Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 4th Sep 2008 21:33 UTC
Windows A few weeks ago, I reviewed the Acer Aspire One notebook, the variant which came with an Acer-modified version of Linpus Linux. This version was locked-down and difficult to modify, so not too long after I installed Ubuntu, and was reasonably pleased - despite the amount of tweaking it took to get it working. A few days ago, however, I realised Linux wouldn't be ideal for me on my netbook. Due to pragmatic reasons, I'm now running Windows XP.
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gtk widgets are too big?
by _txf_ on Thu 4th Sep 2008 22:09 UTC
_txf_
Member since:
2008-03-17

One of the things that stuck me is that running a vanilla (i.e.not netbook customized) gnome based distro is that one looses a lot of space due to the oversized gtk dialogs and widgets.

One of the things about all the windows dialogs and widgets that I like are that they are much more densly packed than even condensed gtk themes and as a result my desktop tends to have more space for content as opposed to wasted space for an ok button.

This wasted spaced is doubly annoying on low resolution screens.

Then again more densely packed also means less readable on small screens...each to his own I guess

Reply Score: 9

RE: gtk widgets are too big?
by asgard on Fri 5th Sep 2008 05:33 UTC in reply to "gtk widgets are too big?"
asgard Member since:
2008-06-07

There was a recent OSNews story dealing with the problem:

http://osnews.com/story/20206/Using_GNOME_on_a_Small_Screen

I commented there about my settings, so if you want help, there is.

Reply Score: 2

RE: gtk widgets are too big?
by s_groening on Fri 5th Sep 2008 11:01 UTC in reply to "gtk widgets are too big?"
s_groening Member since:
2005-12-13

I'd actually like vanilla GTK+ to look well without any theme applied. And yes! -Clearlooks does waste quite a lot of space on your desktop, which I find a shame since in general I'm otherwise very satisfied with its look and feel.

Moreover, I'm really looking forward to a Mac OS X like 'column view' in Nautilus and I'm truly hoping for this to be a part of Gnome 2.24 as promised!

One may only wish that 'spring loading folders' might become a possibility at some point - be it from applying a patch or be it included in the official source ...

Reply Score: 2

Comment by merkoth
by merkoth on Thu 4th Sep 2008 22:58 UTC
merkoth
Member since:
2006-09-22

Thom, I'm not really surprised you were able to get better performance with XP for the following reasons:

1) It's a five years old OS. Your netbook has more similarities with an old desktop than with a modern one. But as long as it covers your needs...

2) A fresh XP install is fast. It's been fast for a few hardware generations. The problems arise when you start adding stuff like... your software, which includes crap like antivirus and antispyware tools. And I bet that, in a few months, your netbook won't feel as snappy as it feels now.

3) XP was, and still is, extremely configurable resource-wise. A friend of mine is able to strip a non-nLited XP install to a bare 40 megs of memory consumption. Before installing apps, however.

I'm a Linux user and I wouldn't install XP on my netbook for sure but, hey, the right tool for the right worker for the right task ;)

On a completely unrelated note, I'm a bit disappointed by the Aspire One SSD performance, I was really looking forward to get one and install Ubuntu in it ;)

Reply Score: 9

RE: Comment by merkoth
by cyclops on Thu 4th Sep 2008 23:07 UTC in reply to "Comment by merkoth"
cyclops Member since:
2006-03-12

"1) It's a five years old OS."

Its a 7 year old OS

Reply Score: 6

RE: Comment by merkoth
by helf on Fri 5th Sep 2008 00:12 UTC in reply to "Comment by merkoth"
helf Member since:
2005-07-06

I love how people always mention AV software. Yeah, I have some installed, but it is NOT running in the background at all. I manually run it about once a month. I never have viruses or anything of the sort.

gah... ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by merkoth
by UltraZelda64 on Fri 5th Sep 2008 05:35 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by merkoth"
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

I love how people always mention AV software. Yeah, I have some installed, but it is NOT running in the background at all. I manually run it about once a month. I never have viruses or anything of the sort.

gah... ;)

I've given up on anti-virus software in my last, oh, seven years using Windows (and I've used it for about ten). They all want you to pay, pay, pay, and try to install themselves as deep down as possible, with every "automatic" feature (ie. autostarting, services, etc.) they can. Running low on your "protection" time? Let the nagging begin! You may have found one with no added services--I have too--but in my experience, those tend to suffer badly in other areas, to the point that they aren't worth using either.

And which one to get to begin with... they all seem to have major annoyances... like trying to put EVERYTHING in one central program, including crap that has nothing to do with viruses (firewalls, spam filtering, adware and spyware, etc.), plus the resource hoggers, and those that break your system unless you uninstall (or even refuse to let you cleanly uninstall!). And yeah, I've seen some that don't hide any of those "extras" and are glad to shove it right in your face, to get you to subscribe to that too.

Of course, I've moved away from Windows about two years ago, so this doesn't effect me at all anymore. If I wanted to do a quick virus scan, I could use ClamAV, but I haven't felt the need to do a virus scan in so many years, it's not any funny... even when using Windows. Just some common sense and proper judgement when it comes to trusting third parties, and maybe a Google search, and I'm safe.

