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Old 02-17-2009, 06:38 PM
Christopher Montgomery
 
Default Linux users want better desktop performance (Screw data. Prioritize code)

On Tue, Feb 17, 2009 at 2:19 PM, Valent Turkovic
<valent.turkovic@gmail.com> wrote:
> http://rudd-o.com/en/linux-and-free-software/tales-from-responsivenessland-why-linux-feels-slow-and-how-to-fix-that
>
> What is you comment?

...this article is wrong in enough factual areas it's hard to comment
(just because an explanation feels right doesn't make it true, it just
makes it 'truthy'). But one thing is correct. Linux Desktop
performance has gotten sluggish. It's not due to eg swap. I have no
swap on any of my machines and haven't for years.

It's because a) virtually everything is backed by a db today (firefox
is a pig because every keypress is firing off multiple database
queries) b) Filesystems have finally turned on barriers to avoid most
cases of 'I lost alot of data after a power outage' and c) the 'Wings
Fall Off' buffercache serialization bug that showed up sometime after
2.6.15. You think sluggish is bad, try 'my buffercache filled up
while rendering video and the machine wouldn't even ping for a week'.

These problems all feed each other.

Monty

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Old 02-17-2009, 06:43 PM
Colin Walters
 
Default Linux users want better desktop performance (Screw data. Prioritize code)

On Tue, Feb 17, 2009 at 2:38 PM, Bill Nottingham <notting@redhat.com> wrote:
> Colin Walters (walters@verbum.org) said:
>> > http://rudd-o.com/en/linux-and-free-software/tales-from-responsivenessland-why-linux-feels-slow-and-how-to-fix-that
>> >
>> > What is you comment?
>>
>> I think if someone proposed a patch which tweaked some kernel
>> parameters as part of the desktop kickstart, it'd be reasonable to
>> consider. I'd definitely agree with him that the default desktop
>> installation should be tuned for responsiveness over throughput.
>
> Well, we could just turn off swap entirely, which obviates the issue
> (at the expense of other issues.)

On the face of it, that seems a bit more radical to me than tuning
some kernel parameters, though I won't claim deep knowledge about the
kernel parameters in question. This reminds me, if someone were to
propose this patch I'd suggest it require signoff from the Fedora
kernel people, even if it is just for the desktop image.

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Old 02-17-2009, 06:47 PM
Colin Walters
 
Default Linux users want better desktop performance (Screw data. Prioritize code)

On Tue, Feb 17, 2009 at 2:38 PM, Christopher Montgomery
<xiphmont@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> It's because a) virtually everything is backed by a db today (firefox
> is a pig because every keypress is firing off multiple database
> queries

I believe there's some work in Firefox 3.1 to make these queries
asynchronous. The primary issue is the amount of I/O they're doing in
the mainloop thread, which is always a big user experience mistake in
desktop applications.

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Old 02-17-2009, 06:50 PM
drago01
 
Default Linux users want better desktop performance (Screw data. Prioritize code)

On Tue, Feb 17, 2009 at 8:38 PM, Bill Nottingham <notting@redhat.com> wrote:
> Colin Walters (walters@verbum.org) said:
>> > http://rudd-o.com/en/linux-and-free-software/tales-from-responsivenessland-why-linux-feels-slow-and-how-to-fix-that
>> >
>> > What is you comment?
>>
>> I think if someone proposed a patch which tweaked some kernel
>> parameters as part of the desktop kickstart, it'd be reasonable to
>> consider. I'd definitely agree with him that the default desktop
>> installation should be tuned for responsiveness over throughput.
>
> Well, we could just turn off swap entirely, which obviates the issue
> (at the expense of other issues.)
>

merge the swap prefetch patch (upstream)

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Old 02-17-2009, 08:15 PM
Colin Walters
 
Default Linux users want better desktop performance (Screw data. Prioritize code)

2009/2/17 Adam Jackson <ajax@redhat.com>:
> On Tue, 2009-02-17 at 20:19 +0100, Valent Turkovic wrote:
>> http://rudd-o.com/en/linux-and-free-software/tales-from-responsivenessland-why-linux-feels-slow-and-how-to-fix-that
>>
>> What is you comment?
>
> If we really thought this was true, it would be straightforward enough
> to bump the mlock limits for users and get some of the high-touch apps
> to lock their text sections. I can add this to the X server tomorrow
> trivially even without that (the joys of being root).
>
> I'm not _that_ convinced. I mean, the way to measure this is to look at
> the io trace hooks and see what you end up reading in. I'd be mildly
> surprised if it was text sections.

Ok, I only skimmed his article initially, I thought his argument was
basically that it's better for interactivity to have a smaller buffer
cache than to (preemptively or not) page out application sections (be
that text, or stack/heap).

Certainly in the default configuration, the heap can be paged out, no?
I think by "Prioritize code." he really means "whatever the app needs
to respond to user input".

This is apparently not a new debate: http://kerneltrap.org/node/3000

Though big picture if you're swapping very much you've basically lost.
So the biggest wins here definitely involve fixing applications (like
federico's work on image caching and jemalloc in Firefox, alex's
recent blog about tracking down extra nautilus heap usage).

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