Yep, it’s slow – living with Linux

You know, I remember when Linux was touted as the small, fast operating system — able to turn even an old slow machine into a useful computer again. That’s what got me to try it a long time ago. That and, of course, some Windows versions of old that left a lot to be desired.

But while this new Linux seems to be pretty capable, it doesn’t seem to be either small or fast. It comes on a DVD, versus a CD for XP. Actually, Suse 9.2 Professional, the box edition, comes with two DVD’s and 5 CD’s (they duplicate each other). To be fair, it does come with an office suite and quite a lot of other software that XP doesn’t come with. My Sony laptop’s recovery disks, which include both Works and Office (trial edition) total 8 disks to create the image. Ok, maybe isn’t so big. They claim it can live in 2.5GB for a “standard install”, my Windows directory is just about 2.5GB. Not much of a comparison I guess.

I did finally get the suspend to disk feature working. It does bring the boot times down to something close to reasonable. Still not as fast as XP, though. In order to get it to work I had to reinstall the software, although that’s how *I* knew how to fix it, so it’s not fair to say it was the only way. For whatever reason, the first time I installed the OS a swap partition wasn’t created. This is necessary for suspend. So I created one, and although I could suspend I couldn’t resume. I ended up wiping the drive, restoring both XP and Linux in a different partition arrangment. Not terribly difficult, but time consuming.

I did some checking with a stopwatch, not exactly scientific, but more than guessing. Linux suspends in about 25s, with about 70s to come back versus 12s and 20s for Windows XP on the same computer. Boot & shutdown are 120s & 40s for Linux, and 85s and 12s for Windows. However, I haven’t tuned Linux at all to speed things up, where Windows XP has received some attention in that area. Still, those are some pretty big differences – not just fumble fingering the start or stop on the watch.

In spite of this, I sitll think about switching over to Linux – I mean actually switching, where I wouldn’t even have windows on my laptop anymore. The number of applications I would have to live without is pretty small, and I’m sure I would gain a few, yet to be discovered. but I’m starting to have doubts about performance. Plus, my touch pad doesn’t work very well – the movement is sluggish, and tapping and scrolling don’t work. I haven’t yet dug into the configuration of it, perhaps there is a fix.

Last but not least, web performance doesn’t seem to be too speedy. Again, this is something that can vary quite a bit from one day or time to the next, so it will take some time to be sure, but it just seems to take a lot longer to bring up a page in Linux than Windows. I didn’t do any timing here, as we just got a new ‘g’ router ($20 after rebate at Best Buy) and either it or the net was a bit funky last night. And again, I’m sure there are settings or configs somewhere to play with.

More later!

35 thoughts on “Yep, it’s slow – living with Linux

  1. For FIrefox/Mozilla, try this thread to speed things up (this is just a point I bookmarked, you should scan the thread to find the best settings for your systems)

    http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?t=53650&postdays=0&postorder=asc&postsperpage=15&start=90

    I won’t say that Linux is the speediest, but I think you need to spend more time weighing apples against oranges. Namely, most Linux distros come with a number of services that XP doesn’t (can’t, because the default MS settings are too insecure), and conversely, must shut them off at shutdown. Also, most default kernels spend some time trying to figure out what system they are running on. Considering the wide variety of equipment Linux runs on, it’s no surprise that it takes a couple extra seconds to boot as compared to windows. Perhaps the better question would be, why does it take Windows, which only runs on one architecture, and generically across that achitecture (I had a dual boot that wouldn’t run Linux because the memory was furry, but Windows booted just fine), almost as long to boot as Linux?

    noatime settings, and a multitude of other settings can vastly improve your boot time. Distributions rarely take the “fastest is bestest” route, partially because they risk cutting into their fan base, but primarily because (IMHO) once you understand that Linux is more about power than speed (let’s face it, boot/shutdown times are all but irrelevant, it’s what your computer is capable of that is key, and even when speed is important, it’s application speed, not system speed that counts). Lastly, while some Windows systems will boot faster (although once MS Office and Norton are on them, they are far slower), they never seem to stop running their hard drive. My Linux laptop boots, and only runs the disk when needed. My father’s system, which is exactly the same, outside of the OS, runs, and runs, and runs, and runs….then pauses, and runs, and runs…. 🙂

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  2. Um, that soap box moment wasn’t exactly the best, so forgive me for restating what I meant:

    With Windows, you can tune it to be extremely fast. The problem is, you typically copy/paste items into your registry off of a “windows tuning” site, and what you add is typically a cryptic garble of text. It works, so you don’t question it, although you don’t know why it works. With each new version of windows, you do the same, never really understanding why that garble of lines makes things faster.

