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There is however one problem, the performance is quite lagging. When I e.g. “Brows Artists” I have to wait for a minute before all artists (~1500) are downloaded to the Soundbridge.

On the other hand, if I run firefly on a laptop with Windows, things are much better and the same operation is complete within a few seconds (and during that test I ran a compile simultaneously on a large source tree, so the machine was also under stress).

Are there any key tricks to make firefly on an unslung NSLU more responsive?

Well the NSLU is a different class in CPU power than a normal PC, but I cannot agree that it is running sluggish at all with about 3500 songs here.

Even a play-all takes only ca. 5 Secs. downloading all 3500 song titles. I am running DebianNSLU-LE here, but it wasnt much different with unslung before.

I think the key things to keep in mind are:

    – Run 1-2 major applications on it. Maybe one minor in addition. Not more. The thing isnt a general server to run 20 server-apps at the same time as you can do with a PC running some linux-server install. Strip the unneeded rest!
    – Run economic programs. Dont use apache/mysql if lighthpptd/sqlite will also do. etc.
    – Use the latest nightly. It is way faster than the stables. Especially the transcoding is way better.
    – De-underclock it unless it is already

I can run without trouble mt-daapd latest nichthly, samba and ntpd on my slug. It will run without rebuffering when I have it transcode an ogg from an AES128 encrypted partition. Even though it has to decrypt plus transcode/stream then. Theres even a bit reserve – small up/downloads via samba dont hamper it.
Now if I trash the thing by logging in via ssh and starting a big compile job, then it goes crawling of course. But is that a surprise?

So the performance is more than enough, if one doesnt overwhelm the unit by trying to do everything at the same time. What you describe seems to indicate something is wrong, thats not the slow NSLU.