12 May, 2007

don't computers suck?

The KOffice ODF Sprint is progressing well. At least, for the other participants. I'm mostly fighting with my laptop while I try to write... At least he first article is send to sebas, let's hope he can get it online.

My laptop happens to be a little old, and recently something changed in Kubuntu which made it a lot slower. Memory usage went through the roof (I have 192 mb ram). Part of that is due to the Guidance power manager (top told Boudewijn and me it took 56Mb ram, almost nothing shared...). But it seems to me there is something else as well, as I never had these grave problems on earlier releases. Grave problems here means you can easily get it to a state where it takes several minutes for ONE character to appear in a console... You can imagine how that feels when you still have unsaved changes.

Another problem was getting the pictures of the SD card from the camera I used. Wow, that was a fight, even Windows got started to see if it could read it - but no, it couldn't. sigh... Finally, it was Boudewijn and his (french) linux phone he won on Akademy last year, which saved the day - it read the SD card without any trouble, and Boud used an USB cable to get the pictures on his computer. I had to work on them there, as Gwenview triggered a Out Of Memory kill with the pictures on my own laptop (after approx 1 hour, in which it was unusable).

Of course, that where just 2 of te irritations I had today - I kind'a hate computers right now. Still, for some reason I'm typing on my laptop right now... People are weird. And I know.

Well, at least the article is send, and I have some hope I will be able to finish the saturday article in time.

(I'm gonna cry now)


  1. I also have an old laptop. An ibook G3 also with 192 MB ram. The power save thing uses about 30 MB for me which is still ridiculous. Should have written it in C++. It does work well though.

  2. Looking at 'top', it says 29Mb resident in use, and 21Mb is sharable. The bulk of this can be swapped out, and stay swapped out if needed.


  3. weird. I'm pretty sure Boud and me saw 56 meg Resident, and only like 3 meg sharable... And now I've removed it, the laptop is much, much more usable. though it was also unable to load a 3 meg picture in gwenview without triggering the oom killer... I still think SOMETHING has changed during the feisty release, which increased mem usage. Some way, and greatly. Something like switching from -Os to -O3 or whatever... Anyway, I could of course just install a distro build for low-end hardware, but I think Kubuntu should be good enough, and I just want to test it, so I can recommend something I actually KNOW.

    BTW someone here said the python bindings wheren't able to share Qt with the Qt libs, so the powermanager has to load Qt libs a second time. Is that true? And/or did you solve that (sounds like your numbers are with a shared Qt...)?

    In any case, I know top memory usage isn't that dependable, but the performance of this laptop is - I've been thinking of buying a new one (when I have money) so I can give this one to Jonathan, and force him to use it during Akademy ;-)
    High-end hardware clearly seems to respond very differently to many usecases - I never have to care about memory usage on my 3 gb main system...

  4. One of the biggest memory hogs in (K)ubuntu is system-tools-backends -- it is written in Perl and uses 10MB on startup.

  5. I have an old computer as well, and something that slowed it down a lot with the new Kubuntu was "apt-index-watcher", try disabling it.

    good luck!

  6. I disabled a lot things, like the apt-index watcher stuff, and cups. Performance is much better now, so there was clearly room for improvement. I'm looking forward to the work by Ubuntu on Upstart, as it wouldn't start cups and hplip in the first place unless you had a printer attached.

  7. @simon:
    I just installed the guidance-power-manager again, and I got pretty close to your numbers as well. it uses 8 meg (according to free). So I guess we did make a mistake somewhere. weird, but shit happens... sorry for all the 'I hate powermanager'...


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