Nothing quite says Autumn like the arrival of a fresh crop of Linux distros. Well, for Linux fans anyway. As usual, both Fedora and Ubuntu are gearing up for new releases, with the Ubuntu crew already pushing out the first betas of Ubuntu 9.10, dubbed Karmic Koala. Although Ubuntu 9.10 is only a beta release and still needs a …
...but boot time does matter
"most Linux users tend to just leave the system running indefinitely"
Is this true? Does no-one care about energy consumption? In these days of energy efficient light-bulbs, and energy markings for TV standby modes, leaving a PC on consuming 100W or so during the night seems kind of irresponsible. Frankly, even buying one that consumes 100W if you could do all you want on a fan-less job at less than 30W seems a bit off.
Its a very smart move on Ubuntu's part to focus on startup time - the days of power hungry machines running non stop when no-one is using them must be numbered. You also save a bit of money (not as much as 26 seconds of a person's time 230 times a year, but probably more than 10 seconds of their time).
Running Karmic Alpha 4
And it's awesome. Fast as hell, compatible with all but one of my machines, and KDE 4.3.1 is very nice indeed. The huge improvement for me was in multi-monitor support. It didn't work at all in Hardy, was a bit mental in Intrepid, was still buggy in Jaunty, but works perfectly in Karmic. Glad they finally sorted that.
That said, the reason I'm still on alpha 4 is how badly they buggered up alphas 5 and 6. A set of updates came down and crippled the entire OS on two of my machines. Fortunately, we're talking about Ubuntu here, so a reinstallation took less than an hour, but it was still annoying. Hopefully the problems are fixed in beta 1. I'll try it in a VM this time...
And why in the hell does GNOME have an option to turn off touchpad tapping, but KDE doesn't? It's infuriating!
why don;t they make a tool that can freeze a memory image to disk ?
The problem with slow booting machines is all the dynamic loading and linking going on between various elements.
Allow the machine to boot , configure it and reboot again clean. now store a memory layout as bootfile.
on the next power cycle the memory image is restored.
such an image could reside in a separate partition. a live memory image of a couple of hundred meagabytes could be loaded in under a second. the only thing required is a minimalistic hardware init.
if you install new hardware you would need to re-run the boot builder of course ...
Now that we've dispensed with k-k...
...I suggest 'lumbering langur' for the next iteration.
Also, I find it amusing that an OS trumpted as the end-all-be-all, linux-on-the-desktop-has-arrived savior hasn't managed until now to make multiple monitors work. It's always fun to hear linux nuts lambaste windows when individual (badly-written) apps crash on it, or when lousy system administrators break it, and then praise, say, the ability of a given distro to work with wireless network cards as proof of its superiority.
Speed is Good
I don't know if anyone else has even tried this, or if somehow I've stumbled on the best kept secret of all time, but I have antix M7 on a Latitude LS400 (thats a P111 at a whopping 500MHz, with 256 MB of ram) -and when hibernated, it goes from a standing start to previously hibernated desktop in 24 seconds.What that would be like on hardware you would actually WANT to use is anybodys guess - it would probably catch fire/make the sun implode, something like that. Fast boot times are ALWAYS A good idea - anyone who supports a corporate environment, and wastes thousands of seconds a year watching "Running Startup scripts" on Windoze NEEDS those reclaimed seconds! We NEED them!Bad!
"The huge improvement for me was in multi-monitor support. It didn't work at all in Hardy, was a bit mental in Intrepid, was still buggy in Jaunty, but works perfectly in Karmic. Glad they finally sorted that."
AFAIK, no engineer employed by Canonical is at all involved in any of that development.
If you take a look at the relevant changelogs:
http://cgit.freedesktop.org/xorg/xserver/log/ (X server)
http://cgit.freedesktop.org/xorg/driver/xf86-video-intel/log/ (Intel driver)
http://cgit.freedesktop.org/xorg/driver/xf86-video-ati/log/ (Radeon driver)
http://cgit.freedesktop.org/nouveau/xf86-video-nouveau/log/ (NVIDIA driver)
you will see Intel, ATI/AMD, and Red Hat employees; contributors to Debian and Gentoo, and people from many other milieux...but, as far as I can see, no-one with any relationship to Ubuntu or Canonical.
