[K12OSN] Making thin clients "faster"

Jesse McDonnell jessemcdonnell at verizon.net
Sun Nov 15 10:48:51 UTC 2009

On Sun, 15 Nov 2009 09:25:38 +0000
"Hamlesh [Personal]" <hm at motah.co.uk> wrote:

> Thanks for the input guys.

> After sending my original email in, I found another 1Gb of RAM, and
> put it in the server, its made a little bit of a difference, but some
> websites still experience lag when scrolling.


Are you running Firefox 3? In earlier versions of FF, sites that had lots of images would sometimes crash the xserver on the client as a result of using up all the client memory with cached images. This doesn't happen with FF3. It has been rewritten - all images are loaded on the server and transferred across the network without been written into client memory and FF crashing the client xserver is no more.

The downside of this is the jitteriness that you are experiencing. On the same (very) graphic-heavy sites where Firefox 2 would sometimes crash (but was otherwise perfectly acceptable in terms of performance) Firefox 3 scrolls slowly and is quite jittery redrawing the screen with significant errors, overruns, and dropped packets on the network. 

I had hoped that the faster page rendering in Firefox 3.5 would help but the change is not enough to make up for the performance drop on the clients. I still use FF but use Opera for anything other than sites that are mainly text. 

I'm on a 100Mb network with GigE to the switch. If you can get GigE network cards and a GigE switch you should see a big improvement in performance.


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