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Linux 3D Games Run Faster On PC-BSD

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the with-enough-emulators-we-could-make-the-singularity dept.

Games 298

koinu writes "Phoronix has published benchmarks comparing 3D game performance on Ubuntu Linux 11.04 with the FreeBSD Linux ABI emulation on the 8.2 release of PC-BSD, which is a desktop variant of FreeBSD. Most results show that the emulated Linux layer on FreeBSD performs better than Linux natively. It's pretty interesting, because most people would expect that an additional abstraction layer would generally slow down the execution of binaries."

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298 comments

Which illustrates what we already knew (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37337830)

Linux has lost its way.

It was once lean and fast but now is an industrialized bloated mess. It will take a lot more to get me to stop using Linux but that doesn't mean I can't see when something is wrong.

Lately, we have been seeing a lot of Linux's advantages fade away. Among these are its smallness and compatibility with older hardware.

I think it's just about time to revisit what made Linux great and see if there is a way to get that back while still doing great new things.

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37337880)

Kinda disagree with that view. Linux allows you to install things like that, but doesn't force you to do it. It's still compatible with old hardware. You can just not install all the crap that makes it "big". Instead of pressing next next next at the install... There is a possibility to do it, but no requirement.

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37337882)

Sorry, but we are talking about Ubuntu here. It is taking one of the slowest Linux distributions and slashing it against FreeBSD distribution what is for speed.

It is like timing 100 meter run by attaching iron ball to other runner leg.

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37338522)

I take it you didn't even read the summary, PC-BSD is a desktop distribution of FreeBSD, not a stripped down server version. You might be familiar with Ubuntu, a desktop distribution of Debian Linux?

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37338840)

Ubuntu, a desktop distribution of Debian Linux

You know that other desktop distribution of Debian Linux? Debian GNU/Linux.

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37338962)

While I haven't measured it precisely, Debian desktop (6.0.2.1) runs much faster than the latest Ubunto LTS - 10.04 or whatever with all the patches applied.

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (1)

kombipom (1274672) | more than 2 years ago | (#37337904)

Don't you think that you might be asking for the impossible? How exactly is Linux supposed to keep up with the latest hardware developments and support legacy hardware and stay small? Linux can be paired down to be tiny and run with very little resources but it can't to that as part of a mainstream distro trying to cater for everyone from your gran to a linux gamer to a developer. I think you might have your rose-tinteds on about the good old days when hardware compatibility was a nightmare and the amount of linux software was a tiny fraction of what we have today.

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338048)

That's just it, adding hardware compatibility will increase disk space, but unless it's poorly done, that's about it. I seriously doubt Linux loads every driver installed, regardless of need.

I think the bigger issue is the interfaces/etc. Unless I am mistaken, Linux has a less stable (as in it change more, not crashes) API than FreeBSD. Having to adapt to this, multiple times, could ad to kludgy patch jobs in applications, making them run less and less efficiently. It may not be the Linux kernel or drivers that are the problem, bur rather, all the Linux applications that are running, and competing for resources.

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37338146)

The drivers are NOT what is making Linux (Ubuntu in this case) too big. And the GP is completely correct, Linux now lacks drivers for quite recent hardware, it is ridiculous.

But for space, it's basically OpenOffice and it's language packs that hogs half the install, and then the broken dependencies. You can't completely remove Office without removing GNOME. Also, many other packages I seldom use has silly dependencies and wants to uninstall something else that I want to/have to keep. Also, Ubuntu could use some trimming of startup services and daemons. What about an optimized i686 build that utilizes newer CPU extensions? I don't know how the i386 is compiled, but I believe it is a very basic build. Yes yes i know i can compile it myself and yada yada but hey sorry i have a life. And so does the rest of the world.

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (1)

bejiitas_wrath (825021) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338302)

Concerning the OpenOffice debacle, I always used to uninstall Gnome and OpenOffice and then install a vanilla build of OpenOffice from a rpm pack and then I could run OpenOffice without any of the Gnome dependencies. But that was a while ago... Is Libreoffice the same?

And they really should have used Debian instead of Ubuntu, the 11.04 release is getting very bloated with the Unity / Gnome 3 desktop.

