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It's just slow.

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libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04

Consider this. If there was an operating system which could launch a program like firefox in less than a second while running a full blown desktop with 3D enabled on a 1GB memory, Core 2 Duo system wouldn't we call GNU/Linux as comparatively slow operating system?

Just because it happens that a common GNU/Linux installation is sometimes faster than all other operating systems, or at least equal to them doesn't mean that GNU/Linux reaches or even comes close to what can objectively be accomplished with the 21st century knowledge and 21st century hardware.

Sorry but it can do better.

So what am I going to do about it? Well pity, I after all didn't choose a path of software development, but rather of web publishing, so I guess what I *can* do is what I always do - talk about it, provide my own evidence and arguments and discuss it. And if there is a project which attempts to change things to the better, significantly better, without sacrificing any functionality (like most "lightweight" programs do) help with reports and testing.

The thing is most of the "lightweight" software we have is light only because it is stripped down of functionality under the justification that it isn't needed anyway, that it is bloat - that of course isn't always true and that of course is more like cheating than really improving performance of software.

But.. at the end of the day, I'm not an expert, but perhaps just a whining user (sometimes) so if the reality is much more entrenched than I think, if there is really no better way.. I guess I'll shut up. Sticking out tongue

tbuitenh's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-21
Of course it's all bloat.

Of course it's all bloat. This "X" thing is just pretty images and nothing useful for doing actual work.

Laughing out loud

free-zombie's picture
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Joined: 2006-03-08
On my system, Konqueror

On my system, Konqueror loads in a second or less. That's a 3800+ (2GHz) Athlon64, 1GiB DDR memory, full KDE desktop loaded already. No 3D effects enabled ATM. Near-vanilla Linux-2.6.22 kernel configured for K8 and maximal desktop responsiveness, all other software compiled for common amd64. I have a few daemons running in the background, like ssh, http and mail.

Yes, the software is bloated and slower than it might be. That's the price you pay for using a system useful in all situations, ranging from phones over mainframes to laptops, using a system that has philosophically over 30 years of history to look back to. What you get in return is flexibility and familiarity.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
I didn't argue against the

I didn't argue against the "bloat". I argued against using the "bloat" argument as a justification for removing stuff to make things run faster whereas I believe thing could run just as fast with this "bloat" actually left in.

I like many lightweight programs, but most of them are at least in some sense a compromise, you have to lose something to gain on performance. Can't an application be designed as lightweight without losing *anything*?

Some Xfce apps come close, but still compared to thunar, for example, Nautilus or konqueror are much more complete and useful in many more cases than thunar, which is something many people appreciate. Can thunar be just as fast as it is (not that it is the fastest of its kind mind you) while still containing *everything* that Nautilus or even konqueror has? I believe this has to be possible considering the hardware that we have. If however some applications already are designed in such a way, yet still suffer performance issues, the blame may be somewhere else.

Free-zombie, so you're using a custom kernel? Why do we have to do anything "custom" to achieve performances that this hardware deserves? My konqueror is starting much slower from GNOME. Of course, you might say this is because I'm running GNOME. Like that helps. Why? Why would that make it any slower?

Anyway.. what is behind this annoyance are all those moments when I am experiencing slow downs on my machine and thinking to myself "wtf, this just isn't right, this shouldn't be happening *EVER* on this hardware."

I might be overreacting, but.. if anything I'm pushing the argument of "this hardware can allow for more than our software is providing" to the limits to see where this goes.

Cheers

free-zombie's picture
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Joined: 2006-03-08
That second paragraph was

That second paragraph was about "everything could be a lot faster if the system we're using were designed specifically for what we're using it for".

Konqueror needs most of the KDE underpinnings to run. If these are running, howexer, there's little konqueror has to do on startup. Modern machines have enough RAM to make it possible to just keep much-used components in memory... KDE apps that make extensive use of the conveniences KDE provides (KIOslaves, Qt, and whatnot... I'm no KDE programmer) have a head start in an environment where these are givens, but will be "expensive" if they have to pull up massive infrastructure before being able to do something.

I am running a slighly tweaked kernel, yes. Debian's default kernel is built for a purpose different from mine — I am using a desktop, not a server. I don't doubt that Ubuntu's default kernel is configured for desktops in a similar way, but in lieu of an ubuntu install to test I cannot check that. (On ubuntu, grep PREEMPT /boot/config-`uname -r` should give you a hint on this) Should I have to do this ? Well, it is inevitable that someone had best do it for me — you can't really expect a system to shine extraordinarily in an area it wasn't designed for at all, and this is a way to tweak the "designed for" a bit more to where we as desktop users want it.

