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Author Topic: threshold where HAL's performance hit is noticeable?  (Read 2449 times)
liveware
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« on: April 05, 2010, 05:26:01 pm »

I've read that HAL requires less user action, but VL-Hot is recommended for 'older machines' (also stated as 'legacy hardware'.) I've never come across any MHz/GHz numbers defining the threshold below which the performance hit of HAL is noticeable.  Is it 1GHz? 600MHz? 2.4GHz P4?

I realize there is no exact number and there are other factors than cpu speed; such as software configuration, number of other running processes,..  But can someone provide something more specific than 'older'? I'm new to Vector.

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retired1af
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« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2010, 05:43:40 pm »

The great VL-hot vs HAL debate was held here: http://forum.vectorlinux.com/index.php?topic=4290.0 Some really good info in that thread which can help you decide which to use.
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ASUS K73 Intel i3 Dual Core 2.3GHz
liveware
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« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2010, 07:37:24 am »

thanks for the link retired1af.

In that thread there was mention of RAM, but no mention of cpu.

1. What is considered "older hardware" by the collective Vector community?

2 .Is RAM a bigger factor than cpu?  (in whether or not a machine can handle the polling by HAL)

3. If you're using VL-hot, what do you do after inserting a CD (and nothing happens)?

I read the below pages, several threads, and a few other sources, and I still can't make sense of it all. Its overwhelming for a beginner. From what I read Vector is a very beginner-friendly distribution, and in other respects I find this to be true. However it seems a one-stop, clear document is needed on the matter of VL-Hot, HAL, and mounting/unmounting various devices. (In the opinion of this Vector beginner.)

http://vectorlinux.osuosl.org/docs/vl60/manuals/vl6_utilities.html#vl-hot-config

http://vectorlinux.osuosl.org/docs/vl60/manuals/vl6_mounting_guide_en.html




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sledgehammer
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« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2010, 08:35:20 am »

There are many on this list who are better at this than I.  I expect one of them will respond soon.  I assume you are using VL 6.0?  I too am confused by HAL vs VL-Hot.  I know you can supposedly move from one to the other using the Vector Control Center in the System menu (VASM -> HARDWARE -> MOUNTER), but I am not sure that works just right or if you have to reboot after changing. 

The first thing I do if the CDRom is not recognized is go to the little icon at the bottom of the screen, just right of my battery meter (on mine it looks like a white rectangle) and click on it and then click on the CDRom line.  That seems to work most of the time. If not, I got to /mnt/vl-hot and see what is in there.   

I load VL 6.0 a lot and after loading we always add a few programs from a CD. If there is nothing wrong with the install or the CD, all I have to do is insert the disk and wait a minute for it to show.  If the machine I am loading Vector on has less than 500 gigs or whatever, I select VL-Hot during the install and if more, HAL.  Don't really know why as both seem to work.

John
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VL7.0 xfce4 Samsung RF511
nightflier
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« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2010, 08:57:19 am »

My personal opinions: Anything less than a P4 is "older". That would be a 1.3 GHz cut-off. RAM is more important than CPU up to about 256-512MB, depending on what VL version you run. Above that, you start seeing more in return from a CPU speed increase. Also, with low RAM, hard drive speed becomes very important once you start using swap. I'm sure the opinions will vary on this one.

If you change between HAL and VL-Hot, reboot.

VL-Hot does not handle CD-Rom drives.
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Daniel
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« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2010, 09:07:41 am »

I would experiment with vl-hot and HAL and see if you notice a performance decrease. I have a 800mhz processor and 256MB of RAM and I use HAL. The system is expectedly slower than something faster would be but I don't know how much of that is due to HAL. Right now htop shows that all 4 or 5 of the HAL daemon's processes are taking up about 1.2% of my RAM. That's a fairly small amount and I think the convenience of HAL is quite worth it.
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VL 6.0 SOHO KDE-Classic on 2.3 Ghz Dual-core AMD with 3 Gigs of RAM
newt
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« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2010, 09:10:29 am »

I don't think you need to be too concerned about "thresholds" or any such thing. I find them both (vl-hot and hal) to be great options. I generally consider VL-Hot and HAL, in my head, as: minimal versus full-fledged options; semi-manual versus fully-automated options; or, light-weight versus full-weight options, respectively.  There are definitely some use differences but, for the most part, they do similar tasks.

