I just experienced some monumental slowness on my work laptop, which is
a Latitude E7440 that came with Ubuntu on it from Dell. Intel i5, 8GB
RAM, SSD, and still I felt like I was on a Pentium 4 rig. The slowness
got worse over time, but I did my best to ignore it. I just didn't
understand how my laptop was running so bad when a Pentium Dual Core
system I have at home on a spinning hard drive was wildly faster with
the same installation of 14.04 with the same flash drive/ISO.

Reading through the above responses some users talked about removing the
old zeitgeist database, which would force zeitgeist to rebuild a new
one. Someone mentioned that they noticed a speed improvement when
removing their ~180 MB instance of zeitgeist. I checked mine... 1.3 GB!
Yes, 1.3 GB was tied up with zeitgeist. While I do use my laptop all
throughout my work day, every day, it still surprised me as I haven't
even had it for a full year yet. This is a bit concerning, as it feels
somewhat inevitable that users will face a slow down over time - it just
depends on your usability, as you may never see it or it may be far
enough into the future where you likely already rebuilt your system on a
newer install.

That said, I removed all of the files in there and boom. Much, much
better. While my initial database size was in the kilobytes, once I
rebooted it came up to about 48 MB. It's sitting now at 50.0 MB and
hasn't risen at all (yet) despite me searching for multiple folders,
files, and applications in the dash itself. I'm hoping it's quite a long
time before I see zeitgeist hitting the gigabyte mark again...

Clearing this out made Unity significantly faster to work with. It,
honestly, restored a lot of my joy with using Unity. This process felt
similar to nuking the cache in a web browser. Just to fire out some
thoughts in case they are of any assistance with generating ideas,
perhaps there's a way within the zeitgeist sqlite database to
automatically purge older items once the database hits its cap size.
Let's say we set the cap at (pulling a random number out here) 100 MB.
Once we roll over to 101 MB, the data in the initial 1 MB slice would
get purged. Sort of like a logrotate setup. Or, of course, it could auto
purge once a week on an anacron basis. That might be acceptable as well.
(from an end user point of view, either way would be acceptable, but I'm
not sure what technicalities exist that would dictate one choice over
the other).

Either way, there's no reason to have end users worrying about purging
the database Unity relies on. Without this workaround, users
experiencing Unity slowness are simply stuck with a slow Unity
interface. This surely is not a preferred experience by any stretch.
Unity 7 is not going anywhere as per Canonical's decision to have Unity
7 defaulted on the next few short term releases, including the current
already-released 14.04 LTS. As a result, (I cannot emphasize this
enough), I hope this isn't a "wait for Unity 8" type of solution.

You received this bug notification because you are a member of Zeitgeist
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  Unity dash file search is extremely slow

Status in Unity Files Lens:
Status in Zeitgeist Framework:
Status in unity-lens-files package in Ubuntu:

Bug description:
  When I try to use the Unity dash search feature to navigate to files
  and folders, it is extremely slow. For example, if I hit the super
  button to launch the search and then type "Pictures" to get my
  pictures directory, it takes almost 5 seconds for the folder icon to
  show. In comparison, if I use Gnome-Do to navigate to my Pictures
  folder, it's basically instant.

  I have attached a video screencast so that you can see the problem for 
  ApportVersion: 1.23-0ubuntu4
  Architecture: i386
  DistroRelease: Ubuntu 11.10
  InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 11.04 "Natty Narwhal" - Beta i386 (20110413)
  NonfreeKernelModules: nvidia
  Package: unity 5.0.0~+bzr1825ubuntu0+611
  PackageArchitecture: i386
   PATH=(custom, no user)
  ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 3.0.0-14.23-generic 3.0.9
  Tags:  oneiric running-unity
  Uname: Linux 3.0.0-14-generic i686
  UnreportableReason: This is not a genuine Ubuntu package
  UpgradeStatus: Upgraded to oneiric on 2011-10-14 (99 days ago)
  UserGroups: adm admin cdrom dialout lpadmin plugdev sambashare

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