Ubuntu Demon\’s blog

July 14, 2006

Desktop performance tweaks

Filed under: Uncategorized — ubuntudemon @ 4:42 pm

Here are a couple of performance tweaks that are nice for desktops/laptops. These tweaks are relatively easy to perform and reasonable safe. Everything you do is on your own risk.

I’ve only tested these tweaks in Ubuntu but they will probably also work on other Linux systems. Tweak #1 is gnome specific (Ubuntu uses gnome on default).

TWEAK #1 faster gnome menus
Here’s the first tweak which is to make gnome feel faster :
http://www.ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=215119

I am using : gtk-menu-popup-delay = 100

To take the tweak into effect you need log out (gnome). You will be at the login screen again. Now log in again.

TWEAK #2 CFQ
In Dapper and previous releases, there has been no default scheduler set at install time, thus the system defaults to the native Linux scheduler. A number of users (including this spec’s author) have encountered temporary system lockups when entering Gnome(/KDE/other wm) due to the system load. Enabling CFQ as the default scheduler fixes these lockups. Other major distributions, like Red Hat, also enable CFQ by default.

read more

(you can use another editor than gedit)

$sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst

Find the line

# defoptions=ro quiet splash

and add : elevator=cfq

The result :

# defoptions=ro quiet splash elevator=cfq

To take the tweak into effect you need to reboot.

TWEAK #3 vm.swappiness
The fourth perfomance tweak is about vm.swappiness :
http://www.ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=1255511&postcount=43

digg story
More performance tweaks

HOWTO common customizations (such as multimedia) in Ubuntu Dapper which includes information about another tweak (choosing the right kernel)

You can find more performance tricks in the following thread. But be careful as most of them are for power users only and if done wrong or if you are just unlucky you might need to reinstall or you might lose important data. Only do them if you are absolutely sure that you understand what you are doing. There are some pretty risky tweaks in here :
http://www.ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=189192

For example I am not going to try this one as I don’t want to risk losing my data : “HOWTO: Tweak your ext3 filesystem for a performance boost

update :

Ubuntu Customization Guide


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42 Comments »

  1. How safe would you consider applying the #2 tweak to a system running Dapper (CFQ)?

    Info seems to be more related to Eft

    Comment by romeufigueira — July 14, 2006 @ 9:29 pm

  2. I think it’s pretty safe.

    worst case scenario : if the system doesn’t boot you have to press esc to get into the grub menu and edit the entry (‘e’-key) to remove elevator=cfq and press ‘b’ to boot.

    Comment by ubuntudemon — July 14, 2006 @ 10:03 pm

  3. Well, it booted, will test it as possible.

    Activating beagle again, that was my main system resources consumer.

    Thanks for the heads up ;)

    Comment by romeufigueira — July 15, 2006 @ 8:11 am

  4. […] read more | digg story Explore posts in the same categories: Uncategorized […]

    Pingback by johnboy’s linux planet » Blog Archive » Ubuntu Desktop performance tweaks — July 21, 2006 @ 5:50 pm

  5. That’s a very useful post. I wasn’t aware of the existence of such tweaks.

    I have posted a link to your article on my blog.

    Comment by albertomilone — July 21, 2006 @ 8:00 pm

  6. […] read more and digg it if you like it […]

    Pingback by Alberto Milone’s Blog » Blog Archive » “Desktop performance tweaks” — July 21, 2006 @ 8:03 pm

  7. Excellent tips. These tweks should be included in default distribution.

    My system with 512 ram [ P4 2.66 Ghz ] with onboard graphics on via motherboard + 40 gb western digital hard disk is running much better than winxp – sp2. Now I have stopped using win-xp and considering seriously to return xp licence to ms for refund.

    Comment by Techie — July 30, 2006 @ 4:42 pm

  8. the CFQ tweak will be the default behaviour for Edgy because it improves everyone’s desktop experiences.

    I believe the gnome menus delay is a usability thing.

    Comment by ubuntudemon — July 30, 2006 @ 6:02 pm

  9. the CFQ tweak is not suitable for servers and therefor won’t be enabled on default if you install an Ubuntu server.

    Comment by ubuntudemon — July 30, 2006 @ 6:03 pm

  10. […] earlier blog posts 1 / 2 […]

    Pingback by ubuntu_demon’s blog » HOWTO common customizations (such as multimedia) in Ubuntu Dapper — August 7, 2006 @ 1:50 pm

  11. I wish I saw this earlier so we could have collaborated a bit. Here is my script to speed up Dapper:

    http://www.digitalprognosis.com/opensource/faster-dapper.sh.txt

    Comment by Jeff Schroeder — August 18, 2006 @ 12:02 am

  12. Here’s a bit of information about some possible tweaks :

    IMHO choosing the right kernel is especially usefull for 686 cpu’s which support SMP (not all 686 support SMP but that will be handled automatically).

    IMHO preload and prelink aren’t worth it. (they also take time running)

    Ian Jackson told be the the firefox tweaks https://wiki.ubuntu.com/FirefoxTipsAndTricks?highlight=%28firefox%29
    are generally not good.

    IMHO the ipv6 tweak isn’t useful for most people.

