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Faster than a Greased Penguin: Making the Linux Boot Suck Less - Kyle McMartin


Kyle is a kernel hacker at Red Hat working on Fedora. Through some strange twist of fate he ended up maintaining the port of Linux to the HP PA-RISC architecture, and in the process learned way more than he ever could have wanted to about the kernel. Previously he worked for Canonical on the Ubuntu kernel, and a variety of Ottawa-area startups. He is currently taking a break from studying Electrical Engineering at Carleton University. In his leisure time, he enjoys beer and whisky, beating on esoteric architectures, and photography. He is based from his home in Ottawa, Canada.


Bringing up a modern Linux desktop such as Fedora or Ubuntu is a complex process. While the standard set of packages differs by distro, the core startup problems are generally the same. The kernel, udev, init, and a truckload of shell scripts all provide a myriad of ways the boot process can be slowed.

This session explores approaches taken optimising the boot process, both within Fedora, and more generally. Using tools such as systemtap, strace, and a variety of small and large kernel hacks, the bloat will be explored, analyzed, and the resulting improvements shown.

Blame will be assigned to the kernel and userspace alike, none will be spared. Code on the chopping block includes modprobe, upstart, the kernel, and a cast of thousands of pieces of a modern desktop. In the kernel, module loading and device initialization will be targetted.

This session will also be pretty graph compliant.