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (2)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338346)

But the GP was suggesting this was making it big and slow. It can increase the disk space (not like OOOrg or KDE, for example, though), but I cannot see adding hardware compatibility would slow the OS down like he was suggesting (consider the context of what he was responding to).

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (2)

miquels (37972) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338864)

Unless I am mistaken, Linux has a less stable (as in it change more, not crashes) API than FreeBSD. Having to adapt to this, multiple times, could ad to kludgy patch jobs in applications, making them run less and less efficiently

The internal linux kernel API is not set in stone, but the ABI for applications that run on the kernel is. You can start applications from 1998 on a 3.0 linux kernel from this year, and they will run.

Mike.

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (2)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339070)

Haha. So, you've obviously tried it, with repeated, positive results? The kernel ABI is pretty much irrelevant. Good luck getting an app from 1998 to run without setting everything else up (essentially a chroot environment for it).

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37337934)

FreeBSD was faster than linux around FreeBSD 4.x too, but linux overtook it from around 5--7 (afaik) with more optimal 10k connection serving facillties etc.

I thought BSD had fallen by the wayside at that stage, but it seems to have recovered nicely now. I note that the FreeBSD in their demo machine is running on ZFS too.

If BSD supported all linux drivers, I'd be there in a heartbeat. Well, "there" being GNU/kFreeBSD, probably.

BSD vs Linux (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#37337994)

Doesn't OpenBSD/NetBSD have the portability mechanism whereby it supports all Linux drivers under an abstraction layer? Or is that only in theory, but doesn't actually work?

I have a different question - slightly off-topic: is the TCP/IP stack on BSD faster than Linux? If so, what makes it faster?

Re:BSD vs Linux (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338376)

There is something similar to that in FreeBSD also, I believe.

And if you expect that to work reliably for a large number of drivers, I have a bridge between two mountains in Kansas, with a nice ocean view, that I'd love to sell you, cheap!

That being said, outside of the latest soundcards (occasionally), ATI graphics cards, and video cameras and wireless, the driver support isn't too bad. The wireless driver support may be ok, I've just never managed to figure out how to set it up...

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (4, Informative)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338020)

As a FreeBSD user, I can't necessarily agree with you.

WoW also performs better on FreeBSD/Wine than it does on Windows. The issue here, is the graphics capabilities. If it asks less of the graphics card, it will still run, but run faster. In the case of WoW, it's not trying to do nearly all the fancy GPU stuff that windows would do, so it is faster.

Now, if this were various server/desktop non-multimedia applications, I might start to find the article relevant.

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (2)

CubicleView (910143) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338104)

So lack of graphics support is a feature?

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (2)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338410)

Actually, the graphics support is really good, but in my example, WoW has a *lot* more graphical features turned on in DirectX than OpenGL, so it would run faster in Linux or FreeBSD because it was using OpenGL (you had to run it in OGL mode in wine).

I don't think that is the issue in this test, because the FreeBSD nVidia driver is very close to the Linux nVidia driver. However, I cannot discount it as a possibility either.

No, I wasn't saying it was a feature, I was saying that this test is meaningless.
In the context of statements like this

As a FreeBSD user, I can't necessarily agree with you.

or this

Now, if this were various server/desktop non-multimedia applications, I might start to find the article relevant.

That should have been very obvious.

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (2)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338990)

You should probably point out that there is not a lot of difference to the observer between OpenGL and DX9 rendering in WoW. At least, there wasn't when I was dual booting and running WoW between Windows XP and Lucid Lynx.

Same hardware, different renderer, faster on Linux, didn't look much different. Shame I play more than just WoW, really.

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (3, Informative)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338326)

Shouldn't matter at all here, as both use the same driver. Difference in desktop environment, though, can mean a lot. Then again, Ubuntu seems to suck at 3d [blogspot.com] , also when compared to other Linux distros.

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338470)

Yes, I guess my bigger point was, that there are a lot of things that could affect that particular benchmark, and make one option faster without being better, even if, ostensibly, all controllable variables are normalized between the two systems.

