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Ubuntu's Power Consumption Tested

kdawson posted about 7 years ago | from the no-lyme-disease dept.

Power 330

RedDragon writes "Ubuntu 7.10 is due out on Thursday, October 18, and in addition to desktop 3D effects, GNOME 2.20, and other features is the use of the Linux 2.6.22 kernel with the tick-less (CONFIG_NO_HZ) kernel feature. But does this mean enhanced power savings when compared to past Ubuntu releases? Phoronix tested Ubuntu power consumption looking back 2-1/2 years at the six Ubuntu releases from Ubuntu 5.04 to the yet-to-be-released Ubuntu 7.10. Testing was done when the system was idling and then under load, and when the Lenovo notebook was powered via the battery and then again with the AC adapter. The Pentium M CPU temperature was also monitored. While Ubuntu 7.10 does include the tick-less kernel feature, more daemons and processes running by default on these modern Ubuntu releases is actually causing an increase in power consumption."

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FROSTY PISSS MOTHERFUCKERS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20975727)

FRooooooooooooooooooooooooooooosty!!!

Actually, my balls are on fire.

Re:FROSTY PISSS MOTHERFUCKERS (-1, Offtopic)

KEnderK (1171753) | about 7 years ago | (#20975745)

Sounds like a personal problem.

Re:FROSTY PISSS MOTHERFUCKERS (-1, Offtopic)

JoshJ (1009085) | about 7 years ago | (#20975771)

What the hell is the point of getting a first post if you're going to do it AC and give up your bragging rights?

Re:FROSTY PISSS MOTHERFUCKERS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20975915)

what the hell is the point of being "joshj," user #1,009,085?

you subscribed too late for anyone to care whut u think, jobber.

Re:FROSTY PISSS MOTHERFUCKERS (-1, Offtopic)

calebt3 (1098475) | about 7 years ago | (#20976157)

Read his sig. I find it quite relevant.

Re:FROSTY PISSS MOTHERFUCKERS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20976381)

The point is to not get modded offtopic. You got modded offtopic, JoshJ. SloshyJoshyJ. JJ. Jay Jay the Jet Plane. John Jay. Jay bird. Hey, lay away the J for a day it'll pay I say. See, I can say whatever I want, and because I'm anonymous, I can be the biggest jackhole in the universe. I can even piss, off grammer Nazi's. And I loose no karma. You did. You got modded offtopic. The parent poster didn't, because of that little box that says Post Anonymously. And because the mods usually aren't smart enough to see if you're replying to a modded down post or being originally offtopic, that probably a good idea.

Is this supposed to be a surprise? (5, Interesting)

cleatsupkeep (1132585) | about 7 years ago | (#20975757)

I'm confused - don't computers now use more power then they used to? Because of new software and being able to do more powerful things?

I mean - Vista will use more power than Windows XP, OS X will use more power than Mac OS 9.

Or is there a fundamental flaw in my logic that I'm missing here?

Re:Is this supposed to be a surprise? (3, Insightful)

imbaczek (690596) | about 7 years ago | (#20975793)

Or is there a fundamental flaw in my logic that I'm missing here?
Yes, you are. Some parts are manufactured with power consumption being #1 priority and software is also getting smarter. (As TFA admits, at least theoretically :grin:>)

Re:Is this supposed to be a surprise? (1)

cleatsupkeep (1132585) | about 7 years ago | (#20975811)

That makes sense - especially when they are testing on a laptop - I guess my reply was more with desktops in mind. Good point.

Re:Is this supposed to be a surprise? (4, Insightful)

reset_button (903303) | about 7 years ago | (#20975829)

Some parts are manufactured with power consumption being #1 priority
Since all of the tests were run on the same hardware, power-efficient hardware is taken out of the equation.

Re:Is this supposed to be a surprise? (5, Interesting)

Cruicky (1122359) | about 7 years ago | (#20976155)

It would have been nice if the article confirmed that the HPET timer was active, which I believe is rather important for the tickless kernel to work most efficiently.

Re:Is this supposed to be a surprise? (4, Informative)

dpilot (134227) | about 7 years ago | (#20976497)

The HPET stuff is now scheduled for merge into the 2.6.24 kernel. I've had to patch my earlier kernels to get HPET, which as you say is really necessary for tickless to do its stuff. The article suggests that this is a stock Gutsy installation. But then again, most distros do a bit of custom patching of their kernels. In particular, Gentoo does not include the HPET patch.

So the question here: Does the Gutsy kernel have the HPET patch applied?

If not, then these power numbers are definitely pessimistic, presuming that they move to an HPET kernel (2.6.24+) as it's available.

Someone here with a Gutsy system should run "powertop" on it, and let us know. IIRC, powertop suggested that I use the HPET, and with a little digging I found that a patch was needed, and took care of it.

Re:Is this supposed to be a surprise? (1)

jombeewoof (1107009) | about 7 years ago | (#20976635)

So the question here: Does the Gutsy kernel have the HPET patch applied?
 
Nope,
Powertop asks me to install the patch, or set it up in my Bios, so I can only assume it is not setup on my clean install of tribe 5.

Kind of. (4, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | about 7 years ago | (#20975803)

Although each newer system does more ... they've also improved the code so that it does so more efficiently. Or in the case of the tick-less kernel, other code has changed.

So, the question is: Do the improvements offset the additional features.

The answer is: Yes, to a degree. 7.10beta runs cooler and more efficiently than 7.04 ... but still uses more power than even earlier releases did.