Viruses and trojans and friends vs. anti-virus software... if I had to choose one, I'd shoot myself. Thankfully, by using your brain, you can avoid malware without intrusive anti-virus software (though anti-spyware/adware like AdAware can be useful still), and by using a better built operating system, you can avoid them almost completely.

Edited 2008-09-05 05:40 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by merkoth
by lemur2 on Fri 5th Sep 2008 09:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by merkoth"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I've given up on anti-virus software in my last, oh, seven years using Windows (and I've used it for about ten). They all want you to pay, pay, pay, and try to install themselves as deep down as possible, with every "automatic" feature (ie. autostarting, services, etc.) they can. Running low on your "protection" time? Let the nagging begin! You may have found one with no added services--I have too--but in my experience, those tend to suffer badly in other areas, to the point that they aren't worth using either.


Valid points.

If I personally have to set up a system with windows (as some people who I want to help do want me to do sometimes) ... this is what I would use:

http://www.moonsecure.com/

They might be asking for a bit of help (by people submitting undetected virus samples), but they sure aren't asking you to pay, pay, pay.

http://www.moonsecure.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id...
Moon Secure AV is an opensource antivirus currently using the clamav engine due to fast response time and huge AV database, however we are implementing another engine that is heuristic and will allow users to customize the engine on the fly. Unlike clam it has an enterprise level real-time scanner. It is built for windows and will run on XP and vista. It can scan portable drives and fixed drives. It is able to detect viruses, Trojans and spyware.

Our vision is to release an enterprise level antivirus, which can be used in any windows environment.

The aim is to provide a superior antivirus capable with competing with the market leaders and still at the same price, free!

We aim to be part of an opensource suite which will allow all users to still use the environment they are comfortable with but benefit from the terrific opensource community.


That seems like a pretty reasonable deal to me.

Being open source means that it itself contains no malware.

Edited 2008-09-05 09:25 UTC

Reply Score: 3

v what kind of story is this?
by sofar on Thu 4th Sep 2008 23:00 UTC
RE: what kind of story is this?
by diegoviola on Fri 5th Sep 2008 06:24 UTC in reply to "what kind of story is this?"
diegoviola Member since:
2006-08-15

Are you serious? OSnews == a story on how to install XP on a generic x86 system that just doesn't happen to have a cd-rom?

Are you kidding me?

Thom, if you don't have interesting news to post, don't go out and write silly little things like this. You can buy XP versions of the Acer right out of the store.


I agree. Linux > Windows. Post something about Asterisk vs FreeSWITCH instead, that's a lot more interesting than this.

Reply Score: 1

RE: what kind of story is this?
by kramii on Fri 5th Sep 2008 15:25 UTC in reply to "what kind of story is this?"
kramii Member since:
2005-07-22

Actually, I found this sory interesting.

Could you point me to the stories that you have submitted?

Reply Score: 3

3G support on Ubuntu / Linux
by nunobrito on Thu 4th Sep 2008 23:34 UTC
nunobrito
Member since:
2008-09-04

Vodafone is sponsoring an open source development group to bring support for these 3G USB wireless network connections and other hardware.

Look on google for "betavine forge" and this problem should be solved.

:)

Reply Score: 1

FAT, it's all about FAT
by truckweb on Thu 4th Sep 2008 23:57 UTC
truckweb
Member since:
2005-07-06

I made the mistake to install WinXP with NTFS on the SSD of my Aspire One. My god it was SLOW, even when disabling everything.

Scrap that, did another fresh install but using FAT32 and BAM! It was much much better. It could be faster but the SSD in the Aspire is probably the cheapest part of the Netbook. It's plain slow.

I wish I had waited a couple of weeks and get the Aspire One with the 120Gb HDD and 1Gb & WinXP. For only $50 more, it's a steal. I bet that the HDD is much faster than the SSD.

Reply Score: 2

RE: FAT, it's all about FAT
by Thom_Holwerda on Fri 5th Sep 2008 01:16 UTC in reply to "FAT, it's all about FAT"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Definitely - go with fat32, crucial step. Added it to the article. Slipped my mind!

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: FAT, it's all about FAT
by Nico57 on Fri 5th Sep 2008 03:24 UTC in reply to "RE: FAT, it's all about FAT"
Nico57 Member since:
2006-12-18

Did you try NTFS with the DisableNTFSLastAccessUpdate switch on ?
This should relieve a lot of stress from the SSD.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: FAT, it's all about FAT
by pixel8r on Fri 5th Sep 2008 03:31 UTC in reply to "RE: FAT, it's all about FAT"
pixel8r Member since:
2007-08-11

out of curiousity were you using linux with a non-journaling fs as well?

i find it hard to believe that XP was more snappy or more responsive than ubuntu on any pc.

In my experience with several xp boxes and several linux boxes, the linux ones generally feel more responsive. Not necessarily "faster" at everything but definitely if you had a few things running at once it generally does a better job of keeping things responsive, without locking the system up while reading from disks, network drives etc.

