Improve Application Startup Times With Preload

By | 2008/07/08

If your computer habits are anything like mine you probably have a set of applications that you use nearly every time you log in to the machine.  Let me guess.. Firefox?  Pidgin perhaps?  Thunderbird or Evolution?  You may have more or less, but it is common for a user to use the same applications regularly.  Wouldn’t it be nice if those commonly used applications could startup faster?  That is possible with a tool called “Preload”.

Installing Preload

The preload service is available through the main Ubuntu repositories, and can be installed by clicking the link below or running the command:

sudo aptitude install preload

A few things to note now about using Preload.  First, this will not improve boot time.  Preload monitors recurring applications and, after establishing a pattern, will preload those binaries into memory at startup.  Given that it also has to establish a pattern you may not see a performance increase immediately.  Give it some time though, you’ll start to see a difference soon enough!

5 thoughts on “Improve Application Startup Times With Preload

  1. adrian

    Hi Christer, I’m just an usual reader, Adrian. I really like your posts, thank you very much for your dedication :).
    Well, I have some kind of suggestion, but don’t know how to tell withouth sounding rude… I’ll try:
    Lately you have been putting some links at the bottom of your posts. While I consider them useful (else most tutorials would be hidden or less accesible) I don’t see they are related to the current post, so the ‘Related’ header seems to me somewhat confunsing. Maybe an more accurate title would be ‘Other interesting things’ or something like it.
    Well that was it, just a matter of personal taste.
    Again thank you very much it is very pleasent to read so well intentioned and useful tutorials.
    Ah! about the quiz I have to say that I read it trough RSS and I wouldn’t dislike (too much :)) having ads there. Another question is if planet ubuntu allows that.

  2. ssam

    Good post. Preload is great. I have it installed on all my machines and recomend it to friends.

    I think the biggest gain is for people who have a bit more RAM then they use. If you have much less than 512MB you will probably seen not much gain.

  3. swegner

    I started using preload on my system about a month ago after I upgraded my RAM. It’s hard to say if I’m seeing any gains from it or not. Is there any way to check it’s “status”? Perhaps see what applications it has tagged and what data it is storing in memory?

  4. swegner

    @Dario Sestero: Thanks for the links. Good information and it’s nice to verify that preload is actually *working*. For others, these links also gives instructions for configuration options, although the defaults are generally acceptable.

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