So the next question is: How many of the new features can you shut off because you do not need them and how much of a power savings will you see then?

Re:Kind of. (1)

JoshJ (1009085) | about 7 years ago | (#20975905)

Cooler and more efficiently? When I was on Gutsy beta early on I had to go back to Feisty because I kept overheating. I do not have any plan to update as I have no need to at this point, and that experience soured me on Gutsy.

Re:Kind of. (1)

xenocide2 (231786) | about 7 years ago | (#20976455)

Gutsy early on (june till late september) suffered from a couple of critical bugs that would likely cause laptops problems. Trackerd, a search indexer similar to beagle and friends, would occasionally get into massive CPU loads, causing me to have to kill it. It also ignored indexing while on battery. I believe both those are fixed, albeit the battery check involves polling something in /proc last I checked. Compiz is also likely to be a heat contributer, as it puts the usually idle 3d chipsets to work.

I keep two installs and a shared /home on my laptop so if something like this happens, I can still fall back on something I feel reliable.

Re:Kind of. (2, Informative)

ozamosi (615254) | about 7 years ago | (#20976475)

Did you use Compiz in Gutsy but not in Feisty, then? A lot of people add Compiz to their Feisty installations, but it is default only from Gutsy, so I'm going to assume that's a "yes" in this post.

When activating Compiz on my laptop, I start to fear hearing problems, because the fans have to be at maximum speed non-stop (it's a Macbook, and I've been using it in my lap - any reproductive abilities are in other words long gone, so I don't have to fear that), while they are off at all times except when playing games or watching movies when I don't use it. The reason seems to be that the 3d accelerator on the GPU emits huge amounts of heat when being used. This is with intel graphics, which I've heard are relatively cool - I don't even want to think about what it would be like with ati or nvidia.

The solution? System -> Preferences -> Appearance, the tab Visual Effects, set to None. You may need to log out and back in. This gives you plain, old Metacity, with more and better window management abilities, but fewer bugs.

Re:Kind of. (1)

JoshJ (1009085) | about 7 years ago | (#20976525)

I have Compiz turned off in Feisty, and turned it off in Gutsy. Cool concept, freezes too often for me. That's not the difference. Also, trackerd shouldn't be causing much of the problem either- if it is, that's stupid. It should come with the stuff on a freshly installed system pre-analyzed, unless I misunderstand how it works.

All of them. (4, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 7 years ago | (#20976571)

So the next question is: How many of the new features can you shut off because you do not need them and how much of a power savings will you see then?

Given that the stock Ubuntu (if you don't include "restricted drivers") comes with FULL source code, yes, all of them.

On a more realistic note, most people do need restricted drivers, and most people don't want to mess around with source code. But it's based on Debian, which means, for the most part, you can completely remove services you don't need, point and click, provided you know what they are.

Then again, I actually do want most of these services -- for example, the parts that make everything plug'n'play, from USB storage to wireless, even the CD "autorun" feature of Windows if you really want it. Most users won't have to think about "mounting" any more than they do on Windows, and somewhat more than they might on OS X, and that's a good thing.

Re:Is this supposed to be a surprise? (2, Informative)

volsung (378) | about 7 years ago | (#20976181)

By going to smaller transistors, lower voltages, and more clever power management schemes, they have managed to get more work done per watt than before. A new 3 GHz Athlon64 X2 requires 89W of power, whereas the old 1.4 GHz Athlon Thunderbird used 74W.

Re:Is this supposed to be a surprise? (2, Insightful)

noidentity (188756) | about 7 years ago | (#20976211)

Yeah, it's not the OS that's supposed to be using much of the new power; it's user applications. If anything, operating systems can reduce system usage by improving how they allocate system resources. I wouldn't be surprised if Mac OS X were more efficient than Mac OS 9 in some ways, due to having real multitasking and decent virtual memory (funny I'm typing this on my Mac OS 9 machine).

Re:Is this supposed to be a surprise? (1)

Gerzel (240421) | about 7 years ago | (#20976555)

I'm with you man.

I'm confused as to how this might matter at all.

I mean an OS like Ubuntu has so many options that while yes you can test to the standard install does that test mean anything? Who goes with all-standard settings for their machine if they use that machine often? And if it is a machine that you are going to leave on and never change the settings, such as a lab computer, and you are worried about power consumption per machine (which for a large institution or a large lab savings might be considerable) wouldn't you tweak the settings to get things down yourself?

Power saving to me seems to be something more in the settings, what effects you use, how quickly the monitor turns off and goes into power saving mode etc. rather than a function of the over-all os.

Snazzy effects (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20975769)

As cool as these Compiz effects are, they should not be forced upon everyone, just made very easy for people to obtain.

Plus, this version never actually booted up because it didn't like my Broadcom 4318.

Re:Snazzy effects (5, Informative)

F-3582 (996772) | about 7 years ago | (#20975865)

Rest assured, it takes you four mouse-clicks to disable them. Every tried that under Vista?

Re:Snazzy effects (3, Informative)

DAldredge (2353) | about 7 years ago | (#20975931)

Vista takes 5.

1: Right click on desktop.
2: Select Personalize
3: Select Theme
4: Select Windows Classic
5: Click OK.

Re:Snazzy effects (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20976291)

If you disable the effects on vista you just got an overprized XP , harder to use and with DRM.

