Two out of three ain’t bad

I installed Ubuntu the other day, wiping out my long-standing Crux installation and putting the whole Gnome suite on my Inspiron. I did it for three reasons — first, I wanted to give Ubuntu a few tries, after opening my network to rsync, torrent and other traffic. I don’t have any particular insights to offer, but it was important to see the whole Ubuntu Hardy sphere working without networking restrictions.

The second reason was to install Gridwars 2, which I mentioned in a previous post. That has proven to be both a blessing and a curse — great game, serious time consumer though. It’s either good or bad, as always, depending on your perspective.

The last reason was a pie-in-the-sky idea that I might be able to hijack my Ubuntu installation and hotwire it Crux-style, compiling a very sparse kernel and kicking it straight into bash with something like init=/bin/bash, and whatever else was necessary to make it work.

It was getting a little hairy though, and I admit I didn’t have enough desire to see it through. I downloaded a kernel, then needed build-essential. Then I needed ncurses-dev just to run make menuconfig. And a mess of options had been enabled and I didn’t have the time to wade through them all.

In the end I just scrapped the idea. I knew I was going to run into a lot of other problems and I didn’t feel like disentangling Ubuntu when what I really want is Crux’s speed and efficiency. Like I mention in the guide, I really don’t see the point in hacking down Ubuntu to make it superfast, because it defeats the purpose of using Ubuntu at all.

So I’m compiling right now, but I’m doing it in Crux again, where I feel the effort is well spent. I could probably go through the steps making Ubuntu work like Crux at the core levels, but it wouldn’t be Ubuntu any more — and I’d have to jump through so many hoops, it wouldn’t be fun.

And if it ain’t fun, I ain’t interested. :roll:

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4 thoughts on “Two out of three ain’t bad

  1. mauud777

    thanks … but i have question

    whats make crux butter than Arch ??

    i see that you love crux more than arch



  2. K.Mandla Post author

    Two reasons: First, I have a better sense of control over package compilation. I started using Crux when I couldn’t get ABS to work (I didn’t have rsync access at the time) and wanted to eke still more speed out of my software. I couldn’t manually compile software, but a system-wide rebuild (at the time) wasn’t practical.

    Second, I was irritated by the startup sequence. I work primarily with old hardware, and I regularly see delays of 7-12 seconds — sometimes more — while I wait for modules to be inserted and udev to settle. It’s not worth it to me, since I have one set of hardware for each installation. I don’t want each startup to probe for changes to the configuration — I can handle that manually, once every six months or so, when I buy a new gizmo. Wait time was unacceptable.

    And I guess there’s a third reason: I learned a lot when I went from Ubuntu to Arch, and I learned a lot more when I went from Arch to Crux. Learning is good.

    I still use Arch from time to time, when I need a system now that works predictably and can be installed in 20 minutes. But the wait to compile a Crux system is infinitely worth it, for the performance gained at the end.

  3. ikaruga

    Wow… so crux is awesome? I’ve been unwittingly following your lead from Ubuntu to Arch … I have been compiling just about everything on Arch including the kernel (except for the packages that came in the initial install.) I suppose it’s time for me to go to Crux — although I never heard of it — *everything* is compiled in Crux, is that the difference between Arch?

    Is it really *faster* than Arch? Or is just the boot faster?

    BTW, I avoid the startup freeze on Arch by hibernating to disk and rebooting every once in a while. (Not really a solution but it works for me.)

  4. K.Mandla Post author

    Boot is faster, programs run faster, frame rates are better, setup is simpler … but compilation time is a killer. I can have a working Arch system in place in 20 minutes, but I need two days to get the same software compiled and working on the same machine with Crux (maybe less, if I can babysit it).

    So it’s a tradeoff. You get speed and simplicity with Arch, but you get insane performance from Crux … after a day or so. :D


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