There is always a trade-off between speed/efficiency and internal simplicity. Every layer of abstraction adds overhead, and can make programming easier, more enjoyable, and code more maintainable. If you think of the KIO-slave system: brilliant for programmers that want to support multiple data sources etc, brilliant for the user because it gives him better interaction of the programs. Yet, for performance, it's not all that brilliant.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
Ah the abstraction layers

Ah the abstraction layers and high level languages.. I've seen that mentioned on one LXer thread as a reason why todays software isn't so much faster compared to software from ten years ago as much as todays hardware is compared to hardware from that time. The more juice we got, the "lazier" we became so to speak, requiring ever more ease of both use and programming and hence more and more abstraction.

Makes sense, and I can't blame anyone for this really. This easiness allowed computing to become the thing for the masses and not only the elite. Now the entry levels are as low as they have ever been.

But, Con Kolivas may still have some points worth considering about the way current operating systems are. What I'm wondering about is whether it is possible to have all these abstraction layers and easiness which they bring AND the performance deserving of todays hardware. Or in other words, can the performance cost of these things be lessened below the best current level?

Cheers

tbuitenh's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-21
Abstraction layers my ***.

Abstraction layers my ***. They don't make programming all that much easier, because there always are dozens of ways in which your top layer can confuse one of the several layers below, causing weird errors...

And why do you want all-in-one apps so badly? That's "windows mentality"! It's much better to have many little apps, so you load the functionality you need, and only that, at the time you need it. No bloat, lots of speed. Yes it is useful to keep recently used code in memory. That's what disk caching is for, no need for the application layer to try to do that by itself by keeping everything including what is not needed in memory.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
I don't really need all in

I don't really need all in one apps rather than the "all I need at once" experience. Whether underneath the GUI are many little apps being loaded as needed or just a big one loading everything at once regardless of need.. But of course, you're right having many little fast apps would be better - as long as the experience isn't of the "go chase the next minimal up for the next micro step of doing the job you want to do".

So maybe that's where the problem lies, in the fact that this all in one experience is still provided monolithically, with too many heavy dependencies like a KDE app which needs so many KDE/GNOME components loaded at once just for its normal functioning.

Maybe KDElibs should be split into many libraries doing specific jobs now all done by KDElibs?

Maybe that's a way towards improving performance without losing on the experience and functionality?

Cheers

free-zombie's picture
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Joined: 2006-03-08
Actually, it's more dæmons

Actually, it's more dæmons than libraries... I assume that KIO is handled dæmonically to avoid having multiple logins at once. Also, KDE loads dcop for IPC and artsd for sound. KDE4 could well be an improvement over KDE3 here — I believe DCOP is being replaced by DBus (used by gnome => only one IPC dæmon running), and I hope artsd has been dumped as it has really beed obsoleted by alsa's dmix, which has less lag, is no seperate dæmon (AFAIK) and is available anyway.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
My interest in KDE4 keeps

My interest in KDE4 keeps growing. Smiling

Well, let's see how much this improves things. Judging from what we know it should be significant.

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Joined: 2006-03-28
I'd love to see Arts being

I'd love to see Arts being dumped. Why? Well, not because I think it's generally a bad thing, but because it sometimes gets in the way of apps that want to use Alsa/OSS-emulation directly, like most games for example.
Since Arts locks the soundcard you either get no sound or even crash because they can't access the soundcard.
Of course I can set down the timeout for Arts to release the card, but that's not something I want to have to do.

tbuitenh's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-21
Yeah, having to hunt for

Yeah, having to hunt for lots of little apps in menus, and then having to use file--save; file--open over and over is no fun. This is caused by the graphical user interface being application oriented instead of file oriented. Unfortunately there is no GUI equivalent of commanline pipes (y'know, those "|" things).

free-zombie's picture
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Joined: 2006-03-08
Arts, Esd... they're all

Arts, Esd... they're all obsolete... and get into the way of each other and other apps.

a thing's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-20
Phonon

aRts will sort of be replaced by Phonon. I can't explain it very briefly, but see this article.

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Joined: 2007-10-03
I have a 1GB memory and a

I have a 1GB memory and a Core 2 Duo system but somehow FF still loads slow. Maybe of the too many addons Ive installed.