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (1, Interesting)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338630)

Actually reading TFA

Comparisons:
CPU: Same
Mobo: Linux: MSI, BSD: (ASUS?) - In my experience MSI is slightly faster and a bit less stable
Memory: Linux: 4GB, BSD: 3.2GB
HDD: Doesn't say the brand for BSD, but the size appears right for a 2^10th united 250GB drive. Seagates aren't known for their speed though.
GPU: Same
Audio/Network: Different, probably wouldn't provide more than a small variance
Desktop Manager: Linux: Unity, BSD: KDE4 - Neither is resource friend, so I can't make a call on this.
X: Linux's is newer, speed improvements or feature bloat?
Driver: Same.
GCC: Linux is newer so will probably optimise better, or be about the same. But these are probably the system defaults, so I have trouble saying this is inappropriate.
FileSystem: BSD has zfs, which I believe is faster than ext4, but I'm not sure on this. Is this the native for PCBSD? FreeBSD, to my knowledge still defaults to UFS2

"unfair" advantages for Linux: More memory, possibly a faster mobo.
"unfair" advantage to PCBSD: possibly the use of zfs, it depends on if it is the default for PCBSD. PCBSD might have something faster than a slowgate.
Wildcards: Unity vs. KDE4, X versions, audio, network.

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (2)

pe1rxq (141710) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338738)

I am wondering why the author of the article couldn't be bothered to compare BSD and Linux on the same hardware.

Looking at that list I get the impression that he spent a lot of time making sure he compared apples and oranges.
This benchmark is pretty much worthless

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37339030)

Actually, I believe it's the same hardware, just reported by a different name under BSD and Linux. I can find no "7462MS" motherboard, only the MS-7462 by MSI, the model used under Linux. BSD reported 3.2GB of RAM under x86, and 4GB under x86-64. The other differences are the basic software installation under the 2 OSs.

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (2)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338102)

linux hasn't lost it's way. You're conflating linux and ubuntu. Ubuntu is bloated to shit, centos, fedora, other flavors of linux are not at all as stupidly bloated.

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37338658)

Ubuntu *IS* linux. Those other distributions are completely irrelevant because they have only a tiny fraction of the user base of real linux (Ubuntu).

You Ubuntu zealots need to just admit that it is a failure of an OS and move on to OSX already like the rest of us with actual brains

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338762)

Ubuntu *IS* linux. Those other distributions are completely irrelevant because they have only a tiny fraction of the user base of real linux (Ubuntu).

And hard data to back up that claim?

You Ubuntu zealots

Someone saying Ubuntu is one of the worse Linux distribution is anything but an Ubuntu zealot.

need to just admit that it is a failure of an OS and move on to OSX already like the rest of us with actual brains

So now it is officially allowed to install OS X on my PC? No? Thank you, I won't buy overpriced hardware.

And BTW, isn't OS X completely irrelevant because they have only a tiny fraction of the user base of proprietary OSs (the vast majority using Windows)? :-)

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37338186)

That's why I finally made the switch to OS X and now I'm sad to say I wish I could have all the time that I wasted on Linux back. When I heard Apple was making a UNIX desktop all those years ago why oh why didn't I just switch back then? Probably because I was too busy drinking the open source koolaid...

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37338290)

And now you're drinking Steve Jobs' semen instead. Big difference.

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37338468)

all those years ago?

they only just did unix in osx in 99! what are you 12?

Now is the time for Hurd (1)

h2k1 (661151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338256)

And 2012 will be the year that the Hurd will reach the Desktop!

Re:Now is the time for Hurd (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338396)

And 2012 will be the year that the Hurd will reach the Desktop!

December 21, I guess?

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338354)

I guess it's the graphics-card using 3D compositing window manager Ubuntu uses (or did they switch that off? I didn't read the article). I switched that off on all my computers in part for exactly that reason: It hurts performance of 3D games.

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37338434)

Linux: all the user friendliness of Unix coupled with all the stability of Windows 95 just in one OS. Worst of both worlds.

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (0)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338538)

Linux: all the user friendliness of Unix coupled with all the stability of Windows 95 just in one OS. Worst of both worlds.

I didn't know that Windows 95 was that stable.

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (0)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338986)

Maybe this is a redhat specific thing, but I knew Linux was in trouble when I installed Fedora 15. I typed a command that I thought was installed, and it paused for a second or two, and then said something like "mdadm: not installed. Would you like to install the raid-tools package?"

