Ubuntu 20.04 can be very slow on weaker hardware with low RAM and a weaker CPU. It can be the case that the Ubuntu PC is unusable because CPU usage is very high, although not many applications are opened by the user.
An investigation on an affected PC shows that a specific application called “tracker-miner-fs” caused the high CPU usage and slowed down the PC. Further research showed that “tracker”, version 2, caused the PC to be nearly inoperable.
Linux command line tools like “htop” and “ps -ef” can be used to investigate the details of the running processes and it shows details about the memory and CPU usage.
“Tracker” is an indexing software, which creates and updates a database of the files on the PC’s hard disk drive all the time in the background. On faster and newer hardware it has its advantages, providing metadata for the files on the computer.
But on older hardware it can cause the PC to be inoperable.
Several trails of disabling “Tracker” did not work. And: “Tracker” cannot just be uninstalled because the Gnome Desktop, means the whole graphical window system, is dependent on the “Tracker” package. Removing the “Tracker” package would result in a Ubuntu Linux with just a command line interface.
Finally the wooden hammer method worked for me and fixed the trouble we had on the affected system:
sudo chmod -x /usr/libexec/tracker-miner-fs sudo chmod -x /usr/libexec/tracker-extract sudo chmod -x /usr/libexec/tracker-store sudo reboot
The commands above just prevent the “Tracker” binaries to be able to be started. Removing the “execution” permission with the option “-x” in the commands stop the binaries from starting.
The result of the execution of the commands above is a fast running Ubuntu Desktop on older hardware with a little amount of RAM and a weaker CPU. Keep in mind that some cool features of the Gnome Desktop like file meta data info stop working after running the command above.
Have fun with your faster Ubuntu Desktop and comment this blog post!