(Oh, wait. I see Bryce Harrington has committed a handful of one-line device quirks to a few drivers.)
No big deal, but be aware who's actually doing the work you're benefiting from.
(nb: I work for Red Hat. We employ Dave Airlie, Adam Jackson, Ben Skeggs, and Kristian Høgsberg who I can name off the top of my head as significant X contributors).
"why don;t they make a tool that can freeze a memory image to disk ?"
Um...you mean like suspend-to-disk? Which most laptops have done for, ooh, decades, and many desktops support these days?
@vincent himpe re. fast boot
Isn't what you suggest just a variation on Hibernation. I use Hibernate when I've finished using my (Windows) PC; not to save the state of any applications but just to avoid the oh so long boot time that is needed after a Shut-Down.
As a matter of interest, does Ubuntu (or the other distros) have Hibernate as one of it's turn-off options? I'm thinking about trying it before my Win-7 RC license runs out next June.
Have you tried turning it off?
"Given its stability, most Linux users tend to just leave the system running indefinitely,"
I keep seeing people saying this. Is it true? Really? I use Linux and I turn my PC on when I want to use it and off when I'm done. Why? Because leaving it on all the time achieves nothing but waste electricity and my time is not so desperately precious that I can't spare a minute while the PC boots up. Occasionally if I know I'm coming back to the PC within an hour or so I'll tell it to suspend to ram.
I'm on Hardy
If Koala is a LTS release, I'll have it. If it isn't, I won't.
Please make clear whether this distro has long-term support in your review ;)
Ubuntu Netbook Release has a suspend to disk option on its logout screen. I suspect all Linuxes can do it, if you know the right magic, and your hardware supports ACPI... yes indeedy. acpi4linux would seem to be what you're after...
I'm running 2 monitors on Kubuntu 8.04 ( I like KDE 3.5) just fine.
The wireless support has also worked out of the box on my last 2 laptops
Dunno what all the fuss about, or is it just fud?
here we go again ...
all of the above says a couple of things to me :
1. If you've bought a pc in the same way you bought a pc - then you need Windows 7.
2. If you've bought a pc in the same way you bought a DIY flooring pack, or you planning to build a wall for the first time, or you wonder how things work rather than why they just work then you need Linux.
I've used both, I love both - as a techie I lover learning more and more with linux. As a bog standard user I will use windows and you must know that this will not change - too much marketing etc etc.
Lets be honest here - a kids nowadays : Mp3 = ipod = yes i know how to work it
Anyone over 25 who plays games = yes playstation controller = i know how to work it
General PC user = Windows = yes i know how to work it
If you people can't see this you are truly blind.
Keeping an eye on Ubuntu, but switched
It's impressive to see the leaps and bounds made by Ubuntu, but I made the desktop switch from Windows to Mac after much wrestling with Ubuntu.
I have a permanent Ubuntu install (9.04) on the upstairs laptop I use from time to time which I will upgrade, but it just doesn't stack up to the user experience and performance of Mac Os X. (Obviously a lot of that is hardware related, but not all...)
I also am not keen on making the switch from Debian Testing for LAMP dev work (we run Debian testing on work web servers) to Ubuntu, but that may change, given the number of times our Debian servers have needed emergency treatment after a buggy package update. (we run testing for security reasons - that's the sysadmins reason, I have no say in the matter...)
It's a platform I'll keep my eye on for a LAMP web server, but not for a primary Desktop solution, not just yet anyway. After years using Windows on the desktop and dabbling with desktop Linux, Mac has just swept me off my feet (after much resistance)
Kudos to the Ubuntu team regardless, the more competition and innovation in the marketplace, the better choices we will have in the long run.
What does this post prove?
I'm a Mac fanboi? - no, but it's a choice that has worked so damn well, I can't ignore the fact that the Mac OS X operating system is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition when coupled with dedicated, supported hardware - the Apple ethos.
