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Archive for July 31st, 2012

Optimizing a boot time, aka 2 second boot (part 2)

July 31st, 2012 by

Changes for upcoming openSUSE

As a result of my previous 2 second post I have submitted few changes to openSUSE to be included in a next release.

  1. purge-kernels.service patch has been accepted by our brave mkinitrd package maintainer
  2. requested a split of mkinitrd setup script from splashy package, so users can freely remove the initrd integration without breaking resume et al
  3. I opened feature 313851 to make NM the default network tool at least for laptops, because this expects a little more changes than add a package to laptop pattern

Run NetworkManager on demand

That is very uncommon user-case for *nix machines, but makes a perfect sense for consumer devices. My Amazon Kindle or today’s smartphone or tables works in the same way – device starts without a network connection and there’s a button or magic tap enabling it. On my laptop I already have such button – it is the Fn+F2 with a antenna symbol printed. This is the rfkill button turns my wlan card on and off.

So what I want is once I turn wifi on, NetworkManager should start and work. With systemd and it’s udev integration this is so simple, that I was not able to find a good howto for it. So here we are with a small howto for udev/systemd newbiew like me.

We need to know a sysfs name of wlan0 – simple find /sys/ -name 'wlan0' will say us all we need. Then udevadm info will tell you more

udevadm info --path=/sys/class/net/wlan0 --attribute-walk | less
  looking at device '/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1c.2/0000:01:00.0/net/wlan0':

That is all you need to know how to write a rule will match for all wlan cards.

# cat /etc/udev/rules.d/95-start-nm-on-wlan.rules
SUBSYSTEM=="net", NAME=="wlan?", TAG+="systemd", ACTION=="add", ENV{SYSTEMD_WANTS}="NetworkManager.service"

To explain it – SUBSYSTEM and NAME are taken from previous output and means that following rule matches for all devices in net subsystem named wlan-something. We should append tag systemd, because systemd sees tagged devices only. The ACTION=="add" says the rule will be evaluated only in case device will be added and the last part says to systemd which service should be started.

In case you will want to stop NM, the

SUBSYSTEM=="net", NAME=="wlan?", TAG+="systemd", ACTION=="remove", ENV{SYSTEMD_WANTS}="NetworkManager-stop.service"
# cat /etc/systemd/system/NetworkManager-stop.service
Description=Stops NetworkManager


WLAN cards

For onboard wlan cards following thing won’t work as they appear in a tree from early phase. Unfortunately I’ve found only one way how kernel exports the fact cable is plugged in and that’s changed /sys/class/net/eth0/carrier. But inotify does not work with a quantum-like fs like sysfs is. The trouble is values appears in time of read, but inotify react on writes, which never appear.

How much the removal of getting IP address from boot saved the time?

# systemd-analyze
Startup finished in 2719ms (kernel) + 4333ms (userspace) = 7052ms

which is about half of second.

Too much mounts in a parallel

The one thing surprised me was a long time until trivial mounts like debugfs were finished. The reason is that systemd (at least 44, recent version use generator+ .mount units) behaves differently to .mount units and things in /etc/fstab. In the first case, it executes the /bin/mount. Which means a lot of ld, stats, mmap, and the big delay of the system start.

So move things to fstab, or disable the systemd mount unit (I did that for sys-kernel-debug.mount and sys-kernel-security.mount). I already masked the remount-rootfs.mount, which calls /bin/mount -o remount /< only. That seems to me like a barrier for other mount units – iow this will be done as a last one. But who cares with a fast boot we have?

Way more changes

Then the systemd-modules-load.service delay a boot as it block sysinit.service, when basic boot ends. I read strace carefully, but it only load microcode_ctl module, but that took few seconds to be done. Thus I gently masked it.

The next change is backport from Factory package – this reduce the delay caused by all those tty devices to appear. Fortunately this will be part of next openSUSE as it is an upstream patch.

And as a last thing I wrote a simple xdm.service, instead of a big xdm init script. It will definitely need more love, but for me just works 🙂

cat /etc/systemd/system/xdm.service
Description=X Display Manager

ExecStart=/usr/bin/xdm -nodaemon


VoilĂ !

Startup finished in 2698ms (kernel) + 1513ms (userspace) = 4212ms

Using dracut

Because our brave systemd maintainer, FrĂ©deric Crozat, chooses dracut as his hackweek project, I was curious if dracut can make some gain for me. I installed dracut and rebuilt and installed hardlink from his branches and try to investigate it. I would say the biggest advantage over mkinitrd is that dracut is configurable from command line. This is in a contrast with mkinitrd, where you have mostly no way how to exclude something – at least I did not find anything.

