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If You're Lucky, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Can Boot Faster

Michael Larabel

Published on 29 March 2012
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 6 - 8 Comments

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS "Precise Pangolin" can boot faster... sometimes. If you are not lucky, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS can boot more than twice as slow as Ubuntu 10.04, the previous LTS release. Here are boot performance results of Ubuntu 12.04 LTS running on six distinct notebooks and comparing the Bootchart results upon clean installations of Ubuntu Linux going back as far as six years from the days of the Ubuntu 6.06 LTS "Dapper Drake" release.


"Eine Maß Augustiner, bitte! Ubuntu bootet langsam!"

Besides power consumption, one of the areas I've been excited to look at in terms of the Precise Pangolin performance has been the boot speed. While Canonical was quite adamant towards pursuing a 10 second boot time for Ubuntu Linux back in 2009 and early 2010, since then their boot performance has been largely disastrous. Last year I called them out on Ubuntu's regressing boot performance compared to a year or two prior. "Lots of hardware is being tried with the pending release of Ubuntu 11.10, with most being affected by increased power usage (or at the same levels of Ubuntu 11.04 where it was already an increase over Ubuntu 10.10). It also seems very difficult to find x86 laptop, desktop, or server hardware where the boot time has not regressed in Ubuntu 11.10 using the stock packages and settings." Fortunately, at the last Ubuntu Developer Summit they acknowledged the problem and were going to work on it for this cycle. Did they achieve any major improvements? Well, here's a fresh set of results.



While Ubuntu's boot performance has not always improved, at least the Ubuntu UX has aged gracefully over the past six years.

Using an Ubuntu 12.04 LTS development snapshot from this week (past the beta freeze) I carried out clean installations of this OS plus many previous Ubuntu Linux releases on six different notebooks. From a clean install of Ubuntu each time, Bootchart was installed, and the system was allowed to reboot at least two times with automatic login to the desktop. The Bootchart results were then gathered. The notebooks used included:

An HP EliteBook with an Intel Core i5 "Sandy Bridge" 2520M CPU, 4GB of RAM, Intel Sandy Bridge GT2+ graphics, and a 160GB Intel SSD.

A Lenovo ThinkPad W510 with an Intel Core i7 720QM "Clarksfield" CPU, 4GB of RAM, 160GB Intel SSD, and NVIDIA Quadro FX 880M graphics.

The Lenovo ThinkPad T61 bared an Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 "Penryn", 4GB of RAM, 100GB Hitachi 7200RPM SATA HDD, and NVIDIA Quadro NVS 140M.

An earlier Lenovo ThinkPad T60 had an Intel Core Duo T2400 CPU, 1GB of RAM, ATI Mobility Radeon X1400 graphics, and an 80GB Hitachi 5400RPM SATA HDD.

The oldest ThinkPad used was an IBM ThinkPad R52 with an Intel Pentium M 750 (1.86GHz) processor, 2GB of RAM, an 80GB Hitachi 5400RPM IDE HDD, and ATI Mobility Radeon X300 graphics.

Lastly, there was a Dell Mini 9, the Atom netbook that Canonical was originally using as their 10-second boot target in 2009. This netbook has an Intel Atom N270, 1GB of RAM, Intel i945 integrated graphics, and 8GB SSD storage.

Each Ubuntu installation on the laptop was left with their stock settings/drivers, file-system, and other defaults. The only fundamental change was on the older Ubuntu Linux releases to enable the automatic user login support, where it was not found as an option from the Ubiquity installer. Only notebooks/netbooks were used in this article since arguably that is where the boot time is most important compared to desktops/workstations/servers. If there is sufficient interest, the Bootchart testing can be carried out in those areas too.

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