Dont get me wrong Windows XP is great, but I think it suffers when you have a few resource-intensive processes running at once. and particularly explorer really struggles a lot when accessing slow network drives etc. One bad connection pulls all explorer windows to a halt. Another example is when you put a cd into the cdrom drive - the whole system stops for a few seconds while it tries to read from the disk.

Linux just seems to deal with IO and overall system load so much better - probably its server roots coming into play i guess. And this is just in my experience so others mileage may vary.

Reply Score: 5

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

out of curiousity were you using linux with a non-journaling fs as well?


Yup, I used ext2. I tried just as hard to minimalise small writes to the SSD on Linux as I did on Windows ;) .

i find it hard to believe that XP was more snappy or more responsive than ubuntu on any pc.


Many people forget that Windows XP is actually a very mature, stable, and highly optimised piece of kit. It takes some work, but it can be made to run properly on a lot of old crap - and this netbook, in case we forget, has a hyperthreading processor running at 1.6Ghz.

The big problem with Ubuntu is not so much the OS itsellf, but the applications. Evolution is slower and heavier than Outlook 2003, Firefox/Linux is slower than Firefox/Windows, Gaim is a total dog compared to Miranda, and OOo doesn't hold a candle to this specialised version of Office 2003 (seriously, that's something you gotta see to believe) and so on.

Edited 2008-09-05 06:30 UTC

Reply Score: 4

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

This was the worst article ever written.


My my! How many seconds do I get to hold my acceptance speech?

Linux beats XP in every single feature, it's simply no contest.


For you, it might - for me, in this specific case? Nope, I'm sorry. XP is the winner for me. Can't help it. Didn't expect it either, as I clearly said in the previous articles that I didn't believe XP would stand a chance. But hey, I am a man of science, and I want to see something with my own eyes before passing judgement.

You're apparently rather unfamiliar with that. Your loss.

So all you know to do is slap Ubuntu on he netbook, not knowing first thing about Linux obviously.


And an insult, my my! Are we on a roll today!

Then when you realize you'd have to invest a bit of time to find hardware that works with Linux you take the lazy way out and slap XP on the netbook and in the end you proclaim that it was the right thing to do and that now you're finally happy.


...and where did I say I didn't already do that? Where did I say I did not invest time in looking at the various offers being made by mobile carriers here when it comes to 3G modems+contracts? Maybe I already looked over all the offerings, and concluded that none of the 3G modems included work flawlessly on Linux? I live in a small country, you see, so choice isn't exactly wealthy.

I know how to handle these things. I buy ALL my hardware with Linux and BeOS in mind.

With this article you've lost any little shred of credibility you may have had before.


Again?

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: FAT, it's all about FAT
by J. M. on Fri 5th Sep 2008 20:47 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: FAT, it's all about FAT"
J. M. Member since:
2005-07-24

I can't see anything surprising or unexpected about XP outperforming Linux. It is a very well known fact that Windows is MUCH, MUCH faster in anything GUI related than Linux. All the big multiplatform apps run faster on Windows, applications start faster on Windows, and the GUI (re)drawing speed is about 100 times slower in Linux, thanks to all the X Window System based layers, window managers and extremely inefficient tookits like GTK+. And I'm saying this as a Linux user who dislikes Microsoft as much as possible. Only a blind fanatic fanboy can troll with nonsense like "Linux beats XP in every single feature".

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: FAT, it's all about FAT
by lemur2 on Fri 5th Sep 2008 09:43 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: FAT, it's all about FAT"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Yup, I used ext2.


Ext2 is indeed not a journaling filesystem, but it is getting quite venerable now and it has the worst performance of filesystems that you could choose for Linux.

http://librenix.com/?inode=922
http://lists.mysql.com/benchmarks/133

Agreed that you wouldn't want to use a journalling filesystem for a SSD ...

... so why didn't you try a Linux filesystem that was actually designed for use with SSDs?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JFFS2
http://sourceware.org/jffs2/

http://logfs.org/logfs/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/YAFFS

There are at least these three. In fact, there is a quite a selection:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_file_systems#Flash_memory_.2F_...

Note that FAT32 is not one of them. FAT or exFAT (FAT64) ... maybe. However, given the lack of attributes that any MS FAT filesystem can support, FAT filesystems are not recommended for Linux use.

Firefox/Linux is slower than Firefox/Windows


Utter rubbish. Twaddle. Bunk.

Why would you even say such a thing?

Edited 2008-09-05 09:51 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: FAT, it's all about FAT
by J. M. on Sat 6th Sep 2008 16:56 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: FAT, it's all about FAT"
J. M. Member since:
2005-07-24

"Firefox/Linux is slower than Firefox/Windows


Utter rubbish. Twaddle. Bunk.

