Netbooks would be a whole lot more believable as companion devices if they switched on as fast as, say, a smartphone or PDA. However the combination of Intel’s Atom and generally wheezing specs tend to make starting-up – or resuming from standby – measure more around the one minute mark than anything less. Two Intel engineers might be looking to change all that, though; at a recent Linux conference, they demonstrated an ASUS Eee PC that could boot to a Fedora desktop in just five seconds.
The secret was cutting out different boot elements that either aren’t necessary for netbook users or whose function is replicated elsewhere, the common factor between the two being that they all wasted time. Out went such fripperies as “setroubleshootd” (Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux) configuration troubleshooting) which common users won’t need, and “initrd” which consumed a whole half-second but whose usable functionality was already offered by something else.
The final touch was a specially written patch that allowed read-ahead operations, based on a modified version of Fedora Readahead. That allows several things to be run simultaneously, rather than sequentially.
Even better, the Intel engineers have submitted their work to Moblin.org, the team behind the Moblin mobile development stack commonly seen on MIDs and netbooks, so we could be seeing faster start-ups for many devices. The process also apparently works on hard-drive based devices, although it takes longer than the SSD-based Eee PC; ten seconds on a hard-drive based Lenovo notebook, for instance.
[via Linux Devices]