2.7. Avoid running extra applications

These are common practices for improving performance, yet they are often overlooked. Here are some 'extra applications' to look for:
  • Graphical desktop
    Do not run graphics where they are not absolutely required, especially on servers. To avoid running the desktop software, open the /etc/inittab file with your preferred text editor and locate the following line:
    id:5:initdefault:
    ...[output truncated]...
    
    This setting changes the runlevel that the machine automatically boots into. By default, the runlevel is 5 - full multi-user mode, using the graphical interface. By changing the number in the string to 3, the default runlevel will be full multi-user mode, but without the graphical interface.
    id:3:initdefault:
    ...[output truncated]...
    
  • Mail Transfer Agents (MTA, such as Sendmail or Postfix)
    Unless you are actively using Sendmail on the system you are tuning, disable it. If it is required, ensure it is well tuned or consider moving it to a dedicated machine.

    Important

    Sendmail is used to send system-generated messages, which are executed by programs such as cron. This includes reports generated by logging functions like logwatch. You will not be able to receive these messages if sendmail is disabled.
  • Remote Procedure Calls (RPCs)
  • Network File System (NFS)
  • Mouse Services
    If you are not using a graphical interface like Gnome or KDE, then you probably won't need a mouse either. Remove the hardware and uninstall gpm.
  • Automated tasks
    Check for automated cron or at jobs that could impact performance.
Remember to also check your third party applications, and any components added by external hardware vendors.
Related Manual Pages
For more information, or for further reading, the following man pages are related to the information given in this section.
  • rpc(3)
  • nfs(5)
  • gpm(8)