Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fit more in limited RAM -- compcache

'What's new' for Linux kernel version 2.6.33 had mention for it; so I tried out this compcache--using part of RAM for saving swapped out memory contents after compressing them to fit more. While the argument for using it is to let CPU do more work and save on disk access latencies, after having configured it the difference in responsiveness on my desktop was somewhat noticeable. The mouse movements were jerky. Firefox browser was not responding for tab switch when loading a large Web page... Guess, this argument works better on multi-core, faster processors than my single core 1.6GHz Intel P4 running Ubuntu.

Was going to disable it. However, when I re-ran the same tests without compcache configured, the issue with Firefox persisted. So, in the interest of using less of my aging disk having the swap partition, I have retained compcache and bear with that minor mouse jerkiness :-). To benefit better from the same, I have increased the value for swappiness kernel tunable parameter to 50 from a previous lower value of 40.

Using SSD memory for swap partition may be a better idea. A good friend had originally mentioned this idea to me few months back. What do you say?