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


Thanks for sharing your opinions. Answers inline.

On Tuesday 16 November 2004 17:51, 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.

I agree. I am not sure what hardware the schools have. I dont want to get a 
"sync out of range" error everytime I run it. I dont want things to be 
unsupported. I dont want to configure it manually after each install. I dont 
want to compromise on the performance. After all, that's window's job ;-)

> > 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.

I'm thinking of using commercial compilers for compiling the things i need to, 
like the kernel, the WMs etc., if they they are worth the speed. I have to 
patch the kernel to include some of my own things also, so, cannot go for 
existing builds.

> > 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 :)

I absolutely agree with you.

> > 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".

Linux BIOS? I'm talking distribution specific. But, it seems worth trying but 
not worth the risk. After all, how much can a 13-yr-old do?

> > 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.

Correct. ReiserFS seems a better and faster choice. But, I really need the 
undelete option not there in ReiserFS (Hans Rieser (IIRC, he is the creator 
of reiserfs) says undelete is impossible in RieserFS). Is there any 
journaling FS that supports undelete also?

> 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).

Can you rephrase "resisting frequent resets" and "power outages the best"?

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

Can you elaborate?

> > 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 :-)

I was thinking of havng IceWM as first choice, XPDE as second, XFCE as third. 
In one of the recent polls at some site about the best WM, they came out with 
WMAKER as the winner. So, I'll add that too. Is it better to make it 
selectable at the login time or through some utility that modifes the x 
session files? I'm thinking of using a script that runs at login time to 
select the WM. For login manager, I'm looking at GDM. It looks very cool and I 
can add my school's logo there also. What say? Should I use GDM, KDM or 
WINGSDM (IIRC, the Window maker DM)?

> > 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

Yup, who cares?

> > 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.

A compile-it-yourself distro is more of a pain in the neck than a solution 
when you have to install on multiple computers. LTSP is a better solution. I 
can borrow somethings from K12LTSP and work it out.

> 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).

Yes, LTSP is good choice.

I'm thinking of puitting gCompris, Dr.Geo, XaoS, things from debianJr, Wine, 
things from freeduc and a lot of games also. What say? What else should I 

Is BusyBox good enough for these kinds of distributions?

Thanks alot,
 Arjun Asthana