Today, for reasons mostly involving security, I replaced SalixOS with Debian Squeeze on my ex-laptop.
This is an extremely minimal Debian setup; because I'm not using the computer for normal desktop stuff, I don't even have DBUS and HAL running. So it should be fast. But even so, I'm absolutely shocked by the difference in performance.
On Salix for instance, I can count three seconds before Geany starts. On Debian, on the same computer, it starts immediately (in < 1 second). Abiword also starts immediately; and starting Iceweasel after a cold boot takes 4 seconds, as opposed to 8 on Salix.
I'm kind of stumped! As far as I can tell, the only major differences are in hdparm settings and kernel config. On Salix IO_support defaults to 1 (32 bit), on Debian it defaults to 0 (16 bit) and cannot be set to anything else... And Salix uses a 1000 Hz kernel, while Debian uses a 250 Hz one. That seems to be it.
Could either of the things I mentioned be responsible? Or could it be something else? Any ideas?