I’ve been running Ubuntu 11.04 since Alpha 3 was released last month. As usual when running Alpha and Beta codes there were some rough edges. Nonetheless, I can say that this version of Ubuntu is, for me at least, a big improvement over the previous versions.
Much of this improvement comes from the new 2.6.38.x Linux kernel. This incarnation includes among other things the famous “200 line patch” that dramatically improves process scheduling on multicore CPUs.
Prior to 11.04 I was unable to run the popular Windows based video chatting called Oovoo from within VMWare Virtual Machines. No matter what I tried the video and audio with Oovoo on an XP guest was very choppy and froze regularly even with 4 Xeon cores allocated to the VM. Worse, it was even possible to crash the VM or even lockup the whole system if you weren’t careful to disable the USB webcam audio device from within Linux prior to connecting it to the Windows guest.
I’m happy to report that all of these problems are now resolved with the Ubuntu 11.04 Beta and VMWare Workstation 7.1.4 (or VMWare Player 3.1.4). Oovoo now runs smoothly with as many as 5 participants on a video call and I have yet to see any freezes or crashes relating to the USB web cam connection to the VMware guest.
I have also noticed a dramatic improvement in USB disk performance. The backuppc software now runs smoothly in the background streaming backups to a Terabyte USB HD with no noticable load on my 8-core Xeon system. Previously, there was a definite lag in response time during system backups.
The only rough patch for me was that the VMWare install on one of my systems failed to properly set the kernel yield function. This caused high load spikes and system instability whenever a VMware guest was started. I eventually solved the problem by putting this line:
in the file /etc/sysctl.conf and rebooting. With that simple change everything was smooth sailing.
Ubuntu 11.04 is still in Beta right now so don’t rush to upgrade unless you’re willing to get a few paper cuts. On the other hand, if you’re in need of a nice performance upgrade for some of your demanding applications you may feel, as I did, that its worth the risk to upgrade a few weeks early.
In this article
- Linux and Open Source
- Microsoft Windows
- Voice and Video Communications
- now runs
- now runs smoothly
- runs smoothly
- ubuntu 11.04
- vmware guest