News: Performance Hacks & Tweaks for Linux

Performance Hacks & Tweaks for Linux

If you have made the switch from Windows to Linux, I want to congratulate you in advance. I'm sure you have noticed a huge performance increase when using Linux over other operating systems. This is only half the battle, though! Most users who are new to Linux end up using Ubuntu. I have no gripes with Ubuntu, but I do not agree with their philosophy. It almost mimics Windows. Ubuntu favors ease of use, and despite valiant efforts by the development team thus far (Ubuntu is crazy fast), all of the bloat has to catch up to it some time. Besides, Arch is still faster out of the box and comes with zero bloatware.

One of the biggest reasons that Linux trumps Windows is because Windows is built with user-friendliness first. Because of this, Windows comes with nearly all of its services enabled by default (there are hundreds) which chokes its speed. The same proves true for Linux—if you want the most speed, you have to make sure you're running as little as possible.

In today's Null Byte, I am going to go over some cool tricks and tips to keep your Linux rig running speedily and efficiently.

Step 1 Clear Temporary Files Regularly

Your OS stores temporary files all of the time. Files such as images get written to the disk in order to speed up access times. At least, that is why they used to do it. With RAM speeds and capacities, I wouldn't be surprised if clearing them isn't an issue soon, because they do not need to be stored.

In the mean time, we must clear temporary files, such as packages and image thumbnails regularly, or our hard drives will become littered with small files, greatly reducing our speed.

  1. Clear out the Pacman package manager.
        sudo pacman -Scc
  2. Use BleachBit, a termporary file cleaner and shredder, to clean the disk. It's a great tool that will take care of all of the small temporary files quickly and securely. Configure, compile and install it.
        ./configure && make && sudo make install

Linux doesn't need to be defragmented, so do not worry about that.

Step 2 Disable Unused Daemons & Remove Useless Software

Daemons can take up a lot of resources, but even more so, they can immensely increase your boot time. A boot time can go from 5 seconds to well over 120 with the addition of a simple daemon. So at the very least, we need to push some of these processes to the background to speed up boot times a bit. To really get a speed increase, you must stop the daemons.

Preface daemons with @ to push them to the background, and ! to disable them.

  1. Ubuntu users should look in /etc/init.d/ to find their installed daemons, and uninstall them according to their names.
    Arch users should look in /etc/rc.d/.
  2. Edit the startup scripts to disable daemons.
    Ubuntu: sudo nano /etc/init
    Arch: sudo nano /etc/rc.conf
  3. List all of your packages and get rid of ones you don't use (rule of thumb, if you don't know what it is, don't delete it). Arch users have this spiffy command to find orphaned packages that are no longer needed.
        sudo pacman -Rns $(pacman -Qdt)

Step 3 Switch to Lighter Programs & Window Manager

Swapping out all of your heavy programs to the ones I have listed here can be a huge performance boost as well. You can also switch to a Window Manager, instead of using a Desktop Environment. A full DE such a Gnome uses a ton more resources. Here is a comparison of idle processor usage between KDE and awesome-wm.

KDE: 5.5%
Awesome: 0.1%

Is it worth it?

Tell me in the IRC! You can also follow me on Twitter and Google+ for the latest Null Byte news and updates. Stay secure.

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Image via Linux IDX


As you have said be careful what you remove from ubuntu. I recommend making an all-in-one dvd installer. Use remastersys to create an iso which you can use to re-install on any other system you like. I have a remastered ubuntu DVD which included all the codecs required to watch flash based videos on the internet. Applications such as vlc, transmaggedon, open office and firefox among others pre-installed.

That sounds just like Linux Mint :'). Except still Ubuntu instead of rebranded. I'll stick with my "Arch from Scratch" distro. Nix FTW, hahaha.

If you know Dalton Miller, he's made his own linux distro using Arch and renamed it Bridge Linux. Boots nicely on my Laptop. Has pre-installed apps and can play youtube videos instantly. You can find him on ubuntu's facebook page. Always ready to help fellow users.

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