I'm always looking for ways to speed up my computer, especially when it comes to the boot process and loading applications. A good overall discussion or improving system performance is at https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Maximizing_Performance, just remember that it focuses on the ArchLinux distro, not the Mandriva distro I use.
A useful utility is readahead. According to its manpage, readahead populates the page cache with data from a file so that subsequent reads from that file will not block on disk I/O. On my Mandriva 2101.2 system, the default installation of readahead places a default file at /var/lib/readahead/default.early. To create custom files based on your system, you should reboot the system and pause the GRUB menu and add the following to the command line.
This will examine your system as it boots and create a list of what files are to be loaded in the order that they are loaded.
The configuration file is found at /etc/readahead.conf and this is where you can turn on debugging if you're experiencing problems and can add excluded directories.
Next is the prelink utility. According to the man page, prelink is a program that modifies ELF shared libraries and ELF dynamically linked binaries in such a way that the time needed for the dynamic linker to perform relocations at startup significantly decreases. Due to fewer relocations, the run-time memory consumption decreases as well (especially the number of unsharable pages).
The file /etc/prelink.conf contains a list of files and directories that prelink uses to determine where it should look and what files to avoid. Prepending -l (or -h if on a networked filesystem) to a path makes prelink search that directory for ELF binaries or shared libraries. You can prepend -b to blacklist a directory or a file to avoid which will speed up the search or deliberately avoid prelinking certain binaries.
Mandriva provides a directory to keep your customizations separate at /etc/prelink.conf.d/; just create a file there ending in .conf and your customizations will be included. The general invocation is
# prelink -a
Finally, on Mandriva (through 2010), speedboot is installed and you can examine the configuration file at /etc/sysconfig/speedboot. By default, the value os set to auto. You enable speedboot by temporarily adding speedboot=probe to the GRUB command line as you did for readahead-collector above. Other distros may use fastboot.
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