    -/+ buffers/cache&#58;      63052      63860
    Swap&#58;       500432      61304     439128
    Total&#58;      627344     174112     453232
    Code:
    debian&#58;~# ps aux
    USER       PID %CPU %MEM   VSZ  RSS TTY      STAT START   TIME COMMAND
    root         1  0.0  0.1  1504  216 ?        S    Jul31   0&#58;01 
    root         2  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        SN   Jul31   0&#58;00 
    root         3  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S<   Jul31   0&#58;04 
    root         4  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S<   Jul31   0&#58;00 
    root        19  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S<   Jul31   0&#58;00 
    root        44  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S<   Jul31   0&#58;00 
    root        43  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S    Jul31   0&#58;17 
    root       180  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S    Jul31   0&#58;00 
    root       334  0.0  0.1  1492  140 ?        S<s  Jul31   0&#58;00 
    root      1614  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S    Jul31   0&#58;00 
    root      2511  0.0  0.3  2376  392 ?        Ss   Jul31   0&#58;00 
    daemon    2516  0.0  0.0  1612   92 ?        Ss   Jul31   0&#58;00 
    root      2991  0.0  0.2  2260  304 ?        Ss   Jul31   0&#58;00 
    root      2994  0.0  0.1  2460  172 ?        Ss   Jul31   0&#58;00 
    message   3001  0.0  0.1  2092  180 ?        Ss   Jul31   0&#58;00 
    hal       3006  0.0  0.9  5984 1208 ?        Ss   Jul31   0&#58;48 
    root      3019  0.0  0.2  2556  304 ?        Ss   Jul31   0&#58;06 
    Debian-   3079  0.0  0.1  5140  224 ?        Ss   Jul31   0&#58;00 
    root      3104  0.0  0.1  2240  168 ?        Ss   Jul31   0&#58;00 
    lp        3109  0.0  0.1  2464  188 ?        Ss   Jul31   0&#58;00 
    root      3116  0.0  0.3  3468  392 ?        Ss   Jul31   0&#58;00 
    family    3120  0.0  0.3  2952  384 ?        Ss   Jul31   0&#58;01 
    root      3124  0.0  0.1  2376  192 ?        Ss   Jul31   0&#58;00 
    daemon    3127  0.0  0.1  1684  164 ?        Ss   Jul31   0&#58;00 
    root      3130  0.0  0.1  1756  252 ?        Ss   Jul31   0&#58;00 
    root      3135  0.0  0.2  8980  344 ?        Ss   Jul31   0&#58;00 
    root      3157  0.0  0.1  1500  160 tty1     Ss+  Jul31   0&#58;00 
    root      3165  0.0  0.1  1500  160 tty2     Ss+  Jul31   0&#58;00 
    root      3166  0.0  0.1  1500  160 tty3     Ss+  Jul31   0&#58;00 
    root      3167  0.0  0.1  1500  160 tty4     Ss+  Jul31   0&#58;00 
    root      3168  0.0  0.1  1500  160 tty5     Ss+  Jul31   0&#58;00 
    root      3169  0.0  0.1  1500  160 tty6     Ss+  Jul31   0&#58;00 
    root      3170  0.0  0.3  9336  444 ?        S    Jul31   0&#58;00 
    root      3290  8.5  7.0 73088 8960 ?        S    Jul31 249&#58;25 
    family    3336  0.0  1.5 16700 1972 ?        Ss   Jul31   0&#58;03 
    family    3378  0.0  0.1  2988  148 ?        Ss   Jul31   0&#58;00 
    family    3380  0.0  2.3  9752 2992 ?        S    Jul31   0&#58;02 
    family    3383  0.0  0.2  2256  312 ?        S    Jul31   0&#58;00 
    family    3385  0.0  0.8  5372 1052 ?        Ss   Jul31   0&#58;00 
    family    3387  0.0  0.9 18820 1252 ?        S    Jul31   0&#58;03 
    family    3397  0.0  0.3  4916  500 ?        S    Jul31   0&#58;13 
    family    3421  0.0  0.4  3712  540 ?        Ss   Jul31   0&#58;02 
    family    3423  0.0  2.2 12416 2876 ?        Ss   Jul31   0&#58;18 
    family    3431  0.0  2.7 20872 3480 ?        Ss   Jul31   0&#58;12 
    family    3433  0.0  2.3 40036 2996 ?        Ss   Jul31   0&#58;36 
    family    3435  0.0  0.9 15140 1256 ?        Ss   Jul31   0&#58;03 
    family    3444  0.0  0.3 16512  476 ?        S    Jul31   0&#58;00 
    family    3452  0.0  0.2  2188  268 ?        S    Jul31   0&#58;00 
    family    3456  0.0  2.9 17232 3724 ?        S    Jul31   0&#58;16 
    family    3458  0.0  1.8 17756 2392 ?        S    Jul31   0&#58;16
    family    3460  0.2  1.6 17068 2132 ?        S    Jul31   6&#58;21 
    family    3462  0.0  1.1 15304 1496 ?        S    Jul31   0&#58;04 
    root      7370  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S    Aug01   0&#58;00 
    root      7436  0.0  0.0     0    0 ?        S    Aug01   0&#58;02 
    root      8057  0.1  1.3 14452 1768 ?        Ss   12&#58;46   0&#58;00 
    root      8060  0.1  1.3  3024 1660 pts/1    Ss   12&#58;46   0&#58;00 
    root      8192  0.0  0.6  2496  844 pts/1    R+   12&#58;56   0&#58;00
    I'll definatly setup prelinking later tonight, I've sshed into that machine and my brother claims to know when I run commands, so I'll let him play his mario for now.