    With Linux, things are more straight forward. Granted, they can be a little more difficult to find (you often need to go to a kernel site for one, the mozilla site for another, openoffice for another, etc), but when you find these hints, they are typically accompanied by an explaination of why they speed things up. Therefore, Linux tuning knowledge is cummulative, whereas Windows knowledge is more “hope somebody smarter than me figured this out”.

    While this difference is not something that matters to 90% of computers, the fact that everyone can “stand on the shoulders of giants” benefits all Linux/FOSS users, either directly, or via their distribution makers, who also add each improvement into their products as they are found by users across the globe.

    That said, it still remains true that most people who have used Linux for some time recognize that power and versatility trump raw speed almost every time.

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  3. Oh, brother. To make such a simplistic comparison is just plain pathetic. The author claims “It comes on a DVD, versus a CD for XP” But what comes on that DVD compared to XP is astounding. What would the size of XP be if you included an industrial strength Web server, Email server, spam filters, FTP server, SSH server, Usenet news server, Choice of office suites, Choice of desktop environments, Choice of browsers, Choice of Email clients, checkbook software, Development tools…. Take away everything that comes with Linux that make it usefull and it would be smaller than XP. Never mind that if you don’t install X, you will have a much smaller OS that is capable to do far more as a server that XP can out of the box. Sorry, but the author is writing this to take advantage of people’s ignorance, not to truly inform.

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  4. The earlier poster was correct: find a lighter distribution than Suse professional. You’re running one of the homunker deluxe distros and looking for speed. You’re no doubt running KDE (or gnome), too. If you want speed, try a lighter distro. I’d recommend Vector Linux or it’s Daddy, Slackware (or another offshoot, College). You’ll have to figure a few things out that Suse does automatically, but it will be faster. Another good option would be Yoper, which is rpm based and built for speed.
    One of the debian-based distros (Mepis, Ubuntu) might be good as well, but I’m not very familiar with them.

    Once you’ve got a lighter distro, go with a lighter window manager. I use fluxbox, but that might be a bit of a big leap from XP. Try XFCE or IceWM. Both have nice little task bars that you can configure to your liking.
    Use a tick I use: set your distro up in KDE (or Gnome) but run the lighter window manager. KDE and Gnome have configuration tools that help you get things started. Just make sure you get things started at boot (not upon launching KDE) and then they’re there when you run a different window manager.

    Also, having a Sony might hold you back some. Sony is great (my wife loves her Sony), but they do like to use their own chips or their own implementations of things. Linux keeps up pretty well with the standards, but those proprietary things are slower to get supported. The Sony drivers might have as much to do with your perceived speed difference as anything.

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  5. Oh Surely, Linux === some particular Linux based distro.

    Look pal, buddy. You Are Complaining About The Size Of A Particular Linux Based Distro (It may beyond your intellectual capabilities.. but have you found a button “Custom install” somwehere in your Linux distro..? nah…Or Alternatively, but a guess using google is beyond you as well found yourself a lightwight Linux distro? Nah..

    Yes, I am sarcastic, that is because I cannot stand phony logic, particalrly when such logic is presented in a pompous way. There is only one way to label such pompousness: stupid. And I’m pretty much fed up with this partuclar dumb argument, It has been brought up for years now by and debunked an equal amount of times. Yet the dumb are tireless..

    Here logic for dummies in 21 seconds for you, my dear pal: My Mercedes is white, thereeofre Mercedes cars are inherently white., ie all Mercedes cars are white. Does that hold? Hey.. I just see a Mercedes drive by that is red. Therefore not all Mercedes cars are white. Let’s make it a little more tangable for you now.. Hold on, it may be a strectch to your brain, but hang on, Suse Linux is slow and large. Does it follow that all Linux distro’s are slow and large, ie Linux itself is slow and large? I will leave it to you to complete the logic, as an excercise. Think hard, take some Red Bull’s your brain is going to need the extra energy.

