Featherweight Linux handout

by Akkana Peck.
This handout and presentation: http://shallowsky.com/featherweight/
Last update: January 2010.

Lightweight distros:

Netbook distros:

Difference between window manager and desktop:

Window manager

  • moving windows
  • drawing frames
  • switching desktops
  • context menu


    Lightweight window managers:

    Dock apps, applets, desktop switchers etc.

    Word processors:

    Mail programs


    Presentation software:

    (see my Linux for Presentations HOWTO for a detailed list)


    Speeding up boot:

    Possibly unnecessary services:

    Consider removing the packages, or at least disabling the init files:

    Watch during boot -- see what's slow.

    Read files in /etc/init.d to find out what the services are doing.

    Don't take my list and automatically disable everything -- Figure out what you do and don't need.

    Optional services:

    Services that you may want sometimes, but not necessarily every time you boot:

    Some services I disabled on Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid:

    How to disable init scripts (Redhat)

    How to disable init scripts (Debian/Ubuntu)

    How to disable init scripts on Upstart (e.g. Ubuntu Lucid, RH 12)

    Note: Upstart directory is /etc/init on Lucid, /etc/event.d on RH 12 and earlier Ubuntu/Debian.

    (as root)

    # mkdir /etc/noinit
    # mv /etc/init/plymouth* /etc/noinit
      or # mv /etc/event.d/plymouth* /etc/noinit
    # mkdir /etc/noinit.d
    # mv /etc/init.d/plymouth* /etc/noinit.d

    debootstrap: install without an installer

    # mount /dev/sdaN /newsys
    # debootstrap lucid /newsys
    Then: Boot into the new system and start installing software! Start with linux-generic if you're not using your own kernel.

    See my blog post on debootstrap for more details.


    Solid-State disks (SSD)

    bootlogd on Ubuntu

    Has to do with Upstart instead of sysvinit.

    bug 94120 on removing the no-op files or installing the patch.

    (also bug 306998)

    bug 98955 and bug 328881 on doing the same thing with logd.

    Instead, watch during boot, see what's slow.

    Turn on boot messages by editing /boot/grub/menu.lst:

    kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.28-11-generic root=[...] ro quiet splash

    In grub2, look for quiet splash in /etc/default/grub.cfg and remove it.

    Or use bootchart for detailed info.

    Performance tools

    HAL, "Hardware Abstraction Layer"


    Memory tools

    Quetzy (Poop Snake)

    Don't forget to go see the statue of Quetzalcoatl! (The link goes to San Jose Underbelly, a don't-miss guide to the real San Jose.)