What is one of the top things that is supposed to differentiate the UNIX-like operating systems? "They expect the user to know what they are doing." and "Keep it simple, stupid."

A stupid, swipey desktop and a shell that tries to think for you? Shove it. If BSD can emulate linux faster than linux can run, something is very, very bad going on.

Not to mention that my RAID volume slowed down with that newest version. Write data for two seconds, pause for one, write data for two seconds, pause for one. Fuck that noise.

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339044)

Compatibility with older hardware requires someone who has the hardware and free time to actually maintain the drivers. There's no magic to linux. If there's no one interested in maintaining a driver, then the driver eventually gets dropped. You're free to step in if you have the hardware, instead of just, you know, whining.

Re:Which illustrates what we already knew (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339080)

Ubuntu is known to be particularly slow. There was a long standing bug "Firefox takes 17 seconds to load; Firefox binary downloaded from official site takes 3" but I switched to Chromium last year.

Interesting benchmarks, but not an article (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37337834)

It's just a bunch of benchmarks with commentary and no conclusion.

Could we possibly get ANY information on WHY?

Re:Interesting benchmarks, but not an article (2, Insightful)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 2 years ago | (#37337854)

Something to do with the benchmarks comparing OSes on two different systems?

Re:Interesting benchmarks, but not an article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37337866)

The conclusion is left to the reader.

Re:Interesting benchmarks, but not an article (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338062)

Which is nice, if you are used to reading sites where the conclusion didn't match the benchmarks (I noticed this with Toms Hardware a few years ago, before I stopped reading them, dunno if this has been remedied).

Re:Interesting benchmarks, but not an article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37337898)

More likely this benchmarks measure performance between closed source Nvidia drivers on Linux and variants for PCBSD.

Re:Interesting benchmarks, but not an article (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37337922)

More likely this benchmarks measure performance between closed source Nvidia drivers on Linux and variants for PCBSD.

I don't disagree with you, but it seems like if they were going to go to all the trouble to run all these benchmarks, they could have gone to a little more trouble to figure out how to see whether the system was spending more time in the game, the graphics driver, or the kernel. This ought to be fairly easy to measure on both systems. We haven't learned anything useful, and someone is going to have to go do all this over again while gathering the data they should have gathered.

Re:Interesting benchmarks, but not an article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37338970)

I don't disagree with you, but it seems like if they were going to go to all the trouble to run all these benchmarks, they could have gone to a little more trouble to figure out how to see whether the system was spending more time in the game, the graphics driver, or the kernel.

... or a bunch of useless background processes the author "forgot" to turn off on the Ubuntu box.

Re:Interesting benchmarks, but not an article (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338070)

Actually, from what I've read, the closed source NV driver for FreeBSD (and hence, PCBSD) is not much modified from the Linux driver, just a few modifications to the kernel interface to make it work.

Re:Interesting benchmarks, but not an article (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338078)

Addendum, in fact, one of the reasons they took so long to get it out on AMD64/FreeBSD is because they wanted FreeBSD to support some memory mapping functions that were in Linux, to make porting it easier.

Re:Interesting benchmarks, but not an article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37337938)

He's already getting a new asshole ripped in him on their forums for basically benchmarking kde vs unity.

Re:Interesting benchmarks, but not an article (1)

macshit (157376) | more than 2 years ago | (#37337942)

It's just a bunch of benchmarks with commentary and no conclusion.

Could we possibly get ANY information on WHY?

Phoronix has a lonnnnng history of really crappy benchmarking...

Re:Interesting benchmarks, but not an article (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338034)

Phoronix has a lonnnnng history of really crappy benchmarking...

Well, I know that, but today I was going for snarky ass instead of outright asshole fuckhead. But I guess I should just say what I mean...

Re:Interesting benchmarks, but not an article (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338672)

It's just a bunch of benchmarks with commentary and no conclusion.

Could we possibly get ANY information on WHY?

Because it would have been more work to do this, but probably wouldn't have significantly changed the number of readers, especially not of the type of readers who are likely to click on ads. And if there happens to be enough demand, they can still make a followup with more detailed analysis, and get extra ad revenue for that.