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  6. Just one more comment, sorry if I’m clogging up the traffic. Please be kind to the author, he’s just stating his opinion. It may be misguided, naive, or even malicious (I’ll opt for the first two, personally), but it’s simply an opinion. It’s clear to anyone who has used Linux for any amount of time that there are some sweeping statements here that belie a lack of understanding of the variety of distributions and setups available, but each opinion helps us gauge the quality of our favorite OS, if nor for ourselves, than for those we would like to introduce to Linux. Not that one opinion would sway anyone, but every bit of knowledge, much like how the OS is developed, is one step closer to overall success.

    Educate people, don’t attack them. There’s a HOWTO on this at http://www.tldp.org, by the way (should be required reading with a quiz, before you get your first Linux cd, IMHO). Opinions, no matter how far off the mark (and this isn’t all that bad) are still just opinions. If you have something to offer the author, to help him learn more, then be firm, but polite, and let the author make his own decisions. If you send him and his readers into automatic defensive mode, no one benefits.

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  7. Hmmmm….I run SuSe 9.1 and have no speed issues. I just trimmed the stuff out that I don’t need. I also have XP pro installed on this same system (haven’t booted it up for months)….in fact..I haven’t even rebooted Linux for months. Can’t do that with XP..just install another app and see what happens. The little time differences you claim are made up and surpassed by the number of times you need to reboot when you install/update applications or the OS. Sorry, I don’t agree with your argument! Go back to XP if you will….it is your choice!

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  8. If you want to speed up booting Linux, try to turn off unnecessary startup services, like automount (or equivalent) and hardware detection (kudzu for RedHat, I don’t know the equivalent for SuSE, if there is any). There are some projest here and there to speed up the booting, if this is really an issue. Lighter window manager can help also (I use WindowMaker), but probably it would be enough to turn down the number of bell’n’whistles in KDE (or GNOME) configuration.

    Besides, Windows used to load things and continue starting up after apparent booting up. I don’t know if it is still the case for Windows XP.

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  9. I think it is smart to check out Linux; I am currently running Mepis on a PII 400 MHz PC clone, I have a 8 Gb & a 6Gb hard drive and my Ram is 320Mb. The graphics card is an old Matrix with 8Mb of ram. I use KDE desktop. I don’t really use my Linux box for much, intense graphics are out of the question, but for office stuff, network tools, etc.. it works fine. My main home computer is 4+ year old 450 MHz dual processor Mac G4, running the latest Mac OS. At work my computer is a Gateway P4, running XP pro. Here’s the point to this info, I am sure that my office PC with XP will run a photoshop filter faster than my 4 year old mac, but when it comes to file handling, searches, day-to-day stuff, etc.. my Mac is much quicker. Multitasking is also way smoother on the mac. (both my Mac & XP machine similar amount of ram)
    If you do alot of file & text handling, the tools on Unix/Linux are superb – find actually will find what you are looking for! It does take an investment in time to learn these tools, and there is a huge philosophical difference between Unix/Linux and XP.
    I’m sure you know there are countless Linux distros, if you like Suse, take the time to really learn it and tweak it for your machine, I think you should be able to get good speed out of it, plus vastly improved stability.

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  10. Why is everyone having a go at the author for saying something that is true, at the very best when you have done tweaks to improve speed, it runs at a comparable speed to Windows. Personally when I was dual booting with Slackware and Windows XP, Windows always loaded faster (except when it get too much added to one of it’s auto-start locations) and Slackware is not a bloated distro.

    Although Windows may be faster I still prefer linux for many other reasons, I do wish it could be made faster although I guess this isn’t a priority for most developers and in most cases it is better to have extra features (as long as they are useful) than a fast program that does little.

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  11. I keep an old Laptop (366 MHz) just for surfing. I installed a stripped down Vector-Linux, which starts a Web-Browser. My boot time on this ancient machine is 40 seconds from 0 to X-Windows. 20 s are used by the BIOS before loading Linux. That’s a boot time of 20 s for Linux.

