About Prahlad Yeri

Prahlad is a freelance software developer working on web and mobile application development. He also likes to blog about programming and contribute to opensource.

The REAL way to make Eclipse run faster on Ubuntu

If you are still one of those people who are frustrated with the crawling speed of eclipse IDE (especially after the recent clunky releases of Juno/Kepler), then you are in good company! Most of the advice you might have read until now for speeding up Eclipse must have involved tweaking the following parameters in eclipse.ini file:



Since Eclipse is pretty much a RAM hungry monster, feeding it with lots of RAM should surely make it run fast, right? Wrong! Until recently I had spent a lot of time tweaking those parameters, but no substantial performance could be gained (though I have 4GB of RAM with i3 which is not a bad configuration). The main issue here is that the underlying linux won’t provide the required boost to eclipse no matter whatever the parameters you provide. For instance, the system monitor shows that eclipse is only consuming 500Mb RAM, now what difference will it make if I provide 2048m to -XX:MaxPermSize?

System Monitor

System Monitor


My search lead me to another better approach to solving this problem. If somehow we can load JDK into a shared memory or a RAM-Disk instead of it starting from the local hard-disk, both startup time and performance could be drastically improved.

But how do we create a RAM-Disk on linux? Well, if you using ubuntu, then you are in luck! Ubuntu has a working RAM-Disk folder called /dev/shm that could be globally used by any application as a temporary storage. If you go to that folder, you can see lots of files stored by pulseaudio.

I asked myself, why not copy the JDK folder to /dev/shm and provide that as a -vm parameter to eclipse. Lo and behold! Eclipse runs about 10 times faster on my ubuntu machine. Try it yourself and let me know (If you are having performance issues with Eclipse, that is…).

Reference: The REAL way to make Eclipse run faster on Ubuntu from our JCG partner Prahlad Yeri at the Prahlad Yeri blog.
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8 Responses to "The REAL way to make Eclipse run faster on Ubuntu"

  1. Thanks for the tips.
    Could you please show how to copy the JDK folder to the RAM-disk and it would look like the Eclipse.ini with the -vm option?

  2. Hey Thiago,

    >>Could you please show how to copy the JDK folder to the RAM-disk
    If you are on ubuntu, all you have to do is:

    cp -r /path/to/jdk1.8.0_05 /dev/shm

    In the above path, please replace the first part, i.e. “/path/to/jdk1.8.0_05″ to path to your own jdk. You can usually get this by issuing “which java” on a command line.

    >>and it would look like the Eclipse.ini with the -vm option?

    First, backup your eclipse.ini at some place. Then open eclipse.ini file and search for a string called “-vm”. Just below that there should be a path for a jdk. Replace that path with:

    (Just replace your-version with your actual version). If there isn’t any “-vm” option in eclipse, then just add it on a new line and the above folder below that line.

    Hope that helps.

  3. Good article. Only one problem – you cannot really rely on /dev/shm being persistent, since it’s just a temporary file system. So every time you computer restarts, there is a chance that your jdk installation will be removed by Ubuntu (sometimes it almost always gets removed). How do you think this problem can be solved?

    • @Sayem,
      Yes, thats true. But all you have to do is create a bash script such as this:

      cp -r ~/programs/jdk-1.7 /dev/shm

      and put it in your ubuntu startup (you can find it in the dash).

      • Aakash Agarwal says:

        @Prahlad, yeah sure. We can do that since it is very simple, but won’t it slow down the booting operation?

        • Prahlad Yeri says:

          @Akash – Copying jdk to /dev/shm takes about 6-7 seconds on my machine. So, yes it might increase your booting time by that amount. However, if you put it in a starutp script such as /etc/rc.local, then the copy should happen sooner as it will be “multi-tasked” along with your other usual startup scripts.

          • Aakash Agarwal says:

            Thanks Prahlad. I didn’t knew about the multi-taksed property of booting process. Thanks for the hack.

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