Re:Snazzy effects (1)

Svippy (876087) | about 7 years ago | (#20976305)

Yes yes yes, but you are forgetting the five hours it takes me to figure out it was called "Personalize".

Re:Snazzy effects (2, Interesting)

DAldredge (2353) | about 7 years ago | (#20976533)

If it took you 5 hours to figure that out then you really do not need to be using a computer...

Re:Snazzy effects (1)

feepness (543479) | about 7 years ago | (#20976595)

Yes yes yes, but you are forgetting the five hours it takes me to figure out it was called "Personalize".
Let me guess... you thought it was "Refresh"? No wait... you must have kept trying "Undo delete"!

Re:Snazzy effects (1, Redundant)

nmb3000 (741169) | about 7 years ago | (#20975953)

Rest assured, it takes you four mouse-clicks to disable them. Every tried that under Vista?

Five clicks to change to Windows Classic or Aero Basic. This includes the click to "Apply" the new settings.

Re:Snazzy effects (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20976069)

I hate to defend Vista... but the desktop effects can be disabled rather easily. Furthermore, the desktop effects in both Vista and OS X are incredibly stable. That's definitely something that can't be said for Compiz. Why include something in the default install that's reasonably unstable? At the moment, Compiz doesn't even work on an extremely large subset of video cards... It's a lot less of a hassle for the people that want Compiz to install it themselves, than for the people who don't want it, or don't have supported hardware, to have to deal with crashes and other problems before figuring out how to disable it. There are plenty of packages that would be more appropriate to include on the installation CD.

P.S. I know that Compiz is supposed to disable itself if supported hardware is not available, but the number of forum posts and questions in the Ubuntu IRC channel prove that this is not happening in a significant number of cases.

Re:Snazzy effects (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20975885)

Ubuntu made a big mistake by enabling Compiz by default. It doesn't work half the time, and the fall back mechanism is buggy to say the least. Considering that Ubuntu is primarily used by people that are fairly new to Linux, Ubuntu users are often totally lost when something goes wrong. The number of related questions in the Ubuntu channels on Freenode are a sure sign that enabling Compiz by default was a huge mistake.

Compiz hurts my productivity. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20975987)

I've been using the prereleases for some time now. A number of my friends said that Compiz made them more productive, so I left it enabled. But then I found that my productivity tanked. A lot of time ended up being wasted waiting for some pointless effect to finish doing its thing. Shimmering windows are distracting and don't really do anything useful. The same for window shadows.

Just to give it a fair chance, I've left it enabled. But even after weeks, my productivity is still hurting. I'm about to uninstall Compiz because it has caused me nothing but grief.

Re:Snazzy effects (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20976397)

As cool as these Compiz effects are, they should not be forced upon everyone, just made very easy for people to obtain.

As cool as memory protection is, it should not be forced upon everyone, just made very easy for people to obtain.

Really. WTF? A compositing window manager hides drawing updates. Does it actually help you in any way to see your windows redraw? I tried moving some windows around with Compiz (and wobbly), and with Metacity, and Metacity takes about 50% CPU on both cores, while Compiz takes no measurable CPU.

Why should we keep shipping a system that shows redraws and takes more CPU by default? Is there any good reason, or is it just "new things scare me"?

Other OSes? (5, Interesting)

p0tat03 (985078) | about 7 years ago | (#20975783)

I'd be more interested in seeing how Ubuntu's power consumption stacks up against Windows and MacOS...

Re:Other OSes? (4, Funny)

mpetch (692893) | about 7 years ago | (#20975797)

Me too, but I'd need to be able actually read the article with Safari on OS/X first.

Re:Other OSes? (1)

Simon (S2) (600188) | about 7 years ago | (#20975845)

I'd be more interested in seeing how Ubuntu's power consumption stacks up against Windows and MacOS...

Yes, that would be interesting! Can you make one and post it here?

Re:Other OSes? (5, Interesting)

tomee (792877) | about 7 years ago | (#20975857)

I agree. There also seems to be no info on whether they used the 3d-desktop stuff. I would imagine that that would have a much greater impact on the power consumption, and it would be interesting to see some data on that.

Re:Other OSes? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20975863)

I'd be more interested in seeing how Ubuntu's power consumption stacks up against Windows and MacOS...

So would I, but the point of the article (as paid for by Microsoft) is to make the latest release of Ubuntu as bad as possible. Even though the differences in power consumption are tiny, even in many circumstances being better in the 7.10 than previous versions.

Unfortunately if Phoronix did an article like that they'd be showing Microsoft up and employers tend not to like it when their employees do that to them.

Re:Other OSes? (1)

F-3582 (996772) | about 7 years ago | (#20975893)

Got any links to prove that? I mean, this is a pretty insulting statement you made there, actually.

Re:Other OSes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20976005)

It seems like common sense to me. More effects means more CPU cycles (or GPU cycles, either way you're using more power).

Re:Other OSes? (1)

pravuil (975319) | about 7 years ago | (#20976271)

Yeah, more stuff, more power. Why does Vista need at least 1gig RAM to run properly, etc...

I've been running Fedora for a while. I've been running games on both xp and in wine. Average idle temp for Linux is around 35C, Microsoft was at around 32C after reinstall but currently xp has been running around 38C on idle. Video runs a lot cooler in Windows though because of Windows Media Player. I do have to give them credit for that. Under heavy load while running games, Linux runs about 42C. Highest temp goes up to around 48C. XP runs on average 46 and highest goes up to 52C while running the same games. Point is there are a lot of factors for this and that. What the tests end up showing is that average power usage only goes up around 1-3%. Not for each upgrade but for the overall life of the OS. I hate these lame attempts to divert and redirect attention. While it provides fodder for the MS crowd, it's convenient that there are no benchmarks for power usage for Vista right along with Ubuntu.

