acithium wrote:Let me start by saying that I've been using Linux for sometime now. I'm always talking it up to people that I know. I mean, I even have the Debian coffee cup at work (yea, I'm that guy). The problem comes when people use linux for the first time. They always say "it's slower than windows", and their right. Just try it with Firefox. Firefox opens in windows a lot faster than Linux.
On a fresh Windows installation this may be. Windows does a lot of prefetching, pre-loading a good bunch of your most often used apps into RAM. Win Vista and 7 even can use flash cards to cache small files permanently ("ReadyBoost") -- flash cards are very fast with tiny files.
Another point is, that Linux often is installed on a higher partition number lieing nearer to the inner tracks of the HD were the HD usually suffers some 50% reduction of r/w speed relatively to the outer tracks. So, this is not comparable.
If you compare an aged Windows with an aged Linux installation things are completely the other way round, Win registry and user files are horribly inflated, disk fragmentation ... I still have a 6 y/o XP installation (there are some apps and files left to migrate) that needs ages to boot and some 60 seconds to start firefox. With Linux (ext3/4) you will never experience such dramatic performance drops.
And honestly, even if I compare my win7 (with 8GB readyboost) and my Mint8 (both young) with the latter installed to the slower parts of the HD, I don't experience remarkable performance differences. Maybe I will stopwatch both out of curiosity, but so far I didn't notice such.
I guess my question is: What is the best way to make linux more responsive through the desktop (I currently use Gnome)?
I always experienced Linux as beeing more responsive especially with multiple apps. Win7 seems to be slightly more responsive with heavy i/o and CPU loads then it's predecessors while Linux remains far more responsive, though.
If you mean loading time then go and buy a SSD or at least install Linux to the outer tracks of the HD.