Re:Interesting benchmarks, but not an article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37338760)

Uh, FYI, the conclusion is this:

"Linux 3D Games Run Faster On PC-BSD"

Phoronix "benchmarks" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37337858)

I don't see why anyone would treat these guys seriously.

He just produces any content he can think of that's controversial and will get him page hits.

Re:Phoronix "benchmarks" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37338000)

+1

Ubuntu the best choice? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#37337892)

Is Ubuntu the fastest of Linuxes for this to have been done using them as a comparison? Also, were the PC-BSD and Ubuntu using the same DEs? What were the other variables?

Re:Ubuntu the best choice? (2)

woodsbury (1581559) | more than 2 years ago | (#37337940)

Though the table has what I assume is the section detailing the x86_64 machines cut off, the two systems are running two different DEs. And two different versions of X. Also have different amounts of RAM, different sized HDDs, different motherboards, and are using different file systems. Not that those last things will have as much of an effect on the benchmark I don't imagine, but it desperately raises the question why they didn't just dual boot Ubuntu and PC-BSD on the same machine...

Apples to pineapples comparison (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338044)

Unless PC BSD was there on the system w/ less RAM, less HDD, slower file system, and despite that, beat the more richly favored Linux box. I'd excuse not having a dual boot, but how difficult was it to obtain 2 identically configured systems, running one w/ BSD and the other w/ Linux.

But as I note in another sub-thread below, it could have been an absolutely even playing field w/ Debian Linux vs kFreeBSD.

Re:Ubuntu the best choice? (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338100)

Different sized HDD can have a bit of an effect (larger does tend to have higher throughput). Motherboards can also have a decent effect depending on how they are tweaked by the manufacturer. The file system is irrelevant because availability general varies between OSes, for each, pick either the standard or the fastest available, that the OS can support, rather than focusing on the same.

Re:Ubuntu the best choice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37337990)

I too would like to see FreeBSD with a simple WM vs. Linux with a simple WM and more in depth tests with the Xorg server. That being said, FreeBSD's linux compatibility layer has been known to outperform native linux for a variety of things, so I wouldn't be surprised if the results were similar.

Interesting ways of benchmarking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37337908)

So it's a benchmark on different hardware that happen to use the same nvidia card (but different motherboard and CPU), and different versions of the compiler, which are known to have performance differences. Way to go.

Re:Interesting ways of benchmarking (1)

ludwigf (1208730) | more than 2 years ago | (#37337948)

So it's a benchmark on different hardware that happen to use the same nvidia card (but different motherboard and CPU), and different versions of the compiler, which are known to have performance differences. Way to go.

Looking at the posted specs [openbenchmarking.org] its looks like the same cpu (AMD Phenom II X3 710) for all tests - on a different motherboard though - wonder why...

Compiz (5, Informative)

jonsmirl (114798) | more than 2 years ago | (#37337914)

This is likely caused by Compiz interacting with the game engine on Ubuntu. Turn Compiz off and re-run the benchmarks.

Re:Compiz (1)

Mysticalfruit (533341) | more than 2 years ago | (#37337998)

I'm not saying that these benchmarks are bunk, I'd just like to see these same benchmarks with Gentoo/Fedora/etc.
It's been my experience that while the user experience of Ubuntu is generally good, they turn on every bell/whistle.

Give me a cut down box running xfce any day.

Re:Compiz (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338232)

Unless Ubuntu uses some screwy scheduler, or has some nasty process in the background stealing CPU, it's likely that any performance issues are nothing with the kernel in the first place. It seems more likely that it would be display related, especially window manager / X11 related. That would be especially true if the window manager is compositing surfaces and therefore taking chunks of the GPU's memory, or other resources.

Re:Compiz (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37338004)

Upmod this. Compare Kubuntu to Debian/kFreeBSD with KDE to PC-BSD, not apples to oranges.

Re:Compiz (2)

renoX (11677) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338722)

> This is likely caused by Compiz interacting with the game engine on Ubuntu. Turn Compiz off and re-run the benchmarks.

True, but if you do this, you couldn't have the outrageous tittle, which would mean fewer ads served and less money: cannot have this on Phoronix!