  7. #7
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    If your drive is UDMA5 compatible, you can get it to use UDMA5 by using '-X69' or '-X udma5' with hdparm.

    Edit: wait... what kernel version are you using?

  8. #8
    d0p
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    use XFCE!

    Use XFCE window manager. KDE and GNOME drag. XFCE is zipity quickity. I happened across it when i first started using linux a little while back in fedora3 on a old slow machine after trying all 3 desktops. I experienced no lags on XFCE and they got tight little plugins, http://xfce-goodies.berlios.de/ - flash movie of additional xfce plugins[/u]

  9. #9
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    Re: use XFCE!

    Quote Originally Posted by d0p
    Use XFCE window manager. KDE and GNOME drag. XFCE is zipity quickity. I happened across it when i first started using linux a little while back in fedora3 on a old slow machine after trying all 3 desktops. I experienced no lags on XFCE and they got tight little plugins, http://xfce-goodies.berlios.de/ - flash movie of additional xfce plugins[/u]
    Does it have something like the taskbar in windows? You know can launch applications, shutdown and restart the computer and shows the open windows?

    Kernel is 2.6.8.

    I set the drive to use UDMA5 and set up prelinking. I can say I've noticed a huge speed increase. Firefox is down to about 3 seconds to open and Writer at about 7.

    Of coarse I'm always open to getting them to open even faster.

  10. #10
    d0p
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    Re: use XFCE!

    Quote Originally Posted by squirrelplayingtag
    Quote Originally Posted by d0p
    Use XFCE window manager. KDE and GNOME drag. XFCE is zipity quickity. I happened across it when i first started using linux a little while back in fedora3 on a old slow machine after trying all 3 desktops. I experienced no lags on XFCE and they got tight little plugins, http://xfce-goodies.berlios.de/ - flash movie of additional xfce plugins[/u]
    Does it have something like the taskbar in windows? You know can launch applications, shutdown and restart the computer and shows the open windows?

    Kernel is 2.6.8.

    I set the drive to use UDMA5 and set up prelinking. I can say I've noticed a huge speed increase. Firefox is down to about 3 seconds to open and Writer at about 7.

    Of coarse I'm always open to getting them to open even faster.
    To answer your question with a question... did you look at the flash demos? http://xfce.org/various/flash_demos.html also http://xfce-goodies.berlios.de/demos/goodies.html swf for some neat plugins to monitor system resources like those at gdesklets.

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