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Ubuntu Tips - Boot Faster (Page 4 of 4)

Use a lightweight window manager instead of GNOME (or KDE)

Smaller footprint window managers and desktop environments drastically reduce graphical boot time, compared to the standard Ubuntu desktop environment (GNOME).

One of our favorite lightweight desktop environments is Xfce.

Xfce is a free software desktop environment which aims to be fast and lightweight, yet at the same time being attractive and easy to use. Its configuration is entirely mouse-driven and the configuration files are hidden from the desktop user. It is based on the GTK+ 2.x toolkit (like GNOME).

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Xfce is lightweight and fast, and is not bloated by little-used features and options. This helps to reduce the time to takes to get to a usable desktop. Of course, Xfce does not only offer the advantage of faster bootup time. The enviroment has support for GNOME panel applets, has a very intuitive interface, comes with a minimal set of applications (but sufficient for most purposes - the file manager is particulary good), looks attractive, and importantly is frugal on RAM.

So, with Xfce you end up with a system that is not only quicker to boot, but also quicker to perform your daily tasks. A win win scenario.


Recompile kernel

The final tip is certainly not for the faint of heart. If you have a long weekend available and really want to get to the heart of your Ubuntu box, why not build a kernel which is tailored specifically to meet your requirements?

By only enabling the modules and drivers you need, the boot time of your system will be reduced. The added benefit is that this will also optimise the kernel to the user's actual requirements. However, we recognise that for many Linux users this tip will be one step too far. Nevertheless, compiling the kernel is a good learning experience if you want to get under the bonnet of Linux.

To learn how to recompile the kernel, we would suggest that you review the information at Ubuntu's website, https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Kernel/Compile.

There is an excellent project called KernelCheck which is designed to automatically build any 2.6 kernel from the upstream source. KernelCheck can help users fix hardware problems and improve boot time by customising the kernel configuration. KernelCheck is a graphical user interface program designed to make the kernel-compiling process as easy. Unfortunately at the time of writing kernel.org has removed the files used by KernelCheck to retrieve the latest kernel information. The upshot of this is that KernelCheck cannot currently be used, although its developer is currently investigating.

Kernelcheck is definitely worth keeping an eye on. Its website is kcheck.sourceforge.net.


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Last Updated Wednesday, September 30 2009 @ 01:43 PM EDT


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