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Is Ubuntu getting slower?


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#1 Ohm

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 02:35 PM

This is pretty interesting. A number of benchmarks were performed on identical hardware and default software configurations of the last four Ubuntu releases. You might expect most of the benchmarks to stay the same, but that's not necessarily true.

http://www.phoronix....i..._2008&num=1

#2 Pharoh

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 05:57 PM

I read this article a couple days ago, I found it pretty interesting as well. While many of these benchmarks show Ubuntu to be getting slower, I have not found my Ubuntu laptop to reflect any of these slow downs. Granted, I haven't done any benchmarks on it, however I've been running the newest versions of Ubuntu since my laptop was new (around the time of 7.04).

I use Ubuntu because of the level of compatibility with hardware that it has, otherwise I would be using debian. I really enjoy the fact that hardware support keeps getting better; for example, my Intel HDA audio worked out of the box with the latest Ubuntu release - which was awesome. Also, my Broadcom wireless card was much easier to get working in the newest release.

I think all of these things are worth some slowdowns, except for in extreme cases like the 50% slower MP3 encoding test.

#3 Seal

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 06:52 PM

I'm astounded really. It's a pretty radical shift on many benchmarks for pure number crunching. What is it even in the kernel that could affect this? How they handle memory?

#4 lattera

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 06:52 PM

Technology progresses. Software enhancements are expected.

#5 Ohm

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 07:19 PM

I'm astounded really. It's a pretty radical shift on many benchmarks for pure number crunching. What is it even in the kernel that could affect this? How they handle memory?


The scheduler can affect performance quite a bit. If the new scheduler is tuned for interactive responsiveness, then number crunching programs could suffer. There's always a balance, but I haven't seen the "responsiveness" of the system get any better (or worse) over the years. Not that I use Ubuntu right now anyway, 8.10 failed miserably on me and I'm XP only for the time being :P

Technology progresses. Software enhancements are expected.


Yes, but people generally expect things to get faster. Why would I want new software that runs slower?

#6 lattera

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 11:14 PM

Is that newer software ran on newer hardware?

#7 Spyril

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 01:11 AM

8.10 failed miserably on me and I'm XP only for the time being


What exactly does that mean? I have heard about nothing but positive experiences with Ibex, other than that some older series nVidia cards aren't supported by the new 2.6.27 kernel.

#8 Ohm

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 01:41 AM

8.10 failed miserably on me and I'm XP only for the time being


What exactly does that mean? I have heard about nothing but positive experiences with Ibex, other than that some older series nVidia cards aren't supported by the new 2.6.27 kernel.


No matter what I did, mouse input was horribly laggy. From what I could tell, X was running all right, it was just the mouse that was the problem. Something was also hanging at boot, it took a few minutes to start up. The project I'm working on right now is on Windows anyway, so I'll come back to 8.10 later.

I've always had problems with Linux on this machine though. I have to end up disabling ACPI and the onboard sound, except during the installer because its auto-configured X needs ACPI, then hope it boots correctly without ACPI when it's installed and get X configured. It's a pain in the ass, but Linux always has been a pain in the ass. Maybe I shouldn't have chosen the absolute cheapest board (which is ironically an ASUS, who makes my kickass Eee) I could find at the moment.

#9 WhatChout

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 04:37 PM

Is that newer software ran on newer hardware?

Do you subscribe to the idea of throwing more hardware on software problems? It's unreasonable to expect the new software to always run as fast as the old software without new hardware, but only if the new software actually offers something new. The current trend in the software market is, however, to just churn out software that could be made faster with a few tweaks and tell everyone that they just need newer hardware.

#10 lattera

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 05:09 PM

That is very true. However, the article is about how Ubuntu has gotten slower between versions 7.04 and 8.10. Many new features have been added between those versions. So the point you make (which is true) doesn't apply here.

#11 Ohm

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 05:29 PM

New features added to the operating system shouldn't affect how fast MP3s encode. Something fishy is going on, either with the Ubuntu kernel or their benchmarking program. I'd be interested to see how Ubuntu fares when compared to other distros in seemingly irrelevant tests like MP3 encoding. You'd think they'd be more or less the same, but from these tests, you just never know.

Also, newer software is not always faster. Especially when upgrading to newer environments that do more at runtime. It's like upgrading from C to Python, trading easier coding for less efficient execution. However, that's not really an issue here as the performance of these programs are entirely dependent on things like the kernel, glibc, X and GTK. All of those are written in C.

#12 Dr. Z2A

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Posted 08 November 2008 - 05:14 AM

This isn't anything new to me. I used Ubuntu 7.10 and it ran just fine, and then as soon as I upgrade to 8.04 everything became ridiculously slow on me. That was when I switched over to Debian and everything has run great ever since. Ubuntu has gotten waaaay too much bloat. Originally it was nice cause it had a lot of features and was easy to use, but they just keep adding more features to the point that its getting ridiculous.

