Sunday, March 8, 2009


I decided to reinstall ArchLinux on my 4 year old Dell Inspiron 6000 laptop today. For the record, the specs of my laptop are as follows:

  • CPU: Intel Pentium M 750 @ 1.86 GHz
  • RAM: 1 GB DDR2 dual channel
  • Screen: 15.4” 1680x1050 resolution

I decided to install a default ArchLinux install using the EXT4 filesystem. I kept most of the options default but installed a few extra packages such as GNU dev tools as well as wireless drivers. As far as partitioning is concerned, I used 4 partitions (/, /home, /boot, swap), all EXT4 except for SWAP. I installed from the 2009.2 USB images. The install completed very quickly – partly because I installed from a USB memory stick as opposed to a CD/FTP and because the filesystem was EXT4.

The installation completed successfully and I rebooted. I pulled out a stopwatch and started the timer just as I hit the enter button on the GRUB ArchLinux menu item. After exactly 10 seconds, I was fully booted into a BASH shell. EXT4 is extremely fast. My previous install took around 16 – 20 seconds to boot into a minimal BASH shell.

Can’t wait to setup a desktop environment and see how long it takes to get into it. In comparison, my windows XP (I’m dual-booting) boot time is around 25 seconds to get into the desktop. It takes at least 18 seconds to boot to the graphical login.

EXT4 is truly fast. Hopefully Ubuntu 9.04 will have EXT4 as an option. For those of you considering installing EXT4 – go for it. It’s fast, stable, and there are/will be a lot of useful tools for it including online defrag.

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