Modify Your Swapfile For Better Performance

A swap file is an area on your hard-disk where the computer continuously keeps storing data which is not in immediate use. Now, a drive failure of the swap partition can cause some applications which require high amount of swap memory to crash.

There are two workarounds to this :

  1. Firstly, you can reduce the system swappiness. With this, you can set the system to use less swap memory. The possible values are from 0 to 100.
    Just run the command :

    sysctl vm.swappiness=desired swappiness

    Here, replace ‘desired swappiness’ with a desired value between 0 to 100. 0 indicates no swap usage, thereby running everything on the RAM, unless absolutely necessary, 100 indicates immediate swapping.For this to take effect without a reboot, run

    swapoff -a

    and

    swapon -a

    as root.

  2. Using a swap file.
    Using a swap file has it’s own advantages. A separate swap partition has to be fully functional and error free at all times. Also, it eats up some time of the already slow Linux bootup process. With a swap file, you can adjust it’s size, So, to use a swap file, become root. Then follow the steps below.

    • Create an empty file with the command :
      dd if=/dev/zero of=/swapfile bs=1048576 count=1000
    • Create a swapfile :
      mkswap /swpf
    • Turn it on.
      swapon /swpf
    • Add the line
    • /swapfile    swap   swap  defaults 0

      to the file /etc/fstab for doing this permanently.

  3. Check the creation using :
    swapon -s

That is all. Get a better and faster debian based system in a few seconds, without any restart.

MultiTouch – Linux Has It Too

For all those Linux users who envy Windows 7 multi-touch, here is some good news. From now, Linux too has support for multi-touch just like windows. The multi-touch feature has been developed by the Interactive Computing Lab team in ENAC, France and has been introduced into the 2.6.30 Linux Kernel. See the video:

This feature is different from the multi-pointer feature ( available through MPX ) as it sends events directly from the Kernel and has support for gestures like swipe, dragging, water ripple on tap, pinch, resize, page flip etc . Inclusion in the core and the feature being a great one, assures it’s availability in any Linux distro using the 2.6.30 Kernel. There are hopes of it being included in Google Android as well.

According to the development page, the recognition code reads a raw input without any help from the X server and sends DBus messages to Compiz (the window manager) to convert the inputs into effects. All this was developed under the project ShareIT.

This is a full implementation of the capabilities of the new kernel initially explored by Luke Hutchison who implemented multi-touch on an Android G1 using a hack.

With news of Linux capturing 1% of worldwide PC users surfacing a few months ago, it is really good to see such fast development in advanced areas. This will go a long way in establishing popular distros of Linux as good and free windows alternatives, if not competitors.

How To Install Incompatible Addons In Firefox

Well, now that Firefox 3.5 is everywhere, addon developers should seriously consider upgrading their addons for compatibility. Just the day I installed the latest release, half of my SEO addons were not working!

Here is a work-around to get your addons working by disabling the addon compatibility check. This support is not present out of the box. You need to add 2 keys. The steps involved in doing this are :

  1. Type in about:config. Agree to anything it says.
  2. You get a list of configuration values. Right click on any one and select “New->Boolean”, the last option.

    New Firefox Key
    New Firefox Key
  3. Next,you get a window asking for a name for the key. Enter the name as “extensions.checkCompatibility”.
    Set it’s value to false.

    New Key
    New Key
  4. Again create a new key, with the name “extensions.checkUpdateSecurity”.
    Set it’s value to false as well.
  5. Restart firefox.

This tweak might create some problems for your browser like, it disabled my address bar and the search bar. I easily got them back from View->Toolbars->Customize and then dragging and dropping the desired items.