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  12. To put things in the proper perspective:

    1. OLD & VARIOUS HARDWARE. There are GNU/Linux distributions (yes there is a multitude of Linux flavors to fit everybody and anybody’s needs) that run on ancient machines that Windows XP may not run on. Besides there are more hardware architectures (not only x86 or Intel) that GNU/Linux may run on.

    2. BOOT UP SPEED. There are GNU/Linux distributions that are optimized for newer hardware architecture and, thus, run faster. The apparent slowness in some distributions is that because there are more services being ran.

    3. INSTALL SIZE. Windows XP’s default installation includes an OS, Internet Browser (both are known susceptible to viruses and worms, contain infinite security holes and subject to stability issues) and a text editor (not very usefull for office productivity). GNU/Linux distributions, when installed, includes a secure and stable operating system, an array of servers for different purposes (file, print, web, ftp, database, etc.), an office productivity suite (OpenOffice.org), a software development environment, and many more (can’t fit in this space). Note that there are choices for every kind of software (i.e. there is MySQL and PostgreSQL for database servers). Install time of GNU/Linux consumes much less time and all packages/software are FREE! Try computing the install time and license costs of each of the packages/software in windows and you would come to near infinity.

    4. INSTALL SPEED. Most GNU/Linux distributions takes less time to install with minimal effort (with automated and batch installations even over a network) because selected packages (including office suite, games, servers, etc.) and device drivers are already installed upon installation. You have to do one installation for each software and each device driver under Windows XP.

    5. In sum,
    WINDOWS: No choice, No freedom, Costly, Rigid, Full of security holes, Unstable
    GNU/Linux: Different flavors, Frees your mind, No cost, Highly Customizable, Secure, Stable

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  13. Sorry, Guys, comments are mostly off-topic! The speed (very slow) of Linux distributions (namely SuSe and Mandrake, right now I have SuSe9.2 on a dual-boot boxes, desktops and laptop, together with WindowsXP) is a VERTY big concern! My data on Dell Dimension 8200 (P4 2.0, 1024MB RAM, quite a lot of periphery devices) are as follows : WindowsXP boot, including opening of Explorer, – 50 sec, SuSe – 2.5 min. I never had any problem to run Wxp for half a week (usually I don´t have to), and all the problems I ever had with Wxp were because of my ´experiments´, either with the OS or software. However, Linux has a lot of nice features, and in general I am very positive about it. But I´m talking about the nice tuned graphic interface, on the basis of GNOME and/or KDE. No, in Linux I don´t have a problem with using command line, but please, don´t ask me to go back ten years and start to use same ´simplified´graphic interface. What I like in Linux are the possibilities to tune-up this interface. But the speed of the system is the major concern of mine. In my opinion, without addressing this point Linux have no chance to take on experienced Windows users. The slow speed and the lack of Linux versions of tje major commercial software (Adobe, Corel product lines, at least) there is no serios chances for Linux as a major desktop OS.

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  14. Folks,

    I’d like to make a couple of statements:

    As someone pointed out earlier, this blog is my opinion. Those seeking truly independent, scientific comparisons performed by highly skilled individuals can look elsewhere. Exactly where, I don’t know.

    The posts on Linux are simply my experience and my frustration. I didn’t try Linux to hate it, or to prove it wasn’t as good as Windows – read my first post on the subject. I wanted to switch. I still want to. When I can depend on it. As a matter of fact I’m writing this on it.

    As I stated a few times, and alluded to a few more times, I know that Linux can be extended and tweaked and etc. to make it into whatever you want. I have also stated that I have done none of this. While part of it may be stupidity, a lot of it is time. I’ve got other stuff to do.

    Last but not least – lighten up! For those of you who seem a bit concerned that my blog might actually sway public opinion of Linux, relax. Look at my sitemeter stats. Take a deep breath and read some comp.os.linux.advocacy posts 😉

    Steve

    PS – to the folks who took an educational approach: Thank You!

