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Developer Summit

Application Startup Time

2012-05-08 17:05..18:00 in G. Ballroom F

Application startup time is unnecessarily slow in a large number of instances. Can we see some improvement in that area in the Q cycle? The price of RAM has dropped dramatically, and usage has not increased all that much. Can't we use it for something when it's available?

We now have Zeitgeist. This means we can know what users will do after login. It's possible to tell not only what applications will be started, but also what files will be used. In many cases, there's only a single human user in the system. I would really like it if I could set my work desktop to boot automatically in the morning, and it'd load my stuff into RAM while waiting for me to log in. There's also a few websites I always check first thing while I have my first cup of coffee. Load them too so I don't have to wait for it. I'm the only human user on my desktop, so why not log me in automatically, but in the background, keeping the login screen as it is?

To my mind, these are all attainable goals:

  • Sub-second login
  • Instant loading of frequently used applications
  • Zero-delay access to most frequently used websites.

Everyone is telling me to go buy a fast SSD. But that's expensive and in my case, it doesn't provide any benefits that can't be achieved by software. RAM is extremely cheap, and much faster than any SSD on the market. What currently happens is that the login screen sits there idling, waiting for me to pay attention to the computer before it starts doing work it knows I'm going to want it to do. That's rude, isn't it?

In networked environments of diskless desktops, such as schools and offices, the effects can be even greater. It might not be possible to do background logins for the user, but a lot of things can still be loaded in advance, providing a significantly improved experience. And of course, the older the computers are, the greater the effect will be.