So the question really becomes: Are you more of a minimal, semi-manual, light-weight person? Or, more of a full-fledged, fully-automated, full-weight person? Just to note: I use HAL on an older AMD athlon-mobile single-core 1500+ with 512mb ram and it seems to work just fine.
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liveware
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« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2010, 05:49:29 pm »

Thanks to everyone for the info.

To answer newt's question; I prefer the semi-manual light-weight option if its A) easy to learn, configure, remember, and if you can quickly execute the steps each time without saying "Wait, which step comes first? What's that command option?"... and B) if using the automated full-weight option is going to take the sytem performance from 'fast' to 'moderate'/'reasonable'. With all the cheap used computers and all the distros (and versions), -who wants a reasonably-moderately 'usable' system?

Question: Is it possible to have neither HAL nor VL-Hot active, and then turn HAL on (without rebooting) ten seconds before you insert the removable media?  And turn it off after removing the media? I insert media maybe once a day.

I have two realms that I'm considering these matters in. One is setting up computers for Linux-beginners. The other is me using a computer I set up with Vector. And I learn what needs to be learned to use it. On this (personal) front I'm happy that many of the system configuration tasks are automated, graphical, 'wizarded' (is that a word?), etc. For examples: Gslapt, and VASM. I found decent documentation, video tutorials, and other info sources on many Vector topics. I am able to learn most everything else. But when I start reading up on all the mounting stuff, my brain goes into kernel panic.

Suppose I use Vl-Hot. Is there a different process for mounting each type of media? I use CDs, DVDS, flash drives, and a USB digital camera. VL-Hot doesn't detect CD/DVDs. So am I going to have to learn how to manually mount the disc and then launch the appropriate program/utility depending on the content? What about for USB drives and cameras?

Now as for the second 'realm', I have been looking for a distribution that's beginner-friendly and runs fast on 700-1000MHz computers (which I have a few of). I am going to set up computers for people I know. I think Vector (Standard) might be what I am looking for, except for this media detection thing. So what I'm thinking is: HAL will be easier for these complete Linux-beginners, but will it slow down the system to the point where they'll say "This guy gave me this computer. Its kinda slow. I guess Linux is slow."

Example hardware: 800MHz PIII, 384MB RAM, 40GB hdd.

Another question is if I go with Vector Light on these machines, will HAL then be less of an issue? Also, Is Vector Light less user-friendly? I know the light versions of some other distros are harder on the eye, and less intuitive.

I know this is a lot of questions. Feel free to pick one or more and fire away. : )

thanks.

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Daniel
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« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2010, 06:10:50 pm »

Vector Light is a little less user friendly. It's a little faster alright, but if you're trying to convert people to linux you should probably use Standard or SOHO. SOHO is probably the most user friendly but it is also the most resource heavy. For the kind of hardware you're talking about, I would probably go with Standard. If you're trying to show off the speed of Vector, I would either demonstrate Light and mention that there are more user friendly versions or (and this is what I would probably do) boot up a nice modern ~2.4Ghz computer with a live cd (either the recent 6.0 SOHO KDE-Classic live or the 5.9 SOHO live if you want to also show the user-friendliness).

Personally, I don't think HAL really slows down a computer a *lot*. I use HAL on both my 800Mhz and 300Mhz computers. I think the convenience is well worth it. As I noted earlier:
Right now htop shows that all 4 or 5 of the HAL daemon's processes are taking up about 1.2% of my RAM.
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VL 6.0 SOHO KDE-Classic on 2.3 Ghz Dual-core AMD with 3 Gigs of RAM
nightflier
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« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2010, 03:45:09 am »

VL-Hot/HAL is really a minor issue, not worth worrying about. HAL is not going to noticably slow down a fast P3.

VL Light is not aimed at beginners who expect a windows computer. It was designed to perform well. For CD/DVD operations it includes a launching utility that requires you to learn nothing more than clicking on a couple of icons. I would be happy to adapt it to use on other versions if you like.