As Fréderic also pointed me, there is a --hostonly switch, which include only things needed for boot of current machine only. For instance dracut module kernel-modules will pull only things needed to mount rootfs (and if usrmount is included, then it will add things for /usr as well). Then I have excluded at least everything I can to have a working initramfs via -o, --nofsck and --strip. And that is the resulting time

# systemd-analyze
Startup finished in 726ms (kernel) + 1609ms (initramfs) + 1581ms (userspace) = 3917ms

openSUSE 12.2 boot with initramfs made by dracut

Disabling way more things

As we are now versed in a looking at diagrams, there are still few ms we can save, even those changes are not sane ;-). The first one follows the NetworkManager.service – now sshd.service delays the boot a lot, because it systemd-update-utmp-level.service waits on it’s finish. So let’s start it on demand

# cat /etc/udev/rules.d/95-start-nm-on-wlan.rules
SUBSYSTEM=="net", NAME=="wlan?", TAG+="systemd", ACTION=="add", ENV{SYSTEMD_WANTS}="NetworkManager.service sshd.service"

and disable it. Then mask all few remaining things – systemd-login.service, systemd-remount-api-vfs.service, systemd-user-session.service and rc-local.service. But only in case you are pretty sure what you are doing, because you might loose an important functionality, especially if you use a DE expected such things.

And that is the last time I will post

# systemd-analyze 
Startup finished in 726ms (kernel) + 1502ms (initramfs) + 1112ms (userspace) = 3341ms

With a kernel with SATA+ext support builtin, I would reach the two second goal – 1839ms. Of course on a system, which functionality was extremely cut down, but my goal was to boot as fast as possible. In reality, hunting of ms does not makes your feeling better a lot (until you will type systemd-analyze, of course)

This is the diagram of the really fast boot

openSUSE 12.2 close to two second boot as possible

AMD/ATI Catalyst fglrx & fglrx legacy news

July 31st, 2012 by

AMD/ATI Catalyst fglrx & fglrx legacy news

Explanations of Hell

During June, with the version 12.6 (8.980) AMD decide to drop support for legacy radeon chipset from its main fglrx package and drop the time based release cycle.
So now if you are the owner of radeon hd2xxx to hd4xxx chipset family you will have to use the -legacy- version of fglrx, and
consequently if you have a radeon hd5xxx or above, you have to use the standard fglrx driver.
Then start the hell. After getting the new developed script from Sebastian Siebert, I will be able to offer the two versions. Unfortunately the two drivers can’t coexist in the same repository, the legacy drivers wants to install in place of normal one. This imply another limitation, you can’t have two graphics cards with differents generation at the same time.
So I decide to clarify (is that possible? :-)) the mess, and split the drivers in two distinct repositories. I use that excuse to also change the ati (deprecated brand name) and use new names: amd-fglx and amd-fglrx-legacy.
Don’t worry about your exiting installation, I will provide a symlink during the next 6 months at least for the old repositories. But read carefully the rest of the story, and apply any changes needed to your installation to be sure to continue to safely use the right driver.
I also decided to remove any version below 12.4 (8.961) in all repositories, except for openSUSE 11.2.

I need your help to spread those informations around the internet, and be sure that every user that need this driver know where and how to use it right. Tweet FbLike G+ forums, mailing list, private blogs Go now!

Release note about 12.6 and legacy 8.97.100

Both version can handle kernel 3.4 and 3.5

Sebastian Siebert warn us about the state of legacy

AMD catalyst control center and fgl_glxgears

These cards with the unofficial support of openSUSE 12.2 can run in the ideal case, just under 2 more years. However, one must keep in mind that the legacy driver is looked after, while AMD continues and eliminates errors found, but will not add new features. This can mean, among other things, that the next version of GNOME or KDE will not run with its 3D effects, especially when used with a desktop or Tumbleweed extra repository.

Sebastian’s post

If you have any comments, be do on his blog. Don’t be shy, you can leave there the result of test in english too 😀
or ask in forums, irc and ping freespacer.
See below what to do in case of troubles.

12.2 Factory rpms are presently available, use at your own risk, and report bugs in forums and Sebastian blogs.
Anyways, factory and 12.2 should keep their effort on debuging and testing widely the free radeon driver.