Why would you even say such a thing?
"
Because it's true? I've been using Linux for many years, I've seen thousands of comments from Linux users about Firefox, but not one of them, not even the most enthusiastic Linux fanboy would ever say Firefox on Linux is at least distantly comparable in speed to Firefox on Windows. The difference is so screamingly obvious - the Firefox user interface is supersluggish on Linux. But that's not specific to Firefox, this generally applies to any other program (those multiplatform GUI apps always run an order of magnitude faster on Windows, when it comes to GUI speed).

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: FAT, it's all about FAT
by agrouf on Fri 5th Sep 2008 11:45 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: FAT, it's all about FAT"
agrouf Member since:
2006-11-17

Did you use ext2 on SSD? That's a big mistake if you ask me. Maybe you are not aware, but on SSD, we use JFFS2. Of course, you must have had very slow performance with ext2! jffs2 is a journaled file system, you don't have to choose to disable that feature to obtain good performances. It has been around for quite some time now and jffs3 will soon replace it. Flash memory doesn't work like hard drive at all and the ext file system isn't designed to be used on flash drive. It's like using a ferrari in the jungle. It's fast when on the road, but it doesn't make any sense in the jungle.

Edited 2008-09-05 12:04 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: FAT, it's all about FAT
by truckweb on Fri 5th Sep 2008 12:33 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: FAT, it's all about FAT"
truckweb Member since:
2005-07-06

First, I installed WinXP simply because I wanted WinXP, nothing against Linux, but did not want to use it. Since Acer have all their drivers for WinXP, it's simple to do and I also have an external DVD drive so it's even easier to install.

Second, FireFox under WinXP is faster than FireFox under the Linpus distro on the Aspire One. I can also say that the wireless speed was better under WinXP. That probably helped Firefox to be faster.

I did disable everything I could to make NTFS work, but it was still very slow. That's why I reinstalled everything on FAT32 and thing got much better.

On another note, why all post talking about WinXP are modded down? Linux fans? Grow up.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: FAT, it's all about FAT
by lemur2 on Fri 5th Sep 2008 14:49 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: FAT, it's all about FAT"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Did you use ext2 on SSD? That's a big mistake if you ask me. Maybe you are not aware, but on SSD, we use JFFS2. Of course, you must have had very slow performance with ext2! jffs2 is a journaled file system, you don't have to choose to disable that feature to obtain good performances.


Precisely so. The OP apparently knew enough to realise that NTFS gave unacceptable performance with XP using a SSD, and so used FAT instead, but did not realise that an entirely similar situation applied in Linux. Just as you cannot get decent performance with XP using NTFS on an SSD, so too you cannot get decent performance with Linux using ext2 on a SSD.

Ignorance of those facts by the OP has apparently led the OP to believe that Linux itself is slow and XP isn't.

It has been around for quite some time now and jffs3 will soon replace it.


Now that I didn't know. I had thought that Logfs was going to replace jffs2.

Reply Score: 5

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Uhm... What are you guys complaining about? ext2 sure isn't made for SSDs - but how about fat32? That sure isn't made for SSDs either! You guys would have a point if I used a log-structured filesystem on Windows, but not on Linux, and then compared performance of the two. However, as it stands now, there's an equal environment set up: two 'old-world' filesystems, boh NOT optimised for SSDs.

I don't like moving to relatively experimental filesystems, since you never know what you might run into.

As I expected when I wrote the article and pressed the publish button, a lot of people are so hell-bent on the idea that all what Microsoft does is suckage, and as soon as someone comes along who has the audacity to criticise Linux, he's an idiot, a moron, a Microsoft shill, or whatever.

I don't really care in the end, because I now have a netbook that outperforms the Linux installation, and whether you believe me or not (why on EARTH would I lie?!?), I'm still happy.

The next step is setting up a striped volume across the SSD and an SD card, which supposedly gives a massive speed bump.

http://www.aspireoneuser.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=2360&st=0&sk...

This can be achieved with Linux too, of course.

Edited 2008-09-05 15:10 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: FAT, it's all about FAT
by lemur2 on Fri 5th Sep 2008 15:22 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: FAT, it's all about FAT"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Uhm... What are you guys complaining about? ext2 sure isn't made for SSDs - but how about fat32? That sure isn't made for SSDs either! You guys would have a point if I used a log-structured filesystem on Windows, but not on Linux, and then compared performance of the two. However, as it stands now, there's an equal environment set up: two 'old-world' filesystems, boh NOT optimised for SSDs.

I don't like moving to relatively experimental filesystems, since you never know what you might run into.

As I expected when I wrote the article and pressed the publish button, a lot of people are so hell-bent on the idea that all what Microsoft does is suckage, and as soon as someone comes along who has the audacity to criticise Linux, he's an idiot, a moron, a Microsoft shill, or whatever.

I don't really care in the end, because I now have a netbook that outperforms the Linux installation, and whether you believe me or not (why on EARTH would I lie?!?), I'm still happy.


I have no doubt that you obtained the results you claim, Thom.

FAT is a venerable single-user filesystem originally designed for floppy disks with the old UPPERCAS.TXT 8.3 naming system. It has been heavily cludged since then, but it still lacks even elementary features needed by a modern OS. Good luck with your system security running with FAT, Thom.

