What else I can do to optimize my arch laptop?

Discussion in 'all things UNIX' started by zakazak, Oct 9, 2015.

  1. zakazak

    zakazak Registered Member

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    Hey there,

    I am running Arch on my laptop (Dell XPS 15 9530) for a few weeks now and currently wonder if my setup is fine so far or if there is anything I should change / could improve?

    System/Performance:
    Code:
    Install bumblebee + nvidia/intel drivers
    Install powertop (running --calibrate and enabling the --auto-tune service in systemctl)
    Install tlp + configure it -> http://pastebin.com/C9cWAfjC
    Install thermald
    Install intel-ucode
    Enabe SSD Trim (systemctl enable fstrim + fstrim.timer)
    Change I/O scheduler to noop (still need to figure out how to make this persistant after reboot)
    Optimized by mirrorlist (picked the 5 fastest / most reliable / up-to-date / trustworthy servers)
    networkmanager + network-manager-applet
    dnscrypt + dnsmasq -> cisco (opendns) as server
    alsa-lib
    alsa-plugins
    pulseaudio
    pulseaudio-alsa
    bzip2, gzip, zip, unzip, p7zip
    smbclient
    
    Eye-Candy:
    Code:
    Install XFCE without goodies, added my own goodies:
    Ristretto, Thunar, file-roller, media-player-info, raw-thumbnailer, thunar-archive-plugin, thunar-media-tags-plugin, thunar-volman, xfce4-datetime-plugin, xfce4-mixer, xfce4-notifyd, xfce4-power-manager, xfce4-screenshooter, whisker
    
    ffmpeg + ffmpegthumbnailer
    Font (Microsoft style)
    Install freetype2
    numix-themes
    numix-icon-themes-git
    numix-circle-icon-theme-git
    Install pavucontrol
    (LXDM + slock) or (LightDM + light-locker).. can't decide atm.
    
    Apps:
    Code:
    cower + pacaur
    Audacious + plugins
    filezilla
    firejail
    HexChat
    Parabola's Iceweasel (+ gstreamer, gst-libav, gst-plugins-base, gst-plugins-base-libs, gst-plugins-good)
    Parabola's Icedove
    Kate
    KeePass
    mtpaint (for simple and quick editing like blanking/blacking out text on an image)
    Okular
    Putty
    qbittorrent
    Teamviewer
    Telegram
    wine (still need to configure it)
    
    ToDo:
    Code:
    Add pinch-to-zoom + scrolling functionality on my touchscreen (touchegg won't work).. main priority atm
    Add Printer support
    Add SSH-Tunnels to encrypt browser/mail/sensitive traffic instead of complete system traffic (no encryption for games plz)
    Add linux-grsec kernel + pax
    Add multi-display-support (for 120Hz output via displayport)
    Add DAC driver for my Sennheiser HD600
    Add virtualbox or similiar
    Configure firejail even more
    Find any decent skin for audacious (winamp is ugly) or switch to Deadbeef :( .. missing foobar !
    
    What else I can do to optimize my arch laptop?
    Is there anything I can improve, should change or add ? Especially in the system/performance part?
    Is there anything I can do to make my laptop more bulletproof as daily driver for work,home,everything ?
    Are my configurations fine so far or e.g. is powertop + tlp an overkill ?
    Any general advice for my next steps?

    Screenshots:
    http://files.bestmail.ws/Arch/Screenshot_1.jpg
    http://files.bestmail.ws/Arch/Screenshot_2.jpg
    http://files.bestmail.ws/Arch/Screenshot_3.jpg
    http://files.bestmail.ws/Arch/Screenshot_4.jpg



    Thanks !
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2015
  2. amarildojr

    amarildojr Registered Member

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    Good to see you take good care of your bike :)

    Also good to see you use Parabola's Iceweasel. Ever considered using your-freedom too? And your-privacy?

    I can't comment on powertop + tlp because I don't use them (I don't have a laptop). However, my processor has a function called "Cool n Quiet" which slows down the clock frequencies to 800 MHz on each core if their use is 0% for a period of time. This is a pain because I overclock my processor, so I disable this function on the BIOS and the systems never annoy me on this because all power management software don't work with that BIOS feature off.

    I would argue that using Cisco routers is a no-go, for both privacy and security reasons. Cisco is known for having numerous exploits in-the-wild and IIRC Cisco also works with the NSA. Not only that, but Cisco is an US-based company, and the NSA could retrieve your router and inect malware onto it before it gets to your home (they even factory-seal it afterwards, it's insane). It's a kind of malware that you simply can't get rid of.
    Not only that, but isn't there a US Law that forces every communication company to have some sort of backdoor into their services and products?

    I wouldn't install Virtualbox. It's open-source for the most part, but what REALLY matters they keep secret, which is the Kernel modules. Nobody messes with my Kernel if their stuff is proprietary ;)
    And how would you install VBox with grsec and pax? It's impossible for what I know. Maybe not impossible but really hard.

    No, because you don't have any open ports on the internet, so there is no chance of a vulnerable service to exist. Firejail and linux-grsec really comes close to top-notch security. Heck, I think even popular servers like Facebook and Google don't have THAT kind of security. Remember, you're not on Windows anymore :)
     
  3. wat0114

    wat0114 Registered Member

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    There's nothing I can offer for advice, but I do hope you're enjoying Arch Linux. It's been my favorite distro by far, one I've been running for many months (XFCE) and no desire to look back. AFAIK, it's already quite streamlined, as long as one installs only the minimum they require. In my own experience no other XFCE distro has performed as well for me as Arch.
     
