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Re: OS Performance (was OT: New low for Microsoft!)

This brings up a question I have about Fedora. I recently installed FC1 on an 800 MHz Celeron with 128MB RAM. I'm a Linux newbie. The system is dual-booted with Windows ME. Yes, I know that I'm running below recommended specs.

The first thing I notice in Linux (running GNOME) is that it *seems* more sluggish than Windows. Menus take longer to pop up. Standard dialogs take longer to pop up. All sorts of things. When I click to start Mozilla, I have to check to see if my HD light is on -- otherwise I don't know if the OS registered my click! (In all fairness, Explorer isn't much better in this regard.)

A good example is switching windows. Everything is loaded in RAM -- no caching to the HD. When I change the focus to another open window, it's like I get a flicker-flicker-there. It takes around 500ms to make the change. In Windows, this is not so.

So here's the question: Is this normal for Fedora and/or Linux? Do I maybe have a bad video setting?

I asked myself the same thing about a year ago when I was getting used to it. It might be a configuration problem on your end, but there are a few things about FC1/Gnome/KDE that I've picked up over the last year or so.

1) Check the services you are running. A linux box typically comes with a huge number of services that you can run, many more than will come with a windows installation. Each of these services sits in memory (although thats a bit of a simplification) taking up ram - turn off everything you find you aren't using.

2) Desktops. Gnome and KDE both aim to provide an integrated desktop solution. There is nothing wrong with this, and both actually are wonderful for new users to get used to linux, but they run alot in the background to achieve this and so you end up with something like a win XP installation which uses alot of memory. I really dont see much difference between XP and KDE as a desktop apart from the fact that one is open source. I spent about 6 months on KDE before moving to Enlightenment as a desktop. It basically serves only window management, and this keeps things much faster than KDE/Gnome, despite the graphical window features it delivers. But it's hard unless you've gotten comfortable with getting around FC and you already know what's there. I've tried a preliminary version of the new E desktop and it promises to be faster yet, running all the window management graphics on your hardware card like a mac OS X does. For an even slimmer, faster graphical environment there are other desktops you can use, though I dont have much experience with these.

3) FC1. Different flavors of linux are customised differently. One thing about fedora that is both a pro and a con is that it is very versatile and will satisfy an extraordinarily large number of different configurations with very little work by the user. Once you start digging around alot of the startup scripts fedora has you'll notice just how obtuse some of these scripts are and this is solely for the purpose of catering for almost any possibility that can arise. The drawback with this is that you end up with a system that takes a fair while to boot, amongst other things. I've started playing around with gentoo linux, and though being alot more work to install and configure, its configured for your machine and is consequently much faster, but the catch 22 is the extra work required to get it there! I've also heard of people setting up a very streamlined configuration with a basic kernel, getting the X server up and running in obscenely quick times. So ultimately it comes down to how you want to configure linux. Fedora is a good intro and a solid, easy to use platform, but as Im just beginning to find out, there's a whole lot more out there that Im now getting into that's making me feel like a newbie all over again :)

By the way, Gkrellm is a good monitor for keeping an eye on memory, number of processes, and hard drive/network activity.

Another thing I've noticed with some new programs on windows and linux is that they'll often pop up a window automatically, but the program will keep on loading for a while before it hands over control to you. Is this a deliberate technique used to get things to appear to load faster? (sometimes not a bad thing, you can still do various things while the rest of the program uploads into memory) - I dont really know for sure on this.

Differences in how the program is compiled and being used (statically built vs dynamically built) will also affect how fast a program will start up. I know the theory on the respective builds, but not sure on exactly how much this factors into it :)

Daniel Stonier.

email:snorri_dj operamail com

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