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Benchmarks For Ubuntu vs. OpenSolaris vs. FreeBSD

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the three-way dept.

Sun Microsystems 131

Ashmash writes "After their Mac OS X versus Ubuntu benchmarks earlier this month, Phoronix.com has now carried out a performance comparison between Ubuntu 8.10, OpenSolaris 2008.11 and FreeBSD 7.1. They used a dual quad-core workstation with the Phoronix Test Suite to run primarily Java, disk, and computational benchmarks. The 64-bit build of Ubuntu 8.10 was the fastest overall, but FreeBSD and OpenSolaris were first in other areas."

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MACOSX WILL WIN (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25886905)

Always does

Re:MACOSX WILL WIN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25887601)

From my personal, and non-scientific experience, I've found OpenSolaris to have more 'default' weight than Ubuntu.

Don't forget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25892459)

...to pay your $699 licensing fee you cock smoking teabaggers!

What about the Sun Studio compiler? (4, Insightful)

aliquis (678370) | more than 4 years ago | (#25886965)

Various versions of GCC. While one could argue that the compiler is part of the OS it's indeed replaceable so I would had prefered if they had used the same version of GCC and not different for each OS.

It would had been very interesting to see the Solaris results using Sun Studios CC as well (I think it's also available for Linux nowadays?)

Re:What about the Sun Studio compiler? (3, Informative)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887733)

While one could argue that the compiler is part of the OS it's indeed replaceable so I would had prefered if they had used the same version of GCC and not different for each OS.

I'm a huge FreeBSD fan. However, I don't have a problem with them testing the compiler as it was shipped with the OS because it's the one officially supported. Since that's the compiler that 99.9% of FreeBSD users will have, that seems like a reasonably fair baseline comparison.

Similarly, they explicitly state that "[a]side from changes made by the Phoronix Test Suite (and adding the GNOME packages to FreeBSD), all operating systems were left in their default configuration." I'm sure all of them could be tuned for higher performance on this benchmark, but I think out-of-the-box numbers are valuable.

Re:What about the Sun Studio compiler? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 4 years ago | (#25888117)

At least earlier I think you could switch in rc.conf or similar if you wanted to use gcc 3.x or 2.95.x for instance, both may have been available, I don't remember. I don't think that is much of tuning, not much more than trying to benchmark KDE by different versions, or even various versions of Windows on different laptops.

If it's about the compiler version (or options) I know I can switch compiler and get a better result, if it's some other tweaking or totally different kernel or system libs or such it may be much harder to do anything about it.

Anyway, I respect that your opinion is different =P, I won't give it much credit as an OS benchmark though (but in the end benchmarks don't matter much either, running the actual application you want to run on the system do.)

Re:What about the Sun Studio compiler? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25890039)

If it's about the compiler version (or options) I know I can switch compiler and get a better result

This is benchmarking the OS, not a biased user-optimization of the OS. Using all GCC would benchmark the GCC implementation on that OS(not the OS itself). Not to mention the GCC may be a biased towards one community over the other(hardware optimizations from one and not the other).

Re:What about the Sun Studio compiler? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25889537)

My concern is that they had a release version of Ubuntu up against a beta version of FreeBSD (which will still have a lot of debugging crap in there) and a release candidate of Open Solaris (maybe debugging crap?).

Ideally, the benchmarks should all be run on release versions, which is something more interesting to me.

As for default settings, that is prefered. Most people don't go out of their way to change them unless they have a reason to.

Re:What about the Sun Studio compiler? (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 4 years ago | (#25892179)

but I think out-of-the-box numbers are valuable.

I couldn't agree more. I like Ubuntu. It is a good distro. But "out of the box" is exactly what a distro is. Therefore it should be judged on its out of the box abilities. People looking at this as a comparison of operating systems are way off. If they wanted to compare the three at their optimum they would have used Linux from scratch, and the equivalent for the others, tweek'd the living crap out of them, then ran them over the cliff. So IMHO that article is a good comparison.

Besides. It gives all three another objective that we will all benefit from.

Re:What about the Sun Studio compiler? (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887865)

True, though the only one I think that *really* hurts is sun, since it doesn't have all of the GCC 4 optimizations, and they still handled themselves quite well. My issue is with using FreeBSD 7.1 Beta 2. They should have stuck with 7.0 (the release edition). Usually the Betas and RCs tend to be worse-performing than the final releases (at least to my knowledge with FreeBSD history, I remember that usually being the case).