Would want to see something other then Ubuntu (1)

Maquis196 (535256) | more than 2 years ago | (#37337926)

I find Ubuntu weighed down compared to others. Obviously purely anecdotal, but Debian seems much quicker and Gentoo (what I use) feels quicker even more so. BSD vs Gentoo would be a fairer fight.

Yes yes, I know after youve been compiling Gentoo for days it would be slower, but you cant argue against a cut to the bone system that Gentoo can provide. (which Ubuntu is anything but)

Now try it on Gentoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37337944)

There are so many things wrong with this as an experiment. There could be any number of factors which are producing these results, but running the experiment on more than a single, fairly heavyweight, distro would be a start.

How about Debian: Linux vs kFreeBSD (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338028)

How about running this test on a distro that does both Linux and BSD, and then compare? Take Debian, take their latest releases of Linux and kFreeBSD, use the same DE from Debian's sources and the same software for both [debian.org] . Then run the whole thing - either on the same machine, or on 2 identical machines.

Then tell us about it

History, apparently, repeats (1)

gbr (31010) | more than 2 years ago | (#37337970)

Didn't this happen when Linux started emulating Windows?

"Games run faster in Linux/Wine(Cedega) than in Windows"

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=681&num=2 [phoronix.com]

Why is everyone so shocked that an emulation layer can be faster now, when before it was "look at us, we're great?"

Re:History, apparently, repeats (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338368)

So to get maximal performance, one should run Windows games over Wine on the Linux emulation of BSD. :-)

STAR TREK TEXT GAMES RUN FASTER ?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37337986)

Linux and games is like slashdotters and girls - ne'er the two shall meet !!

Surprising? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37338010)

How is this surprising at all? BSD has always run Linux programs faster than Linux.

Re:Surprising? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338112)

How?

Re:Surprising? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338330)

FreeBSD is better designed for a particular subset.
Linux has forces trying to make it the OS that does everything. Mobile OS, Desktop OS, Server OS, Mainframe OS, Runs on the Newest Hardware, Runs on the Oldest 32 bit computer that you can find.

FreeBSD has mostly been focused on Workstation/Server usage. Allowing it to use more optimal algorithms then Linux does, for its particular usage. So if a particular algorithm improves performance of a particular common kernel call 4 times faster, and when you are emulating Linux the capture and switch of kernel call request take twice the effort, you are still gaining in performance.

Now Linux may have perfectly good reasons not to implement those calls that FreeBSD does. (gain some extra flexibility, easier to read code, backwards compatibility, found that it is actually works better on different platform, uses less memory...), But for a standard modern desktop/workstation FreeBSD is probably a bit snappier then Linux is. It doesn't mean FreeBSD is always faster then Linux.

And maybe also because nvidia-linux kernel wrapper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37338052)

Nvidia's linux driver does wbinvd far too frequently, in nv-vm.c it's not needed at all, if you follow the calls to set_pages_uc/wb, you'll see it flushes the affected pages (but nvidia calls it with the wrong number of pages), and if you do that, you can change nv_flush_caches to a nop. Furthermore it seems MSI is explicitly disabled unless you explicitly enable it (or patch it). Don't ask what os_raise_smp_barrier is for, but it seems to disable all cpu's on a multicore system..

Not a good test. (4, Informative)

Junta (36770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338068)

The test was insufficient to actually conclude anything of value. They used two *different* systems instead of reinstalling (specs looked *close*, but they weren't the same). They used KDE vs. Unity (this by itself explains the discrepancy, it's widely been shown unity degrades full screen 3d performance). It compared only one version of one distribution to one version of one variant of BSD. It only compared the nVidia driver, though there is no choice on that front.

"Unity slower than KDE" is a more likely conclusion, but again, you'd need a more controlled test to say anything. Phoronix should be ashamed...

Re:Not a good test. (1)

complete loony (663508) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338308)

Phoronix should be ashamed...

That goes without saying though.

Re:Not a good test. (1)

mcover (1653873) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338654)

Amen. Mod parent up. Though on the other hand, it's perfect propaganda for PC-BSD/FreeBSD; so well done to that.

Re:Not a good test. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37338770)

Furthermore, programs often run faster in a virtual environment if there is any disk IO involved, because the virtual machine gets the benefit of the host machine's disk cache.