It also proves I've had too many drinks for one night... hic ...
To reduce your Carbon Footprint you should NEVER power down your machine!
Everyone is saying you should power down your machine to save power. That's irresponsible. Do you realize how large a carbon footprint your machine took up to manufacture? The only way to reduce that is to make sure to leave your machine on 24/7 and have the CPU at max working on Folding at Home or some other useful task. Otherwise you'll never make up for the amount of energy spent manufacturing, assembling, and even shipping your computer. Never EVER turn your machine off, or let your CPU drop below 100%.
"More than just a Pidgin replacement, Telepathy offers baked in video-chat and VOIP support, two things that aren't even on the Pidgin roadmap."
Not only it is on the roadmap, but it already works for XMPP, from version 2.6.1. OK, it's maybe not so good as it is in Telepathy right now, but it works acceptably (tested it myself) and it's certainly on the roadmap.
Anyone who wants to keep up with all the new releases, you need to reboot as part of the upgrade.
My early Fedora 3 box on the other hand has 1318 days of uptime :-)
Hang on a minute... Double standards...
"Ubuntu One also offers public shared folders which other Ubuntu users can access from their PC"
Hang on, how is this different to Opera Units? Shouldn't everyone be jumping up and down right now and shouting about how it's gonna cause Internet Armageddon?
Does this feature mean that Ubuntu is unsafe to be deployed in the corporate environment?
Yup, I leave my computer running all the time and no, I don't give a toss about energy consumption.
"most Linux users tend to just leave the system running indefinitely"
Well, I would do, if running Ubuntu indefinitely didn't cause my laptop to turn into a small portable heater.
Debian does hybrid suspend/hibernate
On Debian 5 (not sure about other distros, but Mandriva 2008 and earlier did not have this), there is a s2both, which does what a hibernation would (ie. save state to disk), but instead of powering off, it suspends.
The downside is that the system takes its sweet time to go down (as much as a hibernation would). The flipside is that it goes up as fast as it would from a suspend-to-ram, but if you lose power, the system does not do a full boot, but returns from hibernate.
I have to say, that is the best of both worlds, isn't it?
Look up Asrock's Instant Boot, Windows only but it does speed up restarts by setting up a freshly started system snapshot - at the cost of much longer shutdowns, presumably you get to walk away from the PC while that happens. If doesn't persist the state so you pay on every shutdown but that's probably better than the chaos system updates would cause.
Only problem: hibernate needs to work. I've seen exactly one system build here able to restart from hibernate in Linux. It stopped working with the 1st update I ran. Most didn't work under Windows either apart from the laptop and even that fails after 6 or so WinXP restarts.
We need fast booting because its so damn easy to break hibernation/standby support. I'd love to leave my machines in standby most of the time but it's not happening for me.
Sure, short boot times...
But then a lifetime spent on man pages, the internet, and trawling through tomes of command line junk just to get your graphics card and wireless internet to work.
No thanks. LIfe is to short.
Hibernate is so 1990's
I mean, it was a neat idea and all. Dump an image of your ram contents to HDD so that you can reboot to where you were AND completely power off the machine in the meantime.
Frankly, who wouldn't want to do that?
Well, actually, anybody with more than about 256Mb of RAM wouldn't, if they have any sense.
I have 2GB RAM in my laptop. I could boot cycle it three times in the time it takes to reload a 2GB RAM image.
@Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse
Right so i didn't have to go and find a graphics driver for my ati card when i installed Windows 7. I didn't have to find a wireless driver for my pci card either.
Meantime ubuntu pops up a little message advising me of some extra drivers that make wobbly windows work, and the wireless just works straight away.
get a grip man, everyone who runs Windows spends their time trawling the internet for solutions they just don't see that as a problem, but when you have to do it for Linux its like such a pain.
here we go again ... Part II
@SpinMe Posted Thursday 1st October 2009 21:19 GMT
"General PC user = Windows = yes i know how to work it"
General PC users *think* they can work Windows, but reality is they can do so only up to a point. That's how botnets came about.
Running Windows appears easy. Running Windows without getting pwned definitely isn't.
