Speeding up the debian/etch boot, a short report

Marco d'Itri md at Linux.IT
Thu Sep 1 23:43:44 UTC 2005

On Sep 01, Petter Reinholdtsen <pere at hungry.com> wrote:

> seconds. Again S20modutils is the slowest part of the boot, spending
> 23 seconds of it.
Interesting work, but of limited use: modern systems do/will not work
this way anymore.
Try again with a 2.6 kernel, udev *from unstable* and my coldplug
package[1] (which is slightly broken and will not load some modules,
but is close enough to how its C replacement will work).
Also kill the discover init script, which is useless when hotplug is

> Someone claimed switching to dash instead of bash should speed up the boot
> process.
On some systems it will noticeably speed up the old hotplug scripts.
(I never noticed the old hotplug being slow myself, probably because I
use a custom kernel and this keeps the map files small.)

>   S02module-init-tools
>   S02modutils
These are supposed to be run with a rw root (I do not mind removing the
depmod call on principle, but I fear some people depend on it).

> Next, I realise that ntpdate and portmap do not really need to run in
> rcS.d/.  Moving them both to rc2.d and running insserv -v again, it is
portmap does, if /usr or /var are NFS-mounted.
And if somebody cares enough to run ntpdate on boot then probably they
want to run it as early as possible (and it has to be slow, by design).

> It takes almost 10 seconds to start gdm. Why is this? Will it help to
> move to xdm or kdm?
No, because they are not even close to support the same features.

> Next try was to comment out all the entries in /etc/modules, as I
> suspect the IDE bus probing is spending a considerable amount of time
> at the start of the boot. Commented out ide-cd, ide-detect, ide-disk
> and psmouse. If these modules are needed on the machine in question, I
> expect hotplug and discover to take care of the loading. I must have
Indeed, hotplug does.

Another possible optimization is to control the fixed network interfaces
with hotplug too, but this may require some bits of infrastructure which
are not yet in the package.

[1] http://www.bofh.it/~md/debian/
DO NOT FORGET to *purge* hotplug before installing it.

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