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  15. A fresh generic install of XP boots much faster than a fresh generic install of Mandrake Linux 10.1
    I am discussing boot times and not overall performance, because even the bloated Linux distro’s perform at least as fast as Windows XP when performing common tasks, in my experience (I’m an IT that supports hundereds of machines, Windows, Mac and Linux based).
    With minor tweaking you can make a Linux distro boot much faster than default but compared to Windows XP it will still take longer.
    If you take some time you can tweak a Linux Distro to boot very quickly, eqivalent to a generic XP install.
    Now, what is lacking in the Windows XP generic install is any real applications. Once office is loaded, anti-virus, anti-spyware, which are all necessities if you use MS Windows, the boot time takes much longer, the GUI pops up fairly quickly, but the system isn’t usable for another 15 to 30 seconds after that.
    In three months time, the MS Windows boot will take anywhere from 50% to twice as long as it did when you first loaded it up with the base system and necessary applications (AV/Anti-Spyware/Office Suite). The Linux Distro will boot in the same amount of time it did originally, even a year later.
    As for the packaging size of the Distro vs. size of Windows XP, that is something that can’t be compared. I have a Linux router Distro that fits on a floppy. I also have a Mandrake Linux DVD. It is hard to compare the two. The Mandrake DVD comes with approximately 2000 software applications, the Linux Router Project comes with approximately 3. Windows XP comes with very few applications, less than 50.
    As for myself, I do not use MS Windows at all, I run Linux and FreeBSD.
    Try Mepis as a laptop distro, it works great and comes on one CD.

    Cheers,
    Alex

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  16. Lighten up you guys.
    I’m not into the deep technical reasons for “slow booting” & wouldn’t be able to compare, since I haven’t used MS since Win 3.1 which I promptly dumped & installed Warp 3. I’m now using Mandrake 9.2 on a Dell Inspiron 2650. Yeah, the boot time is long, but how often is that necessary? It’s such a non-issue with me that I have never bothered to try tweaking it. I’m about to try Gentoo on my old HP 2650 laptop to educate myself a bit, might go with it on this machine if I learn enough.
    I always boot to command line & use Xtart to choose between Gnome, KDE, ICE & XFCE depending on my mood at the time. If my mood changes, I simply get out of X & do Xtart again, opting for XFCE/ICE speed or the vast menus of KDE or Gnome.
    While you’re still awake, I’ll get back to my original thought which is, why not offer advice instead of assuming the article was written by an agent provocateur of MS? I would like to point out that perhaps the comparison machine was using an OEM install disc for XP which means that it’s already optimized for the hardware.
    Karl

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  17. Boot up speed is almost irrelevant and an apples to oranges comparison.

    ‘XP is a fairly decent system, but it pales in comparison to the reliability of a Linux installation of Debian or such. Debian rarely crashes and software installation for apps takes a few seconds and you are done without re-booting. Pick your distro, your display manager, your apps and it is your system, not Billy’s.

    The maximum boot speed for Linux, especially for Linux comes with Linux Terminal Server. You keep a server running in the department somewhere. The client boots a few megabytes of stuff over the LAN and a truly minimal system pops up as a user interface to what’s already running on the server. The client does not even need a HD to spin up. Billy can do that too, but he charges per-seat… With gigabit/s to the switch several clients can boot at once with better speed than XP by far. You can tune up the server with RAID for better performance.

    See K12LTSP and a report on the installation of K12LTSP in a school lab.

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  18. If you are unhappy with the size and boot time you have a couple of options:

    1. Find a different distribution — Linux is just a basic kernal, but the OS you have chosen is rather large and ponderous by typical standards. You may have better luck with Ubuntu, Fedora, etc. The good news is that they are free for the asking.

    2. Figure out how to customize your install to remove the stuff you don’t want and get the boost in speed.

    You also should keep in mind that your distribution includes about $5k+ of open source software which adds mightily to the size on your disk and somewhat to the boot time (I say that amount because with the closed OS’es like Windows and OSX the software packages would go for about that amount …)

    If your disk space is comparable in use to Windows XP, I think that is a useful metric, you might be better off trying out a “lighter weight” distribution. I would suggest any nuymber of single disk ditros – my personal current favorite is Ubuntu, it seemed to make my old Mac Laptop fast again (was running system 9 on it, and when I tried OSX was SLOOOOOOW…..)

