Multi-tasking - Debian

This is a discussion on Multi-tasking - Debian ; Hi, I really do not want to flame (I have been using KDE for many years and I do not mean to change anything about that), but can anybody explain why KDE has so lousy multi-tasking? Or is it whole ...

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  1. Multi-tasking

    Hi,

    I really do not want to flame (I have been using KDE for many years and I do
    not mean to change anything about that), but can anybody explain why KDE
    has so lousy multi-tasking? Or is it whole Linux? I have noticed it for
    long time, but couple of days I was working on Windows XP and running
    something terribly complicated with Access, it was running completely out
    of its mind, but when I switched to the other window where I had Excel, I
    could work without problems and I have hardly noticed almost dying Access
    on the background. Whenever I run something more complicated in Linux (gcc,
    update of slocate dbase), whole computer goes almost to halt (and it is not
    that bad computer -- Dell Inspiron 2200 notebook w/ Celeron 1.4GHz, 512MB
    RAM). I believe that Linux should have perfect multi-everything, but
    apparently there is some problem with my configuration.

    Can anybody kick me in the right direction?

    Thanks,

    Matěj

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    I used to date a woman who did PR and marketing for MS, so you
    can imagine we had some in-depth and sometimes heated
    discussions about MS vs. Linux and Macs.
    Well, one day we were going hiking, and she presented me with
    a really nice backback. The only issue with it was that it had
    the MS logo emblazoned all over it. Of course, she knew
    I wouldn't refuse it.
    Anyway, she said to me, "Isn't that nice? See? What'd RedHat
    ever give you for free?"
    I replied, "An operating system."
    That was one long, quiet hike.
    -- disserto on Slashdot
    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl\
    ?sid=138492&tid=109&mode=thread&cid=11590292



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  2. Re: Multi-tasking

    Hi,

    have you tried to compile yourself a kernel. I think that the debian packages
    of kernels have a default behavior of server. From the 2.6 kernels, there's
    an option in the multitask about preemptive or server. A preemptive kernel
    has a better "feeling" for the desktop user than the server.

    Regards,

    Leo

    A Dimecres 28 Juny 2006 05:09, Matej Cepl va escriure:
    > Hi,
    >
    > I really do not want to flame (I have been using KDE for many years and I
    > do not mean to change anything about that), but can anybody explain why KDE
    > has so lousy multi-tasking? Or is it whole Linux? I have noticed it for
    > long time, but couple of days I was working on Windows XP and running
    > something terribly complicated with Access, it was running completely out
    > of its mind, but when I switched to the other window where I had Excel, I
    > could work without problems and I have hardly noticed almost dying Access
    > on the background. Whenever I run something more complicated in Linux (gcc,
    > update of slocate dbase), whole computer goes almost to halt (and it is not
    > that bad computer -- Dell Inspiron 2200 notebook w/ Celeron 1.4GHz, 512MB
    > RAM). I believe that Linux should have perfect multi-everything, but
    > apparently there is some problem with my configuration.
    >
    > Can anybody kick me in the right direction?
    >
    > Thanks,
    >
    > Matěj
    >
    > --
    > GPG Finger: 89EF 4BC6 288A BF43 1BAB 25C3 E09F EF25 D964 84AC
    > http://www.ceplovi.cz/matej/blog/, Jabber: ceplma@jabber.cz
    > 23 Marion St. #3, (617) 876-1259, ICQ 132822213
    >
    > I used to date a woman who did PR and marketing for MS, so you
    > can imagine we had some in-depth and sometimes heated
    > discussions about MS vs. Linux and Macs.
    > Well, one day we were going hiking, and she presented me with
    > a really nice backback. The only issue with it was that it had
    > the MS logo emblazoned all over it. Of course, she knew
    > I wouldn't refuse it.
    > Anyway, she said to me, "Isn't that nice? See? What'd RedHat
    > ever give you for free?"
    > I replied, "An operating system."
    > That was one long, quiet hike.
    > -- disserto on Slashdot
    > http://slashdot.org/comments.pl\
    > ?sid=138492&tid=109&mode=thread&cid=11590292


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  3. Re: Multi-tasking

    El Miércoles, 28 de Junio de 2006 05:09, Matej Cepl escribió:
    > Hi,
    >
    > I really do not want to flame (I have been using KDE for many years and I
    > do not mean to change anything about that), but can anybody explain why KDE
    > has so lousy multi-tasking? Or is it whole Linux? I have noticed it for
    > long time, but couple of days I was working on Windows XP and running
    > something terribly complicated with Access, it was running completely out
    > of its mind, but when I switched to the other window where I had Excel, I
    > could work without problems and I have hardly noticed almost dying Access
    > on the background. Whenever I run something more complicated in Linux (gcc,
    > update of slocate dbase), whole computer goes almost to halt (and it is not
    > that bad computer -- Dell Inspiron 2200 notebook w/ Celeron 1.4GHz, 512MB
    > RAM). I believe that Linux should have perfect multi-everything, but
    > apparently there is some problem with my configuration.


