Why Is Moblin's X.Org Stack Faster Than In Ubuntu?
Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu on 12 March 2009 at 12:45 PM EDT. 8 Comments
Canonical's Scott James Remnant recently set out to explore why X.Org started up so much faster on Moblin than on Ubuntu (particularly, the latest 9.04 development code). On an Atom-based netbook (the Dell Mini 9) he found it took Ubuntu's X Server about four seconds to start before the session manager was called. With Moblin on the same hardware it took just about a second and a half.

Scott began analyzing the X Server patch-set for Moblin, that included enabling UXA acceleration by default, avoiding duplicated saved hardware states, reducing the driver boot-time, and disabling other operations. However, Ubuntu already incorporated all of these patches besides using UXA acceleration. Ubuntu's X Server also has a few extra patches, but those didn't seem to impact the performance.

After that, Scott came to no conclusions, but has now thrown the ropes to the principal X maintainer at Canonical (Bryce Harrington) and their technical leader (Matt Zimmerman). His mailing list message with Bootchart results can be found on ubuntu-devel. Hopefully by Ubuntu 9.10 (the Karmic Koala) we will see an X Server start-up time closer to Moblin, but that means cutting the time in at least half. Beyond just the X Server being speedier, Moblin V2 Core Alpha boots super fast.

Remnant is also looking at sreadahead vs. readahead performance for improving Ubuntu's boot performance.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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