want to speed up laptop - Debian

This is a discussion on want to speed up laptop - Debian ; I generally use my laptop for writing, browsing, messaging, listening to music, and the occasional game. After installing Debian on several other systems I started wondering what others install or configure to speed up their systems. So how are you ...

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  1. want to speed up laptop

    I generally use my laptop for writing, browsing, messaging, listening to
    music, and the occasional game. After installing Debian on several
    other systems I started wondering what others install or configure to
    speed up their systems.

    So how are you speeding up your boot time and general performance?


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  2. Re: want to speed up laptop

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    Preston Boyington schrieb:
    >
    > So how are you speeding up your boot time and general performance?
    >
    >


    Hi Preston,

    to speed up the boot time you can have a look at insserv.

    KR Frank
    - --
    Frank Zimmermann |
    Junker-J÷rg-Str. 2 | mail: zimbi_in_berlin@web.de
    10318 Berlin | phone: +49-30-67304676
    Germany | mobile: +49-1520-6017456
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  3. Re: want to speed up laptop

    On Mon, Mar 24, 2008 at 04:24:48PM -0500, Preston Boyington wrote:
    > I generally use my laptop for writing, browsing, messaging, listening to
    > music, and the occasional game. After installing Debian on several
    > other systems I started wondering what others install or configure to
    > speed up their systems.
    >
    > So how are you speeding up your boot time and general performance?


    Where are your bottlenecks?

    I altered the link from /bin/sh to point to /bin/dash instead of
    /bin/bash but I'm not sure if I got a big improvement. It seems
    reasonably fast though. :-)

    Also for general performance, try not to run X if you can help it. :-)

    --
    Chris.
    ======


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  4. Re: want to speed up laptop

    Chris Bannister wrote:

    > Where are your bottlenecks?


    currently my two biggest bottlenecks are with the networking and the
    MTA. i installed "ifplugd" and set a faster timeout for the network and
    that has helped. i don't really "need" a MTA for my laptop and will be
    looking for some alternative. have thought about just removing Exim and
    dealing with whatever dependency issues arise. i can always just look
    at the log files for info if i need to.

    > I altered the link from /bin/sh to point to /bin/dash instead of
    > /bin/bash but I'm not sure if I got a big improvement. It seems
    > reasonably fast though. :-)


    i have been using zsh recently and it has worked pretty well so far.

    > Also for general performance, try not to run X if you can help it. :-)


    i tend to use window-managers (FVWM-Crystal, Fluxbox) over desktops
    (Gnome, KDE) with a slew of terminal programs.

    my next step (which probably should have been my first), is playing with
    bootchart and looking for areas to improve. then i will get to
    compiling my own kernel. the generic one is great, but with one
    specific to the machine i should pick up some more speed.


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  5. Re: want to speed up laptop

    > Chris Bannister wrote:
    >
    > > Where are your bottlenecks?


    > Preston Boyington wrote:
    > i don't really "need" a MTA for my laptop and will be
    > looking for some alternative. have thought about just removing Exim and
    > dealing with whatever dependency issues arise. i can always just look
    > at the log files for info if i need to.

    [Snip..]

    you can install the package 'msmtp-mta' instead of Exim.


    Regards,

    G


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  6. Re: want to speed up laptop

    On 26/03/2008, Bob Proulx wrote:
    > Preston Boyington wrote:
    > > currently my two biggest bottlenecks are with the networking and the
    > > MTA.

    >
    >
    > Could you explain further how the MTA on your laptop is the
    > bottleneck. That seems very strange to me and I can't think of how it
    > would be a bottleneck.
    >
    >


    In my case it's as follows:
    When I'm not connected to a LAN and have to wait for the laptop to
    auto-configure the wireless interface the MTA times out for some
    reason after a noticeable delay.


    --
    Naresh V

    http://nareshov.kuro-katana.net/blog


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  7. Re: want to speed up laptop

    Preston Boyington wrote:
    > currently my two biggest bottlenecks are with the networking and the
    > MTA.


    Could you explain further how the MTA on your laptop is the
    bottleneck. That seems very strange to me and I can't think of how it
    would be a bottleneck.

