Next Ubuntu can boot in seconds on an SSD

Canonical has been working hard on boot times. The Ubuntu 9.04 release that came out in April already brought improvements in that area, but as Ars Technica reports, the Ubuntu team isn’t done. Apparently, the latest alpha release of Ubuntu 9.10 can boot in as little as five seconds on some configurations.

Ars says Canonical Developer Relations Coordinator Jorge Castro recorded that impressive boot time on his own computer, which has a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor and a solid-state drive. He has a boot chart to prove it, too. The Ubuntu team added some special sauce to speed up SSD boot times in particular, as Ars explains:

One of the most significant technical factors contributing to awesome SSD boot performance is the inclusion of sreadahead, a system service that uses prefetching to load data that is used by the boot process before it is needed. It will also cache the prefetched data and store it so that it can be used during subsequent boots, but it’s less effective on conventional hard disks where seek latency introduces some challenges. Ubuntu developer Scott James Remnant explained some of the technical nuances in a mailing list post a few months ago.

Users of mechanical hard drives can still look forward to improvements, albeit none as dramatic. Ars recorded an average 22-second boot time on a two-year-old Dell Inspiron 1420n notebook.

You can try Ubuntu Linux 9.10 alpha 6 for yourself by grabbing the installation image here. Naturally, since this is alpha software, we’d recommend against installing it on a production system.

Comments closed
    • Ruiner
    • 10 years ago

    If you dual boot often (say XP for gaming, Ubuntu for everything else) this is a good thing.
    If you drain the battery on your netbook and lose your S3, this is a good thing.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 10 years ago

    Boot speed concerns? That’s SO 2005. I guess it would be important for Linux though if people still aren’t using it for their main OS or if it doesn’t have a sleep function.

      • stmok
      • 10 years ago

      Clearly clueless at the current state of Linux.

      ThinkPad T43 and T60 with Arch Linux.
      => Fn + F3 => Turn off backlight display
      => Fn + F4 => Sleep
      => Fn + F7 => Enable (VGA) external display
      => Fn + F12 => Hibernate
      => Wireless networking
      => Fingerprint scanner (biometrics)
      => Hard disk protection (accelerometer to park HDD)
      …It all works for me.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 10 years ago

        You are clearly clueless about the meaning of ‘if’ and you could have provided information without the put down.

        In any case, like I said, boot speed is a lot less important than it was a few years ago.

      • jap0nes
      • 10 years ago

      Weird, because that becomes an argument when it comes to bashing windows vista, for instance.

    • stmok
    • 10 years ago

    Another “subtle” marketing exercise about a new version from the Ubuntu folks.

    …I’m giving up on Ubuntu and going with Arch Linux. (Which works surprisingly well on my ThinkPad).

      • btb
      • 10 years ago

      Faster boot times is a good thing! But feel free to go back to your old 80386 if you think otherwise 🙂

        • thecoldanddarkone
        • 10 years ago

        Because 6 more seconds is going to kill you…

        • stmok
        • 10 years ago

        *rolleyes at the fool.*

        This is really about software optimisation.

        Boot times are one aspect of computing. Its the overall experience and feel. Overall, Ubuntu is bloated…Bloated for “ease of use” (convenience) reasons.

        Optimising a fat ass solution isn’t the same as developing a fast/responsive solution from the start.

        To simply brush off software bloat with “systems are powerful today anyway” (or the “You can go back to your obsolete stuff”) tone; encourages software developers to assume bloat is acceptable. => If you accept bloat, then you’ll be given bloat…But hey! At least you have “features” and it looks great!

        Yet, its funny how when given the choice; people go for the more responsive solution. eg: Vista vs Windows 7.

        Ubuntu has got all this crap running in the background. And the only way to work around (most of it), is to grab the Alternate install CD, boot up with that, and press F4 to enable install via command line. Then you’ve got to be weary with the crap you install.

        When I use Arch Linux, I get to know my system far better. I can tweak and resolve issues instead of remain “clueless in the dark”.

          • btb
          • 10 years ago

          Dude, nobody gives a f*ck about arch linux. Ubuntu is one of the few linux distros that have public awareness. And I think thats a good thing because it encourages competition and hopefully pushes both linux and windows to higher levels. Personally I would never touch ubuntu or any other piece of nerd-ware(like arch linux), but i appreciate their existance for the reasons stated above.

          • bthylafh
          • 10 years ago

          *Wary*. You have to be *wary*.

          Grr.

    • Vasilyfav
    • 10 years ago

    Last time I checked any OS can boot in seconds on an SSD.

