Huge instability and insanely large memory footprint in 9.04

J. Lennard lennard90 at
Fri Sep 18 12:30:21 UTC 2009

Hi list,

First I'm sorry to write what may appear as a rant, but I hope it is not considered so. I'm writing to express huge instability problems in Ubuntu 9.04. I migrated from ubuntu 8.04 (386) to ubuntu 9.04 (amd64) using a simple clean install.

While the installation and boot process was blazingly and beautifully fast, everything else was a disaster, and I'm not exaggerating.

First, I'd like to mention that I have *zero* proprietary drivers (nvidia blobs, etc) or extensions (flash) installed.

I don't really know where to start. During past month, my machine constantly went to trashing mode where the hard-disk light is constantly on and I can't access anything or even swtich to linux console for several *minutes*. This has occured more than four times although all I usually run is a pdf viewer, an mp3 player, emacs, and firefox with simple html pages (not even gmail, flash, etc).

I can't really understand how this can happen. Several times, and after a day or two of use, firefox, with *one* simple html tab open took 340+ MBs; that's insane. Evince took 120MB while only a single pdf file was open. Even Xorg was taking RAM around a hundread megabyte.[1]

The final result? a machine constantly thrashing and basically unusable. I ran this on a core2 laptop with a full 1GB of ram. How come the experience is SO bad in supposedly a *stable* distro?

The second problem is that the GUI is *really* slow, and I use *zero* visual effects. Switching between workspaces is very sluggish where I see parts of firefox in my audacious window for about half a second while switching between workspaces. Switching between applications (alt+tab) is not smooth at all.

The third thing, which is disastrous and never occurred to me before using Ubuntu (and I've been using Ubuntu since Ubuntu 5) was constant and *systematic* audio skipping while doing *any* task. Heck, I swear simple switching between workspaces sometimes lead to several audio skipping.

I re-installed a Ubuntu 8.04 amd64 and my sanity is back.

I'm sorry, this is my worst Linux experience ever, but thankfully Ubuntu 8.04 works beautifully here that I'm thankful after all. It's really sad my favourite OS reached this level of instability and bloat, but hey, I at least have 8.04 till 2011, which I couldn't ask for more.

Please don't let Ubuntu go to this sad path.

Thank you.

[1] Resident set memory, not virtual memory.


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