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Sluggish Ubuntu 11.10


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#1 alkahest

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 06:09 AM

Finally taken the initiative to really start getting in to the Ubuntu OS and so far I'm actually impressed in it's initial set up as I can automatically get on the net with a Wireless USB dongle - no questions asked. Then when it comes to installing some things that require a terminal window to be opened and a string of commands to be executed, I've yet to learn (and feel like I'm a long way off). This will take time, granted, to understand so I'm willing to take the time to learn more about Ubuntu as I've been told as it can be a very versatile operating system. At the moment my issue is the really sluggish performance I'm getting out of it. At this point I can only point the finger at my old PC: Athlon XP 2500+ 2GB DDR Memory ASUS Geforce FX 5200 It's a PC I've had for many years now and I thought I might bring it back to life and at the same time learn something new. So my question boils down to; is it because my system is old that the latest Ubuntu release feels sluggish? If so is there a way of tweaking it to better meet the system requirements? Not to rain on the Ubuntu parade but I was able to load Windows XP and Windows 7 on this PC and it'd be running nice and smooth. So I have to be doing something wrong here (?) (even as I typed all this there are slight pauses from loading the characters of my key strokes - every 5 seconds maybe)
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#2 nobody813

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 08:36 AM

Simple answer; PC is too old. Long answer; it can easily run it without all the eye candy

I'm running Lubuntu 11.10 on my Pentium III laptop, and it runs pretty good (am posting this now on it). Main difference between that and normal Ubuntu is the desktop environment. Ubuntu uses the Unity desktop, which for many is very pretty (I personally don't like it), but uses a lot more resources than older versions of Ubuntu (10.10 and lower). Lubuntu uses the LXDE desktop environment, which is very easy on your hardware, but looses some tweaking features (which I'm yet to come across as I'm fairly new to it too)

My suggestion would be to try some other variations on Ubuntu, such as Lubuntu (LXDE), Xubuntu (XFCE - inbetween Unity and LXDE), or you can install the XFCE and/or LXDE environments in Ubuntu itself if you'd like to test them out first. When you login, there'll be a dropbox with all your installed desktop environments

Another option would be to try Linux Mint. It is based off Ubuntu, but I find it to be much better. I use Linux Mint 12 as my secondary OS on my desktop, with the brand new Cinnamon desktop. They too have XFCE and LXDE variants; Linux Mint 12 LXDE release candidate has just been released, and I'll be putting it on my laptop

EDIT: Just thought of some other things. Have you installed the drivers for it? You can do it via the additional drivers application (just type drivers in the menu search box)

Also, Unity has 2 versions; 2D and 3D. The FX 5200 may not be coping very well with Unity 3D

Edited by nobody813, 28 February 2012 - 08:43 AM.

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#3 slimdog360

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 12:59 PM

^^what he said. Even that computer is overkill for what my linux setup. But then again, my linux doesn't have any of that eye candy, however I think it looks great in its own understated way. Ubuntu tries to appeal to the masses, but to do that they sort of have to bloat out their operating system. Don't get me wrong, Ubuntu can be a great system. Nice simple quick install and you can be up and running in no time at all, and just about everything works. So yeah, turn off all the visual effects. Maybe even try one of ubuntu's spin off versions (xubuntu or whatever). After that it should run pretty well.

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#4 alkahest

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 05:13 PM

If I use a stripped version of Ubuntu, does that mean I'll have to manually load all the drivers (i.e. motherboard, wireless, etc)?
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#5 CptnChrysler

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 07:08 PM

Linux handles most drivers as 'kernel modules', typically you won't need to do much with drivers unless you have hardware which requires 'non Free' drivers modules. This includes Nvidia's proprietary drivers and some wireless NIC drivers for example.

Most of the time, provided you are using a recent release of linux, the kernel will just auto detect your hardware and just work. New and updated drivers are part of every kernel update so when you see a kernel release in the update manager much of the benefit of the new kernel is that you'll be getting the latest/greatest drivers - for just about everything.

Occasionally you need to install kernel modules which are not included in the kernel by default or blacklist or manually load a particular module.
Have a look at this article if you're interested, it's a nice simple overview without getting too technical. https://www.linux.co...-management-101

I'd also suggest a lighter desktop such as XFCE, LXDE or (later on and for the more adventurous) perhaps a simple window manager such as Openbox, Fluxbox, or I3 instead of a full desktop environment. Your system will happily run the latest iterations of Linux provided you don't overload it with too much eye candy and other background processes. I'm writing this on a little Atom netbook with 1Gb ram running Archlinux using Openbox window manager, it's got no graphical grunt at all and precious little CPU but still feels quite snappy because I've not bogged it down with an overweight desktop environment.

Also don't be scared of the command line. It's very explicit and concise for giving help over a web forum and is mostly consistent between different distributions. Graphical tools vary greatly between distros and also between variations of a single distro. Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Lubuntu and Xubuntu all have different graphical interfaces yet the same CLI commands will work across them all in most instances.