It just happens to work tolerably well with SSDs. Almost by accident, really ... certainly not by design.

It is listed as a suitable SSD filesystem here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_file_systems#Flash_memory_.2F_...

You will note that neither NTFS nor ext2 is listed there.

So if you want to actually compare speeds, and you yourself have said that you believed writing to the SSD by firefox was the cause of the slowdown. BTW, if this were true, would happen in Windows to the same extent as in Linux, since firefox is the same codebase.

No, there is a very identifiable cause why you got good results with XP ... it is because you used FAT, and FAT happens to be suitable for use on an SSD.

So if you actually wanted to draw a fair comparison to Linux, you should actually use a filesystem that can support Linux and also happens to be suitable for use on a SSD.

That is all, Thom. No-one is having a go at you ... rather just pointing out the disjoint in your logic where you seem to have concluded that XP is faster when in fact what you did was compare XP on a cut-down capability (and hence faster) filesystem to a hobbled Linux install that was nowhere near as tuned to your hardware.

Reply Score: 5

RE[7]: FAT, it's all about FAT
by agrouf on Fri 5th Sep 2008 15:24 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: FAT, it's all about FAT"
agrouf Member since:
2006-11-17

Uhm... What are you guys complaining about? ext2 sure isn't made for SSDs - but how about fat32? That sure isn't made for SSDs either! You guys would have a point if I used a log-structured filesystem on Windows, but not on Linux, and then compared performance of the two. However, as it stands now, there's an equal environment set up: two 'old-world' filesystems, boh NOT optimised for SSDs.

You make it sound like linux and Windows are equal and should be equal. Maybe Windows is better for you if you don't want to use the extra features of linux. However, you should make it clear that linux is slower when used just like Windows, not when you use it as it should be used.
I don't like moving to relatively experimental filesystems, since you never know what you might run into.
It's been around for a very long time now.
As I expected when I wrote the article and pressed the publish button, a lot of people are so hell-bent on the idea that all what Microsoft does is suckage, and as soon as someone comes along who has the audacity to criticise Linux, he's an idiot, a moron, a Microsoft shill, or whatever.
It's because linux is a kernel and Windows is an OS. When you try to compare the two, you are wrong from the start.
I don't really care in the end, because I now have a netbook that outperforms the Linux installation, and whether you believe me or not (why on EARTH would I lie?!?), I'm still happy.

The next step is setting up a striped volume across the SSD and an SD card, which supposedly gives a massive speed bump.

http://www.aspireoneuser.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=2360&...

This can be achieved with Linux too, of course.

No problem man, be happy with Windows. I was just pointing, as a comment to your article that you used linux incorrectly and that there is an alternative to Windows for performance: use linux correctly.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: FAT, it's all about FAT
by renox on Fri 5th Sep 2008 19:15 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: FAT, it's all about FAT"
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

Yup, I used ext2. I tried just as hard to minimalise small writes to the SSD on Linux as I did on Windows ;) .
So did you mount the FS in Linux with noatime or relatime? A slow SSD is probably where this bring the biggest savings..

that Windows XP is actually a very mature, stable, and highly optimised piece of kit.
Agreed (except for the disk access but an SSD is different).

this netbook, in case we forget, has a hyperthreading processor running at 1.6Ghz.
Mmm, do not forget that an Atom is an in order design so it's not very efficient for a given frequency (about the same as a P4), but you're right that an Atom is no slouch.

The big problem with Ubuntu is not so much the OS itsellf, but the applications.
Yes: If you used BeOS you know that most (all?) of our current software (on Linux and Windows) suck big time compared to what they should be and this is mostly an application design issue not a kernel issue.

OOo doesn't hold a candle to this specialised version of Office 2003 (seriously, that's something you gotta see to believe) and so on.
Oh I believe it alright, OOo was an awfully slow application, it's just very slow now.

Reply Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

So did you mount the FS in Linux with noatime or relatime?


Noatime. Some here insinuate that I'm not experienced enough in Linux, but let me assure you - that is certainly not the case.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: FAT, it's all about FAT
by renox on Sat 6th Sep 2008 12:08 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: FAT, it's all about FAT"
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

Interesting so it was truly the equivalent of FAT32.

Some here insinuate that I'm not experienced enough in Linux, but let me assure you - that is certainly not the case.

Unfortunately advocates often tend to attack the messenger (or claim that the issue isn't interesting) when they don't like the message. Linux's advocates are no different from the other.

Reply Score: 2

Bending Unit Member since:
2005-07-06

i find it hard to believe that XP was more snappy or more responsive than ubuntu on any pc.

Not hard to believe. I have done many comparisons between Windows 2000/XP and Linux (Fedora, Ubuntu, Xubuntu...) on old, slow computers at work and Linux can not compare. These have been computers <= 1,8 GHz, often less than 1 GHz.

