Howto: Set up Gutsy for speed, v1.2

This is version 1.2 of “Howto: Set up Gutsy for speed.”

This guide is a collection of tips and tweaks for Ubuntu Linux 7.10, gleaned from the Ubuntu Forums and countless other sites, collated and narrated with links to external resources and supplemental information. The howto includes tips for setting up a system, ideas for reducing system load and tweaks for conserving disk space and system resources on sub-1Ghz machines.

This howto is released under the GNU Free Documentation License, v1.2. Please read the included license page for details.

The howto is available in two forms:

  1. As a Zim notebook — a series of folders and plain text files coded in wiki-style markup, and intended to be used with the Zim desktop application.
  2. As a self-contained relative-linked HTML document, suitable for both graphical and text-only browsers.

These formats were chosen for several reasons. First and foremost, the size of the guide does not lend itself to a blog post. Coding for external links and appearance would be difficult and prone to errors.

Second, using Zim makes the document easier to manage, and handles the conversion to HTML in a single step. Furthermore, as a Zim package, the pages are precoded for possible insertion to an existing online or desktop wiki.

Finally, an HTML version allows for offline use of the guide, on machines which lack a direct Internet connection or which suffer a slow or unreliable connection. Furthermore, HTML is platform-independent, which makes the guide accessible on other operating systems, even if it primarily applies to Linux. Finally, in HTML format, the guide can be easily inserted into other sites or hosts, with a minimum of effort.

The guide was built and tested in Zim version 0.23. Zim is Copyrighted © 2005 by Jaap G Karssenberg.

Both packages are compressed as .tar.bz2 files, and both are under 40Kb in size. Because of’s file renaming requirements, they’re hosted elsewhere on the Internet. The current versions can be downloaded by clicking on the links below.

Howto: Set up Gutsy for speed, v1.2, Zim
Howto: Set up Gutsy for speed, v1.2, HTML

For a command-line accessible link, please follow a link above to a download page.

To install the guide for use with Zim, decompress it into a folder, and add the folder as a notebook in Zim.

To install the guide for use as an HTML document, decompress it, then open the index.html page in your browser.

For questions, corrections, ideas or suggestions for the howto, please feel free to leave a comment here. Translations and additional hosts are always welcome; I’d be more than happy to link to wikis, translations or revisions of the howto.


Version history:
v1.2, 27 December 2007
• Consolidated the “Remove useless initscripts” and “Shutdown unwanted services” pages, since the two were essentially identical
• Added a tip on shutting down without a login manager
• Added Sakura to GTK2 software list, and noted packages that are found outside the repositories
• Corrected reference to a gtk2-theme-switch package, which doesn’t exist
• Added page for clearing filesystem memory cache
• Included link to detailed readahead setup
• Added lynx and links2 to the terminal browser list
• Added NetSurf to the list of browser alternatives
• Added link to bash customization tips

v1.1, 6 November 2007
• Minor additions to the graphical software page
• Minor typo fixes throughout
• Corrected a broken link to
• Added a note about nobh flag
• Renamed the vm.swappiness page to sysctl.conf
• Added the vm.vfs_cache_pressure and kernel.threads-max settings
• Added a warning about the HAL bug with the alias-hostname tweak
• Added small synopsis of Midori
• Added Joe’s Window Manager to the list of lightweight window managers

v1.0, 18 October 2007
• Initial release


28 thoughts on “Howto: Set up Gutsy for speed, v1.2

  1. K.Mandla Post author

    Thanks! 🙂 Let me know if you find any typos or errors. I looked over it about a thousand times, but they still creep through. 😐

  2. Onyros

    It’s a great guide, with many handy tips, all in very comprehensive manner!

    Only one thing I’d add a disclaimer to: changing concurrency in /etc/init.d/rc to “shell” may induce some HAL breakage in Gutsy, it’s known to have happened. I can’t get to the bottom of it, but I’ve read a few people with such problems (and derived gnome-settings-daemon error on next boot, too).

    I believe it’s a Gutsy specific bug, but it’s only a heads up 😉

    Take care, keep up the good work.

    P.S.: Are you already running Kazehakase 0.4.9? I found Gutsy .debs in Mozilla team’s Launchpad and even though it’s a bug fix version, it’s always good to be running the latest and shiniest.

  3. p.daniels

    Sumbled onto this through my feed aggregator, thanks for making this available! And double-thanks for putting it together as a Zim document! I’ll start poking this with a stick tonight and see if I can kill it, I’ll report back with my findings. Thanks again!


