Speed up your Linux Boot and normal use ( openSUSE )

In a world where faster (in most sense) is better, people are always looking for ways to increase the efficency of their computers. While i’ve read other peoples thoughts and recommendations regarding speeding up your linux installation, many I just clearly do not agree with. Here are things I have done, and things I could/would have done if I was on less adept hardware:First: I want to get out that clearing the terminals launch at boot via /etc/inittab will not help as much as many guides try to say. This uses just a very minute amount of RAM, and you’ll rarely see a difference. However if you do feel you want to chage this, you can disable (comment out) the following lines in /etc/inittab:

3:2345:respawn:/sbin/mingetty tty34:2345:respawn:/sbin/mingetty tty45:2345:respawn:/sbin/mingetty tty56:2345:respawn:/sbin/mingetty tty6

I recommend not removing any more then those. Again, this will give you minute gains in RAM usage. Second: A great practice on any operating system (Microsoft and Linux alike) is to disable un-needed processes. This can be done quite easilly via YaST. To do this open YaST, click on System and click on System Services (Runlevel) see Figure 1. (note if you do not see this run the following to install it:)

sudo zypper in yast2-runlevel

YaST RunlevelFigure 1Things I have disabled are: joystick (I do not run any joystick etc)nfs (I don’t attach to any NFS mount points)ntp (I don’t care to attach to any NTP source)(Note: I won’t tell you which ones TO disable as it is up to you to determine WHICH services are not needed, be sure you know what you are doing here. Note: In Ubuntu the application that will do this for you is sysv-rc-conf. You can install it via:

sudo aptitude install sysv-rc-conf

Third: Is a great and simple way to increase the effectiveness of the RAM on your machine. This modification will allow more of your process to be stored into memory and not be sent to your swap (RAM is faster then Disk). Note: This modification is for the machines with quite a bit of extra RAM to hand out and not for systems that lack usable RAM. First you can check what your current swappiness level is (the higher the swappiness setting, the more often it will write to your swap (again which is located on disk). You can do this by running:

cat /proc/sys/vm/swappiness

I believe openSUSE ships by default at 60, but most distributions ship with swappiness set to 50 – 60. Now to test this setting before making it permenant. You can run:

sudo sysctl vm.swappiness=0

If you feel the performance gains, are good, or you just feel like setting it permenantly you must modify /etc/sysctl.conf. To do this edit the file in your favorite editor:

gnomesu gedit /etc/sysctl.confkdesu kwrite /etc/sysctl.confsudo vi /etc/sysctl.conf

Add the following line to the end of /etc/sysctl.conf:

vm.swappiness = 5

(Note: You can choose your value, the lower the value the less swapping that will take place). Fourth: Disable IPv6 if you will not be using it. I won’t go too far into this, you can do this in YaST –> Network Devices –> Network Settings. Fifth: Tune your applications. OpenOffice.org Will allow you to change it’s memory consumption. You can do this by opening any OpenOffice.org application, then going to Tools –> Options –> OpenOffice.org –>> Memory. You can play around with this setting for your need, but changing the number of graphics in cache, and increasing the amount per object may be quite useful. Compiz Most people consider this to be a great “eye candy tool”. I honestly consider it a functionality and productivity tool and use it for this function day by day. If you NEED to run it, make sure you trim what plugins load, and just slim it down to the functional features you use. If you don’t need Compiz just disable the desktop effects. This will free up a good amount of resources. Sixth: Replace bulky applications:Firefox I actually didn’t want to touch on this because FireFox 3.1 looks like it will actually lower the memory consumption by Firefox, but with that said, 3.1 is in Alpha (or pre-Alpha so I have to mention this). Use Opera, which can be install via:

sudo zypper in opera

. divorce information . Opera is a full feature browser, and uses quite a bit less memory and overall resources then firefox does. If you’re running KDE you also have the choice of Konqueror, but again I would highly recommend Opera if you’re low on resources, or looking to conserve. OpenOffice.org You have many other word processors avaliable to you in Linux. If you just need a basic editor use gedit, kwrite, or if you need a more feature full processor and can’t afford the hit from openoffice use obiword, or koffice. Change your Desktop Environment. Most people will run GNOME or KDE. Those are some of the higher resource intense DE’s and on a machine where resources are really in need can be replaced with lightweight DE’s like XFCE (blackbox, enlightenment, icewm (note: these ones are for more advanced users)). XFCE can easily be installed via YaST. To do this open YaST –> Software –> Software Management. Under Filter choose Patterns and check the XFCE Desktop Environment option. (Personal Experience: I find that KDE uses fewer resources then GNOME, and find it’s functionality to be even greater. This is one reason I have chosen openSUSE over Ubuntu. Sure, you can install Kubuntu or KDE packages within Ubuntu, but it is not developed upon like it is on openSUSE). Those are the basic things that can be done to help speed up your machine for daily use, and to speed up your boot process. Now onto some other things that I’ve done on my machine just from personal experiences: Run

ps -ef | more

Check what is running that I don’t really need. Kill the process. After i’ve killed the processes I don’t care for I save my session ( I do this because I have my KDE set to start on the last manually saved session ). Another modification I’ve added to try to increase performance with EXT3 is adding

noatime,nodiratime

in my /etc/fstab mount point for my /home. This is how the line looks in fstab:

/dev/system/home /home ext3 acl,user_xattr,noatime,nodiratime 1 2

Install a Vanilla Kernel. This will remove all the patches installed by the SUSE developers, but will increase your boot time by about 10 – 15% (dropped my boot time by about 8 seconds). This is for advanced users, if enough people as for this, maybe i’ll blog about it. I also removed that damned dog Beagle, and the security feature apparmor. I removed beagle because most my files are kept on a offline disk, and again this is one of the main reasons I removed apparmor. I’m sure i’ve done other things, and I just can’t remember right now. I’ve just pulled these off the top of my head and can’t really think of anything as it is bed time.Shameless plug: You can read a previous posting of mine which will allow you to check your before and after boot times. Check out the posting here for that. Hope this helps someone and please feel free to add your comments to make this a better comprhensive list.

11 thoughts on “Speed up your Linux Boot and normal use ( openSUSE )”

  1. I am a moderator of a forum for openSUSE in Spanish

    I want to translate these tips to Spanish and I want to publish on my forum. I need you permit me the translation and publication.

    Thank you.

  2. Good read!!!

    I would also suggest removing duplicate applications performing the same task. For instance, if Firefox is your browser, uninstall another browser installed on your system. This removes a lot of apps that blots your linux install.

  3. Diablo,
    Feel free to translate.

    RedDwarf,
    Yes, I was never sure if noatime actually implied nodiratime, so I’ve always just included both. When i’ve tried relatime, I never found an increase over relatime, I’ll try to read up on it a little more, I’ll include that in the original writing. Also, I’ll def add a section for preload, and firming it up for just the apps you want, and also adding the ones you want, preload can maybe turn into its own writing.

    Kumaran,
    Great suggestion, I will be sure to include removal of un-needed applications.

  4. Lots of useful details here and there. got any more to share with the rest of us? You should definitely post this stuff on the OpenSUSE wiki for others to grab. A blog post is great but I don’t think as many people will come across it this way.

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