    And if you are happy with Windows XP, and have all the programs you want, then there is no reason to switch (yet) – though you might want to consider it instead of your next OS upgrade!

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  19. Thanks for taking the time to get as far as you did and post your results.

    I use Linux alot for server work and love it for that. Its not to the point that I’d use it for ::my:: desktop yet although for others it works just fine in that role.

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  20. Linux user since before rh5, started with slackware now using fedora core 2. Windows since dos now on win2k and will not be upgrading. Although both systems have their faults and benefits, I only do the win thing to support others.
    Linux doesnt try to force upgrades, expect me to store serial numbers and keep the associated cds on hand.
    If something fouls up you just reinstall, no call home to
    ms required and no digging through a bunch of cd’s for various install keys. Because of this ease of reinstall, it is more feasible to upgrade to new versions regularly.

    Stability is good, security excellent, full internet functions. Recently got full capability to do video with firewire and burn dvd’s so not much reason to even boot windows anymore.

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  21. Boot time seems rather irrelevant to me, personally. I don’t see why it should matter in the first place. Even if you’re not going on 14 or 140 days uptime, as would be difficult with a laptop that is used in a portable fashion, what does boot time take? One minute? Two? How impatient is that, that you’re that bothered by boot time? Unless you’re rebooting every half hour, it’s really no big deal!

    That’s my two cent’s worth.

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  22. Let’s get real. That’s what the author saw, that’s how it worked for him. Deal with it. You can’t dismiss me as either naive or misguided. I’ve been using and pushing Linux since the first floppy distributions. And I have added my own peripherals and modified drivers to suit when necessary. With the buzzword of the new millenium being “Desktop Linux” and people desperate to make it “just like Windows” so Joe Sixpack will agree with them, have
    succeeded in making it “just like Windows”. That is, bloated and slow. And so much more complex that it’s hard to tell why it’s bloated and slow. But that’s what a lot of people want! Auto everything, no thinking required. The difference is, with Linux
    you still can’t have it both ways at once, but you can have it any way you want. I have a version that’s blindingly fast on a 486 Industrial brick computer and a version that’s very pretty but really busy on a 1.8ghz machine with lots of RAM. This is written on a midrange version that’s acceptably fast on a 450Mhz
    K6 which I use on the web. But don’t try to tell someone that they didn’t observe what they observed. Tell it like it is. I personally think making Linux just like Windows is high treason, but I am free to choose one I like or even make my own. I just wish the ultimate bloatware wasn’t the only standard the public will use to judge whether Linux is any good or not.

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  23. Most of the above comments are correct. I juste went throught the experience of findind a Linux distro for a Micron Gobook (3GB, 266Mhz, 48MB). Here are a couple of things that greatly improve the speed of linux distros on older/slower hardware (or even newer hardware for that matter)

    1: Gnome and KDE are incredibly slow and gobble up a ton of RAM. Try ICE WM, fluxbox, or XFCE as a desktop environment.

    2: My laptop supports APM (not the newer ACPI). I had to find a distro that worked with it properly. Sleep and wakes were almost instant (rarely took over 5 seconds past the bios).

    3: Hotplug/coldplug is not ready for prime time yet. Disabling them takes many seconds off of a boot/wake, but you will have to learn to configure your devices manually.

    4: Other services increase startup time. cupsd, sshd, ntpd, cron, etc… Disable the startup of those services that you do not use.

    Some of the distros I liked were Vector and Peanut linux. I ultimately ended up running Gentoo on it (after a lenghty build process).

    I hope that this helps a bit.

    Thank you for your time,
    Frank Russo

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  24. You are a Windows user who knows hardly anything about Linux. Your lack of knowledge in basic Linux tuning and configuration is prevalent in your article. Please do all of us a favor and keeping running your sweet Windows.Leave the opinion writting to someone who knows what they are talking about

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  25. Good grief – what a lot of debate over something that is in fact obvious – Linux and Windows are different. I use Linux on my IBM Thinkpad, and find that the lack of proper ACPI is frustrating. This is IBM’s fault (dodgy DSDT) not Linux itself. I took a day to get ACPI to recognise the lid closing under XP Pro…

    I find therefore that I reboot the thing all the time. The boot up time is important – and I do use several services plus Xfce. I accept that booting is slow because I haven’t bought a Mac (yet) but need the capability of the Linux I run.

