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Making Operating Systems Faster

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the pinstriping-adds-extra-torque dept.

667

mbrowling writes "In an article over at kernelthread.com Amit Singh discusses 'Ten Things Apple Did To Make Mac OS X Faster'. The theme seems to be that since you won't run into 'earth-shattering algorithmic breakthroughs' in every OS releases, what're you gonna do to bump your performance numbers higher? Although the example used is OS X, the article points out that Windows uses the same approach."

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Mines already so fast (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325342)

I got first post!

Poll Troll Toll (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325347)

Which is better...

Making Operating Systems [calcgames.org]
Fast stuff [calcgames.org]
Sex with a mare [calcgames.org]

#1 thing Apple should do... (4, Funny)

xenostar (746407) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325368)

...to make OS X faster is to stop having it render the GUI through Photoshop filters.

Re:#1 thing Apple should do... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325392)

Same thing with XP... I get a much better performance if I shut off all the fancy transparency effects. Sure, they look cool.. but are they really necessary?

OS designers shoudl also cut down with bloatware and trying to 'integrate' everything into the OS...

Re:#1 thing Apple should do... (2, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325457)

I don't mind that they are a possible thing to include. What I don't want to see is them enabled/installed by default.

You have to go through a bunch of settings to tweak it for "optimum performance" or whatever. Those should be enabled by default. The fancy stuff should be enabled easily but it should be up to the user to decide if they are turned on.

Re:#1 thing Apple should do... (-1, Troll)

Errtu76 (776778) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325641)

Sure, they look cool.. but are they really necessary?

yes they are, and here's why:
- more features == more potential bugs
- more bugs == more people calling helpdesk
- i hate to sound like these 1-2-3-profit people, but:
- profit

Faster? (4, Interesting)

AsnFkr (545033) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325370)

You've got to be kidding me. XP is CRAZY slower than 2k. I suppose thats what happens when you add a Microsoft+ package to Windows 2000. Wanna make it faster? Disable all the useless services and shut off the ugly eye candy. *sigh*.

Re:Faster? (4, Funny)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325427)

Phase 1: Release software that has been deliberately (but discreetly) crippled in performance

Phase 2: Re-release same software under a different name or version, only uncrippled. Claim massive performance improvements.

Phase 3: Profit as everyone upgrades/migrates to your product because of the great performance reviews

Hey, it seems to work for AOL, and I bet it could work for Microsoft!
=Smidge=

Finally.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325470)

...someone who RTFA and can summarize it for us lazy people. That's exactly what Apple did.

Re:Faster? (5, Insightful)

KoriaDesevis (781774) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325466)

XP is CRAZY slower than 2k.

XP is faster to come up to the desktop. However, it is still busy accessing the hard drive and loading stuff in the background. You still have to wait for the OS to quit loading itself before you can use anything. Microsoft's claim that XP is faster than 2K was based on the time to desktop, apparently not time to usability.

Once loaded, XP has an annoying habit of wanting to refresh the desktop from time to time. That slows things down even more.

Re:Faster? (2, Informative)

baxissimo (135512) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325734)

By "refresh the desktop" do you mean that thing when all the icons disappear momentarily and then come back, possibly showing the generic icon for a moment before the actual icons appear?

If that's what you mean by "refresh", then that's actually Windows Explorer (which the desktop is an instance of) crashing followed by a background process realizing it died and starting it back up.

If that happens to you a lot then maybe you've installed some unstable shell extensions? Or maybe you're talking about something else. If it's specific to the XP theme I wouldn't know because I always revert to the "Classic" look first thing. The XP theme just looks like a cheap plastic toy.

XP and OS X difference (4, Insightful)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325478)

upgrading from 2K to XP on the same hardware will slow you down. Upgreading from OS X 10.2 to 10.3 on the same hardware will give you speed improvements a majority of the time.

I can see how they can write an artice about how apple did this but to claim that Microsoft does it too. I don't see how. Unless Microsoft has improvements but enough of the new things they add slow it down so much more the gain is outweighted by the loss.

