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System-wide tweaks part 2

Here are some more tips for a faster/better system performance.

Don’t Compiz
On the other hand, the wonderful effects that Compiz produces can’t really be described as functional, although they do provide some improved usability for some. You can free up plenty of resources by disabling the desktop effects from the Visual Effects page of the Preferences>Appearance window.

Get packages off a CD or DVD
Even in these times of pervasive internet, you sometimes need to be able to install a package without having an internet connection. Fortunately, the Synaptic package manager can read the contents of an Ubuntu installation CD, and add those packages to the database for installation from the drive. Open the Software Sources window from the Administration menu, switch to the ‘Third Party’ page and click on the ‘Add CD-ROM’ button.

Boost load speed with Preload
Preload is a tool you can install through the Synaptic package manager. It will run silently in the background, from where it will try to guess which libraries you’re likely to use before you use them. It will then load these into memory so that your applications load quicker. The effects seem to be minimal with recent releases of Ubuntu, but it’s worth a try.

Use a virtual desktop
If you enjoy trying different distributions, but have always been put off by the installation, try Virtual Box from the official Ubuntu repositories. It’s easy to use and lets you install a virtual version of almost any Linux installation (and even Windows) right on your desktop, and running at close to native speeds.

Boot into text mode
Sometimes, a graphical environment is unnecessary, especially if you use your machine as a server. Which is exactly why there’s a version of Ubuntu called the Server edition. By default, Server has no graphical desktop. But in all other ways, it’s the same Ubuntu. This makes it perfect as a web or media streaming server.

Suspend your system
Why wait for your system to boot when you can resume your session from hibernation. This is quicker than booting, and you can continue where you left off. But it’s also dependent on your hardware behaving itself. Just give it a go to see if your hardware supports the feature. Click on the logout button, and if hibernate appears as an option, it should work.

Customise your kernel
If you’re feeling really brave (and we’d never recommend this for anyone with too little time on their hands), you could build your own kernel. It’s not as hard as it sounds and it will enable you to add only the features and hardware you’re likely to use. Excellent step by step instructions can be found here.

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