    The thing that we have not yet mentioned is that starting apps – most desktop apps including Mozilla – the start time is slower in Linux and ALSO AIX – simply because in a *nix the apps use their own libraries and are separate from the OS. In Windows half of Internet Explorer, Office, whatever, lives within dll’s that are shared among many apps. These are called when needed, not at the start. I may have explained this wrong, I’m a network guy not a code cutter, but that’s how I understand it. And that’s why I don’t mind waiting 15-20s for OpenOffice.org to open when I could open Office under Windows in less than a second – I’m happy with the benefits that go along with the wait.

    Need it be said that Mac applications also open slower than under Windows, and have you ever tried to reboot a box running Jaguar on a 400Mhz G3. Now compare it to the same hardware with Linux… Sit and wait for the Apple, the Linux is waaay ahead.

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  26. A full MSWin is full of junk, while a full Linux install
    is full of amazing stuff; don’t compare a ton of compost
    to a fully prepared feast for 500.

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  27. The actual portion of the SuSE DVD that is Linux is a tiny bit, 95% of that is applications.. SuSE comes with a multitude of instant messenger clients, email programs, web servers, email servers, games, etc. Once you’re done you have a fully functional system and don’t need to go download additional things.

    Once you’re done with an XP install you go and get the other CDs.. You go get acrobat reader, your print drivers, office, etc. Try instlaling just Windows XP and then go do some work.. You have 1 web browser, and 1 email client, and solitaire…Good luck.

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  28. Its been a long time since I used SuSE, but if you can see the boot-up summary somehow (ctrl+alt+F1 maybe?) that could show you any processes that are taking a long time to initialize. Also you may have services running that you don’t need (which also occurs on Windows) turning them off would speed things up, and improves your security as well. Also take a look at a process monitor like top and make sure there isn’t something trying to run the cpu at 100% (that also can be a problem on Windows,) and that your swap space is big enough. You can also take a look at /var/log/messages, if there is a problem it might be reported there.

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  29. Between the mutual abuses – could somebody be so kind to go back to the original question and problem? How to make Linux faster? I would ask in particular guys wich have experience both with Linux and WindowsXP. There is no point to talk about and compare with Windows98 – that´s history. Please give your suggestions, based on competence, not on emotions! If you have noglimpse about WindowsXP – your answers are off-topic, this is about COMPARISON! If for you booot time is of no importance – be happy and enjoy yourself, you are off-topic!

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  30. Good article from someone who might well be representative of many Windows users who are interested in checking out Linux. While those of us who have run Linux for a long time are aware that there are *tons* of distros, few Windows users know this. In Windows, there’s only one distro, after all, so it’s a foreign concept for a Windows user who wants to explore Linux.

    For Windows users who know that there is something we call distros in the Linux world, they can probably name two, at most: Redhat and SuSE. They don’t know how to choose a good distro for their environment.

    One thing that would be great to have is a place that helps guide someone through the processing of choosing a distro for their needs. You know, something that asks pertinent questions about the hardware, the tasks the computer is used for, and what qualities are most important to them (speed, eye-candy, Win-alike). Actually, a *great* distro would be one that asks for that information while setting up the install.

    I’ve run several distros over the year, including a couple SuSE versions. Although SuSE is easy to install, it’s not really the distro I would recommend for someone new to Linux. Why? Because they put way too much stuff into a standard install. I don’t know how many window managers are installed by default, but in my opinion, more than half a dozen are too many for someone new to Linux. Give them Gnome and KDE, a couple that are Win-alikes, and a couple lightweight WMs for that day when they get curious about how Linux can be *different* from Win. Beyond that, provide a way for the user to download additional window managers from the net, if they want to explore even more.