  4. zakazak

    zakazak Registered Member

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    I am not using any cisco products.. but the "OpenDNS" Server for DNSCrypt is "cisco". Anyway, I changed it to dnscrypt.eu-nl.

    With bulletproof I am not meaning security but productivity / reliability.
    Security wise I am not feeling very secure yet.
     
  5. amarildojr

    amarildojr Registered Member

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    My bad :thumb:

    What exactly do you plan to do with the system: audio, video, software....?

    For example, for audio editing I think you're fine, but you know that since pulseaudio changed a lot recently so you might have to install "lib32-alsa-plugins" for some 32-bit programs to work.
     
  6. zakazak

    zakazak Registered Member

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    Well tbh everything :)
    I do a bit of movie editing, maybe music editing sometimes. I do a lot of office works, presentations via beamer, printing, etc. I use it to watch movies and listen to audio, both in highest possible quality. It is for everything ;P
     
  7. amarildojr

    amarildojr Registered Member

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    I think Blender is one of the best video editing for Linux, you can edit 2D movies and also add 3D elements to it. I use Blender primarily for 3D modeling.

    For audio there is no question: Ardour is the best.

    LibreOffice for office.

    Iceweasel to watch HD movies on YouYube, VLC for videos in your /home folder.

    All can be found on the official repos.
     
  8. zakazak

    zakazak Registered Member

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    Thank you, those are nice suggestions. Altough LibreOffice can't replace microsoft office for me.
     
  9. zakazak

    zakazak Registered Member

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    I just found out about

    Another two things that are quite important but not installed out-of-the-box. I wonder what more tools/packages I am missing for my laptop that usually come with windows already installed and set up :S
     
  10. amarildojr

    amarildojr Registered Member

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    Well, Arch is a distro that expects you to know all this :) It's a system you build to yourself.
     
  11. zakazak

    zakazak Registered Member

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    Yup and I think it is nice like that, but I believe that a lot of stuff should be mentioned in the wiki or should be automatically installed if your system supports/depends/needs it.

    In case of thermald... it isn't even in the offical repo lol
     
  12. amarildojr

    amarildojr Registered Member

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    What exactly is thermald?
     
  13. zakazak

    zakazak Registered Member

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    A tool which on windows is named/described as "passive cooling" (see windows power settings).

    Basically it detects which CPU is getting too hot and then tries to move the loading/working from that one CPU to another CPU to keep the temperature levels on the same amount across all CPU's/Core so that the fan doesn't need to be activated. It also automatically changes CPU frequencies and maybe even more than that.

    Out-of-the-box the linux kernel supports cpu scaling to help with battery drain, but thermald brings in a whole new level of that.

    No fan = less noise & less battery drain & less wear on the fans.
     
  14. amarildojr

    amarildojr Registered Member

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    https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/CPU_frequency_scaling#thermald

    You can either build it directly from source https://github.com/01org/thermal_daemon
    Or do an easier installation with the AUR package: https://aur.archlinux.org/packages/thermald/

    Probably because default Kernel CPU scaling modules work for most people and Arch developers don't think it's necessary to maintain such package :p

    I ran into similar scenario with ClamTK. ClamTK is the GUI front end for ClamAV, but only ClamAV was in the repos. ClamAV (command line) does everything ClamTK can do, so I didn't bother to install the GUI.
     
  15. zakazak

    zakazak Registered Member

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    thermald is not something that the kernel does out-of-the-box. It is a completely different approch for a different goal. It improves life span of hardware, reduces battery drain and reduces fan noise.

    Yes I already installed it from the repo and I am running it but there are no real guides on how to configure it. It SHOULD be not needed to configure anything though.
     
  16. amarildojr

    amarildojr Registered Member

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    But I didn't say so. I said that the "default CPU scaling Kernel Module" works for most people.

    There's one I could find:
    https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Kernel/PowerManagement/ThermalIssues

    Did you try "man thermald"?

    Why?
     
  17. zakazak

    zakazak Registered Member

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    Yep I tried man thermald, well intel says thermald works out of the box and only has to be configured in minor cases. But what are those minor cases... am I a minor case? No one really seems to know and understand ;P
     
  18. AutoCascade

    AutoCascade Registered Member

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    Kudos on having the patience to get Arch so far along. For anyone that puts the time in Arch is faster than anything else I've tried and probably the most popular distro for experienced linux users.

    Thermald looks interesting.
     
  19. zakazak

    zakazak Registered Member

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    thanks... recent bugs (pulseaudio, no sound via hdmi, screen goes black and makes laptop unusable sometimes when connecting/disconnecting HDMI) and the lack of proper touchscreen support are giving me very hard time atm :S
     
  20. amarildojr

    amarildojr Registered Member

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    Have you switched the audio output on Pavucontrol?
     
  21. zakazak

    zakazak Registered Member

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    Sometimes the output will lock up and cant be changed. Sometimes I can change it but it won't have any effect.
     
  22. amarildojr

    amarildojr Registered Member

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    Weird. Have you reported this to the pulse guys?
     
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