    > i installed "ifplugd" and set a faster timeout for the network and
    > that has helped.


    I like ifplugd and also use it on my machine. But not for any
    performance reasons. It simply provides simple and nice functionality
    for the task that it does.

    > i don't really "need" a MTA for my laptop and will be
    > looking for some alternative. have thought about just removing Exim and
    > dealing with whatever dependency issues arise. i can always just look
    > at the log files for info if i need to.


    If you want to remove the MTA all together then instead of doing that
    you might consider installing 'nullmailer'. It "provides"
    mail-transport-agent and so all of the dependencies will be
    satisfied. I think that would be better than forcing through the
    dependency problems by removing the mta entirely.

    Also, if you believe that your mta is causing you problems and are to
    the point of removing it then I suggest that you simply stop it first
    and see if that is really the issue.

    /etc/init.d/exim stop # old version 3
    /etc/init.d/exim4 stop # new version 4

    After it is stopped then it is almost as if it were not installed.
    That would be a good simulation to test the theory that it is a
    bottleneck. If whatever problems were observed remain then it
    probably isn't the mta. But if that test fixes the problem then it
    would be a good indicator that the mta is the issue. (I doubt that
    it is though.)

    > >I altered the link from /bin/sh to point to /bin/dash instead of
    > >/bin/bash but I'm not sure if I got a big improvement. It seems
    > >reasonably fast though. :-)

    >
    > i have been using zsh recently and it has worked pretty well so far.


    "worked pretty well" is great but unfortunately not something that can
    be measured or quantified. When talking performance it is numbers and
    data points that really speak clearly. If possible anyone who is
    trying to do system speedups should measure a data point both before
    and after. Otherwise random noise into the system can really cause
    confusion and misinterpretation of the results. I caution this
    because in past experiences I have seen people make optimization
    changes without data that actually had the opposite effect and slowed
    things down!

    > compiling my own kernel. the generic one is great, but with one
    > specific to the machine i should pick up some more speed.


    What cpu do you have in your laptop? If i686 install the 686
    optimized package. If amd64 then install that one. And so forth.
    Those are optimized for their architecture.

    linux-image-2.6-686
    linux-image-2.6-amd64

    The ones who lose out are folks like me running systems with older
    cpus such as the K6 which no longer have optimized kernels available
    specificially for their architecture in Debian. I have dropped back
    to using the compatible 486 kernel on that system. It is not tuned
    but is good enough for my purposes. It is not my main desktop anymore
    and now functions in a supporting server role.

    Bob

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  8. Re: want to speed up laptop

    On Thu, Mar 27, 2008 at 07:03:55PM +0530, Naresh Venkateshappa wrote:
    >
    > In my case it's as follows:
    > When I'm not connected to a LAN and have to wait for the laptop to
    > auto-configure the wireless interface the MTA times out for some
    > reason after a noticeable delay.


    Are you using exim4? When reading documentation for that last night
    I saw the following section:
    (in file /usr/share/doc/exim4-config/README.Debian.gz)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    2.1.1.10. Keep number of DNS queries minimal (Dial-on-Demand)

    In normal mode of operation Exim does DNS lookups at startup, and when
    receiving or delivering messages. This is for logging purposes and
    allows keeping down the number of hard-coded values in the
    configuration.

    If this system does not have a DNS full service resolver available at
    all times (for example if its Internet access is a dial-up line using
    dial-on-demand), this might have unwanted consequences. For example,
    starting up Exim or running the queue (even with no messages waiting)
    might trigger a costly dial-up-event.

    This option should be selected if this system is using Dial-on-Demand.
    If it has always-on Internet access, this option should be disabled.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If you think this might be related to your problem you can attempt to
    reconfigure by running the command

    dpkg-reconfigure exim4-config

    Just keep everything the same other than the screen that asks about
    the above feature.

    Selim T. Erdo─čan


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  9. Re: want to speed up laptop

    Bob Proulx wrote:

    > Could you explain further how the MTA on your laptop is the
    > bottleneck. That seems very strange to me and I can't think of how it
    > would be a bottleneck.