      • End User
      • 10 years ago

      Wake from sleep with all your apps running instantly is still way faster that booting/launching apps from an SSD (as far as Windows 7/Mac OS X 10.6 goes). I’d love to install an SSD into my MacBook Pro but I would still sleep it.

      §[<http://www.techreport.com/articles.x/17269/6<]§

        • Vasilyfav
        • 10 years ago

        Well the point of the article was Ubuntu which I wouldn’t use for a laptop either way.

    • henfactor
    • 10 years ago

    Who shuts down their computer anymore?

      • I.S.T.
      • 10 years ago

      I do. Saves on the electric bill, consumes less resources(Not something I freak over, but if I can do a little…). My boot times are fairly short(About a minute in XP, 2 or three in Vista when I occasionally log onto it.), so that’s not a concern either.

      • Peffse
      • 10 years ago

      Does hibernate count?

        • indeego
        • 10 years ago

        Yes, of course it does. You can even install new hardware on a hibernate and windows will detect itg{<.<}g

      • End User
      • 10 years ago

      Not me. Wake from sleep (with tons of apps running) is almost instantaneous on my Mac OS X/Windows 7 systems. My MacBook Pro has been on for most of the past 2.5 years (including travel time).

        • henfactor
        • 10 years ago

        -Checks iStat widget-

        This one’s only been up for 3 weeks now, but only because of 10.6. Before it I had a 4.5 month up time streak going.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 10 years ago

          I was at 28 days before I shut down to go to St. Louis. I didn’t want the power to go out and corrupt something should a storm come up. And of course it would have been fine. :p

          I love sleep. Just hit the space bar and we’re up in about 3 seconds. No need to shut down and wait for the POST at that speed.

          • End User
          • 10 years ago

          Cool!

          I love iStat – both widget and menus

      • Skrying
      • 10 years ago

      Personally I sleep every system unless I know it will be unused for longer than a day or two. My laptops are virtually never shut down. Use them all the time.

      • Meadows
      • 10 years ago

      A lot of people. Updates and core drivers don’t install themselves just like that. Not to mention the minority who are in the process of overclocking or use multiple OSes or switch components often.

        • End User
        • 10 years ago

        Heh. It’s not like its sleep and nothing else.

      • jap0nes
      • 10 years ago

      I do. I spend at least 11 hours away from home, some 6-8 sleeping. Around 3 trying to get a life. The last two I’m in front of my computer at home
      Spending 22 hours away from my computer does not justify leaving it on. The same applies from my computer at work.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 10 years ago

        sleeeeeeeeeeeep

      • lycium
      • 10 years ago

      Who cares about the environment anymore?

        • Kurkotain
        • 10 years ago

        combo breaker?

        • Meadows
        • 10 years ago

        Nobody with a working brain does, beyond truly damaging things that is.

      • DrDillyBar
      • 10 years ago

      if I do, my 975 chipset may not boot properly.

    • AlvinTheNerd
    • 10 years ago

    Already using Gentoo on a mda SSD raid1 (dual super talent ultradrives with Phenom 9850, 4GB DDR2). Boot time is 4 seconds if you don’t count bios. KDE loads in 4 seconds after kdm.

    Bios is 13 seconds.

    Mobo makers, its now up to you!

      • Wirko
      • 10 years ago

      Not /[

      • stmok
      • 10 years ago

      The BIOS takes a few seconds…If one can replace it with Coreboot (assuming your mobo is supported), you can trim that 13sec down to 2-3 sec.

      In an ideal case; its possible to bring the whole system up from pressing the power button to a usable desktop in 6 seconds.

      • btb
      • 10 years ago

      Gigabyte have been making progress in this area. Or at least so they say(with their new QuickBoot thingy that “caches” your configuration if it hasnt changed in 3 boots). I dont know how well it works, but i plan to find out when i upgrade to core i5 and a new motherboard.

    • thecoldanddarkone
    • 10 years ago

    I wonder if they are counting bios time, doesn’t look like it. My tablet boots in 19 seconds including bios W7.

      • jap0nes
      • 10 years ago

      Nope. The bootchart software can only start after the OS boots.

      • bthylafh
      • 10 years ago

      They wouldn’t, since there’s no consistency to how long different BIOSes take to boot.

      If you’re fairly brave, your device *might* have a Coreboot port. That’ll make the BIOS part of the boot really fast.

        • thecoldanddarkone
        • 10 years ago

        I’m not saying it is, but at the same time you still have to wait for the bios. My tablet takes 7 seconds for bios and 12-13 seconds for Windows. It’s only a 1.33 ghz c2d with an older Samsung SSD, 13 meg random 4k read. That means it shouldn’t be that hard to get into the seconds catagory with ssd drives for W7.

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