Re:Other OSes? (4, Interesting)

Splab (574204) | about 7 years ago | (#20976245)

In my own experience running Ubuntu 7.04 gives me somewhere between 5,5 hours and 6 hours of battery time. Running windows XP usually gives me around 8 hours of battery time. I use both distributions for development, I code under MS VS (C++) in windows and use VIM under linux for development (also C++).

Gonna check out the new 7.10 and see if I can get nearer to what windows can give me.

Re:Other OSes? (1)

cyclocommuter (762131) | about 7 years ago | (#20976317)

As a Lenovo T60p laptop user (running Vista Enterprise), I too would be more interested in a head to head comparison between the ability of Ubuntu to put the Lenovo into various sleep modes such as S3 (Hybrid Sleep), S4 (Hibernate) as well as take advantage of a CPU's adaptive/variable speed capability. In Vista there is a Lenovo software add-on (Thinkvantage) that allows the user to program the power saving mode of the laptop. Using this software (works hand in hand with Vista's Power Options from the Control Panel), one could optimize the laptop to consume less power with the side-effect of generating less fan noise. I wonder, is Ubuntu able to take advantage of these power saving / noise cancelling options?

The last time I used Linux (Mandrake 10, an older version of Simply Mepis), the PC could not even be programmed to go into standby even though running XP on the same PC allows one to do so. Has this changed on the new Ubuntu (7.04)?

Re:Other OSes? (1)

InvalidError (771317) | about 7 years ago | (#20976569)

I tried to put my laptop to sleep with Ubuntu x86-64 and my laptop crashed during wake-up. On the other hand, sleep worked fine with both XP 32bits and Vista Ultimate 64bits. ... I installed Vista last Tuesday and am pretty glad I got it for only $50 since it looks like I won't be using it much (or at all) in the near future. My laptop is back on XP (too slow and too little RAM to make Vista run sufficiently smoothly for my taste) and I probably won't be booting my dual-boot desktop to Vista very often until SP1 since it appears to become unstable during heavy IO and often/randomly fails to enumerate my external HDDs, quite annoying given that 80% of my storage is near-line.

How to test the power comsumption of Linux (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20975805)

1. Run the particular distro.
2. Make sure the power cord is long and in the open.
3. Allow a penguin to chew through the cord.
4. Measure the distance the penguin flies after chewing into the cord. This will give you some idea of the power usage.
5. Well, don't let that penguin go to waste! BBQ and teriyaki are great ways to make penguin. Personally, I prefer General Tso's Penguin myself.

Re:How to test the power comsumption of Linux (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 7 years ago | (#20976385)

BBQ penguin - ugh!

A penguin is bound to taste terrible - like BBQ seagull - not something I would like to try except in a dire case of starvation. Penguins are actually horrid creatures - noisy carnivorous sea birds. I have been bitten by a little one - not much fun at all.

Sig Fig nitpick (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20975871)

TFA doesn't specify error bars, which of course makes the results somewhat dubious. They list numbers to two decimal place accuracy (e.g. 48.00), but since all the numbers end in .00, I'm guessing those decimal places are not significant. In other words, the number are only good to within +/- 1 or +/- 2 or something like that. Considering that they are trying to compare numbers that are quite similar (27 to 33), their conclusions may not be reliable.

When comparing numbers, an estimate of the error is crucial. If the difference between two measurements is smaller than the error, then you cannot meaningfully say they are different.

Mod parent up (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20976065)

Clearly they only ran the experiment once with each setup, hence no estimate of the variance or error can be made. The results tell us nothing - without significance tests the article is, while interesting, nothing more than conjecture.

I'm shocked that slashdot has only rated the parent as "2, insightful". This point is at least as important as whether they used the same hardware for each test, which programs were used for the load test, and whether or not the writer was employed by Microsoft.

Shame on you moderators.

Re:Mod parent up (1)

maubp (303462) | about 7 years ago | (#20976461)

I was rather dubious about some of those graphs too - both for the missing error bars, and three figures with integer values (plus a point zero zero!). These both suggest they did no repeats on the experiment.

So as you say, at best its a "pilot study" which seems to show that there have been no major changes in power usage by the different Ubuntu releases (on this hardware).

No variance with one observation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20976071)

Read TFA, will ya. There is no variance with one observation! This is meant to be a quick FYI. --AC

Re:No variance with one observation (2, Insightful)

volsung (378) | about 7 years ago | (#20976137)

One could roughly estimate the variance by looking at the meter fluctuations while taking the reading, or checking the design accuracy of the meter in the manufacturer's data sheet. You need some kind of estimate if you are going to draw any conclusions (which the authors of TFA were attempting to do).

Does Ubuntu benchmark this kind of thing? (2, Interesting)

maubp (303462) | about 7 years ago | (#20975875)

Does anyone know if Ubuntu actually have machines hooked up to measure this kind of thing in house, looking for regressions in power usage? I gather the OLPC project has thing kind of thing as part of their build system (driven off the code repository), but they are naturally particularly concerned about battery life.