    My computer was hanging at "starting MTA:" for quite a long time
    (minutes). I double checked that I had the mail server correctly
    configured, but for some reason it never cleared up.

    > If you want to remove the MTA all together then instead of doing that
    > you might consider installing 'nullmailer'.


    thanks. i didn't know about "nullmailer". i checked and Exim was
    pulling a lot of load.

    >> i have been using zsh recently and it has worked pretty well so far.

    >
    > "worked pretty well" is great but unfortunately not something that can
    > be measured or quantified. When talking performance it is numbers and
    > data points that really speak clearly. If possible anyone who is
    > trying to do system speedups should measure a data point both before
    > and after. Otherwise random noise into the system can really cause
    > confusion and misinterpretation of the results. I caution this
    > because in past experiences I have seen people make optimization
    > changes without data that actually had the opposite effect and slowed
    > things down!


    very true. sorry for pitching my current shell preference.

    as it now stands my laptop is now going from the GRUB screen to
    graphical environment (FVWM-Crystal) in just under a minute. compared
    to the previous average of 2.5 minutes this is very nice.

    ideally i would like to get it down to around 30 seconds, but i think
    this is a very good start.

    --
    Arrant Drivel - really, it's just trash...
    http://www.arrantdrivel.com/


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  10. Re: want to speed up laptop

    On Wed, 26 Mar 2008 09:12:06 -0500, Preston Boyington said:

    > Chris Bannister wrote:
    >
    >> Where are your bottlenecks?


    > currently my two biggest bottlenecks are with the networking and the
    > MTA. i installed "ifplugd" and set a faster timeout for the network
    > and that has helped. i don't really "need" a MTA for my laptop and
    > will be looking for some alternative. have thought about just
    > removing Exim and dealing with whatever dependency issues arise. i
    > can always just look at the log files for info if i need to.


    You should be able to install nullmailer in place of Exim, because
    nullmailer Provides: mail-transport-agent, so you shouldn't have any
    dependency.

    But if Exim is just sitting there doing nothing, it's probably not
    affecting your performance too much.

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  11. Re: want to speed up laptop

    On Wed, Mar 26, 2008 at 09:12:06AM -0500, Preston Boyington wrote:
    > Chris Bannister wrote:
    >
    >> Where are your bottlenecks?

    >
    > currently my two biggest bottlenecks are with the networking and the
    > MTA. i installed "ifplugd" and set a faster timeout for the network and
    > that has helped. i don't really "need" a MTA for my laptop and will be
    > looking for some alternative. have thought about just removing Exim and
    > dealing with whatever dependency issues arise. i can always just look
    > at the log files for info if i need to.


    I think that is a DNS lookup issue.

    >> I altered the link from /bin/sh to point to /bin/dash instead of
    >> /bin/bash but I'm not sure if I got a big improvement. It seems
    >> reasonably fast though. :-)

    >
    > i have been using zsh recently and it has worked pretty well so far.


    No, the shell *you* use is determined by the line in /etc/passwd. What I
    meant was the shell used to execute the initscripts.

    What does:

    # ls -al /bin/sh

    produce?

    If it comes back as pointing to /bin/bash then try pointing /bin/sh to
    /bin/dash and see if there is any improvement.

    --
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  12. Re: want to speed up laptop

    Hi Preston,

    > my next step (which probably should have been my first), is playing with
    > bootchart and looking for areas to improve. then i will get to
    > compiling my own kernel. the generic one is great, but with one
    > specific to the machine i should pick up some more speed.


    I don't know about speed, but you can certainly achieve better
    responsiveness setting up preemption: under "Processor type and
    features" set "Preemption model" to "Preemptible Kernel", or:
    CONFIG_PREEMPT=y
    This helps the kernel switch between tasks faster, and therefore
    respond to user events faster. The difference is noticeable when the
    machine is quite busy doing different tasks in the background. Your
    throughput may decrease a little bit, but unless your machine is a
    busy server you will not miss that bit.

    You can also try preempting the big kernel lock, although I don't know
    if that helps too.

    Cheers,

    Alex.


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