Edit: Unfortunately, the images originally included in this post are gone, because of hosting problems in late 2009. My apologies.
I’ve been thinking myself quite clever these past few months, creating Crux systems that boot in 14 seconds, or extremely lightweight arrangements with very sparse, but very fast, custom-tuned software.
And then, along comes Slitaz, and makes me feel silly. The current cooking ISO boots … well, as you would expect, in a speed that’s proportional to your drive and processor speeds. Once it’s loaded into memory and ready to go, it’s probably the fastest thing I’ve ever used.
But since I was in a hurry to get rid of Windows, I went ahead and installed it to the hard drive, and that’s when the ugly reality hit: A Slitaz Openbox system on my 1Ghz machine gets to the desktop in 16 seconds — only two seconds slower than my best Crux arrangement.
Well, now don’t I feel foolish.
And it’s just as pretty too, which is irrelevant of course. (One day I shall design the world’s fastest but ugliest distro, just to underscore the fact that looks don’t matter.)
And the Slitaz camp is coming up with some great software, and software combinations. PCMan’s freshest stuff is part of the cooking version, and I’m quickly becoming addicted again. Things like NoteCase come by default, along with HardInfo, text editors, code editors, ISO editors, ISO burners, mount tools, in-house package managers, MPlayer, web-based boots … it’s quite impressive.
In fact, the only downside to a full Slitaz installation over a live version (that I can see, anyway) is that there’s an obvious difference between application performance in the live version over the installed one. It only makes sense: Memory-based systems just move faster than waiting for your I/O channels and hard drive to supply the information you need. It can’t be avoided.
It does make me wonder though … if you decide to use Slitaz regularly, it might be more satisfying to stick with the live version and keep configurations and settings on an external drive or flash disk. Or just never reboot, which I know some people do.
Either way the Slitaz crew is doing some amazing things, and every time I look at it, I’m impressed. If you’re sitting on an old machine and want to inject some speed into it, I highly recommend experimenting with this one. You will not be disappointed, and you might just be saving yourself hours of compiling to get the same level of performance. I would have.