Best Practices To Speed Up Ubuntu 12.10

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Speed Up ComputerMany Windows users know how Windows PC start slowing up after some period of time. While Linux users don’t really complain about such troubles, it does not mean that you cannot improve the performance of your Linux OS. In this article we will see the best practices to speed up Ubuntu 12.10 (as well as other versions such as 12.04, 11.10, 11.04 etc). We will see some tools and apps to improve the overall performance of an Ubuntu powered machine. While computers with good hardware might not need these, it could be really helpful for machines that don’t boast of latest hardware.

Reduce application start up speed with Preload:

Preload is a demon that runs in background and analyzes the user behavior. Based on the analysis, it predicts what application the user might run next and fetches those binaries and their dependencies into memory and thus increases the startup time of the application. Use the following command in terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T):

sudo apt-get install preload

Once you have it installed, restart your computer and just forget about it. No side effects are known till now of using Preload.

Improve speed with zRam:

Computers with low RAMs usually require a swap disk space of almost twice that of RAM. But even that is not enough some time and hence the computers run slow. zRam is a tool that mimics the swap disk by creating a block in memory which functions as swap space. Since this “virtual swap” is created in RAM, it is much faster than the actual swap disk.

You can install zRam using this PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:shnatsel/zram
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install zramswap-enabler

Speed up Ubuntu Unity by turning off graphics effect:

I have earlier written on how to speed up Ubuntu Unity on low end systems in detail. I’ll give a brief of the same here. The new Ubuntu 12.10 uses 3D hardware acceleration, which is not supported by older hardware. Though it does not mean that you will be not be able to use Ubuntu 12.10 but it does mean that you may be facing some performance issue every now and then.

Follow the below steps to turn the graphics off:

  • Open the following file: ~/.xprofile. You can do it in terminal or in file manager (GUI). To show the hidden files in file manager use Ctrl+H.
  • If the above specified file does not exist, create it.
  • Now add the following line to that file: export UNITY_LOW_GFX_MODE=1

Use apt-fast instead of apt-get for a speedy download and update:

apt-fast is a shellscript wrapper for “apt-get” and “aptitude” that can drastically improve APT download times by downloading packages with multiple connections per package. So if you frequently use terminal for updates and installing applications, apt-fast could be very useful. All you have to do is replace “get” with “fast”. Thats it. Install apt-fast from the official PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:apt-fast/stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install apt-fast axel

I hope you have a better and speedy experience with Ubuntu after using these apps and tools. Do you have another trick up your sleeve? Do share it with us.

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  • Lakis

    Use RAM as swap, when RAM is low and swapping starts because you have low RAM in order to save up some RAM? Does this make ANY sense?

    • Homayoon Vafamehr

      zRam compress data to 1/3. that means it can compress 1 GB of data to the range of 350 MB.
      If you have 4 GB of ram and 6 GB of data, your system will use 4 GB of ram and 2 GB of swap (witch is on hard drive). with using zRam, it tries to keep all this 6 GB in the Ram.
      zRam will compress 3 GB of this 6 GB to 1 GB.

      That’s it. now you have 4 GB of data. 3 GB of normal and 1 GB of compressed!

      this approach is more faster than using real swap. it’s true that compressing and decompressing data, takes CPU time, but it is much much faster than hard drive I/O time.

  • Thomas Padron-McCarthy

    “zRam is a tool that mimics the swap disk by creating a block in memory
    which functions as swap space. Since this “virtual swap” is created in
    RAM, it is much faster than the actual swap disk.”

    I must be missing something here, since to me this sounds very strange. The idea with swap is that things that don’t fit in main memory can be temporarily stored on disk, and you can’t magically get more memory by using part of that memory as swap.

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  • Daniel

    ok. Also very useful too.

    • http://www.computerandyou.net/ Abhishek Prakash

      You are welcome :)

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