The anything-but-Microsoft people may not like it but Windows is the most usable operating system for older computers. Yes, there are distributions like DSL but they are generally too different and too hard to use.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: FAT, it's all about FAT
by malxau on Fri 5th Sep 2008 03:52 UTC in reply to "RE: FAT, it's all about FAT"
malxau Member since:
2005-12-04

Have you looked at what writes NTFS was generating that caused it to be slower than FAT? The worst case for an SSD is random writes; as another poster pointed out, NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate and NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation should take care of a bunch of those. I'm surprised that there would be a significant difference in random writes between NTFS & FAT.

Reply Score: 1

RE: FAT, it's all about FAT
by hyper on Fri 5th Sep 2008 06:15 UTC in reply to "FAT, it's all about FAT"
hyper Member since:
2005-06-29

You and Thom could also try enabling Enhanced Write Filter:

http://jymster.org/wordpress/2008/06/18/windows-xp-running-from-a-c...

It caches all changes to file system to RAM at sector level (my understanding). If you need to save changes you can commit them manually or automatically on some condition.

Of course this adds some complexity to daily usage. You would probably need to separate documents partition from OS and only enable EWF for OS one. And after installing something and/or system settings change you would have to commit FS changes to disk but I think this should improve FS access speed quite noticeably. Also EWF and 1GB RAM would probably be better combination than 512MB ;)

Edit: URL linking too confusing for me here ;)

Edited 2008-09-05 06:23 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Comment by pinochet
by pinochet on Fri 5th Sep 2008 00:16 UTC
pinochet
Member since:
2008-09-05

Wow what a neat article. I really like using the Asus EEEPC and seeing all the neat little libretto style notebooks appear on the market and all the neat things you can do with them. I wish I had more money to experiment with more of these neat little machines.

Reply Score: 1

why remove Linux?
by lqsh on Fri 5th Sep 2008 01:35 UTC
lqsh
Member since:
2007-01-01

Why remove Linux and install XP? It seems like a hassle compared to just buying the Acer One with XP pre-installed.

Reply Score: 3

RE: why remove Linux?
by bosco_bearbank on Fri 5th Sep 2008 02:02 UTC in reply to "why remove Linux?"
bosco_bearbank Member since:
2005-10-12

Why remove Linux and install XP? It seems like a hassle compared to just buying the Acer One with XP pre-installed.


It probably was. Now I bought the Win XP version because I wanted the 120GB HDD, and proceeded to load the latest development versions of Fedora and Ubuntu. Not quite the hassle, and both Linuxes seem to work reasonably well, but neither gives full use of both card slots. Haven't checked out WinXP with the slots, but I'm betting it'll just work.

Reply Score: 2

lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

No Bluetooth on the Acer Aspire One, and a slow SSD. It also has a 3-cell battery ... 1.5 hours only.

That was the disappointment for me, in addtition to the attempted lock-down of Linux. It also has a sealed case.

Given that it was rumoured to have Ubuntu pre-installed, I was going to opt for a Dell Mini Inspiron 9 if it seemed right, but no ... Dell don't want to sell to me:
http://www.cnet.com.au/laptops/laptops/0,239035649,339291812,00.htm
"While in the US there are a range of configuration options including the choice for Ubuntu as your operating system, Australia at this stage has one configuration alone."

http://www.theage.com.au/news/aaa/dell-joins-netbook-fray/2008/09/0...
"Dell has launched itself into the nascent netbook market pioneered by the Asus Eee PC, which analysts predict will soon account for a third of all laptop sales. From today consumers can order the diminutive Dell Inspiron Mini 9 for $599. The first review, published by APC magazine, described it as "very sexy" and praised the inclusion of a 16GB hard drive, webcam and Bluetooth support." (So far, so good)

but then disaster ...
"In Australia the Mini 9 comes with Windows XP only, despite Linux being included as an option overseas."

Dell Australia have blown it very badly here IMO.

Oh well, that has enticed me to look out for other options to get an Ubuntu pre-loaded Linux netbook in Australia.

http://www.pioneercomputers.com.au/products/info.asp?c1=3&c2=12&id=...

And there we have it.

Made in Australia. Check.
$549 = $50 cheaper. Check.
60GB Hard disk. Check.
1 GB RAM. Check. (2 GB maximum ... I thought Microsoft had banned that much RAM in a netbook?)
Webcam included. Check.
Ethernet, Wireless and Bluetooth all included. Check.
Keyboard with function keys. Check.

http://www.pioneercomputers.com.au/products/configure.asp?c1=3&c2=1...

Ubuntu pre-installed as an option. Check. (Save $49 over XP Home). Double check.

Bad luck, Dell Australia ... you miss out. You could have had the market, but you blew it.

Edited 2008-09-05 04:09 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

It also has a 3-cell battery ... 1.5 hours only.


That's nonsense, by the way. In both Windows XP and Linux, battery time averages out at ~2.5hrs, with wireless ON.

Reply Score: 1

truckweb Member since:
2005-07-06

My Aspire last for about 2hrs to 2.5hrs depending on what I'm doing with it. Wireless does eat more energy.

The included SSD is indeed slow. Probably worst than the original EeePC 701 I had before.