    I have an Athlon 800, and when I download my email, kmail blocks completely,
    and doesn't refreshes until spamassassin finishes processing at least the
    current email, but if I switch to another application, it works very well.

    Which kernel are you using? I always run the default debian kernel, and I
    noticed that the responsiveness of the desktop improved a lot in some 2.6
    release (i suppose because the scheduler was different).

    --
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  4. Re: Multi-tasking

    On Wednesday 28 June 2006 05:09, Matej Cepl wrote:
    > Hi,
    >
    > I really do not want to flame (I have been using KDE for many years and I
    > do not mean to change anything about that), but can anybody explain why
    > KDE has so lousy multi-tasking? Or is it whole Linux? I have noticed it
    > for long time, but couple of days I was working on Windows XP and running
    > something terribly complicated with Access, it was running completely out
    > of its mind, but when I switched to the other window where I had Excel, I
    > could work without problems and I have hardly noticed almost dying Access
    > on the background. Whenever I run something more complicated in Linux
    > (gcc, update of slocate dbase), whole computer goes almost to halt (and
    > it is not that bad computer -- Dell Inspiron 2200 notebook w/ Celeron
    > 1.4GHz, 512MB RAM). I believe that Linux should have perfect
    > multi-everything, but apparently there is some problem with my
    > configuration.
    >
    > Can anybody kick me in the right direction?


    Is anything trying to write/read large amounts of data when this happens? if
    so you might want to:
    - check the settings for your harddisk (notably DMA)
    - also which filessystem are you using? reiserfs3 has problems locking up
    the system under high load
    --
    Cheers, cobaco (aka Bart Cornelis)

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  5. Re: Multi-tasking

    On Wednesday 28 June 2006 12:15, cobaco (aka Bart Cornelis) wrote:
    > On Wednesday 28 June 2006 05:09, Matej Cepl wrote:
    > > Hi,
    > >
    > > I really do not want to flame (I have been using KDE for many years
    > > and I do not mean to change anything about that), but can anybody
    > > explain why KDE has so lousy multi-tasking? Or is it whole Linux? I
    > > have noticed it for long time, but couple of days I was working on
    > > Windows XP and running something terribly complicated with Access,
    > > it was running completely out of its mind, but when I switched to
    > > the other window where I had Excel, I could work without problems
    > > and I have hardly noticed almost dying Access on the background.
    > > Whenever I run something more complicated in Linux (gcc, update of
    > > slocate dbase), whole computer goes almost to halt (and it is not
    > > that bad computer -- Dell Inspiron 2200 notebook w/ Celeron 1.4GHz,
    > > 512MB RAM). I believe that Linux should have perfect
    > > multi-everything, but apparently there is some problem with my
    > > configuration.
    > >
    > > Can anybody kick me in the right direction?

    >
    > Is anything trying to write/read large amounts of data when this
    > happens? if so you might want to:
    > - check the settings for your harddisk (notably DMA)
    > - also which filessystem are you using? reiserfs3 has problems
    > locking up the system under high load


    I sometimes have this problem and thought that it's related to SATA. But
    I'm using reiserfs3. Do you've more infos about its problems under high
    load.


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  6. Re: Multi-tasking

    Matej Cepl skrev:
    > on the background. Whenever I run something more complicated in Linux (gcc,
    > update of slocate dbase), whole computer goes almost to halt (and it is not
    > that bad computer -- Dell Inspiron 2200 notebook w/ Celeron 1.4GHz, 512MB
    > RAM). I believe that Linux should have perfect multi-everything, but
    > apparently there is some problem with my configuration.
    >
    > Can anybody kick me in the right direction?
    >


    Pretty much the only thing that comes to my mind is if you are running a
    kernel that has been compiled with the 'preemptible kernel' option.
    Without a preemptible kernel, the desktop experience is not as good.