Re:What about the Sun Studio compiler? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 4 years ago | (#25888137)

That's why Sun cc would had been fun in case it had owned gcc =P

Re:What about the Sun Studio compiler? (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 4 years ago | (#25888445)

but if you want to go on that route, a lot of changes could be made: - FreeBSD gets much better performance on Intel than AMD. - Were packages or ports used for software installation? I can think of a few more, some affecting all systems, some just one or two. Regardless, these are changes to the base system, and this is a base system test. Those are questions for another test altogether. The proper questions here are if the base system used is the proper one for a valid test.

Re:What about the Sun Studio compiler? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25890475)

"FreeBSD gets much better performance on Intel than AMD."

Where can I get the info on this? I'm currently very happy using 7.1 on a 2GHz 2600 barton core, but am beginning to shop for a new machine. I'll go with Intel instead if the performance is that much better. And yes, I do know it's a package deal, and I look at other factors as well (like power use, etc.)

Re:What about the Sun Studio compiler? (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 4 years ago | (#25890683)

I've found stuff in freebsd-questions and I think -qa?

All my FreeBSD machines are AMD at the moment, except my notebook. For most tasks they are very responsive (more responsive than Windows or any flavor of Linux I've used except maybe Gentoo). However the AMD machines in my case seem to have one annoying flaw - namely if I hit caps lock, they freeze up for half a second to a second, then resume as if nothing happened. This does not happen on Intel based machines I've used with FreeBSD.

Re:What about the Sun Studio compiler? (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 4 years ago | (#25891023)

I regularly read that list.

I don't specifically remember anything about general performance being better. I do remember reading about routing throughput being somewhat higher on AMD than on Intel at high PPS.

All my FreeBSD machines are AMD at the moment, except my notebook. For most tasks they are very responsive (more responsive than Windows or any flavor of Linux I've used except maybe Gentoo). However the AMD machines in my case seem to have one annoying flaw - namely if I hit caps lock, they freeze up for half a second to a second, then resume as if nothing happened.

That's an interesting issue, and one I can't reproduce (I have a number of AMD FreeBSD machines of various versions.)

Re:What about the Sun Studio compiler? (1)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 4 years ago | (#25892959)

I've never used Sun compilers on x86, but on SPARC they produce binaries that are much smaller and faster than those produced by GCC. The same is true on x86 when using the Intel compiler rather than GCC, so it may be down to greater tuning for a single architecture.

Ubuntu may be fast... (-1, Flamebait)

Channard (693317) | more than 4 years ago | (#25886999)

.. but what it's missing is the ability to easily uninstall it. It's not the only distro not to be easily uninstallable, but it seems daft that you have to start messing about restoring the boot record via Windows boot disk if you want to take it off.

Re:Ubuntu may be fast... (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887055)

Is that true even if you install grub/lilo to MBR instead of the bootable partition? Do it need anything from /boot? I doubt that?

Sure the boot loader wil remain, but so what? Also it's quite obvious that you need to update it so ..

It's not like Windows offers a way to easily uninstall it either, or even ask before overwriting it ..

Re:Ubuntu may be fast... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887903)

Grub needs it's stage files and config file. Lilo however, lives entirely in MBR.

Re:Ubuntu may be fast... (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887067)

You have to do what now?

Ubuntu uses Grub for choosing what to boot and that has the active flag. No matter what OS you use, if you want something else to handle booting you have to use fdisk or the like for changing the boot flag.

Re:Ubuntu may be fast... (4, Funny)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887121)

Yes, I, too, find this nut and bolt set inadequate for the purpose of assisting Chinese Rhinoceros to learn Western astrology. It seems silly that purple monkey dishwasher.

Re:Ubuntu may be fast... (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887133)

Easy to uninstall as what? An application? Is not an application that runs over Windows and you uninstall it cleaning registry and deleting some files.

Try to uninstall windows the same way... you always have to mess with some boot loader, or at least, whatever that replaces your boot loader.

There are a lot of space to complain about linux missing something or making something harder (playing some specific games, not having some windows-only program, not supporting some hardware that developed/documented drivers only for windows, etc), but installing something to boot itself is almost a must do for all operating systems.

Re:Ubuntu may be fast... (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887373)

Uninstalling FreeBSD means deleting the partition. It either uses the boot loader you already had installed, or it installs a multiboot menu that fits in the MBR, so continues to work when the partition has gone away. If you install Ubuntu, I believe it installs grub and points the MBR at stuff on your /boot partition. If you destroy this, you will not be able to boot any OS.

Not that this is a major problem, since uninstalling an OS (outside of a VM) is not something that many people do very often.

Re:Ubuntu may be fast... (1)

indi0144 (1264518) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887927)

Wrong. You can always put the Win installer disk and choose to restore the MBR F2 or F6 (not sure) on the start up menu.

