Monday, October 22, 2012

OS Comparison: Part 2, Startup Times

I have three separate Linux operating systems and Windows 7 installed on my computer.

But I have always wanted to know, which is the fastest to start up?
Is it Gentoo? Windows? Fedora? Or Ubuntu?

I took a stopwatch to find out (and used built-in methods where possible).

Testing methodology:
  1. Install Fedora 18 Alpha on a Fujitsu T731. Use it as the only OS.
    1. I have a separate /boot, /, and /boot/efi partition
  2. Resize the Fedora 18 root partition to 50 GB.
  3. Change EFI system partition to FAT32 (this requires some work)
    1. Copy EFI files off of partition
    2. Change partition type with gparted (or other) to FAT32
    3. Copy EFI files back onto partion
    4. Change the UUID's in /etc/fstab
  4. Install Gentoo
    1. This is difficult to reproduce. It may, in fact, be near impossible to reproduce
    2. Software:
      1. Customized kernel
      2. No login GUI (DE chosen after login, CDM)
      3. No initramfs
  5. Install Ubuntu. Use a separate boot partition.
    1. Install bootchart
  6. Install rEFInd
  7. Install Windows 7 (will be updated with Windows 8 when it is officially released)
    1. There are some difficulties with USB drives, but it is possible
    2. Install all drivers/software provided by Fujitsu DeskUpdate
    3. Install Symantec Antivirus
    4. Install Firefox
    5. Install Steam
    6. Install Skype
  8. Time from when I hit enter for the respective OS from rEFInd
OS: Time (reported by OS tools)
Gentoo: 15s (13.522)
Gentoo (with SELinux): 16s (14.819)
Fedora: 33s (30.523)
Ubuntu: 32s (29.82)
Windows 7: 37s (N/A)
Windows 8: Not Released (will be tested on Friday)

I did count boot-loader times (in so far as I could, which is why my times difer by as much as three seconds for boot times).

It is important to note that I do not include login times inside the results.
In this case, Gentoo blew every other OS that I have on this computer out of the water. It was twice as fast as every other OS, but that comes at the cost of usability. I have to know my username, as I cannot "click" it to enter my password.

Windows 7 did fairly well, staying within shouting range of Ubuntu and Fedora, but at the cost of not having half the applications it needs to truly be productive.

Ubuntu and Fedora are about equal, with the major difference being that Ubuntu has to have a separate tool to report the boot time it took.

My conclusion is that if you really need to shave fifteen seconds off of your boot time, you need to use Gentoo Linux -- and that will take approximately 12 hours to set up, most of which is spent compiling various bits and pieces, along with optimizations.

EDIT: I can't post the Windows 8 information today because my school hasn't uploaded the Windows 8 information to their network software site.

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