Bootchart: testing boot performance

Bootchart is an application which analysis the boot time performance of your system. It can be useful to track down problems or bugs during boot time. Also, it is a very helpful tool to compare the init boot system with its alternatives.

Recently M. Tim Jones of IBM fame released a comparison of two famous init replacements: initng and upstart. While the comparison gives a good view into both systems and is also clear about the difference in both attempts, it also mentioned a tool to test a the boot performance: bootchart.

Bootchart starts at the beginning of the system and tracks down the system performance and the processes currently running. Afterwards it presents you with a graph of the entire boot process. In my case, it looked like this:

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This graph first tells me that my system is *really* slow: 90 seconds is much to much time for a boot process. Now you see why I was so excited when I realized that Suspend to Ram works flawlessly on my system. Also, you might now realize why I’m waiting for a init replacement in Fedora – although its not said that this would actually solve my problems.

Anyway, bootchart is really easy to set up:
Although it is currently not part of any Fedora repository and although there is no rpm provided, there is a src.rpm at the download page which can easily be rebuild (rpmbuild --rebuild bootchart*src.rpm). All dependencies are part of Fedora Core or Extras, so no problem there.
After installing the rpms you will find a new entry in your grub/lilo boot menu. If you switch the the link the system starts first bootchart and afterwards the init system. Just wait until your computer is up as usual, and you will find the bootchart information at /var/log/bootchart.tgz. You can upload them to the web renderer given at the bottom of the download page, it will produce a png or a (for me broken) svg, depends on what you prefer.

If I find the time I will test an init alternative and upload a new bootchart graph. But in any case I will upload a new graph when I’m switching to Fedora 7. I’m curious about the result.

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