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Quirky vs Puppy speed

December 08, 2013 — BarryK
A few thoughts, for those interested in Quirky, but who haven't been following my blog in detail.

Quirky is installed to a Flash drive in what we name a "full installation", as we have done for years with Puppy on a hard drive.
Therefore, there is no main-filesystem SFS, nor a save-file. There are no filesystem layers, which we use in Puppy for loading and unloading SFSs.

There are advantages and disadvantages inherent in each approach. Previously, we did not normally do a "full" install to a Flash drive, to avoid excessive writes to it, however, with the new 'f2fs' filesystem, which is designed explicitly for Flash drives, this problem is greatly reduced. Hence the advent of Quirky6.

A normal Puppy installation to a Flash drive has the main puppy.sfs, which gets loaded into RAM at startup, or rather that is optional, and also dependent on there being enough RAM.
Also the save-file is copied into RAM.
This means that everything runs in RAM, which is fast.

Quirky6 however, has everything on the Flash drive, as per any other Linux installation. When an application is started, it is read from the Flash drive -- and this is a potential issue, as USB2 is a somewhat slow interface.

Testing SeaMonkey 2.22.1, which is a most exteme case -- it is incredibly bloated -- shows up this bottleneck very much. Startup of SM is very much slower that in the case of the normal Puppy "frugal" installation.

Well, it really is "six of one, half a dozen of the other". The Puppy frugal installation loads the SFS and save-file into RAM at bootup, so bootup time is very much slower than Quirky6.

A full installation of Puppy on a hard drive, we have always known, is very fast. Same goes for Quirky. If the interface between drive and the CPU bus is fast, then so will be application loading with Quirky.
Quirky6 will be blazingly fast with an SSD. And with USB3 Flash memory.

Some cheap laptops with SD-card slots, interface it internally via a USB2 interface, so you don't get the SD-card reading and writing as fast as it could.


Blog bug"BarryK"Sage,
Yes, don't click the "page refresh" button on your browser, after having posted a comment.

Click the "index" link on the blog instead.

The maintainer efia knows about this bug.

Also, it requests full P/W and Q? each time.

Suggest you might have a word with its maintainer?

This has a puppy.sfs, that is normally loaded into RAM at bootup (so you get reasonably fast app loading), but there is no save-file -- instead the session is saved direct to the entire partition.
The top of the layered filesystem is a tmpfs in RAM, with the puppy.sfs loaded "under" it in the layered filesystem. That tmpfs gets flushed to the Flash drive partition periodically.

What is less known is PUPMODE=6, in which there is no tmpfs, and the Flash drive partition is mounted directly on the top layer of the layered filesystem. This mode is viable with f2fs, and is a very good option to be looking at for the future of Puppy. No periodic flushing is required.

Quirky6 does not have all these PUPMODEs, only one, PUPMODE=2. The PUPMODEs are all based on different arrangements of the layered filesystem (aufs or unionfs), but Quirky6 does not use a layered filesystem.

Nor does Quirky6 have an initrd, that Puppy needs to setup the filesystem layers.
Incidentally, the lack of an initrd is another reason that Quirky6 boots up very fast.

Tags: quirky, linux