Twitter through Pidgin

Posted in Computers on April 11th, 2009 by Andy
The Twitgin, clearly a product of mad science.

The Twitgin, clearly a product of mad science.

I love Ubuntu Jaunty’s sexy new notification system. It’s elegant and unobtrusive. So much so that I have decided to let the distracting nonsense de jour, Twitter, loose on my desktop in the hope that the notification system keeps the information flow down to sensible levels. I really don’t want to run a whole separate app just for trialling Twitter, so it’d be nice to integrate it into Pidgin, since that’s exactly the kind of thing Pidgin is for.

Trouble is, Twitter have decreed: “Thou shalt not Twitter through IM!”

Wrong!

All you need is the microblog-purple plugin, and you’re laughing. The devs even have a nice PPA for Ubuntu users. Add that bad boy to your Software Sources and you’ll be kept up with the latest version.  There’s also Mac and Windows versions available on the project’s main page, but obviously those have to be updated manually. Sucks to be on Windows or Mac, huh?

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Jaunty boots 35% faster than Intrepid!

Posted in Computers, Linux, Ubuntu, Windows on March 18th, 2009 by Andy

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:

System Grub > Login Login > Desktop Desktop > Usable
XP SP3 17.33 43.08 61.38
Intrepid 47.47 65.60 99.03
Jaunty 35.89 55.77 64.85

XP is still king of boot times, but Jaunty is within a whisker of toppling it

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.

The system:

  • 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.

Conclusion

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!

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