[kwlug-disc] debian 5.0 (lenny) install goes faster by moving the mouse?

Paul Nijjar paul_nijjar at yahoo.ca
Fri Jun 5 10:45:37 EDT 2009

On Fri, Jun 05, 2009 at 10:14:07AM -0400, Robert P. J. Day wrote:
>   i was installing debian 5.0 on one of my excess laptops this morning, 
> and i was getting a bit frustrated that some package configurations 
> seemed to be taking *forever* -- as in, a single package config taking 
> more than a minute.
>   to make sure the system hadn't locked up, i just moved the mouse and, 
> suddenly, a flurry of package config and install.  as soon as the mouse 
> stopped, back to crawling slowness.  repeat, same result.
>   is there a reason for this?  the only thing i could think was that  
> package configuration during the installation needed some system  
> randomness and moving the mouse generated enough to keep things moving  
> along.  other than that, i have no idea what that was all about.  and it 
> was entirely reproducible.  thoughts?

I have run into situations where installs block waiting for random
bits. Obviously password generation is a factor here, as is key
generation. Since many packages generate database user passwords this
can be a factor. 

The part that makes me think it is NOT randomness is that when you
stop moving the mouse the install gets sluggish again. 

Are the same packages affected each time? Which ones?

Does anything show up in the install logs? (Alt-F4 in Debian)

- Paul

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