Re:Does Ubuntu benchmark this kind of thing? (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about 7 years ago | (#20976101)

Mod up! I remember a bitter conversation with a dude from IBM over OS/2. I was trying to sell it (over Windows!). OS/2 was better IMHO, but just would *not* install on the client's PCs. I'm not talking about noname beige boxes either - my client had Compaq.

Me: "I'm having this problem when I try and boot the Compaq"
IBM: "Urm...well, actually, we've never tried installing it on a non-IBM PC..."

Subsequent lack of success for OS/2 not surprising, (my experience was by no means unique).

Guess testing for power consumption is not up there with eye candy...they're probably right, from a consumer point of view.

Re:Does Ubuntu benchmark this kind of thing? (2, Insightful)

LingNoi (1066278) | about 7 years ago | (#20976127)

I don't think Canonical does much in-house testing. I thought they got the community to do almost everything to do with Ubuntu, apart from employees who live around the globe and commit their code to the servers.

Power? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20975897)

I didn't realize that the tick-less task manager was supposed to save power. Maybe that could be explained as I've never read anything about it.

misleading (4, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | about 7 years ago | (#20975907)

very misleading healine. I RTFA and if you look at the nice graph, it actually shows a decrease in power usage since feisty and just about what the prior versions were. AC power consumption idling went from 31 to 29 from feisty to gutsy. while loaded, it went down slightly from 51 [feisty] to 50 [gutsy] the only thing that gutsy was higher in was battery discharge rate idle- it was at 22.26 while feisty was at 21.16. while loaded on battery it went down from 33.51 to 32.21 from feisty to gutsy.

Re:misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20976373)

misleading headline or misleading summary?

News: More Processing Requires More Power (4, Funny)

reidbold (55120) | about 7 years ago | (#20975909)

toast, still not free

DC or Marvel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20975917)

Cleary kdawson is trying to officially state his position as Captain Obvious, next article? Birds CAN fly, but only if they use their wings right! Water CAN be wet, but only if it is in a liquid state!

Well duh! (3, Interesting)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | about 7 years ago | (#20975919)

"more daemons and processes running by default on these modern Ubuntu releases is actually causing an increase in power consumption."

Ya think?

I just install OpenSuse 10.3 on a tower type and a laptop.
The first thing I do is go in and disable a whole slew of bullshit that's enabled by default.
I LOVE Linux but the trend lately has been to BLOAT it up like a new eMachine that's preloaded with 40gigs of bullshit.

What ever happened to minimal? When I installed Suse 9.3 on my Athlon 64 w/1g ram, it ran like a cat with it's ass on fire.
SAME hardware with OpenSuse 10.2 was abysmal. It was sooooo bad that I was just about to give up on it then 10.3 came out.
It's a slight improvement but, damn! They are developing all the new distros with the assumption that everyone is going to run out and buy all new shit. Shades of M$, dare I say??

For the longest time Linux captured and held my heart because it would run so fast on the oldest, worst case hardware.
No more. Wanna run the latest distro? Better put some $$$ back for all new hardware...

Bloat = power drain.

How about getting back to basics and quit focusing on the bling-bling. Linux is NOT windows and it never should be. Quit trying to make it look and act like windows. Quit trying to make it run windows crap. Be happy that it's not windows. I do not want windows compatibility. At all. Ever.

Kill the bloat and pork and watch power consumption go down. Not to mention the old PC's being tossed out into the environment.

Re:Well duh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20975959)

Change your distro.

I'm not naming a single of the 432 distro's that DON'T have this problem.

Re:Well duh! (2, Informative)

dvice_null (981029) | about 7 years ago | (#20975991)

> What ever happened to minimal?

You would like to have a light Linux distribution? Something like this perhaps:

http://www.puppylinux.com/ [puppylinux.com]
http://featherlinux.berlios.de/about.htm [berlios.de]
http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/ [damnsmalllinux.org]

Re:Well duh! (1)

Aladrin (926209) | about 7 years ago | (#20976051)

I have to wonder if there shouldn't be an Lubuntu distro that is based on Ubuntu/Debian, but is a truly minimalistic distro like those you list.

I also have to wonder if it would catch on like Ubuntu did since Ubuntu's great advantage is 'ease of use' and not 'one fits all' like some seem to think it should be. Still, I'd like the option to have a fairly familiar environment but will run well on my ancient laptop.

Re:Well duh! (4, Informative)

Simon (S2) (600188) | about 7 years ago | (#20976099)

There is. http://www.xubuntu.org/ [xubuntu.org]

It is lighter on system requirements and tends to be more efficient than Ubuntu with GNOME or KDE, since it uses the Xfce Desktop environment, which makes it ideal for old or low-end machines, thin-client networks, or for those who would like to get more performance out of their hardware.

Re:Well duh! (2, Informative)

WK2 (1072560) | about 7 years ago | (#20976145)

There is. http://www.xubuntu.org/ [xubuntu.org]

Or http://www.fluxbuntu.org/ [fluxbuntu.org]

pair-a-noyd's rant is seriously misdirected. Linux is whatever you want it to be. That is one of the advantages of having several hundred active distros.

Re:Well duh! (1)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | about 7 years ago | (#20976173)

Not misdirected at all. I was talking about the mainstream, premier distros like Redhat, Suse, Ubuntu, etc.

Re:Well duh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20976409)

Including ubuntu in this list again shows how misdirected it was. For most people "ubuntu" is not only ubuntu anymore, but kubuntu, edubuntu, xubuntu, ... as well. All of them coming from the same base and therefore having the same quality of the core / base system. So it is up to the users to choose what is best for his system. If he is not able to do the minimal reading up required for that, maybe he should spent his money on a new machine and give the old one to somebody who has a use for it.

