Anyone that’s been using Ubuntu for the last couple of years can’t help but feel like it’s gotten a bit sluggish in recent versions. That’s probably natural, after all, over time you have to expect the hardware requirements of your software to steadily climb. But with the next version of Ubuntu (9.04 Jaunty Jackelope, which hits beta on 29 Mar) the devs have stated they want to put some lightning in the tank, and try to reverse the effects of creeping bloat.
Overall time (s) to each stage:
||Grub > Login
||Login > Desktop
||Desktop > Usable
XP is still king of boot times, but Jaunty is within a whisker of toppling it!
So have they succeeded? Hell yes! I timed to boot sequence of Jaunty compared to the current release, Intrepid. Just to make things tougher on Jaunty, I also included the copy of Windows XP I have on the same machine. XP is a pretty old system now, and boots ferociously quick on new hardware.
- Intel E8400 Core 2 Duo CPU at 3GHz
- Intel DG33FB Mobo
- 2GB Generic RAM
- Seagate Barracuda SATA hard drive
Jaunty root partition is EXT4, and Jaunty and Intrepid share a common EXT3 /home partition. XP is on NTFS.
I timed from hitting the right entry in Grub until the login screen showed, then from login to the desktop appearing, then to Firefox launched and ready to use. None of these are a fresh install. XP has to load all the usual antivirus, etc. The Ubuntu systems have a load of panel applets like CheckGmail, as well as the AWN dockbar, etc to launch. I could shave the times down easily, but as they are these represent a usable everyday system.
Jaunty is fast! Fast enough to give an old system like XP a real scare. I’d have liked to test it against Vista or Win 7 to see what the margin is against more modern Microsoft OSes, but I don’t have either installed on this machine.
You can see from the graph why it’s important to keep timing all the way to a usable desktop. Windows is designed to throw up the login window fast, then show you a desktop while it finishes booting. You can’t actually do anything with that desktop, but it creates the impression of speed, which is nice little trick from Microsoft but can lead to misleading timings if you stop the clock when the desktop appears.
Overall, the speed improvements seen in Jaunty Alpha 6 are a 35% improvement over Intrepid. Some of this will be down to it’s new fast EXT4 filesystem, and you’ve got to wonder how much boot times would improve if /home was also EXT4, or if they were on a SSD instead of an old-fashioned magnetic drive like the Seagate Barracuda.
Oh, and shutdown times? Intrepid = 22s, XP = 11s, Jaunty = 11s. Nuff said!