Preload rocks! Speed up your application launching with this.

Caleb Marcus caleb.marcus at
Wed Oct 31 02:43:48 GMT 2007

AFAIK, prelink links the binaries automatically beforehand rather than
having them linked at runtime (not entirely sure what that means, but I
do know that for me, it really hasn't made a difference in performance.)
Preload caches the apps you run most in RAM to speed up their cold-start
times. Readahead is used with the profile switch on the GRUB command
line. It first figures out what files need to be read in order to boot
the system, and reads them in sequentially as the system boots so that
when the boot process asks for the files, they've already been read into
memory. I've never heard of prefetch, and I can't find it in the repos.
Readahead is installed by default, but I don't think it's set to profile
the system at the time of the first boot. Prelink and Preload are in the
repos, but I've only experienced performance increases with Preload.
AFAIK, none of the ones you mentioned actually overlap.
On Tue, 2007-10-30 at 22:27 -0400, Aaron Haviland wrote:

> Caleb Marcus wrote, on Oct 28, 2007 at 10:35 EDT:
> > I was IMing a friend who told me about preload, a daemon that figures out
> > which apps you use most and caches their executables and libraries into RAM.
> > Because GNOME login and application launch cause nonsequential disk reads
> > (and thus, a lot of seeks) it's extraordinarily helpful to read in a bunch
> > of libraries in advance, linearly, so that when you go to launch the app,
> > everything's already in RAM. I've installed it, and it's drastically
> > improved the time it takes to log into Gnome (I have a lot of startup
> > applicaitons), the time it takes to launch (It's seriously
> > about as fast as AbiWord now), and many other applications. There's a
> > blueprint on Launchpad to get preload integrated into the default Ubuntu
> > install, and I think it would be great if we tried to get this done. Right
> > now, there's only one subscriber to the blueprint, so I don't think it's
> > been noticed... but we can use our numbers to try to get it out there to
> > whoever matters.  If you want to see the speed increases I'm talking about,
> > just do sudo aptitude install preload to install it. You won't see speed
> > increases right away, but after a little bit of use, it'll figure out what
> > you use most and preload it into memory before you load the application, so
> > cold-start time will be greatly improved.
> Prelink, preload, prefetch, and readahead...
> Some are more boot-specific (readahead and prefetch), some are aimed more
> towards desktop/userspace (preload and prelink). 
> It's my understanding that prefetch and readahead are incompatible with each
> other (or at least just attempt to duplicate efforts).
> I think it's a matter of which combination of these tools provide the best
> 'experience' without duplicating (and therefore slowing themselves down).
> I haven't played with some of them in a while, and prefetch is completely new
> to me, so I can't give any opinions on it. I do believe I've seen that
> prefetch is planned to be standard in Hardy.
> .....
> I seem to have stopped typing this mid-thought, a couple days ago. Oh well,
> I'm sure there's some good to come from sending it as is :)
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