[OpenIndiana-discuss] About the Gnome "slowdowns"

Ken Gunderson kgunders at teamcool.net
Wed Jun 22 16:34:42 UTC 2011

On Wed, 2011-06-22 at 21:13 +0530, Sriram Narayanan wrote:
> On Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 9:00 PM, Ken Gunderson <kgunders at teamcool.net> wrote:
> > On Wed, 2011-06-22 at 19:24 +0530, Sriram Narayanan wrote:
> >> Hi everyone:
> >>
> >> I've been using openindiana as my primary desktop environment while I
> >> work on Belenix related development (illumos kernel, rpm, etc).
> >>
> >> I've not felt a single slow down ever in my use of OI. I've used both
> >> build 147 as well as 148. IPS sucks for me given the low bandwidth and
> >> the calculations it does each time. But Gnome itself it fine.
> >>
> >> However, I've seen these recent threads (one on branding, and one test
> >> drive) where Gnome was mentioned as being slow.
> >>
> >> Has anyone else also experienced this ? Are there any known reasons ?
> >
> > Pretty much everything seems to run slower on "Slowaris" on the desktop
> > front.  If in doubt, buy another hd, same as you're using now, and make
> > a native install Linux poison of choice, e.g. Fedora 15, Debian-6, etc.
> > (i.e. not virtualized) and the difference is quite noticeable.
> >
> "Slowlaris" was a term used only for the TCP/IP stack of Solaris 9.
> The entire TCP/IP stack was changed with the FireEngine project which
> improved things a lot. Crossbow built on top of that and brought about
> even further improvements.
> Solaris 10 and above are not "slow".
> > Solaris derivatives like OI have their attractions.  But speed isn't one
> > of them. At least this is my experience, since you asked. Let the flame
> > fest begin...
> >
> I have asked if others have seen a slow Gnome desktop with OI, and if
> they know the reasons for this.
> Ken, I use a 4500 rpm disk for belenix and illumos builds, and
> everything works just fine for me. This has been the case since 2006.
> I run a very large setup at work, and I'm soon going to move over all
> our source code systems (git, hg, svn) onto openindiana.
> Here are some numbers that I consistently get every month (I check
> every month) for a specific disk intensive activity:
> 5400 rpm disk - Windows XP - 38 minutes
> 5400 rpm disk - Windows Server 2008 - 23 minutes
> 5400 rpm disk - Windows 7 - 17 minutes
> 5400 rpm disk - FC13 - 12 minutes
> 7200 rpm disk - Windows 7 - 17 minutes
> 7200 rpm disk - OSX - 8 minutes
> 4500 rpm disk - openindiana/illumos/build_111a  - 4.5 minutes
> Here's another set of numbers:
> P4 2.2 Ghz with 2.72 TB RAIDZ and 8 GB RAM running Solaris 10 update 8
> used for serving iSCSI content off ZFS filesystems ->  I have a
> specific requirement where I've snapshotted a 600 GB ZFS filesystem
> containing 9 VMs, and have then cloned this 20 times. This is for a
> test setup. After the cloning and regular use, I see that an overall
> diskspace of 800 GB has been used.
> I get no noticable performance difference at all. And this is with a
> single Ethernet card.
> These are my numbers.
> Given the above, and my own work with Belenix, as well as zero Gnome
> issues with OI, I've asked if anyone knows more.
> This was not asked to incite a flamefest, and I request that we don't
> walk that path.

Hence my hesitancy to even reply in the first place. Since you mentioned
Gnome specifically, my comments were directed specifically to
desktop/workstation usage.  Perhaps such is not the case with disk I/O
or tcp/ip throughput. But again, such was also not the topic of your

So back to your specific questions: "Has anyone else also experienced
this ? Are there any known reasons ?"

In _my_ experience Gnome is significantly slower on s10, OS, and OI. I
have not investigated as to why this might be, as it pretty much always
has been my experience, so I've just accepted it as one of the "costs"
one pays to get the "benefits" of features such as zfs, crossbow, zones,
etc. If this is not your experience, then that's fine with me. I have
better things to do than argue the matter.

Regards-- Ken Gunderson

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