Re:Well duh! (1)

Aladrin (926209) | about 7 years ago | (#20976339)

I stand corrected, thank you. (And thanks to the guy that replied about flexbuntu, too.)

Re:Well duh! (4, Insightful)

BlueParrot (965239) | about 7 years ago | (#20976105)

How about getting back to basics and quit focusing on the bling-bling. Linux is NOT windows and it never should be. Quit trying to make it look and act like windows. Quit trying to make it run windows crap. Be happy that it's not windows. I do not want windows compatibility. At all. Ever.

Kill the bloat and pork and watch power consumption go down. Not to mention the old PC's being tossed out into the environment.


Ubuntu certainly isn't windows. That is why you can open the package manager and purge most of the stuff that you find bloated, or use Xubuntu, which is designed to have lower requirements yet still be easy to use. Or if you REALLY want to streamline your system you could install a distro with that purpose, like DSL or Feather Linux. If that is too limited for your needs you could grab a minimal debian install and only install the packages you want.

My point? Different users have different needs. Ubuntu is explicitly targeted and those people who WANT an easy to use GUI and those people who WANT painless support for things they expect to just work. Making an operating system which caters to those users is the main purpose of the Ubuntu project. If your main priority is a streamlined system, then quite frankly you should be looking at something targeted at that rather than complaining about Ubuntu. Besides, it is not as if Ubuntu doesn't run just fine on moderate hardware. I'm using the Gutsy beta on a 5+ year old workstation my dad's job threw out because it was "old" as an example.

Re:Well duh! (1)

FudRucker (866063) | about 7 years ago | (#20976111)

i agree lots of "user friendly" distros do this...

ubuntu created a perfectly good child of Debian and made a complete and total piece of crap out of it - (mod me down i don't care = i am entitled to my opinion)...

Re:Well duh! (4, Interesting)

corychristison (951993) | about 7 years ago | (#20976167)

I've got an older system here... I built it roughly 5 years ago (I think -- I may be over-estimating). It's an AMD Athlon XP 2500+, 1GB OEM RAM, 120GB SATA Hard drive, and an Nvidia FX 5200 video card (I think)...

I used to run SuSE 9.1 and was running it fine for 3 years or so... then came time to try and upgrade to a newer version. Of course this is right around the time that Novell bought SUSE and changed it up a bit. So an easy upgrade was indeed not possible. I decided to try out a few distributions but had a lot of problems finding one that would work fast and I ended up on Gentoo. I know, I know, compile time was a pain in the ass... I decided to go down the XFCE route and use all of the lighter-weight GTK programs... I think I only have one QT program that I actually use installed and it only depends on QT, nothing else.

Xubuntu ran O.K... but not anywhere near as nice as Gentoo is. I think it's not the fact that it was compiled and optimized... I beleive it's because during installation I learned more as I set it up. And I knew what I wanted/needed to run the system. Whereas Ubuntu makes a lot of choices for you, mostly in system services, etc. I have a total of 29 items that start up when I boot. I think only 10-15 of them are actually daemons. Right now I am using 215MB or so of my 1GB of RAM... this is with Firefox (4 tabs), Thunderbird w/Lightning, aMSN, Terminal, Mousepad and a whole slew of items on my panel.

If you want lightweight, make sure you know exactly what is going on your system. And use something like XFCE or Fluxbox versus KDE or Gnome.

Just my two cents. :-)

blame Beagle for that (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20976215)

Once beagle is disabled in opensuse the system runs much more smoothly

More features - Same power (5, Insightful)

Cryophallion (1129715) | about 7 years ago | (#20975935)

Actually, I think it is rather impressive that 7.10 (which has eye candy on by default) has slightly less power consumption than 7.04 (no eye candy by default).

In other words, they increased features while decreasing (generally) power consumption. While it seems to be only about 1 or 2 watts lower (excepting battery idle where it is slightly higher), we are only talking 3-5 watts difference over 2.5 years of updates. In fact, it went down 4 watts using ac idle compared to 5.04, which I am sure had far fewer daemons/features.

Some of this may be better code etc. However, I think we should be giving the people who have been doing the coding here major Kudos for doing getting the most out of our computers (whereas MS wants us to quadruple our ram to use eye candy, they are doing it with the same amount of ram standard 4 years ago on a desktop, and keeping power down). I don't even want to think of what Vista must use in power.

Re:More features - Same power (1)

bjourne (1034822) | about 7 years ago | (#20976451)

Actually, I think it is rather impressive that 7.10 (which has eye candy on by default) has slightly less power consumption than 7.04 (no eye candy by default).
Eye candy has nothing to do with it. When the computer is idle there is no eye candy and all processes should be sleeping. But some processes like daemons needs to wake up intermittently to check for various conditions. For example, the battery monitor needs to regularly update its display of how much battery power is left. It is these wake ups that consume power when idling (except for the ambient power draining from the hardware).

