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[wmx] sluggish netscape with channels

Damion Yates - Mon Jan 24 15:59:54 2000

I've noticed some problems with netscape on large files, especially if it has
tables when scrolling up/down or searching.  Sometimes it can lock my X
server (but not the mouse) and all I can hear is the disk churning for a few
minutes.  This is always when I have netscape on another channel.

I tested with olwm and failed to reproduce the problem, but _was_ able to
with olvwm (this is so far all on my Desktop machine, an Sun SPARC Ultra10)
so I decided the problem was related to netscape, probably backingstore, the
fact that the swap is on an IDE disk (what were Sun thinking!) and some odd
interaction it has with virtual desktops.  I solved this by being lame and
using IE5.0 (solaris) for pages that are large/tables etc. and netscape for
other browsing.

Then I got my new PC at home, 128megRAM 500MHz PIII, voodoo3-2000 gfx..
128meg swap (IDE :( but fast).  This completely outperforms my 300mhz
UltraSPARC at work.  Even with the default enlightenment WM in use
which I used out of lazyness for a few days.  However, when I eventually came
to compile and run wmx (6pre1), I immediately found sluggishness on the 2nd
channel in netscape, I first noticed to my surprise how scrolling down
with the clitoris of my mouse* was really slow, the X resources were set to
do 4 lines at a time, and I saw each line movement on down, but it was
instant on the up move.  Then I simply used pageup/down and found weird
slowness, just like I get at work.  This was just on slashdot.org as well so
not such a large page.  After it had scrolled down and up a few times to the
bottom, it sped up, even if I switched to channel1 and back to 2 again, it
was fast.  I went to another page news.bbc.co.uk and found the same.  I
tested other virtual windows on olvwm and enlightenment and was unable to
replicate it this time, it seems there is something up specifically with wmx.

I've ruled out the reshape triangle at the bottom right as it's well out of
the way for scrolling and as after a moment netscape will speed up anyway,
also I don't think it's linux doing funny things with what it swaps and what
it doesn't, because linux with 128meg doing just X/wmx/netscape/xterm with a
few running daemons takes .. well very little in mem terms, free shows 0
taken in the swap partition.

I don't know what other info to give, but finding enlightenment didn't do the
same narked me off.  I only want wmx nothing more!  If anyone knows a
resource for info on netscape Xresources I'd be interested, I recall seeing
large documents on them, but this was a LONG time ago, and it could have been
back before navigator2.0, so things might have /required/ configuration in
Xresources back then.  I'm hoping I can turn off using a backing store if
that is anything to do with it, I could strace X or netscape for somebody,
both on solaris and Linux (truss on solaris).


*The PC came with one of them clitoris mouse thingies with MS written all
over it, I was about to junk it and stick with my exPC's 3 button one (like
I'd done with the keyboard for a real non MS one), but thought I'd give it a
try.  An initial Caldera2.1 install (quick and easy, good for h/w compat.
test) auto installed everything including support for the scrolly wheel!  I
loved it.  So I wiped that and bunged slackware on then started doing
everything myself MMMmm :), added various things to .Xdefaults etc.  and now
actually miss it at work on my old Sun optical thing.

Damion Yates - Senior Internet Operations Engineer - Internet Services
email: Damion.Yates@bbc.co.uk - phone: +44 1737 839510