For example, I do some dev work for a MUD that usually runs on an official server. However, the game boots several times faster in a virtual PC on my desktop computer. Why? You might think it's a difference in CPU, RAM or hard disk speed. It's not. What then? The difference is my desktop has 4x as much RAM, and when I'm just running virtual machine for the MUD server, the game effectively gets to use all of my RAM as disk cache, so the game's entire database is accessed at RAM speed instead of hard disk speed. This makes a big difference in boot times when the database is twice as big as the available RAM. The first boot takes just as long, but the subsequent ones that run at ludicrous speed. ;)

Re:Not a good test. (1)

Formorian (1111751) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338978)

As soon as I read it's by Phoronix I disregarded it.

Grandma's test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37338092)

There has been a lot of complaining that should have used distro x or y but the fact is he used two popular distro's in their out of the box settings, makeing this a more real world test. if you think you can do a better test the by all means build out your own versions and perform you own test I'm sure everyone here would love to see your findings.

32bit kernel + PAE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37338106)

32bit kernel + PAE, says it all. Phail.

Emulation, Really?? (1)

Wattos (2268108) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338116)

Since when is Wine doing any emulation? Since when is linux emulating? Did you forget what Wine stands for? "Wine is not an emulator.

It is simply implementing the Window Api calls.

Who mentioned wine? (1)

robbak (775424) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338212)

Since when was wine used to run linux binaries on BSD?

Still, your point stands. Linux binary compatibility is no more emulation than wine is.

Re:Emulation, Really?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37338222)

it's an emulator, just not a x86 emulator.

Re:Emulation, Really?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37338236)

Since when is Wine doing any emulation? Since when is linux emulating? Did you forget what Wine stands for? "Wine is not an emulator.

It is simply implementing the Window Api calls.

Wine pretends to be Windows by implementing the Windows API. This is, by definition, emulation ("to copy or imitate", or wrt. computing, "of a program or device to imitate another program or device").

The "Wine is not an emulator" acronym refers to Wine not emulating Windows executables at the instruction level. A program running with Wine runs natively on the CPU, but is linked to Wine's libraries - Wine emulates Windows at the library level.

Re:Emulation, Really?? (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338320)

Did you forget what Wine stands for? "Wine is not an emulator.

I've never understood why Wine is singled out as the non-emulator. For example, Dosemu is not really an emulator, it simply implements the particular programming interface.

At some point, code will run natively on the machine. IMHO, the more layers of abstraction and/or translation you need to traverse, the more it makes sense to say "emulation", but there is no clearly defined line. Abstractions are used with "native" applications all the time.

Sometimes I'm told that emulation involves translation between machine architectures. Well, there is hardware for running Java, so why don't we call Java runtime an emulator? Even architectures like x86 are not strictly hardware or software. Current CPUs have some funky RISC at heart, and they merely provide an x86 programming interface. Or do they emulate it? Same difference.

This has been my pet peeve for years, but recently I have given it a little more thought, since starting FPGA development. FPGA hackers like to say that they do not emulate old hardware, they actually implement the real thing [danstrother.com] . But it is still emulation in the strictest non-computing sense. Of course, having actual parallel circuits instead of running it on one CPU is much closer to the real thing.

Phoronix benchmarks are so frustrating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37338138)

The guys at Phoronix appear to be the only group of people that really care about benchmarking desktop/game performance of alternate operating systems. The problem is their benchmarks always feel so half done. Why not create a more concrete experiment. Strip Linux and FreeBSD down to just a window manager, compare the versions of Xorg, do alternate native 3D benchmarks. Give us something to take seriously. Telling me some games run faster on PC-BSD than they do on Ubuntu isn't giving me a lot to work with.

Re:Phoronix benchmarks are so frustrating (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338278)

And it was different hardware. The CPU and GPU are pretty much the only parts that are the same.

I still don't understand why they didn't run it on the same machine and not dual boot.

Just have a seperate HDD and swap that.