So if the idle power consumption increases it means that the wake ups happen more frequently or are longer, which is bad because generally, daemons with no work to do should do as little as possible before going to sleep again and they should wake up as seldom as possible. Someone coded a daemon badly and that is why 7.10 consumes more power than 6.06.1

Gave up on Linux (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20975937)

I am a long time Linux user and taking a decision to move away was a no brainer. The user space still sucks badly, and the kernel isn't a lot better - old problems, by the time they are fixed, new ugliness has already creeped in and the net effect is zero advantages. Struggling for everything is no longer my cup of tea - I got tired of it long time back. Struggle to find compatible hardware, drivers, struggle to find software that works without crashing, struggle to keep it running well with low power consumption (download and build/install powertop and its dependencies, look at the arcane, sometimes redundant, sometimes non-working power usage improvement suggestions) - it's just too much on the Desktop.

For servers too if you want something which just works - buy Sun x64 hardware and run Solaris 10 on it. (Don't get me started on OOM killer - I hate it and no one is fixing it - why the hell does it hand out more to applications than it has and then starts killing totally irrelevant processes - it doesn't get more brain damaged than that.)

Flame me if you will - but I said whatever I said out of the long term frustration and ton of experience. It's becoming a play ground - do mess, clean mess, lather, rinse, repeat. Day by day growing disregard for users in the name of technology is not something that can make Linux mainstream, even on the servers.

Re:Gave up on Linux (1)

zig007 (1097227) | about 7 years ago | (#20976037)

I won't flame you. Just disagree. Ok, maybe flame a little then:
Because your post is simply a not-so-small pile of bullshit, which *maybe* was even only part true a couple of years ago.

And..eeh.. Isn't the fact that you have to buy special Sun hardware to get something that just works with Solaris kind of crappy?
Why not, in that case, buy hardware that you know are extremely compatible with your preferred linux distro? Or a mac?

Or what? Is your point that I can get insanely good stuff by paying an far more than-equally-insane amount of money?
No shit, sherlock.

Re:Gave up on Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20976113)

The "far more than" part is totally shit, sherlock. If I went to buy what I want, it will cost me the same money if I bought from Sun or someone else. (And no I am not talking about beige box under your desk that runs Apache and Perl - I am talking about mission critical stuff with 99.99999 percent uptime.) That is the hardware part. Software - I have not yet needed to buy OS support from Sun - the thing just sits and cranks out stuff without even needing a reboot for years.

Come back to the desktop - Macs happen to be my hardware of choice - and I feel no need to put something that needs ton of efforts to just work (forget working nicely part) - OSX is just fine on the desktop, hell even x64 Vista fetches most drivers for my Macbook Pro with no searching required.

So nice try, but nothing you said was with substance or real world experience, and that sherlock equals shit to me.

Re:Gave up on Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20976183)

bleh five nines is 99.999 not 99.99999
can't even get yer marketoid terms correctly tsss ...

GET YOUR LINUX TROLL COPYPASTA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20976119)

Fresh from the troll! Get it while it's hot! You're gonna be seeing it over and over and over for months to come, as he proudly reposts it over and over and over, so better get some now and start getting used to it! Only 20 cents per view!

Re:Gave up on Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20976195)

That you, Ubuntudupe?

I completely disagree with everything you said. I've only been using Linux for four or five years, but it has improved by leaps and bounds in that time. I can't see any "long time Linux user" moving away in this day and age where everything gets twice as simple and twice as powerful every year.

I'm writing this on Kubuntu 7.10rc and it's a joy. What do you suggest for the desktop? XP? Certainly not Vista...

Ubuntu is bloat. Always has been (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20975973)

Ubuntu is bloat.
It's Linux for Windows users. What do you expect?
Very badly designed OS. Stupid to rely on sudo when it has security bugs up the wazoo,
I tried Gutsy RC, my god whats with every single gnome applet under the sun loaded by default?
I feel like i'm running Windows when I run Ubuntu

Re:Ubuntu is bloat. Always has been (1)

meringuoid (568297) | about 7 years ago | (#20976323)

Stupid to rely on sudo when it has security bugs up the wazoo,

Really? I'm not aware of this.

I can see a danger that Ubuntu is training a generation of Linux users who neither know nor care what root is, and just type their password into whatever dialog box asks for it - that's setting us up for a Windows-style explosion of malware - but bugs inherent to sudo? Please explain, because that's a major issue if so.

AMD64 (4, Informative)

Nimey (114278) | about 7 years ago | (#20975999)

Laptop users may want to stick with 32-bit Ubuntu, since the CONFIG_NO_HZ (tickless kernel) option isn't available in 64-bit kernels yet.

If you're feeling adventurous, patches here: http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/people/tglx/hrtimers/ [kernel.org]

Can Linux improve power management? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20976003)

Micro-HIDE-THE-PATENTS-soft claims vista will save boatloadsof power (vs XP?)...maybe yes maybe no.

Clearly, A Green power saving linux will be Good Thing.

Is Linux currently missing any power management features? Should it be easier to turn off unneeded services?

I can believe that (3, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | about 7 years ago | (#20976011)

I was pretty amazed with the beta of Ubuntu 7.10. I even installed it on my system, but after about 30min-1 hour of use, trackerd was consistently keeping my CPU usage up at least 30%. That's not the fault of the Ubuntu team, as they did not write trackerd, but they really do need to be careful about the daemons that they allow to run in the background on a default installation. I don't know what it is there for, but according to this description [eyrie.org] , it doesn't sound like it is something that a vanilla, desktop installation would want on there. The approach to background processes should be the KISS. On a vanilla desktop installation, only the barest set of such thing should be on there.

