Ubuntu

Ubuntu Software Center takes a long time to load

Reported by Charles Pergiel on 2011-10-17
122
This bug affects 24 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
software-center (Ubuntu)
High
Unassigned

Bug Description

For a full description of the misery this bug is causing WORLDWIDE, see: Ubuntu “software-center” package Questions Question #174730

This is basically identical to Bug #641899, and I could have just attached my name to that one, but somebody decided that bug was too broad and so made it invalid.

Fine, I'll be specific. The UBUNTU SOFTWARE CENTER TAKES TOO DANG LONG TO LOAD on Zotac ZBOX with Intel Atom cpu 1.8 GHz and 2 GB RAM. By TOO LONG I mean more than 20 seconds.

I would file another two dozen bug reports on miserable program but this trackball I am being forced to use (yes, there's a goon with a gun to my head) is driving me nuts.

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 11.10
Package: software-center 5.0.1.4
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 3.0.0-12.20-generic 3.0.4
Uname: Linux 3.0.0-12-generic i686
NonfreeKernelModules: nvidia
ApportVersion: 1.23-0ubuntu3
Architecture: i386
Date: Sun Oct 16 22:04:25 2011
ExecutablePath: /usr/share/software-center/software-center
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 11.04 "Natty Narwhal" - Release i386 (20110427.1)
InterpreterPath: /usr/bin/python2.7
PackageArchitecture: all
SourcePackage: software-center
UpgradeStatus: Upgraded to oneiric on 2011-10-15 (1 days ago)

Charles Pergiel (c-pergiel-c) wrote :
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in software-center (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Gary Lasker (gary-lasker) wrote :

Hi Charles, and thanks for your bug report. Indeed, the startup time for Software Center has regressed significantly with the change to the new user interface in Oneiric. Rest assured that the developers are well aware of this issue and it annoys them as much as it does you. ;) This is in fact the top priority usability fix for us right now.

The good news is that we have a new version of Software Center, 5.0.2, currently undergoing the SRU process in oneiric-proposed, and this new version improves startup time quite significantly. On my machine, Software Center takes 11.2 seconds to launch with the current version 5.0.1.5, and with the 5.0.2 update it takes only 1.3 seconds to launch. For reference, the version of Software Center in Natty (with the old user interface) took about .5 seconds to launch on my machine, so we are much closer to closing this "regression gap" now in Oneiric.

If you would like to test version 5.0.2 for yourself while it is still in -proposed, please do so using the procedure described at https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Testing/EnableProposed, and let us know how it works for you.

You can get a measurement of startup time in 5.0.2 (and 5.0.1.5) by launching software-center from the terminal as shown (note that this is only useful for making the measurement; startup time will be reported in the terminal output but the application itself will not launch):

  software-center --measure-startup-time

I will leave this bug open as we continue to work on improving startup time.

Thank you again!

Changed in software-center (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Triaged
importance: Undecided → High
assignee: nobody → software-center-developers (software-center-developers)
Download full text (5.2 KiB)

Thank you for your kind letter. I am not concerned with the performance of
this package. I have decided it is part of the "make Linux more usable by
non-computer people" endeavor. That is probably a good and noble cause and I
have no complaint abou that. However, I have just gotten accustomed to the
Synaptic Package Manager and it works much better than Software Center, so I
think I will just stick with that.

I gave Software Center a try because you never know whether something new is
going to be any good or not unless you try it. Most new stuff gets a "bleh,
useless", but occasionally you find something you like.

I am curious as to how one designs a program that is so very, very slow,
especially since it doesn't seem to be doing much of anything. Once upon a
time I was talking to a mainframe application programmer and the first thing
he put in every program was a loop that counted to a million or so. Then,
after the program was completed and put to use and the users came back with
their inevitable complaint that it was too slow, he could go away and "work
on it" for a week, spend a couple of minutes cutting the delay loop down and
deliver a massive performance improvement and the user's were overjoyed.

I kind of doubt whether such a simplistic scheme has been employed here, but
I do wonder just what is going on. I suspect object oriented programming has
run amuck and processes and possibly even complete virtual workspaces are
being invoked willy-nilly without regard to consequences. An analysis of
what this program is doing might be instructive for many programmers.