Re:Ubuntu may be fast... (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#25888023)

Exactly. The system is unbootable. You need to add a bootable device (e.g. the Windows install disk) in order to boot it.

Re:Ubuntu may be fast... (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 4 years ago | (#25888199)

To be fair, if you decided to use NTLDR instead of GRUB and you delete your Windows partition, the system is rendered unbootable as well. So in this instance, Ubuntu is no worse (or better) than Windows.

FreeBSD does do an excellent job by making the bootloader small enough to fit in the MBR.

Re:Ubuntu may be fast... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25888837)

If you install Ubuntu, I believe it installs grub and points the MBR at stuff on your /boot partition. If you destroy this, you will not be able to boot any OS.

Are you saying that the OS that you install after you give up on Ubuntu, won't be able to write to the MBR?

Re:Ubuntu may be fast... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25887469)

thats not how it works.

ubuntu software runs on the windows that pcs run on and so you need to remove the ubuntu layer to get to the normal windows again.

when you uninstall ubuntu it puts the desktop colours back to the normal windows ones so you can run your programs again. though you need to reinstall some programs still.

if windows was not also installed there is no way to run ubuntu as you still need to move the mouse.

Re:Ubuntu may be fast... (1)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 4 years ago | (#25893151)

euh.... nah, forget it.

Re:Ubuntu may be fast... (3, Informative)

shivamib (1034310) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887195)

.. but what it's missing is the ability to easily uninstall it. It's not the only distro not to be easily uninstallable

sudo rm -rf /

Re:Ubuntu may be fast... (3, Insightful)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887209)

dammit so /. decided to eat my good post so I'll just leave the quick and dirty instead. This is why /boot gets its own partition, it lets you remove things very easily, and adding them is simple as well.

Re:Ubuntu may be fast... (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 4 years ago | (#25892555)

That's an advantage, but not the main reason.

The main reason for /boot is that some ancient BIOSes can't read past 1024 (IIRC) cylinders. So placing files used by the bootloader at the end of a 500GB disk wouldn't work, even if Linux could handle the disk fine once it booted.

The other reason is that people keep coming up with fancy filesystems, and it's difficult for the bootloader to support every FS with each possible option. For instance, when ReiserFS was new, GRUB couldn't deal correctly with tail packing. Having /boot on say, ext3, or reiserfs without packing solved that issue. This way, you don't have to worry about your bootloader not being able to read from btrfs, or getting confused by extents in ext4.

Note that this last part applies to GRUB specifically, since LILO doesn't really understand the filesystem. But LILO runs into another issue: Since it doesn't know the FS and follows the offsets that were determined when it was installed, it can't possibly deal with something like a filesystem that defragments itself.

Re:Ubuntu may be fast... (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887319)

Huh? Ubuntu is an OS not an application. It installs its own boot loader called grub. It does this because the windows boot loader will not recognize a linux install. Perhaps your beef, if you truly have one, is with MS. They could make their boot loader play nice with other OS's. I believe you can load windows with grub just fine. The /mbr restore for windows is to wipe grub and go back to using the windows loader.

If you think any other non-MS OS is easier to "uninstall" then youre just wrong.

Re:Ubuntu may be fast... (2, Informative)

Sancho (17056) | more than 4 years ago | (#25891067)

the windows boot loader will not recognize a linux install

My notebook, which has Windows XP and Ubuntu Linux, and which uses the Windows bootloader to boot the Linux partition, disagrees with you.

Re:Ubuntu may be fast... (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887667)

Forget uninstall. Is there even yet a way to *install* Windows without trashing the MBR w.r.t other OSes? If not, I say Windows is not ready for the desktop.

Re:Ubuntu may be fast... (1)

pxc (938367) | more than 4 years ago | (#25889099)

By default, I believe Ubuntu creates a separate /boot partition. You can free up the 20GB or whatever you're using for Ubuntu by deleting the Ubuntu partition (and the swap partition, if it creates one) and just leaving the /boot partition behind. That partition doesn't have to be very big to hold your kernels and your grub installation; you won't miss the 100MB space at the beginning of your partition table.

Re:Ubuntu may be fast... (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#25889669)

It doesn't as of Hardy

Re:Ubuntu may be fast... (1)

norminator (784674) | more than 4 years ago | (#25891679)

Or Intrepid. Not that it's hard to do, but someone who doesn't know anything about partitioning will just use the automatic partitioning, so they won't get a separate /boot partition.

Right. (1)

shivamib (1034310) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887035)

Test all three distros out of the box, to see which one is better... Even with all that extra 'default' weight Ubuntu still shines on except when running, eh, Java.