Re: I can believe that (5, Informative)

Dolda2000 (759023) | about 7 years ago | (#20976095)

I don't know what it is there for, but according to this description [eyrie.org] , it doesn't sound like it is something that a vanilla, desktop installation would want on there.
That's not the trackerd you're looking for, though (for future record: You may want to try dpkg -S /usr/bin/trackerd, followed by dpkg -s $PACKAGENAME to find out what it is). Trackerd in the latest Ubuntu is a desktop search thingie, similar to Spotlight or whatever the Vista thing is called. I'd imagine that the load you were seing after about ½-1 hour of use was that it was still busy indexing your preexisting files. Once it gets past that, it gets quite calm in my admittedly limited experience.

The approach to background processes should be the KISS. On a vanilla desktop installation, only the barest set of such thing should be on there.
If that's what you want, maybe you shouldn't be using Ubuntu?

Won't run on battery (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20976241)

trackerd will cease indexing/crawling if on battery. The initial crawl can appear to be intensive, but that's just a one-time deal. On the bright side, later when you need to search for files it's virtually costless.

too much crap (2, Insightful)

m2943 (1140797) | about 7 years ago | (#20976025)

There are way too many daemons running on modern Linux systems; it really shouldn't require separate processes for I/O, settings, hardware configuration, every little panel thingy, etc.

yawn (1)

g0dsp33d (849253) | about 7 years ago | (#20976027)

Usually, aren't the only people that care people running servers? Laptops hardly qualify. I only glanced at the article, but I'm willing to bet that they couldn't be bothered to test each operating system repeatedly and scientifically. I'm willing to bet that if they had the difference would have been statistically negligible. A few seconds of battery life isn't much to write home about, unless your running back to it because you forgot to save something...

Re:yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20976171)

laptops, the only computers which run on batteries most of the time, hardly qualify ?

Thank you slashdot (1)

JamesRose (1062530) | about 7 years ago | (#20976097)

For an actual linux story, this is what i read for, not the 2000 stories about the iphone, or how bill gates cant get into nigeria, more of these stories please!

Wakeups (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20976161)

Well, 2.6.22 still wakeups quite frequently. I also imagine they didn't turn off Compiz, which produces quite a lot of wakeups (ie there is progress in DRI to fix this).
So 2.6.33 contains many fixes. I'f suggest Phoronix folks to test Fedora 8 (test).

Good but... (2, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | about 7 years ago | (#20976203)

I really wish they put Ubuntu next to latest XP, latest Vista and latest OSX (ok I guess they could wait few days for Leopard to get out).

As an XP user, two Ubuntu tests don't give me a clear picture of how this relates to the OS I use right now. I do suspect Ubuntu will have lower power consumption than XP, and for Vista the margin will be pretty wide.

But how much exactly..?

The Progression of Linux's applications (1)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | about 7 years ago | (#20976269)

Linux applications have undergone a Progression in order to try and stay on par with Windows and OSX. To offer greater services and compatibility than Windows can, Linux is trying to compete with applications that have a very small yet main stream arch of compatibility. Putting them at an advantage. They use less electricity because they have less stuff to run because they are FAR less compatible.

That being said, there is something to be said about using better discipline in writing Linux applications. That would help. But as with ACPI, Windows has an advantage. Lets see what we can do to take that advantage away. Remember what we are fighting for.

Re:The Progression of Linux's applications (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 7 years ago | (#20976591)

Remember what we are fighting for.

!Boobies!

Tag it lame. (0, Offtopic)

Vexorian (959249) | about 7 years ago | (#20976299)

Err, shouldn't they be comparing it against exactly the same setup without the kernel tick giberish-thingy ?

On other news, windows 3.11 needed quite less powerful machines than windows vista.

30 Watts? WTF? (2, Interesting)

zdzichu (100333) | about 7 years ago | (#20976445)

There must be something very wrong with tested system or Ubuntu configuration. 30 watts idle consumption is very, very wrong. My Thinkpad z61t idles at 13-14W with Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn. I expect lower value after upgrading to 7.10. And maybe even lower when I roll my own latest kernel with patches from lesswatts.org. I would be happy to go to 10W on idle, it would match advertised 6.25 hr worktime with 65Wh battery I have.

Re:30 Watts? WTF? (1)

n1hilist (997601) | about 7 years ago | (#20976633)

Indeed, currently my Thinkpad T61 idles @ about 12W with the lid closed, this is on Gutsy beta 5.

Problem: Too many useless processes (2, Insightful)

arw (222049) | about 7 years ago | (#20976567)

The main problem with power consumption is a "We no longer care about CPU cycles" attitude among many programmers, especially among the KDE and Gnome crowd. Why is there a daemon for every little thing programs could formerly handle by themselves or through libraries?

Like gconfd for parsing configs and watching them for changes. Or dbus, as if there were no othere proven methods for IPC, that don't require another daemon idling around and waking up every other millisecond eating away battery life. Or just log out from a KDE session and watch those 10 or so beauties like dcopserver idling aroud, eating memory. And does anybody even know what something like bonobo-activation-daemon does?

The laziness of application programmers has gone much to far, instead of using methods that are provided by the operating system and just require finding them there is a load of new, redundant mechanisms mostly implemented by new daemons. Every programmer introducing some new battery-eater should be required to justify this additional power by more than just "its easier this way", "windows also has some registry-parsing daemon" or "but I don't like parsing sysfs myself".

NO_HZ is nice, but only curing the symptoms of a larger problem: daemon-bloat! Get rid of them and you will see some real improvements.
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