    Anders


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  7. Re: Multi-tasking

    El mircoles, 28 de junio de 2006 11:50, Alejandro Exojo escribi:
    > I have an Athlon 800, and when I download my email, kmail blocks
    > completely, and doesn't refreshes until spamassassin finishes processing at
    > least the current email, but if I switch to another application, it works
    > very well.


    That is the most annoying KMail feature I have seen, and I find unbelievable
    that KMail developers hadn't taken care of it yet. It is...two years old?
    Three? And it makes KMail unuseable with a spamassassin configured with DNS
    queries. :-(

    The last time I debugged the problem it was due to KMail looking every
    timeslice it has into the pipe it opens to spamassasin, not every, say, half
    a second.

    Regards,


    Ender.
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    -- Agent Smith (Matrix Revolutions).
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    Debian developer

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  8. Re: Multi-tasking

    On Wednesday 28 June 2006 12:57, David Martnez Moreno wrote:
    > That is the most annoying KMail feature I have seen, and I find
    > unbelievable that KMail developers hadn't taken care of it yet. It
    > is...two years old? Three? And it makes KMail unuseable with a
    > spamassassin configured with DNS queries. :-(


    Do you happen to have a workaround that makes it a bit less annoying?

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  9. Re: Multi-tasking

    El mircoles, 28 de junio de 2006 13:28, Frans Pop escribi:
    > On Wednesday 28 June 2006 12:57, David Martnez Moreno wrote:
    > > That is the most annoying KMail feature I have seen, and I find
    > > unbelievable that KMail developers hadn't taken care of it yet. It
    > > is...two years old? Three? And it makes KMail unuseable with a
    > > spamassassin configured with DNS queries. :-(

    >
    > Do you happen to have a workaround that makes it a bit less annoying?


    I was thinking of it a lot in past times, and the only workaround was to
    add -L to OPTIONS in /etc/default/spamassassin in order to make only local
    checks, and even then, KMail is not truly asynchronous as it is while sending
    mail, for example, so it effectively blocks the UI when checking. Recent
    KMails behaved a bit better, but they are not yet asynchronous.

    The other option that I considered, but haven't time to work in, was to
    install mpop and spamc (and probably fetchmail) as a former step, and then
    pull scanned mail from localhost. But the real problem will be there, that
    is, KMail freezing when reading from a pipe.

    The last option is learning some C++, Qt, and KDE internals, and get wet with
    the code.

    Nothing that anybody couldn't reach with some hours of frustration and a fine
    sense of stubbornness. I hope my analysis helps you.

    Best regards,


    Ender.
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  10. Re: Multi-tasking

    A Dimecres 28 Juny 2006 12:54, Anders E. Andersen va escriure:
    > Matej Cepl skrev:
    > > on the background. Whenever I run something more complicated in Linux
    > > (gcc, update of slocate dbase), whole computer goes almost to halt (and
    > > it is not that bad computer -- Dell Inspiron 2200 notebook w/ Celeron
    > > 1.4GHz, 512MB RAM). I believe that Linux should have perfect
    > > multi-everything, but apparently there is some problem with my
    > > configuration.
    > >
    > > Can anybody kick me in the right direction?

    >
    > Pretty much the only thing that comes to my mind is if you are running a
    > kernel that has been compiled with the 'preemptible kernel' option.

    I think that's not right,
    > Without a preemptible kernel, the desktop experience is not as good.


    Desktop --> preemtive
    Server --> no preemtive

    Leo



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  11. Re: Multi-tasking

    On Wednesday 28 June 2006 12:30, Andr Wbbeking wrote:
    > On Wednesday 28 June 2006 12:15, cobaco (aka Bart Cornelis) wrote:
    > > On Wednesday 28 June 2006 05:09, Matej Cepl wrote:
    > > > Hi,


    > > Is anything trying to write/read large amounts of data when this
    > > happens? if so you might want to:
    > > - check the settings for your harddisk (notably DMA)
    > > - also which filessystem are you using? reiserfs3 has problems
    > > locking up the system under high load

    >
    > I sometimes have this problem and thought that it's related to SATA. But
    > I'm using reiserfs3. Do you've more infos about its problems under high
    > load.


    YMMV, I can't remember where I read the details, but the FAQ at [1] has:
    Q: Why do things freeze on my IDE hard drive for annoying amounts of time
    A: Because when large writes are scheduled all at once, reads can starve. A
    fix for this is evolving; the later your ReiserFS patch, the better we
    handle this.