Here's a howto on installing XFCE on Ubuntu 11.10
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#6 nobody813

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 07:38 PM

What's your ISP? I'll give you link to other distro's, so you can try them out without using up downloads Last month I downloaded GB's of iso's, and didn't count at all. Had been looking at all sorts of Ubuntu variants to see which one worked best one my desktop and laptop

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#7 alkahest

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 09:47 PM

@ CptnChrysler thank you very much for that. I installed XFCE and what a difference! It runs a lot smoother now, and I'm not fussed about lack of eye candy. I've read many step by step guides to installing modules etc. via the Terminal (sudo commands) but I still do find it a little difficult to comprehend. I find myself wanting to know what the basic functions of the commands are just to get some grounding. @nobody813 its cool man I'll just try Ubuntu for now, as XFCE seems to be working great mostly. Thanks though :) For the time being this will be my main PC as I'm selling a lot of things that I own now. And Ubuntu 11.10 has been keeping my mind occupied which is good. There are just a few more kinks I want to work around; This is most likely system related, but to be certain; I find that Video playback is rather odd. Avi files work seamlessly, but YouTube seems to stutter intermittently. Firefox in general feels slow. Any ideas?
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#8 nobody813

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 08:01 AM

YouTube would occasionally stutter even on my main desktop in Linux Mint 12. I'd try changing YouTube to HTML5 (which still isn't great, but is often better). I personally use a little app called MiniTube on my laptop, as it can't handle flash very well. Plays 360p videos now flawlessly, without the CPU running at 100%

Also, this is quite an interesting little article

The Effect Of Desktop Effects On Graphics Performance

Edited by nobody813, 01 March 2012 - 08:15 AM.

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#9 CptnChrysler

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 09:55 PM

@alkahest Glad XFCE helps. Have a read of this PDF. vic.gedris.org/Manual-ShellIntro/1.2/ShellIntro.pdf It might fill in a few gaps in your BASH foundation. BASH is one of those things you never seem to stop learning. I've been playing with Linux since Red Hat 5.2 (Ouch showing my age there...) and I still learn new tricks almost every tinkering session. As time goes on, I find I do more & more from the terminal rather than in graphical tools. The terminal just works better for some tasks although not for everything.
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#10 alkahest

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 12:47 AM

@ nobody813 Ill give minitube a look. cheers mate :) and the flash based players do give my system a hard time, yet experience flawless playback from the average .avi video @ CptnChrysler I've been looking for something like this all over the net as I'm the kind of guy that likes to read at all the available commands and how they work, what they mean etc. very big thank you for this :D (will start tinkering away)
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#11 CptnChrysler

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 01:56 PM

If you liked that feeble link, you'll love this one.

www.securitronlinux.com/lc/pocketbook2003.pdf

Written by Ashton Mills so it's very approachable. The original Linux Pocketbook was invaluable to me. This (last) version was released way back in 2003 so most of the KDE and GNOME and release specific stuff is waaay out of date but Bash has hardly changed at all. Check out Chapter 5 in particular.

Have fun.

Edited by CptnChrysler, 03 March 2012 - 01:56 PM.

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#12 pwarren

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 10:46 AM

And if you want something really lightweight, and a bit weird, try XMonad: http://xmonad.org/
++++++++++[>++++++++>+++++++++>++++++++++>+++>+++++++++++>++++>+<<<<<<<-]>++++.>+++++++.>+++++++.------.>++.<<.>>.<-.>>+++++++.<<+++++++++.>>-----.>++++.<<.<-------.-..+++++++.>.<<+.>-------.>>++++..<<.>>--.>>.

#13 TazFromOz

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 01:35 PM

Ah, xmonad's a windows manager. It actually looks pretty nifty pwarren. I am downloading now, and will let you know how it goes. I wish I'd seen this before I spent all that time getting IceWM the way I want it. :) I'll play around next time I need a procrastination task.
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#14 pwarren

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 04:06 PM

Heh, IceWM is a more traditional window manager and pretty light itself, That's what I use on my old hardware, where I can't get away with just ssh :) XMonad is a bit wierd, it's a tiling window manager, and is very minimalist, but I've found it useful in some situations.
++++++++++[>++++++++>+++++++++>++++++++++>+++>+++++++++++>++++>+<<<<<<<-]>++++.>+++++++.>+++++++.------.>++.<<.>>.<-.>>+++++++.<<+++++++++.>>-----.>++++.<<.<-------.-..+++++++.>.<<+.>-------.>>++++..<<.>>--.>>.

#15 Girvo

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 09:41 AM

where I can't get away with just ssh :)


Noob. A terminal session is all a real neck-beard needs.

>_>

XMonad is a bit wierd, it's a tiling window manager, and is very minimalist, but I've found it useful in some situations.


I LOVE tiling window managers, but cannot for the life of me get Bluetile to install over Elementary OS Jupiter *sigh. One of these days I'm rolling my own debian-based distro again.
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#16 noskcaj

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 08:54 AM

I suggest you swap to xubuntu or lubuntu and then look at this page(http://modifyubuntu.com/#speed) on how to speed it up even more.
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