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 Forum index » House Training » Users ( For the regulars )
SFS files vs program folders: test results are in!
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Joined: 16 Jun 2008
Posts: 1515
Location: 500 seconds from Sol

PostPosted: Mon 18 Feb 2013, 22:18    Post subject:  SFS files vs program folders: test results are in!  

Hi All,

Pets vs. SFSes vs. Program Folders? And the winner is Program Folders! Maybe.

As the attached Chart Shows, Program Folders use less of your computer's resources, which means they can more efficiently be run on computers with less resources. This is particularly important if limited RAM is a concern. Or the size of your SaveFile: note in particular that to successfully install LibreOffice as a pet required 500 megs of a SaveFile just for itself, requiring the SaveFile to be resized from 512 to 768 Mbs. Only SFSes use available Hard-drive (including USB-Key drives if you have that type of installation) space more efficiently. Using 01micko's Get-LibreOffice pet to download LibreOffice4 created a 144 Mb SFS in xz compression. Converting to gz compression resulted in a 173 Mb file. Decompression resulted in a folder occupying 543 Mbs of harddrive. But is Hard-drive space a significant concern today? Similarly, Program Folders make fewer demands on one's CPU.
Perhaps this is why there are advocates of Full Installs. Like Full Installs, the files in Program Folders are not compressed. Or why Kirk and Jamesbond have developed the use of a Save Folder as an alternative to a SaveFile in Fatdog64?
So why the “Maybe”?
Although almost any application can be restructure as a Program Folder, if aesthetics is a concern you'll want to do something more than drop the application's executable on the desktop and give it a pretty icon. Adding the application to the menu or to Wbar or other launchers takes some time-consuming grunt work. That use of your time has to be balanced against the savings in resource usage. It may only make sense if the application is large –or a “suite” not all applications of which must be opened and running at the same time-- or is frequently put to use.
The "almost" at the beginning of the last paragraph exists because not every application can be run as a Program Folder. Some expect your OS to use a version of glib not present. Others may require settings contained in a pinstall which may take some programming knowledge I don't have, and you may not have either.
But if they can be used they are particularly appropriate if you have one of the following concerns:
1. In your desire for security you run your Frugal Puppy without a SaveFile. Once you've created a pet to install the links between your Puppy and the executable in the program folder, installing that pet into your Temporary RAMDISK –it uses only a couple of kilobytes-- takes about about a minute and, thereafter, until you shut down, starting the application is convenient. In fact, you can create one pet to link all your commonly used applications. Or, of course, you can just click the executable in the Program's Folder.
2. Yours is a Full Install. With a Full install, your Program Folder can either exist outside of the partition used for your install, or be moved outside of that partition when you intend to upgrade or otherwise change your Puppy. No need to start from scratch to use that application in your new Puppy. To try out a different version of an application, just create a folder for that version and test it before changing the links and deleting the old version. A Program Folder (except for your system's links to it) is self-contained. No need to figure out how to uninstall all its components.
3. The Application you sometimes want to use conflicts with something else. Program Folders are self-contained. Using them won't overwrite the libs of any other program.