Reply Score: 2

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"It also has a 3-cell battery ... 1.5 hours only.


That's nonsense, by the way. In both Windows XP and Linux, battery time averages out at ~2.5hrs, with wireless ON.
"

Well I don't have a netbook myself yet, so I can't comment, but 1.5 hours was a figure I'd read somewhere in comparisons.

Regardless, the Aspire One has one of the puniest batteries in this class of machine, however long it actually lasts:

http://www.zdnet.com.au/reviews/hardware/laptops/soa/Acer-Aspire-On...

"The Acer Aspire One is better than most netbooks and is fantastic for anyone who wants a small, cheap machine on which to type and surf the Web. However, its battery life lets it down slightly.

...

The bad:

* Small, oddly designed mouse trackpad
* Poor battery life

...

be warned, though: the One saves weight because it comes with a very small, very lightweight 2200mAh battery"

I mean to say, three warnings in the one review should be enough to alert anybody.

I priced an Acer Aspire One in the local shops today ... here in Australia, with: its weaker battery (3 cell vs 4 cell); same processor, ports and screen; half the RAM capacity; one eighth the disk space and no Bluetooth it costs $150 more in the stores than the Pioneer DreamBook Light IL3 netbook.

http://jkkmobile.blogspot.com/2008/08/meet-pioneer-dreambook-light-...

http://www.ferret.com.au/c/PIONEER-Computers-Australia/PIONEER-Comp...

I know which one I would recommend.

Edited 2008-09-05 15:06 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Firefox on SSD
by leos on Fri 5th Sep 2008 05:15 UTC
leos
Member since:
2005-09-21

The trick to running Firefox on these little PCs is to disable the phishing protection. Before I did that Firefox would lock up my EeePC for minutes at a time with a solid disk activity light. Disabling this option removes all problems.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Firefox on SSD
by achmafooma on Fri 5th Sep 2008 17:15 UTC in reply to "Firefox on SSD"
achmafooma Member since:
2008-09-05

I have to second this report. I was going CRAZY trying to get Firefox 3 working right on my EeePC (running Xubuntu) without long hangs and instability... turning off the phishing protections did the trick, and it works just as well as it does on any other platform now.

Reply Score: 2

optimizations
by geleto on Fri 5th Sep 2008 08:09 UTC
geleto
Member since:
2005-07-06

Why disable write-caching? Random writes on SSD are very slow.
And disabling prefetch to gain speed? This is a myth: http://askbobrankin.com/windows_prefetch.html

Reply Score: 1

RE: optimizations
by Thom_Holwerda on Fri 5th Sep 2008 11:12 UTC in reply to "optimizations"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

And disabling prefetch to gain speed? This is a myth:


Not when you're talking SSDs.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: optimizations
by geleto on Fri 5th Sep 2008 11:41 UTC in reply to "RE: optimizations"
geleto Member since:
2005-07-06

Why? Prefetching will write to disk only when you run a new application, or an application that you haven't used for a long time.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: optimizations
by Thom_Holwerda on Fri 5th Sep 2008 11:51 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: optimizations"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Why? Prefetching will write to disk only when you run a new application, or an application that you haven't used for a long time.


Common misconception. Prefetch doesn't only check which applications you run, but also how often. At every launch, it writes a little bit to disk. This is not noticeable on normal hard drives, but on these slow SSDs, it adds up. Disabling prefetch makes a noticeable difference.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by ichi
by ichi on Fri 5th Sep 2008 10:35 UTC
ichi
Member since:
2007-03-06

I've found linpus to be quite usable on my aspire one, once I unlocked the xfce menu. It feels really snappy despite of having only 512MB.

My only gripe is with it's repositories, other than that I haven't had any problem so far.
Anyway if I was to replace the OS (which I'll probably do eventually) I'd rather go with debian instead of ubuntu.

Reply Score: 2

It depends on your knowledge
by agrouf on Fri 5th Sep 2008 12:00 UTC
agrouf
Member since:
2006-11-17

If you know linux well, you can make it way faster than Windows. However, it requires a lot of knowledge to do it. Windows on the other hand doesn't require knowledge to deliver poor performance, but is still acceptable when you don't have the knowledge. Ubuntu doesn't require knowledge, but can make use of it if you have it and can deliver performance with knowledge applied.

Edited 2008-09-05 12:01 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: It depends on your knowledge
by lemur2 on Fri 5th Sep 2008 15:45 UTC in reply to "It depends on your knowledge"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

If you know linux well, you can make it way faster than Windows. However, it requires a lot of knowledge to do it. Windows on the other hand doesn't require knowledge to deliver poor performance, but is still acceptable when you don't have the knowledge. Ubuntu doesn't require knowledge, but can make use of it if you have it and can deliver performance with knowledge applied.


To make XP fast the knowledge needed was: "don't use NTFS, use the only other choice, which is FAT".

To make Linux as fast on the same machine, the knowledge needed was: "don't use ext2, use another choice suitable for SSDs, which is jffs2".

Apparently Acer themselves didn't know that second bit of knowledge.

