Ubuntu 9.04, Jaunty Jackalope, will be the first release of Ubuntu in 2009. There have been a few things officially mentioned by Canonical stating that 9.04 will focus on speeding up the distro. This is a great thing to spend time on, as I always find myself taking a lot of time to customize a new Ubuntu installation to make things faster. I understand there will always be ways to customize any operating system for speed, but Ubuntu always has a few options that should be disabled by default or the installer should make an intelligent decision for certain options.
Ubuntu does a lot of things, but I don’t use all of the things Ubuntu offers. For example, my computer doesn’t have a Bluetooth adapter, but Ubuntu starts Bluetooth services every time my computer boots up. This doesn’t make sense; Bluetooth shouldn’t be started unless you have a Bluetooth adapter present in your hardware configuration when Ubuntu is started or you plug in a Bluetooth adapter while Ubuntu is running. It just makes no sense for my computer to uselessly start Bluetooth services when I will never use any Bluetooth device.
Another thing I always have to do after a fresh installation is install BUM. This boot-up manager allows you to enable and disable scripts that execute as Ubuntu boots up. Generally, the more you disable, the faster your computer boots. There are three services I always disable on my desktop: acpi-support, apmd, and hotkey-setup. All three of these services are for hotkeys and battery monitors for laptops, and they are always enabled when I install Ubuntu on my desktop. I am certain there is a way to determine if a computer is desktop or laptop in Ubuntu (i.e. processor, memory type, connections), so 9.04 just has to determine what type the computer is and choose options accordingly.
Something very noticeable while using 8.04 and 8.10 is the amount of time it takes to log in, from entering your log in information to seeing the panels and desktop appear. The panels try to swiftly move into frame, but it usually pops halfway into frame and then pops the rest of the way into frame. Ubuntu is obviously trying to be sexy by making the panels move into place, but I have never seen them do anything but jerk until they are in place. I would rather see my panels just pop in than fail at trying to move into frame.
Hard drive size detection doesn’t relate to the speed of 9.04, but it is something that has always been wrong with Ubuntu in my past experiences. I have a 160 GB HDD on my desktop but the Disk Usage Analyzer displays a 144 GB HDD. It would be great if I could know the exact amount of space I am currently using in case I need to back up my files and need to judge how to distribute the files to the back up drives. The correct size is shown during installation, but the Disk Usage Analyzer displays incorrect information once Ubuntu is installed.
Essentially, there are a few things like intelligent service disabling that should be performed during installation. This alone will decrease boot up times out of the gate and will save an average user from having to disable services that should already be disabled.