Are you swapped? Increase the performance of Linux machine.

With the ever increasing cost of the Hardware, the amount of physical RAM available on the system is increasing day by day. For example, couple of years back, I had a system which was very high end Desktop with 256MB RAM and today I have a 2GB RAM Desktop. So, whats the point.

The Linux systems (right word should be kernel) are desiged to use both RAM and swap partition. Swap partition is a partition on Hard disk and is used mostly like RAM. Problem is that HDD access is always slower than RAM access and hence inherently, the system will work little slower even if you have enough RAM not to use swap. The term \”swappiness\” is used to determine how the kernel should try to seam-balance between the use of RAM and swap. By default, most of the distro\’s have a swappiness of 60. A higher value of swappiness means that the RAM will be swapped out faster.

There are two ways to look at the swappiness:

1) If the user has a higher swappiness then the used memory will be swapped faster to the swap and thus free\’ing the RAM for other useful purposes.

2) A lower value of swappiness would mean that bloaty applications will not be swapped and thus when the user returns to the application, the application would load faster or rather look faster as there will be no swapping from the swap to the RAM.

I personally keep the swappiness to a value of 100 in the Desktop. But then, anyway I kill firefox as soon as I am done and restart when required.

If you see that the RAM is underutilized or feel that the system performance is not that good then you can tickle with this setting and set it to 10-15. How to do it :

Login as roo (\”su -\”)

echo 15 > /proc/sys/vm/swappiness

This will take effect immediately, but if you want to change this value permanently then you can do this(again as root):

echo \”sys.vm.swappiness = 10\” > /etc/sysctl.conf

So play with your swappiness 🙂

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Logwatch for Linux Systems – Scheduled email.

On my personal desktop at home, I like to see the statistics at least once a day, for what was installed, what was run with sudo and other such details like kernel errors.

Running this monotonously every day is quite boring, so comes to rescue is logwatch. I have Fedora installation so I will talk about the location with respect to that so for your distribution it might be a little different.

First install logwatch using 🙂 yum install logwatch

and you are done.

If you need to do more configuration and want to see something different in the mail that is sent( BTW sendmail is assumed to be default mail client), the keep reading.
First open the file /etc/logwatch/conf/logwatch.conf
The contents for my distro is just one line 🙂
# Local configuration options go here (defaults are in /usr/share/logwatch/default.conf/logwatch.conf)
So, open the file /usr/share/logwatch/default.conf/logwatch.confbr
I will highlight the important lines in the file here:
LogDir = /var/log — This is the directory for all the log files
MailTo = root — Whom should the mail be sent to
Print = If this is set to true then there will be no mail sent and the output will be displayed on the stdout.
Detail = The level of details you want to see in the mail or the output on screen.

Thats pretty much it.. If you want to further modify the details in the mail you can configure the services. For more advanced usage you can even go to /usr/share/logwatch/scripts/services and configure the individual scripts.


Contd:: Evaluation of Distro\’s


Foresight is a desktop operating system featuring an intuitive user interface and a showcase of the latest desktop software, giving users convenient and enjoyable access to their music, photos, videos, documents, and Internet resources.


I liked their logo. Quite simple and intutive.


Logo goes quite well with the Foreground image. Both are same in color and hence it gives you a feeling of theme and not just ramdomly selected foreground.


And definately their Desktop is quite impressive. Very different and elegnant. Worth a look. It definately meets the promise as on their website —

As a Linux distribution, Foresight sets itself apart by eliminating the need for the user to be familiar with Linux, combining a user-focused desktop environment on top of Conary. As the most technically innovative software management system available today, Conary ensures that users can efficiently search, install, and manage all the software on the Foresight system, including bringing in the latest features and fixes without waiting for a major release. Thanks to Conary, Foresight developers can provide those features and fixes through rolling releases, allowing updates to be pushed out as soon as they are available. The latest version of Foresight is 2.0.5 which contains an up to date snapshot of the Foresight respository.


ByzanineOS is a software internet appliance with a home entertainment bias. It is based on a networked Linux distribution/bootable system with Mozilla providing access to a range of services and applications.

ByzanineOS fits in 32MB (or 48MB) of media and should work on any x86 based PC.

Simple to use OS with most of the applications supported on Mozilla. Quite different again.

\"Byzantine \"Byzantine \"Byzantine


Liked the concept that you really don\’t need a X window if you really don\’t want to do anything on the system. It runs a webserver and mostly all configuration needs to be done from the web interface. You don\’t get a shell to work on. You just have a menu with 4-5 options to set a few things and all other things and montitoring needs to be done from the Web Interface.

So what is it? It is network attached Storage OS.

\"FreeNAS \"FreeNAS \"FreeNAS \"FreeNAS \"FreeNAS \"FreeNAS


It did not detect my mouse and I could not do much without the mouse. But I was running it on the QEMU so might be that is the issue. I just got one screenshot. Will try again later with different settings to see if I can get it working.


Linux Mint

It did not come up completely. But I was running it on the QEMU so might be that is the issue. I just got one screenshot. Will try again later with different settings to see if I can get it working.


Do let me know what you think of these various distro\’s.