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Re: [school-discuss] Which is the fastest Desktop distro for schools?

On Mon, Nov 15, 2004 at 08:42:15AM -0700, Cameron Miller wrote:
> To reduce boot time, compile your own kernel, choose only the
> hardware support you need.

Oh no.  Please don't mix up boot time and runtime performance --
the former is no difference at all unless the job of the systems
is rebooting all the time.

> Check into the kernel preemption patches, which are supposed to
> increase desktop application response times.

It's all about perceived "speed"... maybe worth to check out
existing preemtible kernel builds for the distro being used.

> Turn off all the daemons you don't need, removing them from the
> boot sequence and freeing system memory.

Correct.  Not installing them in the first place tends to help
with directory reads, too.  Not speaking of free disk space :)

> At the extreme end you could try Linux BIOS, (you would need
> specific motherboards that work with it).

Ugh.  Much unsure whether it's worth the salt, see "boot times".

> Use EXT2 instead of EXT3, you lose journaling but gain a lot of
> speed.

And a lot of wasted time in case of abrupt power.

Every decision you propose should be considered in sight of gains
and losses -- I bet here the gains don't tend to overweigh the
losses of time in school environment.

It's better to use reiserfs then -- it's much faster than ext[23]
anyways and a friend of mine with a vast experience with computer
and internet clubs on Linux insists that it's resisting frequent
resets and sometimes power outages the best (compared with ext*
and xfs).

I personally prefer xfs and UPS combos but his experience may be
useful for some people here.

> For a fast window manager IceWM or some other small ones are
> good.

Yep.  There's one more consideration: to show pupils _different_
WMs so that they don't get accustomed to the looks and feels of a
_single_ one but get the idea that these _can_ be really
different, just as things in the world at large.

I'd propose WindowMaker for being "the other", but then I'm
subjective anyways :-)

> Mandrake comes with i586 and some i686 binaries.  I think
> Debian still uses i386 binaries, (could be wrong).  I don't
> know about Fedora or Slackware binaries these days.

Slackware: i486 AFAIH (but who cares? :)
Fedora 2: i386

> If you want everything optimized, use a compile it yourself
> distro, like Gentoo.  Gentoo uses a BSD like source code
> package system.

...and is heavily localhost-specific -- it will deliver no
benefits if you have to generate "master" system to be cloned to
a dozen or more systems compared to rpm/deb systems.

Resume: finding the exact bottlenecks is usually more productive
than running along from Slackware to Gentoo.  Most likely getting
the proper video card and 16M more memory will bring in more
performance than fiddling with compiler optimizations when basic
process set is established.  Other than that, going LTSP would
help more (one server for 10--12 clients).

 ---- WBR, Michael Shigorin <mike@altlinux.ru>
  ------ Linux.Kiev http://www.linux.kiev.ua/