#13 oddflux

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 12:57 PM

I sort of figured this too. I haven't taken any benchmarks of my own, but I find that it utilizes a lot more ram, and is heavy on the cpu cycle bursts.

If I had another distro to switch to, without the need to get all my applications all over, I'd probably switch. but i have too much stuff to loose

#14 Colonel Panic

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 08:55 PM

I'm running Kubuntu, but I haven't installed Intrepid yet. In fact, I'm still using KDE 3.5.9. I usually don't upgrade the distro right after it's released, because I prefer to let other users do the field testing to make sure there are no incompatibilities or bugs before I adopt it myself. Guess I'm just an asshole like that.

Anybody have any experiences with Kubuntu 8.10 "Intrepid Ibex" they'd like to share?

Edited by Colonel Panic, 10 November 2008 - 08:56 PM.


#15 lattera

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 11:45 PM

You'll experience many kernel crashes if you use intel 4965 wireless card.

#16 Spooned

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 03:04 AM

8.10 failed miserably on me and I'm XP only for the time being


What exactly does that mean? I have heard about nothing but positive experiences with Ibex, other than that some older series nVidia cards aren't supported by the new 2.6.27 kernel.


Its true, 8.10 Alternate 64bit AMD version doesnt work at all with my graphics card (9600GT) X Server fails half way through loading into Ubuntu (it installed 100%, its after the reboot)

#17 phr34kc0der

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 02:29 PM

Im using 8.10 and i think it's fantastic. Sure, it's not the fastest but the hardware support is great (especially compared to 8.04 - big disappointment). For a "works, no fuss" machine (we all need one of those) i have no problems trading a bit of performance for ease of use. If it's stable and if it lets me do what i want then it's good enough for me. As for kubuntu, im sorry but i cant offer any comments. I installed using wubi a little while back (really just for a test, i always wanted to try wubi) but i really dislike KDE. Personally, i havent noticed any speed differences between releases, but then again, i've never bench marked it.

#18 Seal

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 08:54 PM

Im using 8.10 and i think it's fantastic. Sure, it's not the fastest but the hardware support is great (especially compared to 8.04 - big disappointment). For a "works, no fuss" machine (we all need one of those) i have no problems trading a bit of performance for ease of use. If it's stable and if it lets me do what i want then it's good enough for me. As for kubuntu, im sorry but i cant offer any comments. I installed using wubi a little while back (really just for a test, i always wanted to try wubi) but i really dislike KDE. Personally, i havent noticed any speed differences between releases, but then again, i've never bench marked it.

I've been running both Kubuntu 8.10 and Ubuntu 8.10. There's a big discrepancy between the two in terms of general polish and stability. I thought it was the hardware I was running, but then I installed Kubuntu on other systems and was seeing the exact same bugs. You click to open a menu, and instead of the item fading in or popping up, you have random data from what I assume to be the video buffer fill in the space where the menu will show up. And the KDE daemons tend to crash. So does KDM. That's a pretty big problem.

GNOME is much more refined. Probably because they're not trying to redesign a desktop environment from scratch. Which is unfortunate for KDE, as it looks bloody fantastic. It just doesn't run well. Even at version 4.2.

#19 Ohm

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 09:03 PM

The "random garbage" has something to do with Compiz, I see it on just about everything on my machine.

I had some really bad experienced with KDE 4, it just didn't work. KDE 3, on the other hand, is faster (Qt is generally quicker) and the applications are better. I don't have any of the stability problems you refer to.

Though there is something wrong with Ubuntu's hardware detection and this machine. I just can't get it to work unless I do some magical little dance of disabling ACPI, which breaks my networking, then reboot and video doesn't work, etc. Then again, I booted up the PCLinuxOS live CD and everything works great. Go figure. That's what I was referring to (a few months ago) in this thread about Ubuntu crapping out on me.

I should gather some live CDs and do some informal benchmarks to see if performance of, say, encoding an MP3 (it'll have to be in a ramdisk or something) really does take any longer on some distros.

#20 Aghaster

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 09:07 PM

This isn't anything new to me. I used Ubuntu 7.10 and it ran just fine, and then as soon as I upgrade to 8.04 everything became ridiculously slow on me. That was when I switched over to Debian and everything has run great ever since. Ubuntu has gotten waaaay too much bloat. Originally it was nice cause it had a lot of features and was easy to use, but they just keep adding more features to the point that its getting ridiculous.


Yeah! Another Debian user in this expanding Ubuntu world. I kind of have the same feeling, I'm used to Debian and I don't need all the uber-cool added features of Ubuntu.




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