Deprecating slocate for desktop users?

Matt LaPlante cyberdog3k at
Thu Jan 3 15:15:22 UTC 2008

On Jan 3, 2008 8:14 AM, Timo Jyrinki <timo.jyrinki at> wrote:
> Chris Jones kirjoitti:
> > Speaking for myself, I regularly use slocate to find things that are
> > outside my home directory (not that I use tracker for things that are in
> > my home directory - I put them where they are, so I know where they are ;)
> I also use slocate sometimes, and I don't use tracker myself at the
> moment since I know where my files generally are.
> But: if The GUI search tool nowadays is tracker, and any ordinary person
> basically only searches for files inside the home directory (and if not,
> they should go to Indexing Preferences to set additional directories for
> tracker), and no-one uses slocate except for those who actually know it
> beforehand, why include it by default and cause daily hard disk churn
> for every Ubuntu user? Anyone who knows the slocate tool, and command
> line in general, can apt-get install slocate at will.
> And the slowdown is not just "daily", ie. sometime at night, since
> people don't generally have their computers on 24h/day. Basically it
> happens every time the computer is started on a new day. cron.daily is
> run, which includes running slocate on the whole hard disk even though
> 99%+ of the users probably never utilize the database generated by it.
> So still, I argue that slocate should be _at least_ moved to
> cron.weekly, with the additional steps I'd hope for too:
> 1. move to cron.monthly instead of cron.weekly

I'm a big slocate user on my systems, but personal feelings aside, I
don't think continuing to run the service but providing totally stale
data is worthwhile to anybody.

I would suggest, if you want to leave the package installed but avoid
updates, adding an /etc/default/slocate which disables the cron job
entirely by default.  It provides an easy bit to flip in a common
location that would enable the normal update schedule to proceed when
enabled.  A simple enable/disable is potentially less confusing and
obtrusive to the end user who doesn't want to muck around in cron or
who is already familiar with the existing daily configuration.

> 2. switch from slocate to mlocate
> 3. remove mlocate/slocate dependency from Ubuntu default desktop
> installation (leave it on server installations)
> -Timo
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