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

regarding reiser, are you referring to reiser4, which I think still breaks apps, but shows major breakthrough promises? Also, keep in mind that each partition can use a different file system. So for boot up ext2, but for transactional data using postgresql or even its lighter weight brother mysql, I would still go for XFS, because of its journalling, AND finer access control. You may have a webmaster who has root privileges but you sure don't want that person changing or messing around with your database stuff. But for desktops, why get fancy? go with the thin client model, and provide sophisticated power resources for your server.

Cameron Miller wrote:

Michael Shigorin wrote:

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.

That is true, but faster boot times were asked for.
If the environment is such that machines are turned off when not in use, boot time becomes more important to the perception of speed. At least that is what my wife gripes about when she turns her computer on. So I make her cheap home computer start up faster than her monster Win2k box at work, "linux is so much faster".

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

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

Which would mean more reboots? See "boot times" :). Maybe invest some of what is saved by low end workstations in better power protection.

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

I assume some intelligence on the part of the final decision maker :)

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.

From the last numbers I saw, with smaller files and lighter loads ext2 is faster than Reiser, according to Bonnie++. For heavier loaded servers, (higher load larger files), Reiser beats everyone, according to Postmark. All the journaling filesystems on linux, even ext3, have a history of problems with quotas, a big multi user server requirement in my book. I thought I read somewhere xfs finally has solid quota support. Xfs and chkconfig were about the best things from IRIX IMHO.

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

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 :-)

And I like afterstep. :)

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).

If I were maintaining it I would run the LTSP too.

As for building the fastest booting and running distro for demonstration purposes, don't expect to deliver a demo system for final production use. Michael is right, balancing speed with stability and ease of use and administration is more prudent in the long run.

I think a better question is, what are currently the best linux desktop distribution choices for schools?

- cameron