I know quite a few users who know how to work Windows pretty well - some have been using it since 3.1 - and they *still* get pwned once every six months or so, antivirus and firewall notwithstanding.
I switched a few of them - those without application software constraints e.g. they didn't require AutoCad or other Windows-only software - to Ubuntu. End of problem, period. After the initial pain of getting used to a new OS, from their point of view it was absolute bliss.
That said, I have a win2k box as my one of my main workstations for 8 years straight, and it hasn't been pwned once. It can be done, but it requires a much more intimate knowledge of the OS than most users can muster, a bit of tweaking and one really cannot afford to be careless (as in: do I really want to click on this link? , etc.)
Powering down doesn't kill computers
I'm eagerly awaiting Lengthy Lingam to improve boot time.
I run three PCs that get powered up daily. They're in an office that gets very cold so during winter they often get booted at below freezing. I've been doing that for over 15 years. For a while it was 5 computers including 2 Macs.
I have never had a computer failure due this mythical thermal stressing.
Still, most PCs these days don't use much power. My dualcore Linux desktop uses around 40W with the monitors in standby..
Sure, in the very bad old days (1980s etc), some components, especially capacitors and power supplies, were prone to catastrophic failures. These days the more intelligent power supplies are far more reliable.
Leaving computers on just keeps them running botware etc. Very few people actually need their computers to run all the time.
Windows boys! Closed source and closed minds!
You Windows boys berate us celler-squatting, beard-fondlers for living in the past and only remembering Windows from 1994, but you do the same disservice to Linux!
I have Ubuntu at work as my main desktop, running multi-monitor on Nvidia cards, with spread desktop. I don't remember having to manually configure a graphics card or wireless kit for at least 2 years of Ubuntu installs now on a small selection of laptops and desktops.
Windows is much the same now, I installed the Win7 beta and the only thing I had to do the other day was just download an ATI driver, just so I could play Fallout3 as the native drvers didn't have the needed bits, but no biggy. Not MS fault that ATI and Nvidia are so pathetic they won't let MS have the full driver to put in their kit.
Things move on. As a Penguin Beard-Fondler, I respect that Windows has advanced, how about you Windows boys install Linux once in a while to appreciate that it has moved on? Nope, didn't think so, typical Windows users with closed source and closed minds!
@ Tommy Pock
9.10 is not an LTS. You want 10.04, known as "Lucid Lynx", due next April.
I take it you downloaded 9.10 (or whatever), installed it and the multiple monitors didn't work, then. Right.
"Given its stability", ?
Tried 8.04 and 8.10 on new hardware for a BOINC number cruncher with Q9250 CPUs. Asus/Gigabyte Motherboards, nothing but Boinc running, and the whole lot locked up at least twice a month.
Exact same systems with 2 legal copies of Windows XP on and they have been running non stop for 7 months.
Maybe the new version will work with WPA and remember the password all the time. 8.04 and 8.10 were supposed to be better at this but the only way I ever managed to get it to connect was dropping security back to WEP.
I am a big fan of open source but so far my experiments with Linux have not come close to matching 2000 or XP for simple install and work.
I second the driver issue...
A while back my WoWbox went... well... Windows, and had to be reinstalled. So, Windows being unable to back up the WoW directory, I booted it into Linux from the net, scp'ed over the directory and rebooted it with the shiny Windows disk in the drive. XP, of course. Yeah, yeah, should be running Fista. Talk to the wall, cause not even the hand is listening.
It didn't have the driver for a frikkin' RealTek Ethernet card that had only been on the market for, oh, three years. Nor did I have audio afterwards. I spent two whole days trawling the net for video drivers, network drivers, audio drivers, all kind of drivers, getting increasingly pissed off at so-called FREE software that went in and said "Yep! I know exactly what hardware you have. Now pay please or I won't tell you. What do you mean, deinstall?"
Will try K-K as soon as it goes gold. Meanwhile, I have now got the drivers I need for the WoWbox saved to the file server. Hope they won't rot. I will, of course, need Linux to transfer the network drivers to the box unless I want to go back to floppies.
