Friday, 11 November 2011

Speeding up KDM

For some time, I have been noticing that KDE Display Manager (KDM) slows down after every version bump. I was of the idea that this was because KDE was becoming bloated. However, CPU usage of KDE had started declining after version 4.4. So, I was sure that KDE was actually not getting hung up in the background any more. However, till 4.7 the KDM load time kept increasing. As a matter of fact, after the recent update, KDM became so slow that I had to restart my system twice before actually getting to KDM. In fact, during the first two restarts, I was thinking that my installation was broken after the update.

I sometimes browse through the bugzilla to check over recent bugs to find if any of them are related to me. After the update, I decided to look up bugzilla to check if I am encountering a common problem. And, Bingo! The very first bug was about KDM slowing down. There was a suggestion about updating font cache to avoid slow startup of KDM. It can be done using the following command:

fc-cache -fv

I tried it and the next time KDM was loaded very fast indeed. The bug was closed by the Arch linux maintainer with the following comment: "Some font package (maybe unofficial) doesn't run fc-cache after its installation or its removal." However, I think a deeper investigation should be made before closing the bug. I have been a number of instances in Arch linux bugzilla when the bug is closed without sufficient investigation. Arch developers pass the buck to upstream developers very fast.

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