Very informative!

Re:Right. (2, Insightful)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887247)

Even with all that extra 'default' weight Ubuntu still shines on except when running, eh, Java.

From my personal, and non-scientific experience, I've found OpenSolaris to have more 'default' weight than Ubuntu.

Re:Right. (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887331)

Yeah, because Solaris and FreeBSD are so stripped and optimized for the purpose by default? =P

I still think it's somewhat useless since they had various versions of the compiler, you can't draw any conclusion about the kernel/OS speed when the compiler varies and you can't draw any conclusions on the compiler when the kernel/OS differ. So ...

Put two rowers in whatever boats they happen to have, let them row for a goal, see who wins and decide that person was the best rower? Or which boat was the best one ..

I always hate that factor when people do these stupid comparisons, why not use different versions of the benchmarks to? =P, unzip different archives? :D

Re:Right. (1)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887465)

I still think it's somewhat useless since they had various versions of the compiler, you can't draw any conclusion about the kernel/OS speed when the compiler varies and you can't draw any conclusions on the compiler when the kernel/OS differ. So ...

I disagree. While these benchmarks are indeed of limited complexity and utility, they offer a snapshot of out of the box performance on 3 OSes. Obviously you can optimize all of them substantially, try bleeding edge kernels, later revisions, etc.

Re:Right. (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887571)

I know they tell how the system performs in its default state, but in that case why even bother to compile the benchmarks? Shouldn't you be using whatever versions is available as packages if there is any?

And default versions doesn't matter much, if anyone is serious enough to start compiling all their own applications they sure will be able to switch compiler version, and there may be both advantages and disadvantages with a new or old version so it all depends on what you want. In this case Ubuntu took many scores except in filesystem but also had the latest GCC, what happens if you compile the same GCC on FreeBSD and Solaris, compile the benchmarks and look again?

Also most people into Solaris would probably be willing to go thru some extra trouble to compile their stuff with Suns compiler.

I have no idea but I guess that GCC may have the best support for Linux to? Also there is that "new" BSD licensed compiler, I don't remember the name, I have no idea if it's complete enough to be able to compile said benchmarks and compete with GCC but it would had been interesting with that one to. If nothing else to compare both compilers.

Interesting don't have to mean "useless unless" in this case :D

Re:Right. (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887581)

If they wanted a good comparison of what a user sees, they should have used a release version of all operating systems, instead of a release of Ubuntu, a release candidate of Solaris and a beta of FreeBSD. I don't know about Solaris release candidates, but FreeBSD betas come with a lot of extra stuff in libc and the kernel turned on that make tracking issues easier at the expense of speed. Most end users will not be running betas, they will be running the latest stable release.

Re:Right. (1)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887983)

I absolutely agree with you.

Re:Right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25888197)

You must also account for any optimizations in the code for a given OS. If any optimizations are made for the Linux kernel or a particular libc then the whole suite is worthless.

Re:Right. (1)

Galactic Dominator (944134) | more than 4 years ago | (#25888397)

Why wouldn't the testers use PCBSD then? That is the basic equivalent of Linux => Ubuntu where optimization for desktop use takes place. All that "comparison" did was compare two generic type bloated RC kernels generally intended for server use vs a stable bloated kernel optimized for desktop usage. All you're going to prove is that one kind of bloat is better than another....it's not even good for a baseline.

Re:Right. (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887333)

Except that they tested FreeBSD 7.1 beta 2. FreeBSD betas are compiled with extra debugging and checking code which slows the end result down a lot. This includes the WITNESS kernel flags and the malloc checking. These encourage early and reproducible failure for bugs. For release versions of FreeBSD, these are turned off, which generally gives a noticeable speed increase. I note that the Solaris version they tested was a release candidate too, so I wonder if the same is true there.

A lot of their benchmarks seemed to be CPU-limited, with little OS involvement (e.g. FFT, RSA). Differences here are likely to be more down to malloc() implementation than anything in the kernel. In a FreeBSD beta, malloc will be adding guard pages and initialising data to a known value to check for overflows. In Solaris, I'm not sure what the current malloc() strategy is - last time I used Solaris it was still using a brk()-based malloc() (where FreeBSD and Linux both now tend to use mmap()-based versions).

Re:Right. (1)

pseudonomous (1389971) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887755)

Yeah, and they were using a Solaris Release Candidate as well, to really make a fair comparison, you would, I think, want to use actually official "production" releases of each operating system.

In the end, the results don't really seem to stand out a whole lot, except that Solaris does signifacantly better on a couple benchmarks, and then significantly worse on others.

