Chrome printing has performance problems with Ubuntu 11.10

Asked by Phil Glasier

I installed Ubuntu 11.10 a few days ago and have noticed the response times for many packages, especially Chrome printing, are degraded from what I had with 11.04. When printing from Chrome, it is the print preview that takes so long to display and then sending the document to printer also takes a very long time for the document to start printing.

Other packages such as Software Center and Dash also load much slower than with 11.04.

I have 11.10 installed alongside Windows on an old Compaq Presario. Memory is 621.5 MiB, Processor is an AMD Turion 64 and I have 22.7 Gb of disk free. Windows resides in a 56 Gb partition which I would like eventually remove and make this a totally Ubuntu machine as long as 11.10 isn't making me nervous. :)

Is 11.10 for some reason just too much for this old hardware? Is there any performance tuning within 11.10 that anyone would suggest?

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Phil Glasier
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actionparsnip (andrew-woodhead666) said :

Oneiric doesn't require any more or less resources than previous releases. This isn't Windows forcing you to upgrade to run the latest OS. The only thing dictating requirements are the desktop and window manager you use. A system running LXDE and Openbox instead of Gnome and Compiz will run well on low end hardware.

Did you upgrade from Natty, or is this a clean install?

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Phil Glasier (glasier777) said :

Andrew, this is an upgrade from Natty and I am using Unity/Gnome windowing.

I'm seeing some better performance using Firefox instead of Chrome, might be limited to a Chrome problem with Ubuntu 11.10......

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Phil Glasier (glasier777) said :

I take back what I was saying about Firefox performing better. Just now I had Firefox open with 4 tabs: hotmail, this LP page, a wikipedia page and a local organization's web page. Firefox almost totally stopped responding and every other app running could not be selected. I was running Empathy and a terminal window as well. When I could get the terminal window to finally respond, I killed all the Firefox programs.

There is high disk usage when this laptop gets into this condition. Any one think I might be having memory overflow problems? Memory installed should be sufficient I think and Andrew has confirmed that Ocelot should not be requiring more memory to give decent performance compared to Narwhal.

Memory and swap usage while I am running what I've described above is steady at about 55% (350 MiB) for memory and 23% (220 MiB, out of 972.6 MiB) for swap. Do these levels sound normal? CPU usage is running around from 40% to 70% during this time period.

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actionparsnip (andrew-woodhead666) said :

So you are running 4 tabs in firefox, Empathy and the OS and that's it? How much RAM does the system have?

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Phil Glasier (glasier777) said :

System info shows 621.5 MiB of memory, more than half of that consumed when running the apps listed above.

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actionparsnip (andrew-woodhead666) said :

hmm, try this:

gksudo gedit /etc/sysctl.conf

add the line:

vm.swappiness = 10

Save the new file, close gedit then run:

sudo sysctl -p

Should help

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Phil Glasier (glasier777) said :

Andrew, your suggestion has helped. Applications are swapping back and forth more quickly. Thanks!

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actionparsnip (andrew-woodhead666) said :

The swappiness value tells the OS what percentage of time to use the swap space. The default is 60 (I'm sure there is a good reason but I don't know it). Setting it to 10 keeps most apps in RAM but still allows the scheduler the ability to use swap if you fill your RAM.

In higher RAM systems, you can add a lot more options in sysctl.conf to add extra speed to networking.