Cheers,

Charles Pergiel
Silicon Forest
www.pergelator.blogspot.com

On Wed, Oct 19, 2011 at 9:22 AM, Gary Lasker <email address hidden>wrote:

> Hi Charles, and thanks for your bug report. Indeed, the startup time for
> Software Center has regressed significantly with the change to the new
> user interface in Oneiric. Rest assured that the developers are well
> aware of this issue and it annoys them as much as it does you. ;) This
> is in fact the top priority usability fix for us right now.
>
> The good news is that we have a new version of Software Center, 5.0.2,
> currently undergoing the SRU process in oneiric-proposed, and this new
> version improves startup time quite significantly. On my machine,
> Software Center takes 11.2 seconds to launch with the current version
> 5.0.1.5, and with the 5.0.2 update it takes only 1.3 seconds to launch.
> For reference, the version of Software Center in Natty (with the old
> user interface) took about .5 seconds to launch on my machine, so we are
> much closer to closing this "regression gap" now in Oneiric.
>
> If you would like to test version 5.0.2 for yourself while it is still
> in -proposed, please do so using the procedure described at
> https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Testing/EnableProposed, and let us know how it
> works for you.
>
> You can get a measurement of startup time in 5.0.2 (and 5.0.1.5) by
> launching software-center from the terminal as shown (note that this is
> only useful for making the measurement; startup time will be reported in
> the terminal output but the application itself will not launch):
>
> softwa...

Read more...

Gary Lasker (gary-lasker) wrote :

Hi again, Charles. Nah, it's nothing so dramatic as all that. We had a major rewrite of the Software Center user interface for Oneric, and since this occurred quite late in the development cycle we had very little opportunity to do performance optimizations before release. The very slow startup was due in very large part to some processing that we were doing in the backend that naturally takes a long time, but we were starting it up before the UI was fully brought up and so it impacted startup time dramatically. The fix in the upcoming 5.0.2 update removes this problem, with the result that for my machine startup time is reduced to about one -tenth of what it is in 5.-.1.4. And we have additional optimizations in the works that will speed things up further.

Have you tried Software Center in Natty? It's quite speedy thanks to a mature codebase where we had the necessary performance optimizations in place. We will get there too with this version, early during the Precise cycle. Maybe, when it's fast again, you might give it another try. A lot of people quite appreciate the simplicity of Software Center, even hardcore programmer types have been known to like it. :)

Thanks again!

Best regards,
Gary

Michael Vogt (mvo) on 2011-10-20
Changed in software-center (Ubuntu Oneiric):
status: New → In Progress
importance: Undecided → High
Gary Lasker (gary-lasker) wrote :

Hi Chrles. The Software Center devs have just returned from the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Orlando and we have identified the work that we plan to do this cycle. Performance (and in particular, startup performance), is at the top of the priority list for improvement in Precise (and for SRU into Oneiric). We have also identified other areas that need speed improvement, and will address those as well.

Please note that we maintain a reference startup chart that we are using to monitor our progress in this area. These measurements are made using our chosen reference hardware Dell Mini 10, which is a fairly low-powered machine.

For the previous version of Software Center in Natty, you can see that we were at about ~3s for startup:

  http://people.canonical.com/%7Emvo/software-center/mini10-startup/startup-times.png

And for Oneiric (and currently Precise), we are currently at ~7s with the 5.0.2 release (SRU) there:

  http://people.canonical.com/%7Emvo/software-center/mini10-startup/start-times-oneiric.png

If you take a look at the second graph, you can see that at revision 2516 in software-center trunk we were at about 34s startup (!). This was the version that was released with Oneiric final. Note the improvement immediately after at revision 2517 that brings it to about 10s, and then improves to about 6-7 seconds from there. The software-center version 5.02 SRU in Oneiric includes this improvement.

And of course, we will continue to improve from here. Please keep an eye on this bug report as well as the startup time charts to monitor our improvements, and please add comments at any time to let us know if the improvements are noticeable and if they are making your experience using Software Center less frustrating and more enjoyable. That's our goal!

Thank you, your help is very much appreciated!

Best regards,
Gary

Oscar Tiderman (oscar-tiderman) wrote :

Hmmm, I''m not seeing any of these improvements nor anywhere near the times mentioned. I'm on Oneiric and have proposed enabled, software-center is version: 5.0.2ubuntu0.1.

software-center --measure-startup-time gives:
47.1813759804 seconds which is in my eyes unacceptably long.

My specs:

CPU: Intel® Pentium(R) CPU U5400 @ 1.20GHz × 2
GPU: Intel® Ironlake Mobile
RAM: 2.6 GiB
64-bit

Changed in software-center (Ubuntu):
status: Triaged → In Progress
Gary Lasker (gary-lasker) wrote :

The startup speed of Software Center has been improved steadily over the course of the Precise cycle, and especially in recent weeks with the great work of mvo. As of today's release (version 5.1.7), I am measuring on my machine less than a second for the initial window to appear (with spinner as it loads), and the UI is fully ready for use in just over 3 seconds. We will continue to make improvements to startup speed (particularly for the case where a local .deb is being installed), but as this measured improvement is significant in Precise and feels subjectively quite speedy, I will close this bug for the Precise target. Charles, if you or anyone does not agree that it is fast enough to justify closing this, of course please feel free to reopen.