  4. K.Mandla Post author

    @Onyros: Thanks for the note about the shell concurrency setting; I’ll tack that on as a warning for v1.1.

    Actually I am, but I’m stuck offline right now with two Arch machines, so they’re running 0.4.9 (I think). I’ll have to try the Gutsy debs once I get reactivated. Thanks for the tip!

    @p.daniels: Thanks! Let me know if anything needs attention. Comments are always welcome. 😉

  5. Pingback: When is 450Mhz faster than 2.2Ghz? « Motho ke motho ka botho

  6. Pingback: Gutsy guide updated to 1.1 « Motho ke motho ka botho

  7. Ash

    Setting concurrency to shell on my system caused HAL to fail to initialize.

    My system: Dell Inspiron E1505.
    Intel Core2 T5500
    2 gig Ram
    Ubuntu release 7.10
    Kernel Linux 2.6.22-14-generic
    Gnome 2.20.0

    I did the concurrency tweak on this machine when I ran Feisty and it worked fine so this is definitely a Gutsy issue.

    Otherwise the rest of the tweaks I used worked great. All in all an excellent guide. Thanks!

    I am particularly looking forward to playing around with Kazehakase.

  8. Brian

    Was clicking through Ubuntu forums and found a link at the bottom that brought me here. You’ve answered many questions about how to setup my own (Ubuntu Customization Guide) THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!

    Real quick… Since changing from Fedora Linux to Ubuntu I’ve never looked back. The real draw for me w/ Ubuntu other than (It just works) is the Forums,, and Automatix. The goal for me is to set up a site (like yours) to explain to the lay person using Ubuntu how to customize a newly installed Ubuntu System with minimal hassle.

  9. meborc

    ok, great work… some things you might want to add:

    web browsers: links2, lynx
    chat: finch (pidgin in cli)
    music: cmus

    but since you linked to the forum thread which has all these this might not be so important 🙂

    BUT… there is no package gtk2-theme-switch … there is gtk-chtheme , you might want to change this in your guide

    again, great work! 🙂

  10. K.Mandla Post author

    Thanks, I’ll add those for the next revision. And you’re right, switch and switch2 are part of gtk-theme-switch. I’ll correct those. Cheers!

  11. Eric

    Excellent guide!

    I found your website when I was researching how to use Xubunu Fiesty without GDM. I wanted to create an autologin and autostart X, and your suggestions were very helpful.

    Now I’m back after upgrading to Xubuntu Gutsy. Excellent, once again!

    I’d like to ask a question about the Start_X_automatically.html page. You instruct “nano -w .profile”. I tried that with no success. Then I tried “nano -w .bash_profile”, and it worked like a champ. A typo?

    Thanks again for putting all this together in such an accessible format!

  12. la3875

    I just stumbled upon this and can’t wait to get in to it! Just upgraded to Gutsy and noticed its getting kludgey on the sub-1GHz machine…

    Best regards to all!

  13. K.Mandla Post author

    @Eric: I’ll double-check that. I seem to remember some sort of switch between .bash_profile and .profile at some point in the past. I also am guilty of using some of these tricks in Arch too, and there are slight differences between the two, and I sometimes confuse myself. 😳 Thanks for the catch. 😉

  14. Pingback: Gutsy guide updated to v1.2 « Motho ke motho ka botho

  15. K.Mandla Post author

    Hmm. I just checked them and they seem to be working. If you click on the link, you should get a download page that shows a proper download link (the link moves, so I couldn’t hotlink to the file). The files themselves are very small — only about 40Kb apiece. Try again and let me know if they’re still not working.

  16. aurelije

    I have downloaded HOWTO file right now. It was some-kind temporal problem yesterday, and now everything is fine. Thanks for this wonderful blog.

  17. Pingback: | Ubuntu howtos

  18. Pingback: Four days, 2,800 pageviews, 1,400 downloads « Motho ke motho ka botho

  19. Pingback: Howto: Set up Feisty for speed, v1.3 « Motho ke motho ka botho

  20. Dotan Cohen

    Very nice guide, thanks. I especially like that it is packaged for Zim. Can it be updated for Ubuntu 8.04 or 8.10? Some Kubuntu info would be great too. Thanks!

  21. K.Mandla Post author

    There’s an 8.04 guide already. Follow the links on the right.

    8.10 hasn’t been released yet, so a guide would be premature. Look for it in a week or so.

    Since the guide primarily works with minimal installations, the same tweaks should work with Kubuntu.

  22. Pingback: Fluxbuntu 7.10 RC on 450Mhz K6-2, 256Mb « Motho ke motho ka botho

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s