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Ramdisk Linux

post #1 of 24
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I just got it running and it's pretty cool. The root partition runs on tmpfs. It's stupid fast! Who needs SSDs when you got extra RAM..

Setup wasn't too bad. It is a modified liveCD initramfs script that copies all contents of a root partition to RAM before booting.

Issues so far:

- Boot time is around 5 minutes :/ Takes time to copy everything from disk to RAM. I don't reboot much so I can probably live with this.
- No persistent storage. I still need to work on a script that syncs changes to disk. The upside though is that if I screw something up I can just pull the plug
- Need a disk benchmark that doesn't take [device] as argument.
post #2 of 24
Did you make this one yourself because there's SLAX and that only takes up to a minute to boot on my quad.

I did however wish there where more distros like that because for lower end hardware like a netbook it's a pretty great trade off. Personally I'd love an OS that stored it's self on a HDD but was run entirely from RAM. That would be pretty awesome.
     
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post #3 of 24
I wish there was a way that would make Linux automatically mount / to the RAM upon boot and write it to the HDD when you shut down, there probably is though.
    
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post #4 of 24
Make a persistent image on a hard drive instead of a USB device, BAM. It's not hard really.
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post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by mushroomboy View Post
Make a persistent image on a hard drive instead of a USB device, BAM. It's not hard really.
Well I know that it can be done. But I was more referring to a distro that did that by default for an install. I always find ways to screw things up when I do it myself on something of this nature. Damn this talk is making me want to revisit SLAX. If only they had a new release sometime soon.

This makes me wonder though, why are there few distros focused on the whole run from RAM idea? Is it because of the boot times?
     
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post #6 of 24
Because there is no need, more so now that we have SSDs out. The performance you get is extremely minimal considering most things are already loaded into ram (cached programs) and so it already minimizes disc use.

Basically why create something that A) has to use a lot of RAM and B) has no real benefits. Most applications you are going to use will eat up your ram already, put that on top of a ramdisk and you've got a huge amount of ram you would need to sustain this. Just think of KDE, it uses 500MB itself, pile that on with an average browser and your using around 800MB in general. Add the ramdisk to that and you will probably be well over 1.5G.

See where I'm going? You probably can't game with that, because any recent game will use 1G alone, that makes 2.5G used (or more) now. Now I understand if you say "But I have 4G", so? Do you really want to use 1/4 your ram just to run your OS? Those figures are with a compressed ramdisk, the actual files on disk for an average install is going to be more around 5G. It's just not practical.
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post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by mushroomboy View Post
Because there is no need, more so now that we have SSDs out. The performance you get is extremely minimal considering most things are already loaded into ram (cached programs) and so it already minimizes disc use.

Basically why create something that A) has to use a lot of RAM and B) has no real benefits. Most applications you are going to use will eat up your ram already, put that on top of a ramdisk and you've got a huge amount of ram you would need to sustain this. Just think of KDE, it uses 500MB itself, pile that on with an average browser and your using around 800MB in general. Add the ramdisk to that and you will probably be well over 1.5G.

See where I'm going? You probably can't game with that, because any recent game will use 1G alone, that makes 2.5G used (or more) now. Now I understand if you say "But I have 4G", so? Do you really want to use 1/4 your ram just to run your OS? Those figures are with a compressed ramdisk, the actual files on disk for an average install is going to be more around 5G. It's just not practical.
Well it depends on the KDE version or DE and distro design for that matter. SLAX only used 800MB when I had a crapload of programs loaded into it and running.

Since I don't game on Linux (I know WINE) the use I was more interested in was for work or school related things. The amusing thing is that yes I wouldn't mind finally using that much RAM just to run an OS considering the speed gains it should give. Hence why, though win7 uses almost 1GB just to idle around I don't like that it uses that much RAM because there's no speed gain to be had from it.

Not to give MS any ideas but if they made a windows that ran from RAM along with games I would actually pay for it and the 16GBs of RAM needed to do that. I think that would be cheaper than any worthwhile SSD is and last longer probably. Even better would be OSes built into RAM somehow (crazy idea).
     
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post #8 of 24
if i had more ram, maybe 16 gigs, i would definately invest in the time and effort it would take to get a ramdisk setup properly and have it sync back to the harddrive upon changes.

it could be done on 4 gigs, i use 1 gig for a /tmp partition out of 4 gigs, i've seen a bit of advantage to it, especially if compiling, might need to rework it and give it 2 gigs for bigger projects, dunno yet, they aren't hard to setup.
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post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rookie1337 View Post
Did you make this one yourself because there's SLAX and that only takes up to a minute to boot on my quad.

I did however wish there where more distros like that because for lower end hardware like a netbook it's a pretty great trade off. Personally I'd love an OS that stored it's self on a HDD but was run entirely from RAM. That would be pretty awesome.
Yes I set it up manually. Are you sure SLAX will do the same thing? Many liveCDs copy only writable components to RAM and symlink the rest from disc. I set to copy everything which is why the boot takes 5 min.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brutuz View Post
I wish there was a way that would make Linux automatically mount / to the RAM upon boot and write it to the HDD when you shut down, there probably is though.
That is what I'm working on. I got the boot from RAM part down and I will be working on the sync script next.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mushroomboy View Post
Because there is no need, more so now that we have SSDs out. The performance you get is extremely minimal considering most things are already loaded into ram (cached programs) and so it already minimizes disc use.

Basically why create something that A) has to use a lot of RAM and B) has no real benefits. Most applications you are going to use will eat up your ram already, put that on top of a ramdisk and you've got a huge amount of ram you would need to sustain this. Just think of KDE, it uses 500MB itself, pile that on with an average browser and your using around 800MB in general. Add the ramdisk to that and you will probably be well over 1.5G.

See where I'm going? You probably can't game with that, because any recent game will use 1G alone, that makes 2.5G used (or more) now. Now I understand if you say "But I have 4G", so? Do you really want to use 1/4 your ram just to run your OS? Those figures are with a compressed ramdisk, the actual files on disk for an average install is going to be more around 5G. It's just not practical.
I run a fairly minimal setup with DWM so my RAM consumption is ~700MB tops and my root is ~4GB. On top of that I have 8GB of RAM so that gave me reason to try this. I wasn't using that much RAM anyway..
post #10 of 24
will you have the sync script initiate each time you make a FS change (like after an update or installation of a new program.) or only when you shutdown? do you have load up all of /? or only particular partitions? like /usr, /lib, /etc?
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