Responsiveness testing through dpkg

Barry Warsaw barry at
Tue Apr 27 16:21:24 BST 2010

On Apr 27, 2010, at 10:01 PM, John McCabe-Dansted wrote:

>On Tue, Apr 27, 2010 at 5:45 AM, Chase Douglas <chase.douglas at> wrote:
>> Hello all,
>> I'm interested in doing some desktop responsiveness testing, and I've
>> found that when I have a large number of packages to install/update it
>> kills my desktop responsiveness not only during installation, but also
>> for quite a bit of time afterwards. Desktop responsiveness is a rather
>> nebulous issue, one that occurs in different situations on different
>> hardware in different ways. However, apt-get/dpkg seem to do a good
>> job of causing desktop slowdowns across many configurations :).
>> What I would like to do is find a good test case I can run on bare
>> hardware (not in a VM with snapshot capabilities) that is
>> reproducible. I think doing a reinstallation of a set of packages, say
>> ubuntu-desktop, would work well. Is there a safe way to do this?
>I imagine
>sudo aptitude reinstall texlive texlive-base texlive-base-bin
>texlive-base-bin-doc texlive-common texlive-doc-base
>texlive-extra-utils texlive-fonts-recommended
>texlive-fonts-recommended-doc texlive-generic-extra
>texlive-generic-recommended texlive-humanities texlive-humanities-doc
>texlive-latex-base texlive-latex-base-doc texlive-latex-extra
>texlive-latex-extra-doc texlive-latex-recommended
>texlive-latex-recommended-doc texlive-math-extra texlive-pictures
>texlive-pictures-doc texlive-pstricks texlive-pstricks-doc
>would give dpkg a good workout without risking damage to any vital
>part of the system.
>Also since others mention that fsync may be related, I wonder: does
>this problem seem to be ext3 or ext4 specific?

I have only anecdotal feedback, so not very useful, but even when apt-get
installing lots of packages, or (more often doing mass updates via Landscape),
I only notice slowness during the actual update process, if at all.  I've
never seen lingering unresponsiveness that I can think of.  Lately it's been
all Lucid and ext4 for me, though on a variety of hardware as well as native
and VM installations.

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