Re:XP and OS X difference (1)

perlchild (582235) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325671)

If you look at the list of improvements to win2000 as a target, you'll see a lot of the ideas were incorporated. (Prebinding, journaling, etc...) That they don't make the system as much faster as with apple might have to do with the Apple Engineer Skillset vs Microsoft Engineers Skillset difference after all(I said difference, not superiority/inferiority, because even difference would be enough in this case)

Reduce Bloat (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325382)


why does my 3ghz p4 choke on spellchecking a 50k doc with a 500mb text editor (Word2k3) ?

why does explorer choke on listing 10,000 files ?

why should i ever upgrade my word processing applications ? or can they type for me now ?

bah, innovation is dead, shame

One word: (5, Interesting)

swordboy (472941) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325384)

Hard Drive

Largest bottleneck in any modern system. If you've never had the opportunity to use a 15krpm (or something faster) system, do it now. It flies... I don't care if it is Windows or what... it doesn't matter when you've got usable bandwidth to the biggest chunk of storage out there.

Re:One word: (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325421)

RAID or more RAM will solve your problem just as well. You don't need to have a faster (read: runs hotter) HD in your machine.

Re:One word: (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325461)

RAID or more RAM will solve your problem just as well. You don't need to have a faster (read: runs hotter) HD in your machine.

yeah, because 2 or 3 10krpm drives are much cooler than 1 15krpm drive. oh yeah, and if something's bound to disk I/O, RAM will not solve your problem.

Re:One word: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325512)

They are cooler individually. When the heat warps a platter in your 15K HD and you get a head crash, call me so I can laugh.

And RAM only helps to a certain extent, true, but paging is your enemy. Something can can only write to disk sounds like a poorly-written program, to me.

Re:One word: (1)

Moderation abuser (184013) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325555)

No it won't. With buffer cache you're always going to have to touch the disk at some point and that point wastes billions of CPU cycles. Minimise thatt by using a f*cking fast disk.

Re:One word: (5, Funny)

tomknight (190939) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325447)

Hard Drive

That's two words.

Tom.

That's 2 words. (5, Interesting)

Moderation abuser (184013) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325527)

Anyway... You are completely correct but...

My 2 words are RAM DRIVE. You think you can't justify 4Gb of RAM? Course you can.

Dedicate 2-3Gb of it to a ram drive and mount it as your root, /usr, /opt partition, whichever one you have all of your applications installed on. Copy the hard drive to the ram drive at bootup. DD can do it quickly if you just zap the whole partition across. I think there are mount options to tell the Linux filesystem buffer not to cache a particular filesystem.

The difference in performance can be stunning.

Re:That's 2 words. (3, Informative)

Dibblah (645750) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325685)

You have an interesting definition of "justify". Besides, letting the VM do it's own thing with the buffer-cache does *much* better than stuffing RAM full of some random portion of disk that you think is 'important'.

Re:That's 2 words. (1)

Moderation abuser (184013) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325707)

The buffer cache does a great job with random files the second time they are accessed, applications aren't random files and I like Open Office and Gnome to start up in less than 3 seconds.

Re:That's 2 words. (0)

pubjames (468013) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325705)

This sounds fascinating. Can you point me to detailed instructions about how to do this, or explain in more detail? (I'm a bit of a linux newbie)

Re:That's 2 words. (3, Informative)

mbbac (568880) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325729)

Doesn't most unixes extensive use of cache really eliminate the benefits of that approach? I know Mac OS X will use almost all of however much physical RAM it's given.

Re:That's 2 words. (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325755)

I did this in the Dos days to run games that were ... slow, to say the least. As long as the game was less than my 32megs of ram, it worked just fine. Luckily, this was almost always the case. Nowadays...? Notsomuch.