    When someone goes in to buy a car, they tell the dealer the model they want, the color, and what kind of transmission. Most of the time, that’s pretty much it. That’s like Windows. If it were Linux, the dealer would ask if they want a carb or fuel-injection, what gear ratios they’d like in the transmission, where they want the controls for the headlights, and on and on. And just in case you change your minds, the dealer gives you all the parts you need to switch things around. In the meantime, the buyer is thinking, “I just want to get to work and back and haul the kids around…”

    Linux is built on choice. It’s easy to forget how intimidating, how overwhelming, it can be when you have no idea of the implications of your choices. (And, in theory, you can change your mind later, but new Linux users are unlikely to be confident that *they* can do it.)

    To those of you who are considering exploring Linux: it can be a bit daunting and, unfortunately, too many people who are involved in using Linux react far more defensively than is constructive sometimes. And when you ask for help, most people will expect that you will have read whatever documentation is provided before you ask. (Even if you don’t understand much of it, you can ask questions about what the docs say. Or you can ask if someone knows a place that has a better explanation.) If you don’t like to read, don’t personally know someone who can help you navigate this strange territory, and don’t want to pay someone to answer your questions, Linux might not be for you right now. There’s a learning curve when you switch to Linux, no doubt about it. But the very fact that you’re even considering exploring Linux means that you’d like to know your options.

    To be honest, when I started with Linux, at almost all the choices, I just picked something, anything (like the default). I used it that way for a while. Then I’d change something like using a different email client. By doing that, I learned what I liked in each one and what I disliked. Now I know what a good email client *for me* needs to be able to do. Linux is about choices, but you can start by letting the distro go with its defaults. Then, as things annoy you, ask questions about how to make it stop annoying you.

    You Penguinistas out there: lower your weapons. I believe the comparsions here are accurate observations. So what? SuSE Pro takes longer to boot on this hardware. It’s a barrier. Shouting, “No, no, no” and covering your ears won’t make it boot faster. The answer is 1) to help people understand the benefits they get by waiting the additional time, and 2) to help people understand how to use the config tools to take out unnecessary boot time.

    ej

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  31. As a long-time Linux user, some of the comments authored by other Linux users irritated me. First of all comments to author like “you know nothing about Linux”, “Linux is super stable, whereas Windows is not” are childish, unprofessional, unrelated to author’s view.
    Author simply measured startup speed of plain Windows XP and some Linux distros. It is a fact that Windows XP boots up quickly. Faster than most KDE/Gnome based Linux distros, and Windows 2000 as well. However, it also delays loading of some applications and services. After the initial logon, those continue to load in the background. Install a few apps and try to connect to the remote desktop service after the desktop appears. You get a “connection refused” error, which basically means that the service has not even captured (bind) the port which it listens. For a system loaded with various applications like anti-virus, spyware protection, and tray programs, everything gets slower, and it is a pain to try to use windows after the apperiance of desktop, simply because it is completely unresponsive to events…

    A base Suse install on the other hand seems quite slow during startup. Yes I know sutff, and my debian based KDE desktop boots up quickly, even daemons like postgresql, apache and sshd are all running. I know how to tune, so the speed is not an issue to me. But the author is again right, standart install of most distributions are slow.
    Let’s be honest and do not necessarily get any critism as an attack.

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  32. Comparing windows to linux always ends up like comparing christianity to islam or liberal to conservative. Both sides of nearly any debate or argument has merit. And both sides of any debate or argument has supporters unwilling to even listen to the other side.

    The fact is, Windows has strengths and weaknesses. Linux also has strengths and weaknesses. One aspect of Linux that is both a strength and a weakness is that it can be tuned and optimized like crazy if you’re willing to spend the time culling the stuff you don’t need and recompiling the stuff you do in an optimized fashion. This also requires the time to learn about these steps by scouring the internet.

    Also, I believe that most linux users would like to convince Windows users to switch (not bringing up the religion/politics comparison again). You’ll be much more effective if you keep two things in mind: people are more open minded and receptive of ideas from people who are polite and kind; peoples’ concerns are real, whether you’ve fixed your boot time or installed a light-weight distro or not, the author experienced very slow boot times and was frustrated by them. That’s a fact and it’s his real experience. So you can bitch about how he’s not being fair or you can address his real concern.

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