Also, the ocean was found to contain water (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37338148)

Phenomena like this isn't new. Many Linux games will whole heartedly admit that they can get Windows games to run better via WINE than on native PC, on the same system. I've also seen reports of people running full disk encryption showing higher read/write speeds in certain cases. It all really comes down to the task at hand and its implementation. And probably some flawed metrics, too.

Re:Also, the ocean was found to contain water (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339110)

If doing more stuff, which emulation and disk encryption is, goes faster, the flaw is in the original version somewhere. Doing more stuff should always be slower.

Interesting. (4, Informative)

DiSKiLLeR (17651) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338182)

FreeBSD had always ran Linux binaries faster than Linux. Interesting that this may still be the case.

Point, though, that the 'Linux Emulator' in FreeBSD isn't really an Emulator. FreeBSD runs Linux binaries natively. The so called 'Linux Emulator' just provides Linux syscall capabilities to the FreeBSD kernel.

And of course, Linux libc and other libraries need to be provided (which the linux binary was linked against), and probably linux's /proc is also needed to satisfy various linux binaries. But its by no means an 'emulator', is just provides the services a Linux executable expects.

I wonder.... (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338574)

I wonder what the results would have been on something like debian or arch or fedora? It is well known that Canonical's implementation of linux in Ubuntu is one of the slowest commercial distributions out there. They trade speed for features (or bloat depending on your perspective).

While Ubuntu is probably the most popular distro, which would make it valid to test, that doesn't mean it is representative of linux in general and therefore, the article should be about how 3D gaming is faster on BSD than on Ubuntu, not on Linux -- at least not until there is actual data to support that conclusion.

Re:I wonder.... (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338892)

So comparing the same game running natively on two differently speced systems one running the slowest version of Linux, the other running a fast version of BSD one runs faster than the other ...What a surprise!

Useless compalaints, guys! (1)

aglider (2435074) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338714)

There's a point here: at the kernel level FreeBSD outperforms Linux.
At least with Linux kernel 2.6.38 (Ubuntu 11.04) and FreeBSD's.
During gaming there's little in use from the distributions themselves. I'd say it's 99.999% kernel stuff (with drivers).

Misleading title (1)

ilguido (1704434) | more than 2 years ago | (#37338928)

It should be "Linux 3D Games Run Faster On PC-BSD with KDE than on Ubuntu Linux with Unity, on NVidia hardware". It's worth to note that KDE outperforms every gtk based desktop environment [phoronix.com] (gnome, unity, lxde...) when running on NVidia hardware.

Control Groups [cgroups] (1)

wirelesslayers (2014486) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339046)

Those tests was made using default kernel specs. It would be nice, for comparison, to customize the kernel , and using the awesomeness of CGROUPS: 1 - allocate process into groups with specific memory usage, I/O usage, swapness levels; 2 - exclusive cores for the 3D processes. 3 - higher cpu shares for the 3D processes. All the nice stuff you can do with CGROUPS. One thing is testing the default spec of ubuntu, other is tuning and testing again. Tuning both of the systems to make another benchmark. Not a single mention to cgroups in that benchmark article.

turn EVERYTHING off... (5, Insightful)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 2 years ago | (#37339082)

some 10 years ago, when even the slightest hiccup could make a game running in linux slow to a crawl (not linux's fault. more like greedy games on average hardware), i ran several tests to find the best settings for performance. here's what i found:

- even a lightwheight window manager like windowmaker, fluxbox or xfce impacts negatively (specially if you're short on RAM)
- any cute widget, dockapp or systray app can take a hit. a simple opengl cpu meter, displaynig a spinning cube, running inside a 64x64 dockapp had a 10% hit on glxgears' frame rate
- daemons started from init.d scripts steal memory, and if they trigger a backgroud process, bye-bye performance. so make sure anything than trigger lots of disk I/O operations are off. specially if they run from cron
- get used to the command line. shut down GDM/KDM/XDM or any other graphical login. log on the console, quickly create an .Xsession file with nothing more than "xterm" on it. as soon as X starts with a windowless xterm, run the game from the CLI.

now, optimize BOTh PC-BSD and linux this way, THEN run a benchmark. otherwise, is the same as trying to compare a default ubuntu with openBSD on which one is more secure. or the other way on which is more usefull as a desktop. it's not right to ebnchmark different OSes by leaving the defaults just like that.

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