    (it's been over a year since I was using reiserfs, this problem made my
    laptop completely unusable for 10minutes+ when doing e.g. svn update on the
    d-i repository, i finally 'fixed' it by switching to ext3, situation might
    have improved since then)

    [1] http://www.namesys.com/faq.html
    --
    Cheers, cobaco (aka Bart Cornelis)

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  12. Re: Multi-tasking

    El mircoles, 28 de junio de 2006 12:54, Anders E. Andersen escribi:
    > Pretty much the only thing that comes to my mind is if you are running a
    > kernel that has been compiled with the 'preemptible kernel' option.


    s/with/without/

    > Without a preemptible kernel, the desktop experience is not as good.


    You can see if you have such kernel, if you compiled in the option for
    including the configuration in the running kernel:

    If you have /proc/config:

    ender@polgara:~$ cat /proc/config |grep PREE
    # CONFIG_PREEMPT_NONE is not set
    # CONFIG_PREEMPT_VOLUNTARY is not set
    CONFIG_PREEMPT=y
    CONFIG_PREEMPT_BKL=y
    # CONFIG_DEBUG_PREEMPT is not set

    If you have a compressed one (as I do):

    ender@polgara:~$ zcat /proc/config.gz |grep PREE
    # CONFIG_PREEMPT_NONE is not set
    # CONFIG_PREEMPT_VOLUNTARY is not set
    CONFIG_PREEMPT=y
    CONFIG_PREEMPT_BKL=y
    # CONFIG_DEBUG_PREEMPT is not set

    Mine is compiled for desktop. Debian kernels are not (they have
    CONFIG_PREEMPT_NONE=y and CONFIG_PREEMPT=n.

    Best regards,


    Ender.
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    -- Pazos (Airbag).
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  13. Re: Multi-tasking

    On Wednesday 28 June 2006 13:48, David Martnez Moreno wrote:
    >
    > The last option is learning some C++, Qt, and KDE internals, and get
    > wet with the code.


    I'm sure help is always welcome :-) But I don't think that anythink is
    changed in 3.5.x. We have to wait until KDE 4.


    Cheers,
    Andr

  14. Re: Multi-tasking

    Alejandro Exojo wrote:
    > Which kernel are you using? I always run the default debian kernel, and I
    > noticed that the responsiveness of the desktop improved a lot in some 2.6
    > release (i suppose because the scheduler was different).


    hand-compiled vanilla+suspend2 2.6.17.1

    Thanks for the reply,

    Matej

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  15. Re: Multi-tasking

    * Leopold Palomo Avellaneda [2006 Jun 28 06:53 -0500]:
    > A Dimecres 28 Juny 2006 12:54, Anders E. Andersen va escriure:
    > > Matej Cepl skrev:
    > > > on the background. Whenever I run something more complicated in Linux
    > > > (gcc, update of slocate dbase), whole computer goes almost to halt (and
    > > > it is not that bad computer -- Dell Inspiron 2200 notebook w/ Celeron
    > > > 1.4GHz, 512MB RAM). I believe that Linux should have perfect
    > > > multi-everything, but apparently there is some problem with my
    > > > configuration.
    > > >
    > > > Can anybody kick me in the right direction?

    > >
    > > Pretty much the only thing that comes to my mind is if you are running a
    > > kernel that has been compiled with the 'preemptible kernel' option.

    > I think that's not right,
    > > Without a preemptible kernel, the desktop experience is not as good.

    >
    > Desktop --> preemtive
    > Server --> no preemtive


    Okay, so my stock Debian kernel config shows the following:

    CONFIG_PREEMPT_NONE=y
    # CONFIG_PREEMPT_VOLUNTARY is not set
    # CONFIG_PREEMPT is not set
    # CONFIG_PREEMPT_BKL is not set

    So, I presume they are not compiled for desktop use then? Has anyone
    filed a wishlist bug to get a set of kernels that are pre-emptive?

    - Nate >>

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  16. Re: Multi-tasking

    Leopold Palomo Avellaneda wrote:
    > have you tried to compile yourself a kernel. I think that the debian
    > packages of kernels have a default behavior of server. From the 2.6
    > kernels, there's an option in the multitask about preemptive or server. A
    > preemptive kernel has a better "feeling" for the desktop user than the
    > server.


    Why, oh why I haven't asked this question before (using Linux for almost six
    years and never suspected that my kernel configuration is anything than
    perfect)? :'(

    Thanks a lot, I have recompiled kernel with CONFIG_PREEMPT and it seems to
    be really *much* more responsive. Why is this not more popularized?

    Best,

    Matěj

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  17. Re: Multi-tasking

    André Wöbbeking wrote:
    > I sometimes have this problem and thought that it's related to SATA. But
    > I'm using reiserfs3. Do you've more infos about its problems under high
    > load.