Procedure used in running the tests:
As mentioned above, I started by downloading Libreoffice4 using 01micko's Get-LibreOffice pet. Having read that Lupus couldn't work with SFSes xz compressed, I decided to convert it to gz compression. In the middle of doing so, I realized that an uncompressed version was available. So I copied it to a folder. Later, I copied that folder into a temporary folder and used dir2pet to create an installable pet. That gave me 4 versions of the otherwise identical application: 01micko's xz SFS, an installable pet, a Program Folder and a gz SFS. The last wasn't used in the tests.
In retrospect, the tests would have been more informative if I had run them on my 10 year old single-core Thinkpad T42 rather than my Quad-Core 4x AMD Phenom(tm) II X4 945 Processor with 3375MB of RAM. The Thinkpad uses a Swap file, and CPU usage would have been more intense but also better defined than the broad strokes shown by of swings between 0% and 5%. Consequently, the recordings of cache and buffer usage –as they show activity the CPU has just engaged in-- are probably more informative than the CPU activity reports. But this started out as just a simple question to be answered in what I thought would take an hour. Only a stubborn streak kept me from abandoning it after 10 hours. The problem I ran into was testing the installed pet. I was on my third test vehicle -01micko's ThinSlacko-- and second LibreOffice Version (having tried version 3.6.3 when Version 4 initially failed) having previously assumed that failures resulted from some files being absent in Barebones-Precise and PreciseNOP or that I had somehow screwed up dir2pet when the installation failed in ThinSlacko. Only then did it occur to me that perhaps a SaveFile larger than 512 Mbs was necessary. You have my blessing if you want to perform the tests on your own less powerful computer using a 768 Mb SaveFile throughout. Please post your results.
At any rate, I chose ThinSlacko because it included few applications by default. To it, at first boot pfix=ram, I set my location per First Run Dialog and set up wireless using SNS (on the assumption everyone would do that) and only added Sys-info-1.4.2-noarch.pet and Pup-Sysinfo-2.1.7.pet. I then cleared /tmp and used PupSysInfo>System-Specs>Memory and System-Apps>Task Mgr to obtain readings. PupSysInfo...Memory takes a snapshot, while Task Mgr shows CPU usage as it takes place. That provided the figures shown in the first row. I then shutdown creating a 512 SaveFile, rebooting into a different Pup.
While in that other Pup, I deleted the “ram” argument from menu.lst, created a protected folder and copied the SaveFile into it. I then rebooted into ThinSlacko, installed the pet providing access to Libreoffice4-External and rebooted. After rebooting, since SysInfo>Memory provides a snapshot, the next step I took was to use rox to browse to /tmp, show hidden files and delete every one. I deleted those files before initiating each procedure (except obtaining the CPU readings) so that unnecessary files, no matter how small, would not be counted: that is, before taking readings after installing pets/loading the SFS, after opening Libreoffice4 writer, and after opening a 38.2 Kb document in writer. This wasn't done before using Task Mgr as it reports activity currently taking place. The CPU change from Zero to a different percentage was generated by dragging the document from one position on the screen to another when the document was on the desktop, and when the document wasn't, dragging the SysInfo window from one position to another.
After taking all the reading pertaining to Libreoffice4-External, I booted into a different Pup, deleted the SaveFile and copied the Protected SaveFile into ThinSlacko's folder, booted into ThinSlacko, loaded the SFS on the fly, rebooted and re-ran the tests. I similarly replaced the “already used” SaveFile before testing Libreoffice4 installed as a pet. With hindsight, I should have tested that version first. Had I done so, I probably wouldn't have spent hours recording data I couldn't use because I didn't have comparable readings from an installed pet version.

For instructions on how to obtain/create your own Program Folder, see: http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=686580#686580.
Free Storage in the following Table refers to the reported amount of Free Space remaining in the SaveFile.
 Description   Comparison of System Usage by Pets, Sfses & Program Folders
 Filesize   105.06 KB
 Viewed   865 Time(s)


Last edited by mikeslr on Mon 08 Jun 2015, 08:22; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 03 Feb 2011
Posts: 252
Location: North America; the Western Hemisphere; Yonder

PostPosted: Mon 25 Feb 2013, 21:31    Post subject: program folders post  


I shudder when I think of the time this must have cost you - just wanted you to know that your experiments, and explanations, of the uses of program folders are great reading.

I appreciate the efforts that you make in discovering more efficient ways to operate in Puppy. Always pleased to see a "mikeslr" post on the forum.


"you fix what you can fix and you let the rest go.." - Cormac McCarthy - No Country For Old Men.
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Joined: 16 Jun 2008
Posts: 1515
Location: 500 seconds from Sol

PostPosted: Tue 26 Feb 2013, 11:10    Post subject: LibreOffice4 Progrm Folder Crash  

Hi Cowboy,

Thanks for the appreciation.

LibreOffice4 run from a program folder crashed in both Precise and retro-precise. It didn't in Thin Slacko. I don't know if the problem is with the build, the Pup or other. So on my desktop, where resources are not an issue,
Edit: LibreOffice4 both as an xz SFS and as a Program Folder crashed in Exprimo. I've reverted to 3.6.3 gz SFS.
I do strongly recommend FreeOffice for use when resources are limited. It was designed to run "as a portable" --from a folder-- which only occupies 99 Mbs of disk space. Think Puppy from a USB-Key. Reads and writes Microsoft file format, although the first time you save a document you'll have to select other than its native format. If set as default, clicking an ".odt" text document, an ".odg" presentation or an ".xls" spreadsheet will open it, but doesn't recognze the ".ods" --default Libre/OpenOffice-- spreadsheet file format however you try to open it.
Other than the perversity of Microsoft and others, I don't know why .xls isn't the default spreadsheet format in all spreadsheet apps. Or for that matter, there isn't a universally used file format for text and presentation files. It's not like graphic, sound and video where formats indicate different compression or containers used, is it? Who buys/uses business applications because of the unique file formats of their applications?

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