Re:Right. (4, Informative)

compass46 (259596) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887783)

Except that they tested FreeBSD 7.1 beta 2. FreeBSD betas are compiled with extra debugging and checking code which slows the end result down a lot. This includes the WITNESS kernel flags and the malloc checking.

This is only true in HEAD which will eventually be FreeBSD 8.x. They are turned off in the FreeBSD 7.x branch (RELENG_7)

Re:Right. (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887799)

Beyond that, how hard do these tests push SMP systems? For example, the Gzip results could be explained away by compiler version differences. What would happen if it were run twice in parallel? 100 times? This test suite compares that for all I know, but I didn't see that mentioned anywhere.

Re:Right. (3, Insightful)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 4 years ago | (#25889245)

It's kind of crazy how so many benchmark reviews completely overlook actual use and go for one or two "bullet list" type qualifiers for their benchmarks. Granted, I understand this is mainly in the interest of page hits and ad revenue, and by making it controversial they increase those things, but c'mon. Benchmarks are supposed to be pragmatic, and in order to be pragmatic, they have to operate at or near userland conditions, considering CPU, bus, memory and network speed, and the like - as they pertain to the user (whether the user is a hosting company or a desktop end user).

It seems like a pretty trivial matter to do something like this. Say, use something like MySQL for starters - it's available for a dozen or so systems (major Linux distros, OS X, Windows, etc.) It's also typically offered by the vendor, so you'd be able to get an 'ideal' setup for each release.

Or, how about something like a "Firefox benchmark" as that's user-applicable and can use all hardware. Time how long it takes to start FF on all systems with, say, 50 tabs running.

Or how about a straight-up media playing benchmark for 2D performance? Launch a dozen or so DivX videos at once and see how well it performs: measure CPU load, memory use, and the time it takes for FF to start up completely.

Or how about lengthy disk access (maybe crawling a storage tree or such) and measure the time it takes, as well as the amount of memory which gets cached for the process?

This benchmark, as well as most others, seem pretty trivial and useless, and not all that well thought out. They're certainly not scientific!

Re:Right. (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#25889377)

My favourite benchmark: Build LLVM trunk with a parallel make. Set it to something like -j12 (or more) on a 2-4 core machine and see how well the kernel manages overlapped I/O requests and scheduling all of the compiler processes. Try playing a video at the same time, and record the number of dropped frames. I don't think network performance was well tested in this either.

Glad to see FreeBSD getting some press (4, Informative)

Deagol (323173) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887167)

I was a bit disappointed by the results, being a FreeBSD fan myself. However, in my quick scan of the article, I didn't see any mention of how they configured the OS. If they truly used the stock 7.1-BETA2 install, that would mean that debugging mode is enabled in the kernel (and maybe the userland, I'm not 100% sure here). Unless I've misunderstood FreeBSD's release methods over the years, they don't disable the debugging until either the RC builds or maybe even the final release tag.

Still, FreeBSD came out on top on 3 of the tests -- not bad for a beta release. I can't wait for 7.1, as using 7.0 on my desktop since its release has been great. I just hope the fully-virtualized IP stack within jails made it into 7.1, as well as a slightly more stable ZFS.

Re:Glad to see FreeBSD getting some press (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887709)

debugging mode is enabled in the kernel (and maybe the userland, I'm not 100% sure here).

Betas generally have a few malloc flags set, which make malloc() a fair bit slower, resulting in everything in the userland being slow. The point of a beta is to catch bugs before the shipping release, so everything is run in debug mode.

I'm also looking forward to 7.1, although I'm sad that the per-vchan volume control patches appear to only be in the 8.x tree. These implement the OSS 4.x ioctls and allow applications to just open /dev/dsp and write sound there, with simple ioctls to set the volume. 7.0 supports the ioctls, but they set the master volume, not the virtual channel's volume.

Re:Glad to see FreeBSD getting some press (1)

cstdenis (1118589) | more than 4 years ago | (#25888345)

I just hope the fully-virtualized IP stack within jails made it into 7.1, as well as a slightly more stable ZFS.

No virtual IP stack yet. ZFS is slightly more stable, but still has a ways to go.

Re:Glad to see FreeBSD getting some press (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25889153)

Betas and the CURRENT branch always have debugging turned on. Debugging gets turned off once the build hits RELEASE.

Not bad at all, coming out on top in 3 tests and not keeping it close in the majority of tests it didn't place first in, while being slowed down by being in debugging debugging mode!

Yes, but they should have used 32-bit kernels (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25889455)

I agree. But the test is a bit of a WTF.

They are using 64-bit kernels when they only have 4 GB of RAM. It would have been far more interesting to use 32-bit kernels instead.

