[Fwd: [announce] Intel announces the PowerTOP utility for Linux]

Daniel Ostrow dostrow at gentoo.org
Tue May 15 20:22:52 CEST 2007

On Tue, 2007-05-15 at 07:56 -0700, Kok, Auke wrote:
> All,
> My colleague here at Intel released this interesting tool that lets you monitor 
> what kind of applications are causing your battery life to suck. All that is 
> needed to use is a 2.6.21 kernel with CONFIG_NO_HZ set ("Tickless").
> I've done some monitoring on a fairly standard Xfce desktop and come to the 
> conclusion that Xfce is already extremely good for mobile use (the biggest 
> 'default' wakeup source from withing xfce is xfce-mc-manager with a constant 2/3 
> wakeups per second, far far less than some of the big offenders.
> I encourage everyone to look at powertop and run it on their Xfce desktop so we 
> can continue to make Xfce the best desktop for laptops ;) It will be interesting 
> to monitor all the goodies and extra applications that Xfce has, and make Xfce 
> very robust in this perspective.

It is worth noting that the CONFIG_NO_HZ option only exists on x86 which
is the only user of the new timer subsystem. The program seems to work
fine on my Core2 (running x86_64) but you don't get the advantage of
running tickless. 

> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: [announce] Intel announces the PowerTOP utility for Linux
> Date: Fri, 11 May 2007 16:07:18 -0700
> From: Arjan van de Ven <arjan at linux.intel.com>
> To: Linux Kernel Mailing List <linux-kernel at vger.kernel.org>
> CC: linux-acpi at vger.kernel.org
> What's eating the battery life of my laptop? Why isn't it many more
> hours? Which software component causes the most power to be burned?
> These are important questions without a good answer... until now.
> The Linux 2.6.21 kernel introduces the so called tickless-idle
> feature. This feature allows the processor to be really idle for long
> periods of time, rather than having to wake up every millisecond for
> the timer tick. Current processors save a lot of power if they are
> idle for long periods, which translates into a longer battery life for
> your laptop, or a lower energy bill for your datacenter. However, a
> Linux system consists of more software than just the kernel, and there
> are many tunables involved. It's not easy to see what is going on, and
> as a result the behavior is sometimes far from optimal, and a lot of
> power is wasted.
> Intel is proud to announce the PowerTOP tool
> (http://www.linuxpowertop.org), a program that collects the various
> pieces of information from your system and presents an overview of how
> well your laptop is doing in terms of power savings. In addition,
> PowerTOP will provide an indication of which tunables and software
> components are the biggest offenders in slurping up your battery time.
> PowerTOP will update it's display frequently so that you can directly
> see the impact of any changes you are making.
> A typical Linux distribution has many components that wake the
> processor up frequently for no good reason. In our testing with
> PowerTOP, we have seen many cases where with some simple fixes, the
> battery life of typical laptops was increased by one hour or more!
> We are providing fixes for several of the issues we identified, and we
> encourage the Linux community to help us in this quest to get the
> maximum battery life out of your (hopefully Intel based) laptops. Try
> the PowerTOP tool, join the mailing list or the IRC channel and
> provide feedback, problem reports or fixes!
> Website:      http://www.linuxpowertop.org
> IRC:          irc.oftc.net    #powertop channel
> Mailing list: http://www.bughost.org/mailman/listinfo/power
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