I am in the search of my 'perfect' Linux fit.
So far, Ubuntu 7.10 seems to be getting the most points, but it is slow compared to Zenwalk and others.
My hardware is pretty good, it can manage Compiz Fusion fairly well, but boot times and desktop nice-ness (*as in layout, not looks) are almost as bad as XP.
I realize that this may be a sign to change my Desktop Environment, but I've tried KDE, XFCE, FLVM, and Flux but I like GNOME better by far (all due respect to the fine developers of these and other DE's).
I find Ubuntu overall a bit sluggish and wasteful with the software it defaults with and the slow menus and message boxes.
Ubuntu is great for development and Compiz Fusion, and offers more stability than Windows, but I need something faster, something that responds faster to me.

At first I thought;
"Hmmm... Faster.. Less wasteful... Gentoo!"
Then I tried compiling my first kernel.
6 hours later, voila; my new kernel.
I booted into it, and sound, internet, Compiz, all of it worked, but it wasn't really any faster.
*! This was still on Ubuntu.

So I don't think Gentoo will be too much of a speed increase.
Arch Linux however seems perfect.
i686 optimized (*this PC is a P4 intel i686)! Rebuild your system with one command! Pacman "is better than apt!", minimalist, does not baby you!
Sounds good to me!

So before I repartition, what do you *nix guys think I should try or do first?

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All 22 Replies

i like gnome too

debian is faster but not so polished and some things like codecs can be a pain in the ass

Arch is a pain.

DSL. No, I'm totally kidding.

Ubuntu should be fine with some major tweaking, if I'm not mistaken. You should be able to install some packages and fixes to get it up to speed.

ubuntu is essentially debian sid (the bleeding edge) so should be fast anyway...

try looking into "hdparm"

I've done everything I've found to tweak Ubuntu.
IPv6 alias junk, screwing with ext3 writeback methods, stripping all the unused services via BUM (yea, hdparm is enabled) and tuning the boot process.

Can you elaborate on your Arch experience (and what version you tried)?

dude, i have compiled my own LFS system from source code before. Believe me, its not worth the hassle. The speed benefits are negligable.

If you put it that way, I'm sticking with Ubuntu because it works just fine.

only reason to compile a kernel yourself these days is for obscure driver/security patch support

Believe it or not, recompiling your kernel can fetch you some major performance gains. On Ubuntu, it's not uncommon to reduce boot time by about 20 seconds. Operating speed is also impacted. Generally what I do is use the default kernel configuration, then add on the drivers I need for my system, although there are also guides available online for further tweaking your kernel to gain the maximum speed possible.

I've found Ubuntu too slow for my tastes, and there's a lot of other stuff I don't like about it. If you want a relatively fast distro that's easy to use, I'd recommend using Debian Etch. It's the stable version, contains a decent amount of software in its repositories, and has good performance.

I didn't like Arch Linux quite as much when I used it (the first version I tried had a bug in it which resulted in an unbootable installation), but the last version I tried worked and, aside from a few glitches, I found it acceptable for my purposes. It had decent performance and was relatively easy to use.

there is a way to speed up GNOME in Ubintu. for me it is as fast as lightning, the second I disable compiz

yes, i hate effects

Effects are alright. I like wobbly windows, because it makes moving them seem smoother and easier to do. The Compiz Fusion desktop "cube" thing is pointless, however.

wobbly windows make window moving easier? HOW?

there is a way to speed up GNOME in Ubintu. for me it is as fast as lightning, the second I disable compiz

Not only that, but due to Compiz Fusion's beta nature, running it makes your desktop extremely unstable. Compiz Fusion should never be used in a production environment.

a core gnome install, under debian , with no crap, runs at about 45 mb ram when idle

Alright, how would I totally disable Compiz? Just disable every effect?

I mean, I usually run FluxBox anyways, but I CAN see how no Compiz would be nice.

is it GNOME?

Yeah, Compiz Fusion for GNOME.

in ubuntu/debian/fedora its under the administration submenu (it is on a tab in the one where you choose your window borders and control themes)

commented: Compiz Disabled -- Thanks (--linux) +3

Oh yeah.

Right Click > Change Desktop Background

Etc. It's in System > Preferences > Appearance.


Member Avatar for Kobussie

I use Debian Etch (x86_64) for a few months now, on a AMD Athlon 64 box (not the fastest hardware in the world nowadays) and I'm quite satisfied with it. I also use Arch on an experimental server (old pentium4) and that's also good for the purpose: light-weight, no unneeded extra's.
So in my opinion the question is: what do you want to do with it? Then make a choice for hardware & distro. The benefit of Linux: choice!!

Too much choice :).
Thanks for all of your replies.
I made a list of all the kernel mods I need and I'll try it out again.
Probably wont go to Arch VooDoo unless the Final Hardy LTS disappoints (I don't think it will, the new nautilus and stuff looks amazing).

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