... we'll have our octo-core multi-gigahertz machines booting as quickly as a ZX Spectrum or Commodore 64 ;-)
Re: Debian does hybrid suspend/hibernate and battery use
"On Debian 5 (not sure about other distros, but Mandriva 2008 and earlier did not have this), there is a s2both, which does what a hibernation would (ie. save state to disk), but instead of powering off, it suspends.
I have to say, that is the best of both worlds, isn't it?"
FWIW Macs do this too: they call it Safe Sleep. And I agree: it's great.
How is the battery drain during sleep, though? Awful sleep performance was one of the big let-downs of my Xandros EeePC: it'd sleep and wake OK, but used almost as much battery when asleep as it did in use. Whereas my MacBook can sleep for a week no problem and still not run out of juice.
@ MS trolls
It's truly amazing that whenever there is a Linux review here, we all of a sudden get a lot of remarks from people with crippled computer skills. I've never used MS-Windows, but you're certainly not going to convince me to do so by telling me how difficult you find Linux. This is an IT site and people are going to laugh at you if you admit to having difficulty setting up a computer - regardless of the OS. Get a grip!
Re: fast boot
They do, assuming you create a swap partition bigger than the amount of memory you have in the system, you can actually hibernate the system. I find though in my notebook with 4GB Ram, it takes longer to hibernate than it does to shut it down and restart it. I dare say it would be quicker if I had an SSD (which won't be until the prices come down a bit more), or if I had less memory and a faster hard drive.
I'm running Beta 1 now and it's working great. It does seem a bit quicker than the Alphas but not as quick as Jaunty was, but then again my machine is full of junk and needs a good spring clean. When the final version is released I'll probably back everything up, wipe the drive and reinstall from scratch (maybe with EXT4, my current system uses EXT4 for / and EXT3 for /home).
@Billy 8 et al.
Back in 2000 I was installing Windows 3.11 on PIII 50Mhz computers for a council (which is why they were so far behind the times). The boot process from power on was pretty much:
Took much longer for the POST to run than for DOS and Windows to fire up. Whole thing took less than 20 seconds. Still, that's progress for you...
I consider myself reasonably technically literate, I have worked commercially with computers since 1992 and I have a reasonable list of qualifications, however I generally find I give up with Linux before it is working properly. I suppose I probably *could* get it working if I put the effort in but truth be told I can't be bothered.
Another silly name and still brown
Anyone wonder if in 20 years time they'll be laughing at Ubunto on Back To The Noughties TV shows? Yes Unbunto does what it says on the tin (mostly) , but then so did an Allegro (Edsel if you're american).
AC has a point
Energy consumption is a serious matter, but this has nowt to do with linux, it has everything to do with being a twat.
I have collegues who have MACs, windows, UNIX and linux boxes -- different people. Some power their machines down, others do not.
The windows lads are the worst for this, as I frequently see them still logged into our shared apps, one lad is particularly bad as he was off in the US for three weeks, yet his machine (XP) wsa left locked and running. I just powered them (two machines) down and sent him an email.
Windows is actually very bad at powermanagement, a slight movement of the mouse and it comes back on. Sure this machine I write on (vista) comes on from sleep when I least expect it.
I end up having to power it off entirely, which is really annoying since it takes several minutes to fully boot.
MAC's and Linux seem to not have these issues, close the lid (lappy) and they suspend to RAM, or hibernate. Vista is rubbish at this. Just my experience as a windows user.
"how about you Windows boys install Linux once in a while to appreciate that it has moved on?"
Been there, done that, done that, done that, done that ... and etc.
Why don't some of you beard fondling (mine is gray with age) Linux gurus recognize that at least some Windows XP users like what they have, do try new things and then make an intelligent and informed decision for their circumstances?
Damn I grow tied of all this testosterone drenched computer babble. The lead should be molten by now and I have better things to cast about. Hmmm ... now where is my [encapsulated] asbestos apron???? Oh yeah ... in the magazine.