One loses performance when one goes to 64-bits, not gains it. One should only use a 64-bit kernel when one has more than 4 GB of RAM, and actually USES it.

Otherwise, just stick to 32-bits.

If they had done that comparison, my suspicion is that FreeBSD would've done even better.

Re:Yes, but they should have used 32-bit kernels (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 4 years ago | (#25890827)

One loses performance when one goes to 64-bits, not gains it.

That's the first time I've ever heard that claim. Evidence?

One should only use a 64-bit kernel when one has more than 4 GB of RAM, and actually USES it.

On when one wants to do a lot of math. Or use ZFS (on FreeBSD). Or let the compiler use lots of registers.

Re:Yes, but they should have used 32-bit kernels (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25891553)

64-bit vs 32-bit pointers uses up more memory. This means that the caches hold less data (big impact) and bus performance decreases. On the positive side, there are additional registers in x86-64 that can help performance. Overall, its a wash but seems to generally favor 32-bit due to better caching.

Re:Yes, but they should have used 32-bit kernels (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 4 years ago | (#25892095)

That's wholly dependent upon a given data set. For instance, if you're working with a linked list of chars, then the overhead will be substantial. If you're mainly dealing with pointers to decoded bitmaps, then the extra 4 address bytes won't really matter.

Re:Yes, but they should have used 32-bit kernels (1)

setagllib (753300) | more than 4 years ago | (#25893319)

If you're doing any math on 64 bit integers, suddenly 64 bit mode is orders of magnitude faster because it's not hacking together the results from individual 32-bit operations. This can make a substantial difference for some applications, and a great case study is AES.

Re:Yes, but they should have used 32-bit kernels (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25892425)

"That's the first time I've ever heard that claim. Evidence?"

Various benchmarks over the years. I first came across it while doing Sun's 64-bit port. People then were noticing the difference, and it wasn't in favor of 64-bit being faster. In part for the reasons another person already noted.

This has been known for over 10 years now and is pretty much ancient news.

BSD is okay, but OS X is far far better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25890269)

I like BSD better than Lin-SUCKS, but OS X is still far and away the best platform for computing. It is faster, more stable, more secure and better designed than anything else available. PERIOD.

ZFS (1)

devinteske (1258302) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887231)

For desktop use, I find this to be an accurate test (as many desktop users will likely use the default configuration). However, I feel this to be a generalized test only suited for the purpose of picking a Desktop OS.

For Servers and anybody that has intimate knowledge of the capabilities of each OS, it should be duly noted that Linux and FreeBSD could have performed better. Linux could have been configured to use the EXT-4 file-system, which may or may-not have performed better (or at least on-par) with Solaris' ZFS. Similarly, I would have liked to see the results if FreeBSD-7 was configured to use ZFS, so we could have seen an Apples-to-Apples comparison between Solaris and FreeBSD. I also wonder if FreeBSD's implementation of ZFS is faster than Solaris'.

Ubuntu performance (3, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887303)

The reason that I never really seriously used Linux on my PC laptop was that Ubuntu was sluggish, even with the newest ATI drivers, compared to Windows. Maybe people have good experience with nVidia drivers there, but Windows is a lot more usable as a desktop for me on the performance side of things. Granted, my main computer is a MacBook Pro running Leopard, but I can't imagine putting Linux back on my old PC laptop for when I need to use it.

Re:Ubuntu performance (2, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887475)

These days a full install of Ubuntu, with all it's bells and whistles is going to be slower than a bare install of XP. The nice thing is that you don't need all that cruft, and it's pretty easy to install a command line system and add things as needed. Use a lightweight WM or desktop like fluxbox or XFCE and you're set.

Re:Ubuntu performance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25889071)

> Use a lightweight WM or desktop like fluxbox or XFCE

or even tick the reduced resources flag for gnome.

Re:Ubuntu performance (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 4 years ago | (#25889767)

I've used Xubuntu [xubuntu.org] as a live CD and it works great. Its going to be going on my next box.

Re:Ubuntu performance (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887587)

The reason that I never really seriously used Linux on my PC laptop was that Ubuntu was sluggish ...

Why don't we try Xandros Linux? (It's the one installed in some Eee PCs.)

* ducks *

Re:Ubuntu performance (1)

sheepweevil (1036936) | more than 4 years ago | (#25888859)

That's what Xubuntu is for. Xubuntu uses Xfce, which makes it work well on older computers. I have a system dual-booting Xubuntu and Windows XP, and the performance improvement is very noticeable (although it largely has to do with the crappy AV running on XP).