    No, the problem was non-preemptive kernel -- this is just plain ext3
    notebook (no fancy server filesystems here).

    Matej

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  18. Re: Multi-tasking

    Leopold Palomo Avellaneda skrev:
    > A Dimecres 28 Juny 2006 12:54, Anders E. Andersen va escriure:
    >
    >> Matej Cepl skrev:
    >>
    >>> on the background. Whenever I run something more complicated in Linux
    >>> (gcc, update of slocate dbase), whole computer goes almost to halt (and
    >>> it is not that bad computer -- Dell Inspiron 2200 notebook w/ Celeron
    >>> 1.4GHz, 512MB RAM). I believe that Linux should have perfect
    >>> multi-everything, but apparently there is some problem with my
    >>> configuration.
    >>>
    >>> Can anybody kick me in the right direction?
    >>>

    >> Pretty much the only thing that comes to my mind is if you are running a
    >> kernel that has been compiled with the 'preemptible kernel' option.
    >>

    > I think that's not right,
    >
    >> Without a preemptible kernel, the desktop experience is not as good.
    >>

    >
    > Desktop --> preemtive
    > Server --> no preemtive
    >


    Wasn't that what I wrote?

    Anders


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  19. Re: Multi-tasking

    Matej Cepl skrev:
    > Why, oh why I haven't asked this question before (using Linux for almost six
    > years and never suspected that my kernel configuration is anything than
    > perfect)? :'(
    >
    > Thanks a lot, I have recompiled kernel with CONFIG_PREEMPT and it seems to
    > be really *much* more responsive. Why is this not more popularized?
    >

    I remember it as being one of /the/ big talking points in linux 2.6.
    Surprised you missed it actually..


    Anders


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  20. [OT]Re: Multi-tasking

    El Mircoles, 28 de Junio de 2006 13:24, cobaco (aka Bart Cornelis) escribi:
    > On Wednesday 28 June 2006 12:30, Andr Wbbeking wrote:
    > > On Wednesday 28 June 2006 12:15, cobaco (aka Bart Cornelis) wrote:
    > > > On Wednesday 28 June 2006 05:09, Matej Cepl wrote:
    > > > > Hi,
    > > >
    > > > Is anything trying to write/read large amounts of data when this
    > > > happens? if so you might want to:
    > > > - check the settings for your harddisk (notably DMA)
    > > > - also which filessystem are you using? reiserfs3 has problems
    > > > locking up the system under high load

    > >
    > > I sometimes have this problem and thought that it's related to SATA. But
    > > I'm using reiserfs3. Do you've more infos about its problems under high
    > > load.

    >
    > YMMV, I can't remember where I read the details, but the FAQ at [1] has:
    > Q: Why do things freeze on my IDE hard drive for annoying amounts of time
    > A: Because when large writes are scheduled all at once, reads can starve.A
    > fix for this is evolving; the later your ReiserFS patch, the better we
    > handle this.
    >
    > (it's been over a year since I was using reiserfs, this problem made my
    > laptop completely unusable for 10minutes+ when doing e.g. svn update on the
    > d-i repository, i finally 'fixed' it by switching to ext3, situation might
    > have improved since then)
    >
    > [1] http://www.namesys.com/faq.html

    Hello All:

    Here is something I have always liked to asks but I hadn't had the chance.
    The problem is that on my job PC, I use reiser over a LVM over a SATA disk.
    When I have some disk intensive tasks/intervals, my system turns not as
    responsive as I wish and as I think should be.

    In this situation, I have tried doing top on a konsole, and I find that the
    field "wa" in the above part of the top report, in the middle of "id"
    and "hi" raises to 80-90%. I don't know what exactly this field means, but I
    bet for cpu-wait state as it is the case in disk I/O.

    All of this guessing yields me to the conclusion that I'm sometimes wasting
    up to 90% of cpu time waiting or just doing nothing, I can't understand this.
    As I'm not sure about the SATA details (I'm used to PATA) I think I have the
    best configuration, even DMA, but this go on happening.

    On my laptop, which includes a Dell PATA disk, the supposed "wait" states
    doesn't rise bigger than 30-40%.

    What could be happening here? Is this normal?.

    Thanks for your attention. I know this is OT, but I would appreciate
    redirection to a possible source of information related to this.

    Cheers,

    --
    Ral Snchez Siles
    ----->Proud Debian user<-----
    Linux registered user #416098

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