apt-xapian-index

May 28, 2010 • alan


When it comes to searching, there seems to be two battling camps: the ones that prefer to index stuff in the middle of the night, and the ones that just want to search when you need to search. The problem is that, many times, “in the middle of the night” does not end up being “when you’re not using the computer”. The other problem is that this sort of indexing operation can often completely cripple a machine, by using a lot of RAM and completely slamming disk I/O.

As far back as Windows 3.1, with it’s FindFast disk indexing tool, I have been annoyed by indexing processes that wake up and chew your hard disk to shreds… just in case you might want to search for something later.

What a stupid idea.

The latest culprit in Ubuntu is apt-xapian-index, which digs through your package list information, assembling some treasure trove of information that was apparently already on the disk, if you ever needed to ask for it.

Solution:

sudo apt-get remove apt-xapian-index

A better long-term solution:

If you have information that you would like to be indexed for faster retrieval later, do the indexing upon insertion, not periodically. That is, when you apt-get install a package, set a trigger to update the relevant bits of your package index at that time.