Re:Ubuntu performance (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#25889637)

Oh I see you mentioned Mac, because most of your post says that you prefer Windows to Linux, but you weren't modded troll.

It's pretty sad (1, Offtopic)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#25889799)

That someone would actually be modded down because they happen to think that Linux isn't all that as a desktop. That sort of thing is why I think that any moderation system that allows users to mod down rather than only up is broken.

Rebuttal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25891411)

That sort of thing is why I think that any moderation system that allows users to mod down rather than only up is broken.

Nigger?
Nigger. Nigger Nigger!

Get me some popcorn.

See? A use for downmodding.

A particular distribution vs different OSs (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887397)

Could be nice to do those comparisions in the same hardware betweeen i.e. Ubuntu, Gentoo and OpenSUSE, all for 64 bits, as is not clear when they are measuring against Linux or against optimizations or not that do a particular distribution. Or put where it applies (i.e. the java tests) the numbers for Windows and MacOS.

What about some combined loads? (4, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887449)

Interesting results, and great if you're planning a server, but what about desktop use?

How well does each OS do when doing something like playing back audio/video, and handling background processing loads? What about performance and system response as the load climbs up? (load averages of 5/10/20 ?).

Only because I've seen Linux systems start to crumble around 5 (uniproc machine), and easily get unusuable, but have heard reports of BSD machines being able to still play MP3s without skipping/suttering even around 20 or so...

(And yes, I'll allow tweaking system priorities - it only gets you so far, and impacts the other background processing tasks, to which we'll also be interested in how long they take to run. So renicing the media player to -20 works, but not if it makes all the other tasks take 10x as long to finish...).

Re:What about some combined loads? (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887815)

Let's bring BeOS in on that test :)

You could IM and browse the web on that OS without making your MP3s skip, all on a Pentium 133 w/ 64MB ram. None of its contemporaries were even close in terms of UI responsiveness under load and smooth media playback, and no bloated modern OS is even close. Damn impressive.

Re:What about some combined loads? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887887)

How do you measure interactive performance? When you're just crunching numbers, or doing sustained reads from a disk it's pretty easy to get meaningful numbers. But when you have 5 or 6 different things going on at the same time, it's hard to replicate those conditions exactly on different systems. And if you do, what sort of metric are you going to use that will look good on a graph and actually tell you something about how well the system is performing?

Re:What about some combined loads? (1)

jyro1980 (978241) | more than 4 years ago | (#25891515)

Interesting results, and great if you're planning a server, but what about desktop use?

Totally agree!

What OS for PostgreSQL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25887503)

According to those benchmarks FreeBSD with ZFS would be the best bet?

In your face Ballmer! (1)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887521)

Sorry, I got a bit carried away there. Eh, what was the article about again?

Just wat I was looking for: Java performance (1)

InterBigs (780612) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887763)

This couldn't come at a better time. I was recently wondering if FreeBSD was a good platform for deploying our first Java EE application (since we use fbsd for everything else) or that Linux or Solaris might be better. It's good to see that FreeBSD isn't all that bad, but I know now that switching to (Open)Solaris might be worth it. But as far as I see, OpenSolaris is mainly geared towards desktop use, isn't it?

Solaris Requires tuning (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25887897)

I have not played with Open Solaris but with normal Solaris you need to set parameters in the /etc/system file to get good performance. By default Solaris is set very conservative. In many tests I have run Solaris may not be the fastest with single test but under a heavy load with many applications running my experience has been it can handle a much bigger load then Linux on the same hardware. I use both but for backend heavy loaded servers I would choose Solaris.

Re:Solaris Requires tuning (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#25889063)

I have not played with Open solaris but ubuntu was running on ext2 with linux if you want performance you need to pick an alternative file system (i find reiserfs to be good but support for it seams dwindling and answers such as use a supported fs (despite reiserfs being supported) are not uncommon), anyway my point is that these tests are pointless!

Re:Solaris Requires tuning (2, Funny)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#25889523)

Trouble is reiserfs suffers from vendor lock-in ;).

They all require tuning (duh) (3, Informative)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 4 years ago | (#25889771)

All three come with tunable performance parameters. All three can have their performance boosted even further by recompiling everything optimized for the particular hardware being used, possibly using specialized compilers (e.g. from Sun or Intel). But that's not the point, IMO. This isn't (or shouldn't be) a pissing match--this should be an opportunity to improve all three systems by seeing where their strengths and weaknesses are, and working to bolster their weaknesses and improve their strengths.

