Codename: peacenow

March 1, 2008 – 16:34 by Adnan Hodzic

Ok so here’s why I haven’t talked about anything for last 3+ weeks.

I usually bring my notebook to university, those who don’t know what linux really is, come up and wanna see how it all actually looks like. Of course it’s all great comments (which are usually because of the looks … compiz-fusion) but I got few bad ones (at least in my book they are bad ones) some of them who see it booting, asked me does it need to boot that long everytime?

Of course, you tell them it’s mostly because it has bunch of stuff on it, along the “normal” system web server/apache and database server/mysql will come up as well. But just three weeks ago after getting my second “why does it take so long too boot” … that was it, I had to do something. And besides that, I’d just like to add that, back on Slackware I used to use ResierFS, then on Debian after some time, my root partition died on Reiser … Yea after that I just went for “safe” solution that is go for ext3 as my default filesystem.

Ok, as I knew it before, ext3 is really not that fast, actually it’s pretty slow. But it’s all good except that every time I’m booting my system, I’m mostly in hurry all I hope is that I see that it won’t see “didn’t check filesystem in X days” message or whatever, and going over that whole process. That seriously pisses me off. And keeping your computer on hibernate all the time … that’s just not it.

Anyways, I googled how to make Debian boot faster, read bunch of documentation. Basically besides reading about bunch of “fix ideas” only reasonable thing was just to disable all the init scripts you’re not using or don’t need. This took most of my time, even tho it’s sounds incredibly simple. First problem was that, after disabling all those init scripts, I didn’t get the results I was hopping for … actually results were pretty poor. I used bootchart to measure to get the exact results, but then later on just switched to “stopwatch” on my phone :)

Yea, because I wanted to measure all of it, from moment I turn on my computer, which means from boot loader itself over boot process to kdm/gdm itself, and DE finally. This whole process would actually take around ~1 minutes and 45 seconds … Including flash boot and having your DE session with few extra big apps. restored … it’s definetely 2 minutes. But we won’t be that crazy :)

Yea, so after poor results with disabling init scripts, I went on with with removing some of the completely. Heh, yea and as weird as it may sound, if you don’t need a process and you’re sure of it, purge the bastard, it’ll give you extra points results.

After not having good results again … I thought of rearranging these very init scripts. First thing I remembered is Slackware and its BSD init style. Yea … this really didn’t work out either. The more I was going in, the more I was figuring out how much having both Gnome and KDE on my system is not helping me.

I said it before, and I’ll say it again, I’m really not happy how KDE is handled in Debian. Yea, and it was here where I came to the point where I had to do my first reinstall after such a long time … because I would destroy it so badly, that it was just simpler/quicker to install rather then fix. With reinstall I thought of changing the filesystem as well. Which later on resulted, well yea you should think about changing the boot loader as well :)

It was here where someone suggested, well if you’re gonna change all of it, you could make your own distro as well. I thought of it, but that thought was lost when I remember all the previous attempts, yea they all failed, prolly because there was never enough of motivation and reason itself to continue working on those same projects :)

Then the reading and research went on. After reading enough I came to a conclusion that out of all unix/linux filesystems XFS would be the best one for me. I also decided to change my boot loader from grub to lilo, after this my primary goal was to strip Debian as much as I could!

Then the thing that started bothering me the most, I didn’t want my Debian to even know of a thing called Gnome!

To talk about every single detail would just be 10 more pages for this post, but all I’ll say is that it was incredibly rough, imense “process”, lack of sleep … ah lack of everything :) Last problem was just that after it was all working fine, I had a problem with overheating >_<
But, I didn’t give up, it was that I always had ideas that were kept as a backup plan :)

Anways, I’m so happy with the results, that I’m seriously thinking to pack it all up into a nice package, that is distro. That would be a uber system out of box, I would target people something like me. From XFS over Amarok being backed up by MySQL for your  fastest music collection access to a lot more tweaks and optimisations, bunch of development/networking/security/hacking tools with KDE as its DE, aptitude for a package manager … hm yea I wonder where did synaptic go :)

Heh yea, and the boot process is now around ~1 min :)

I don’t have a name for it yet ^ there’s a codename (that’s a proof I can be romantic), I’m not planing it to be anything special, it’s just going to be a nicely Slackware-ish style stripped/edited Debian.  In the end if no one is going to use it I’m going to use, I just pop in the dvd and got platform (as I want it) ready within minutes.

This whole process of testing this whole thing, and packaging it into a distro could take up to a one to two months, but yea it’s all good.

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