The best way for you to get all the answers would be to download the versions you consider, and install them on one of those computers. Experiment and ask more questions along the way. People here are happy to share their knowledge and opinions.
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liveware
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« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2010, 06:34:31 am »

Thanks again for the all the info, suggestions, and clarifications.

In Vector 6.0 Standard I have VL-Hot running. I put in a CD. I have to do something at this point (obviously). I don't know what to do. I have read the Vector documentation that I could find (on several websites.) If the utilization of CDs/DVDs was covered somewhere in said documentation, I didn't realize what I was reading, or I skipped that part somehow.

I've been informed that VL-Hot doesn't handle CDs. So I guess my first question is what are the procedures for accessing/using the various types of CD/DVD content. Its Linux so I'm assuming there are several different ways of varying difficulty. : )

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nightflier
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« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2010, 07:11:44 am »

If HAL is running, you should only need to run your file manager and select the entry for your CD-ROM. In pcmanfm it will be in the left pane. Not sure about Thunar.

Without HAL, the mounting can easily be scripted. Like in VL Light, where you click:
Menu > Multimedia > CD/DVD
It will bring up a menu where you choose what kind of disk you are working with (data, audio, video), and it will mount according to your choice. As I mentioned earlier, I would be happy to modify the script for use in Standard or KDE-Classic and make it available to anyone interested.
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Andy Price
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« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2010, 07:47:02 am »

If you're running VL6 Standard are you also using XFCE? If you are then there's a little drive icon down near the system tray. Click on the icon and you can see your drives, including the cdrom. If you are using VL-Hot then you click on the cdrom icon and it'll mount the drive and open a window displaying its contents. Click on the icon again to unmount it.
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liveware
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« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2010, 07:25:54 pm »

On my Vector 6.0 Standard system, I'm running Xfce, and VL-hot. Right now here's my process:

I insert a DVD (commercial DVD movie). I click the mounter icon on the bottom panel. Thunar opens. I close Thunar because it's showing the 'video_ts' files, and I want to watch the movie as opposed to doing something with the files. Then I click the main Menu > Multimedia > VLC media player. Then "Media" tab > Open Disc > play.

This isn't too many steps for me. I'm thinking that some of the first-time Linux users might have trouble remembering all of the steps. @nightflier, I have installed VL Light on a different machine, and I used the CD/DVD menu/script. I like it. I'd like to take you up on your offer to adapt it for Standard. Would it work just in Xfce, or also in LXDE and/or Openbox?  And could it be easily modified by a non-scripter such as myself to run a program other than the current ones?

-------------
One a separate note, the machine I installed VL Light on is a Gateway Solo w/ a 433MHz Celeron, 160MB RAM, 6GB hdd.

http://support.gateway.com/s/Mobile/Solo_Series/P2150/P215012.shtml

The applications take 30sec to a 1 min+ to open. For example clicking on the CD/DVD icon with no other programs running took 31 seconds. Is the processor a little low for VL 6.0 Light? Is it the RAM? or the slow hdd? VL 6.0 Standard runs fine on my 800MHz Celeron machine. And after reading the system requirements for the Light version, I thought the above mentioned Gateway machine might be a good fit, and run faster than it does. I turned off all the unused services. During installation I put the swap partition at the beginning. Is there something else I could do, or is the hardware just not enough?

I noticed differences between the system requirements at the bottom of the first webpage below, and the second and third. Which site has the most accurate info? Also are these absolute minimums? And are they for the lightest window managers of their respective VL versions, or for even the heaviest?

http://vectorlinux.com/products

http://vectorlinux.osuosl.org/docs/vl60/vl-standard.html
http://vectorlinux.osuosl.org/docs/vl60/vl-light.html







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nightflier
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Vectorian
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« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2010, 04:25:59 am »

The CD/DVD script can easily be modified to use different applications and work in various environments. I will dig into it next week.

On your Solo, does the hard drive light stay on the whole time it's loading the apps? It could be the hard drive. For max performance, follow the suggestions towards the bottom of the welcome document and use JWM instead of IceWM, and turn off desktop icons.

Unfortunately, documentation has a habit of lagging behind the rapid Linux development. Those lighter requirements look like they are for VL 5.9, the heavier ones are for 6.0. All refer to the default configuration.
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