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The Linux Desktop Responsiveness Patches Are Feeling Good

Linux Kernel

Published on 05 August 2010 08:22 PM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel
42 Comments

As was reported on Phoronix yesterday, the Linux desktop responsiveness problem may be fixed. This is the issue that has affected many Linux desktop users for numerous months where when dealing with large file transfers or other disk operations, the desktop interface (regardless of whether its GNOME, KDE, Xfce, etc) would become unresponsive and it could be a good number of seconds before a simple action like clicking a menu item would be processed.

Fortunately, from our testing and the reports of other Linux users looking to see this problem corrected, the relatively small vmscan patches that were published do seem to better address the issue. The user-interface (GNOME in our case) still isn't 100% fluid if the system is sustaining an overwhelming amount of disk activity, but it's certainly much better than before and what's even found right now with the Linux 2.6.35 kernel.

For those interested in this problem or want to try out the patches, here are a few more links worth looking at:

- BugZilla Bug #12304 for the Linux kernel: Large I/O operations result in poor interactive performance and high iowait times.
- Here's the work as a single patch that can be applied against the vanilla 2.6.35 kernel.
- There's a patch for addressing this issue in the Linux 2.6.34 kernel within the Zen Kernel tree (it's also in the Zen 2.6.35 tree).
- Our thread on the topic has tons of other user feedback and information being shared. Wu Fengguang and KOSAKI Motohiro may also soon find themselves overloaded with beer from appreciative users.

Let's hope this work lands successfully into the Linux 2.6.36 kernel and many are also hoping it will work its way back into the Linux 2.6.32 stable series and is picked up by other distribution vendors for their older enterprise-targeted kernels.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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