    Disabling unnecessary services only speeds up booting. It’s can be useful for people who boot often though.

    I’m not touching hdparm. These tweaks can be dangerous and the result will depend on the target machine.

    If you want to optimize for a lot of small files creating a reiserFS partition is probably a good option.

    Comment by ubuntudemon — August 18, 2006 @ 12:22 am

  13. Preload and Prelink, when used together, increase boot time but definately decrease application startup time. I’m not sure that they’re appropriate for low-spec machines though.

    There are a couple of other obvious ones – use Epiphany or Konqueror instead of Firefox. Turn images off in your browser. If you don’t use Beagle, turn it off. Turn off any system tray apps that you don’t use, and get rid of all the Gnome panel items you don’t use.

    Comment by Chris Lees — October 16, 2006 @ 7:23 am

  14. […] Ubuntu speed Nice recommendation of applications and tweaks Customisation Guide Link for Dapper Another Speed improvement guide More Speed Improvement related […]

    Pingback by Ubuntu Customisation & Tweaks Part I - Documentation at kepo-ing Zz85 — February 21, 2007 @ 2:40 pm

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  26. Tutorial on performance tweaks from THE Ubuntu Demon

    Lots of little known tweaks that you can do yourself in the comfort of your living room to speed up the performance of your Ubuntu machine. The tutorial is for Dapper Drake (Ubuntu6.06) but may apply to newer versions. Remember, no running in the halls.

    Trackback by tipshack.freshubuntu.org — April 2, 2007 @ 4:53 am

  27. The site looks great ! Thanks for all your help ( past, present and future !)

    Comment by morganusvitus — April 5, 2007 @ 12:58 pm

  28. […] Desktop performance tweaks – Here are a couple of performance tweaks that are nice for desktops/laptops. These tweaks are relatively easy to perform and reasonable safe. Everything you do is on your own risk. […]

    Pingback by Ubuntu Performance Guides : lxpages.com blog — April 24, 2007 @ 5:43 am

  29. […] Desktop performance tweaks – Here are a couple of performance tweaks that are nice for desktops/laptops. These tweaks are relatively easy to perform and reasonable safe. Everything you do is on your own risk. […]

    Pingback by Ubuntu Performance Guides « Linux and Open Source Blog — April 25, 2007 @ 7:46 am

  30. […] Desktop performance tweaks – Here are a couple of performance tweaks that are nice for desktops/laptops. These tweaks are relatively easy to perform and reasonable safe. Everything you do is on your own risk. […]

    Pingback by myNothing » Blog Archive » Ubuntu Perfomance — April 25, 2007 @ 9:24 am

  31. […] Desktop performance tweaks – Here are a couple of performance tweaks that are nice for desktops/laptops. These tweaks are relatively easy to perform and reasonable safe. Everything you do is on your own risk. […]

    Pingback by Peacemaker ~ Kumaran » Ubuntu Performance Guides — April 25, 2007 @ 11:55 am

  32. […] Desktop performance tweaks – Here are a couple of performance tweaks that are nice for desktops/laptops. These tweaks are relatively easy to perform and reasonable safe. Everything you do is on your own risk. […]

    Pingback by Ubuntu Performance Guides « Going Gnu — April 26, 2007 @ 4:59 am

  33. […] Desktop performance tweaks – Here are a couple of performance tweaks that are nice for desktops/laptops. These tweaks are relatively easy to perform and reasonable safe. Everything you do is on your own risk. […]

    Pingback by My LifeXperience » Ubuntu Performance Guides — May 2, 2007 @ 10:42 am

  34. Long life to Ubuntu!!!

    Comment by Marcelo — May 12, 2007 @ 8:31 am

  35. […] Desktop performance tweaks – Here are a couple of performance tweaks that are nice for desktops/laptops. These tweaks are relatively easy to perform and reasonable safe. Everything you do is on your own risk. […]

    Pingback by Ubuntu Performance Guides « alll about linux — July 28, 2007 @ 9:13 am

  36. […] Desktop performance tweaks – Here are a couple of performance tweaks that are nice for desktops/laptops. These tweaks are relatively easy to perform and reasonable safe. Everything you do is on your own risk. […]

    Pingback by Night Hacker :: How To Speed Up Ubuntu :: August :: 2007 — August 5, 2007 @ 6:21 pm

  37. very common tweaks. would you put some light on kde or gnome specific tweaks. because linux is fast by nature, but these surface elements (kde or gnome) generally hog the memory and for that matter, processor.

    Comment by manmath sahu — September 11, 2007 @ 4:54 am

  38. Nice tweaks regarding Desktop performance. It really doesn’t matter if they are common as it does give good info to all those who don’t know about it.

    Comment by Webgk.com — October 31, 2007 @ 5:23 am

  39. […] read more | digg story […]

    Pingback by Top Linux News » Ubuntu Desktop performance tweaks — November 11, 2007 @ 2:17 pm

  40. […] Desktop performance tweaks – Here are a couple of performance tweaks that are nice for desktops/laptops. These tweaks are relatively easy to perform and reasonable safe. Everything you do is on your own risk. […]

    Pingback by Ubuntu Performance Guides « fast linux — January 23, 2008 @ 5:54 pm


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