Even given that Acer didn't know it, in and of itself that doesn't mean that the knowledge in Linux is intrinsically harder. A little more obscure, I will grant you ... but not actually any harder to know or find out.

One google search using keywords "filesystem" and SSD wasn't enough ... so I then tried keywords "filesystem" and "flash memory" and presto ... I found out what was needed to know (for both XP and Linux). It took no more than a minute.

Edited 2008-09-05 15:46 UTC

Reply Score: 4

Ubuntu is the wrong choice
by Ford Prefect on Fri 5th Sep 2008 17:12 UTC
Ford Prefect
Member since:
2006-01-16

I would say Ubuntu is the wrong choice for limited hardware like this. Ubuntu has a fairly bloaty design.

You should try a slim distribution like Arch Linux instead. You will end up, for example, with lots more of free memory for your applications. Also the optimization to 686, stripping debug symbols etc. Arch does should help quite a bit compared to Ubuntu.

Finally you could try other browser products like Epiphany or something Webkit-based (like Chrome which you use).

I installed ArchLinux on a friend's old laptop (Pentium 2 w/ 266 Mhz, 64 MB RAM only). I made it minimal (easy, as Arch starts minimal and you have to add stuff yourself, not the other way round), using Fluxbox as Window manager, Epiphany as browser (not the smallest one, but my friend likes the History feature a lot), Thunar as file manager with automount for usb sticks, and some stuff like vlc, abiword, etc.
It works surprisingly well as a mainly mail-reading & websurfing machine. No swap is used when thunar and epiphany are running and some heavy websites were used (even youtube videos work). For 64 MB, this is an awesome result to me. We are talking about cutting-edge software here, giving today's web experience, on such an old system.


So if you ever think of a gnu/linux distribution for a netbook, better not use Ubuntu or Suse. Apply one of the strengths of the open source world by choosing a system that fits you (your hardware) most.


And Thom: Have fun w/ your XP. It's a shame for your university though.

Reply Score: 6

Since when...
by truckweb on Fri 5th Sep 2008 17:45 UTC
truckweb
Member since:
2005-07-06

Since when was it a bad choice to install WinXP on any device that I would like to use, instead of any Linux distro?

It almost look like Thom committed a sin in wanting WinXP on his Aspire One. Whatever, if it's better for him, then that's fine with me. I did the same with my Aspire and I'm quite happy.

Thom, good article.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Since when...
by agrouf on Fri 5th Sep 2008 17:58 UTC in reply to "Since when..."
agrouf Member since:
2006-11-17

Tom's choice is Tom's choice. I don't believe anybody has a problem with that.
This is an article on OSNews and people are commenting on the article. On the news, if somebody had bad experience with linux and prefer using Windows, then this is fine. If some people report that there are alternative linux distributions that you can use to have a better experience, or if some people report as a comment that on the contrary they had a good experience, this is fine as well. To each their own.

Reply Score: 4

Total misconception about a SSD
by daleus on Sat 6th Sep 2008 09:30 UTC
daleus
Member since:
2007-09-08

Hello fanboys,

what 'bout a bit of recherche ?
A SSD is different from a pure piece
of flash memory. Its an advanced controller
presenting multiple parts of flash memory as
a SATA disk to bus hardware and OS. It handles
multi-channel access and wear-leveling internally.
(fine specimen even include a DRAM buffer).

Shooting at it with jffs, logfs, FATxy or
whatsoever will never hit a distinct flash
memory cell.

(btw, would youve expected Sandisk and others
asking microsoft about a Vista release with
an especially created filesystem for their
upcoming high capacity SSDs ?)

Anyone out there with profund informations about
an actual filesystem derivate that take care
of real SSD features ?

Bye

Reply Score: 1

agrouf Member since:
2006-11-17

This is why there is BLK-MTD for linux. SSD drives are flash drive at the core with a layer on top of it making the system think it is a block device. However, it does not have the same performance as a SATA disk, but that of a flash drive. BLK-MTD is a layer on top of the block device making a block device appear as MTD. You can use jffs2 on BLK-MTD on a SSD, or UBIFS, or LogFS.

Reply Score: 2

daleus Member since:
2007-09-08

Fine !

Thats been profound :-)

So, why did noone else talk about the
necessity of block2mtd ?

Isn't that overhead compared to the SSDs onboard
drive logic ?

Oh, Wikipedia tells me Aspire Ones are
equipped e.g. with an Intel® Z-P230 SSD.
And Intel says in the Preliminary Product Manual :

The PATA controller in the Intel® Z-P230 PATA Solid State Drive uses
a microcontrollerbased architecture that enables two flash memory
channels to service read and write operations. See Figure 3,
“Functional Block Diagram of Intel Z-P230 PATA Solid State Drive”
on page 7. Capable of performing flash management functions, the
SSD also implements internal wear leveling to
minimize system overhead.


Now, that even enables Windows to be installed on those
- without tweaking device type emulation layers and experimental filesystems.

Carry on ...

Edited 2008-09-09 16:50 UTC

Reply Score: 1