In my experience, these sorts of tests on free/libre/open-source systems quickly become out-of-date because the developers take them as a challenge, and that's a good thing for everyone! :)

Ff your tests were more than a couple of years ago, they're probably so out-of-date as to be utterly meaningless, but that's a separate issue. Personally, I'm a big fan of all three systems and want to see all three thrive and grow and improve. This kind of testing can only help with that, once you get past all the dick-waving by narrow-minded advocates.

Re:Solaris Requires tuning (1)

kindbud (90044) | more than 4 years ago | (#25890321)

I have not played with Open Solaris but with normal Solaris you need to set parameters in the /etc/system file to get good performance.

Solaris 10 deprecates almost every setting you are used to putting in /etc/system. Most of the no longer have any effect. Instead, you create resource controls in the global zone using the zone management tools (or editing the files by hand). The new method allows you to adjust any tunable without having to reboot the kernel.

Phoronix Test Suite (1)

fialar (1545) | more than 4 years ago | (#25887935)

Does anyone know if the Phoronix Test Suite will work under OpenBSD and NetBSD too? Says on the website: "Runs On Linux, OpenSolaris, Mac OS X, & FreeBSD Operating Systems"

I'm curious as to how the other BSDs would perform.

Re:Phoronix Test Suite (1)

kwabbles (259554) | more than 4 years ago | (#25890783)

I know it will work on OpenBSD - I don't see why it wouldn't work on NetBSD as well.

Moronic comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25888011)

It seems a bit lop sided and ridiculous to compare Ubuntu 8.10
a released distro against 2 BETA distributions.
Ubuntu release runs faster than 2 other unixes that are still in debug and haven't been released yet.
Who'd have thunk it?

They should include Vista (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 4 years ago | (#25888067)

I am curious to how it actually performs and not just what most the slashdotters say.

It may actually suck and I am curious as to how much.

I am contemplating leaving vista where I do php, apache, and java development. I wonder if there is an advantage at all.

Mostly pointless (2, Insightful)

klapaucjusz (1167407) | more than 4 years ago | (#25888265)

Except for Bonnie++, all of their benchmarks are compute-bound. In other words, they're benchmarking the bundled compiler, not the distribution.

The one exception is Bonnie++, on page 6, which measures raw filesystem performance... and is something that is known to greatly depend on how old and how full a given filesystem is.

Re:Mostly pointless (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#25889623)

Not to mention which filesystem you use. With Solaris, you have a choice between UFS and ZFS, with very different performance characteristics. With FreeBSD, you have ZFS or UFS with a load of options (GEOM-level journalling, soft updates, and so on). With Linux you have four or five choices of filesystem which make sense for desktop use. Each of these has advantages and disadvantages - some have more features, some have better performance at random writes, and so on. With Linux, as I recall, you get a noticeable (if you're benchmarking, not so much in normal use) difference in performance depending on whether you enable extended attributes (needed for ACLs) on a filesystem.

Re:Mostly pointless (1)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 4 years ago | (#25891781)

That's the problem with all operating system benchmarks. You are essentially benchmarking the computer, not the OS. What really matters for an OS is how usable and efficient it is for getting things done. This means, of course, that the kernel is mostly irrelevant. The shell is what will influence how efficient a user can use it.

ULE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25888307)

What's the default scheduler in the 7.1 beta? Most sites say that ULE will be default in the 7.1 release, does this mean beta as well?

Re:ULE (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 4 years ago | (#25889259)

ULE has been the default in 7-STABLE for quite a few months now.

Re:ULE (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#25889525)

Yup, ULE 3 has been default for 7-STABLE for a while (and the first thing I've done since 6.1 was recompile a new kernel with ULE instead of 4BSD). ULE has matured a lot since the 5.x days, and now scales very nicely as well as managing to give very low latency to I/O-bound processes without harming throughput for compute-bound ones. ULE 2 was, as I recall, almost a complete rewrite after the original developer vanished, and ULE 3 is now outperforming 4BSD on pretty much all workloads (ULE always has on desktop workloads).

Re:ULE (1)

Chreo (694625) | more than 4 years ago | (#25893267)

No ULE in 7.1 is not a complete rewrite. It was written by Jeff Robertson and he did not vanish, he just took a break. He also fixed some issues that was present in ULE before 7 branched and prevented it from being the default scheduler. It, AFAIK, still use the same basic ideas, which sofar in my opinion is the best scheduler for any OSS-desktop with unmatched interactivity. It is, in the current incarnation, rock solid

Why ubuntu? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25889339)

Why do they even bother comparing ubuntu with freebsd when freebsd is obviously much faster then ubuntu

Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25893035)

Pretty piss poor article. FreeBSD betas are built with debugging enabled, so performance is not indicative of what the final release will be like.
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