@Adam Williamson 1
Duh, I know more people than Canonical contribute. That's kinda the point. But what end user cares about who slowly improved and then fixed it (though the proprietary nVidia drivers are sexy) - all the end user cares about is that it works. "They" refers to "whoever fixed that", because it's a damn sight more productive than the Canonical lot arguing over what to call the Home folder.
FUD? Here's something you might want to consider: your setup is not the same as mine. Perhaps it worked for you and did not for me. Hmm? Next time, engage brain before fingers.
Not comparing with apples with apples...
I'm so sick of this stupid argument.
The "Windows just works, and you have to mess around to make Linux work" people are missing the point.
If I buy a new PC with, say, Vista on it, it will just work. If then in a year or two, I try to upgrade to Windows 7 it may well work. But there's a good chance it won't go smoothly, and I'll have to spend hours trawling the net finding the drivers I want.
If I were to buy a new PC with Linux, it will also just work. And if I try to upgrade later, it may well go smoothly - but it might not, and I'll have to do a bit of work.
Blimey, even Apple has this problem. I know someone with a MAC who upgraded to Snow Leopard, and ran into a couple of issues.
So please, stop saying Windows just works. It doesn't. Buying a machine with a pre-installed O/S just works. And that's because the computer manufacturers have done all the hard work for you.
But most computer users only change their OS when they change their computer.
Agree with Martin
Exactly. People who say "Windows just works" think they are talking about Windows but they aren't. They are just saying OS installs are easy if you pay someone else to do them. Any OS will "just work" if it is factory-fitted. Microsoft's main business goal is to prevent manufacturers from integrating any other OS, and in this they have been very successful. This lack of competition leads directy to the poor quality of Microsoft products. Why bother making Windows great if the people have to buy it anyway ?
>> Yup, I leave my computer running all the time and no, I don't give a toss about energy
No, but like the rest of the techies round here, you probably do care about thermal shock. A pc left running will generally drop its power requirements and fan speeds to reduce the heat output. However, a PC started from cold has to sustain major thermal shock when it starts up - much more likely to fail then.
And anyway, if I turned off the PCs I would have to turn on the central heating. So the saving was what?
Less important than the environmental issue is the slight fire risk posed by having a home PC switched on all the time. The fire brigade advise switching off all possible items at night, and not without reason. Laptops have heat dispersion problems anyway, and their batteries can explode, if the Reg is to be believed.
@Lee and Billy8
if you boot a modern system to a basic command shell with nothing else freakin' well loaded it goes pretty fast as well. Try booting Linux to rescue mode sometime.
Just a question...
When last did anybody insert a USB Flash drive from a Windows User into a Linux system?
Saw all those "autorun.inf" and "x4s.com" (and alike) files? And then graciously deleted them, handed the stick back, and then only to discover that it's just re-infected after the user puts it back into their system?
I know It's off-topic to this article, but it explains why I've been exclusively running (K)ubuntu for the last 2 years because I know my data is important. It's not everybody's cup of tea, but it's mine. I'm looking forward to Karmic's enhancements.
Mine does that when it's on full power. Doesn't bother me when it's plugged in, but obviously on battery power it's annoying, so I use Guidance Power Manager to automatically downclock the CPU/drop the brightness. CPU fan almost immediately stops and the heat goes away, and for general surfing/work, I really can't tell the difference.
Thanks for the info!
When I first put together my entire business infrastructure (consulting, programming, etc) several years ago with Linux, I thought it worked great. Between the lack of financial outlay coupled with the ability to robustly control and manage the system, not to mention uptimes greater than a year, I figured Linux was definitely the way to go for running my custom CRM and groupware suites.
However, thanks to you folks, I know the truth now! Even though my own dualhead and wifi setups have worked for years, I now see this was all just an elaborate hallucination.
I figure with the licensing, hardware purchases, and reprogramming tasks, I'll be able to be up and running a state of the art windows XP/Server 2k3 system for only about $15,000 and about 400 man-hours. I'm sure glad I've had the wool pulled from my eyes, that only Windows can be used for serious business tasks. After all, when it comes to large, complex systems with legacy components, heterogeneous database applications, multi-layer security and authentication, Windows "Just Works".