Preload is an ‘Adaptive Read-ahead Damon’, which is the equivalent to Windows Vista’s Superfetch. Effectively what it does is speeds up application load time by monitoring the software that is loaded and used day to day, the software used most often, and cache them in memory. If you have a lot of memory, you will notice things will improve – for example, my work machine has 20gb of RAM, 7gb of it is used by caches and everything runs nice and smooth. If your computer needs the memory, space is made, so you will not lose out if you have the average 4-8gb. The difference is certainly measurable – from 20% to 60% improvement in startup times.
Installation is simple – its supported on most platforms, and can be installed through your repository, for example, Debian and Ubuntu people can use the simple apt-get install preload to install the software. For the more adventurous, you can grab the source code fromhttp://sourceforge.net/projects/preload/.
Configuration wise, the defaults will work happily enough, but for the people who like to tinker, configuration can be found in /etc/preload.conf.
Information on configuring preload can be found within the documentation the author has written. This can be found at http://techthrob.com/2009/03/02/drastically-speed-up-your-linux-system-with-preload/preload_files/preload.pdf.