If you're using Ubuntu on an older computer, you might find that performance is not what you'd like. The best solution is always to expand the system if possible, and more memory will make the biggest difference. However, if that's not possible then you might want to try pre-linking. This makes for faster program start times by linking library files and executables for better memory usage. However, it doesn't work with all programs and larger programs in particular seem to benefit most. In fact, you may not see much improvement and a handful of users have even reported that some applications won't start after prelinking. However, it's trivial to remove prelinking, so you might as well give it a try.
To enable prelinking, start by using Synaptic to search for and install the prelink package. Once installed, open a terminal window and open the prelink configuration file in Gedit:
$ gksu gedit /etc/default/prelink
Look for the line that reads PRELINKING=unknown and change it to read PRELINKING=yes. Then save the file and close Gedit.
Prelinking is now activated and a prelinking pass of your system's executable files will run in the background periodically, but it's a good idea to create an initial prelinking pass of the system. To do this, type the following into a terminal window:
$ sudo prelink -a
It will take some time to complete, and you'll see a lot of output, but don't worry about it. Once complete, try starting some of the larger applications on your system—OpenOffice.org Writer, for example, or Firefox—to see if there's any improvement in start times.
Should prelinking cause problems, type the following to remove it from your executable files: $ sudo prelink -ua
Then uninstall the prelink package using Synaptic.
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