Thanks all!

Changed in software-center (Ubuntu):
status: In Progress → Fix Released
AdamOutler (adamoutler) wrote :

I'm seeing that the entire Software Center's window loads all at once. To me this says that rather than putting an emphasis on usability, there is an emphasis on completeness before displaying anything to the user. That was important back in the days of textual interfaces and smaller applications because everything needed to load in order to work. Today we focus more on HTML style apps where the user can wait for an image if he or she wants to see it.

 I think the solution here is to use concurrent threads for each operation.. one thread for a background "update", one thread for the "what's new" pull, one thread for "recommendations" one thread for "top Rated" and each item should start its own thread to pull an image. It should be more like the recommended Android design guidelines.. Get the space squared away, let the app start working and populate the fluff when posible.

Charles Pergiel (c-pergiel-c) wrote :
Download full text (3.2 KiB)

I am surprised to hear about this after all this time. It's been 16 months.

I have given up on Ubuntu. This bug was just one indicator of what's wrong.
I have no interest in the social networking / smart phone integration that
seems to be your focus.

If I do anything more it will be with MINT or BEOS.

Cheers,

ccp

On Mon, Feb 18, 2013 at 7:14 AM, AdamOutler <email address hidden> wrote:

> I'm seeing that the entire Software Center's window loads all at once.
> To me this says that rather than putting an emphasis on usability,
> there is an emphasis on completeness before displaying anything to the
> user. That was important back in the days of textual interfaces and
> smaller applications because everything needed to load in order to work.
> Today we focus more on HTML style apps where the user can wait for an
> image if he or she wants to see it.
>
> I think the solution here is to use concurrent threads for each
> operation.. one thread for a background "update", one thread for the
> "what's new" pull, one thread for "recommendations" one thread for "top
> Rated" and each item should start its own thread to pull an image. It
> should be more like the recommended Android design guidelines.. Get the
> space squared away, let the app start working and populate the fluff
> when posible.
>
> --
> You received this bug notification because you are subscribed to the bug
> report.
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/876210
>
> Title:
> Ubuntu Software Center takes a long time to load
>
> Status in “software-center” package in Ubuntu:
> Fix Released
> Status in “software-center” source package in Oneiric:
> In Progress
>
> Bug description:
> For a full description of the misery this bug is causing WORLDWIDE,
> see: Ubuntu “software-center” package Questions Question
> #174730
>
> This is basically identical to Bug #641899, and I could have just
> attached my name to that one, but somebody decided that bug was too
> broad and so made it invalid.
>
> Fine, I'll be specific. The UBUNTU SOFTWARE CENTER TAKES TOO DANG LONG
> TO LOAD on Zotac ZBOX with Intel Atom cpu 1.8 GHz and 2 GB RAM. By TOO
> LONG I mean more than 20 seconds.
>
> I would file another two dozen bug reports on miserable program but
> this trackball I am being forced to use (yes, there's a goon with a
> gun to my head) is driving me nuts.
>
> ProblemType: Bug
> DistroRelease: Ubuntu 11.10
> Package: software-center 5.0.1.4
> ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 3.0.0-12.20-generic 3.0.4
> Uname: Linux 3.0.0-12-generic i686
> NonfreeKernelModules: nvidia
> ApportVersion: 1.23-0ubuntu3
> Architecture: i386
> Date: Sun Oct 16 22:04:25 2011
> ExecutablePath: /usr/share/software-center/software-center
> InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 11.04 "Natty Narwhal" - Release i386
> (20110427.1)
> InterpreterPath: /usr/bin/python2.7
> PackageArchitecture: all
> SourcePackage: software-center
> UpgradeStatus: Upgraded to oneiric on 2011-10-15 (1 days ago)
>
> To manage notifications about this bug go to:
>
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/software-center/+bug/876210/+subscriptions
>

--
Charles Pergiel
Silicon Forest...

Read more...

Adolfo Jayme (fitoschido) wrote :

To comment 10: Just to be clear, I DON'T like to receive complaints like these in my inbox. That's just useless noise. If I was a developer, I would have solved your bug immediately just because I love to contribute my time to improve others' life. I want this fixed as much as you do. And, just FYI, if a bug's inactivity is your reason to switch distros --which is silly, IMHO--, Mint also doesn't traiage user-submitted bugs.

no longer affects: software-center (Ubuntu Oneiric)
Changed in software-center (Ubuntu):
assignee: software-center-developers (software-center-developers) → nobody
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