Re:One word: (4, Interesting)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325566)

Agreed. My Pent III 800 mghtz, SCSI computer (scsi hard drive, dvd player, cd rom) with 512 ram, Hercules 64 Meg video card runs games like Diablo II MUCH MUCH Faster then my 2.2 ghtz laptop with 512 ram, a better video card (Nvida GForce 4 Go card), "faster" IDE dvd rom. A better test. When I upgraded from IDE to SCSI I performed a DOS level copy. The screen would scroll and periodically pause when reading from the IDE drive. The IDE drive was 7600 RPM, the SCSI HD is 15k. When it would write to the SCSI drive, it FLEW! Never once did it pause. WHile scsi is expensive, runs extremely hot (meaning you need more fans), and is fickle at best - when it works it does WONDERS.... For those people who like to have a RAID system - SCSI is still faster as it reads & writes faster... but again it is more expensive (usually about double - triple) -A

Re:One word: (1)

Tenareth (17013) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325678)

SCSI is fickle? That's why it's been used primarily in production for the past 15+ years?

You could have put the drive against a same speed SCSI and IDE still would have lost, SCSI was designed to deal with the relative slowness of rotating disks.

My primary systems run on 10k rpm 147gb drives, but they outperform everything else in the shop. Reason? Multiple layers of control logic, and lots of cache :)

Re:One word: (2, Interesting)

October_30th (531777) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325736)

WHile scsi is expensive, runs extremely hot (meaning you need more fans), and is fickle at best

I'm curious. Why do you say that is SCSI fickle?

I remember a time when one had to be careful not to exceed the a certain cable length when daisy-chaining external devices, but other than that SCSI has been nothing but rock-solid on my systems.

As far as the performance goes, you're absolutely right. I've got a RAID5 array of four 10 krpm U320-SCSI drives on my dual Opteron. It was almost scary to watch how fast it compiled stuff during Gentoo stage 1 installation. ;-)

Re:One word: (1, Interesting)

grumbel (592662) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325603)

Is it really the harddrive? Sure it might be the hardware part that could give the best boost in todays system, but how about fixing the boot issue at the software level? I mean boot speed hasn't been much of an issue big in the past, yet, today it suddenly is, even while harddrives and CPUs and RAM are much faster then a few years or even decades ago.

What went wrong on the software level that systems now take so long to boot? Are it generic kernels that probe for a lot of non existing hardware and thus basically just spend their time waiting for timeouts? Or is it todays software with all its dynamic linking and its dependecy (heard the slowness of KDE was in most part a fault of ld.so)? Or is it just bad organisation of boot scripts, ie. lack of paralelims while starting them, useless stuff first, so that the important stuff has to wait and such?

Re:One word: (1)

saitoh (589746) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325612)

I whole heartedly agree, and when you cant get a 10k drive in the size you want (or its just not feesable), consider this one word: raid.

I recently did RAID5 (software, ide, 5400rpm) on a machine I own when building a tivo replacement, and while I was doing the install, I noticed the speed of the system flew. I did some further research into the benchmarks some people were posting for raid0 and its true, it gives a hell of a boost. If you can just get ahold of two older drives, its worth it.

Page

Re:One word: (4, Insightful)

mbbac (568880) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325689)

Yes, but a 10,000 RPM SATA drive is so expensive! A 73.4GB Western Digital "Raptor" 10,000 RPM is the same price as a 250GB Maxtor MaXLine Plus II 7200 RPM.

Maybe 10,000 RPM model would make a good boot drive with all of the home folders on the 250GB 7200 RPM drive. Then again, most file access would probably be from the slower drive. Eh.

Re:One word: (1)

Raedwald (567500) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325714)

Full-seek time has improved relatively little over the years, so a new high RPM disk will help when you have little data on the disk, which is all packed into a few close tracks, but not so much when the disk is 90% full. You can therefore sometimes be better off with a multi-disk set up (RAID, or just multiple file systems).

Post prediction! (0)

rylin (688457) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325390)

#1) Perhaps they should've done it on the webserver too!

pretty much (4, Insightful)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325393)

So pretty much, Mac and Windows are made faster by using resources when they're not being used already. Not a genius idea, but the hard part is figuring out how to do that, which is what the article discusses.

Haven't read the article yet .. (3, Interesting)

torpor (458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325402)

.. but I thought that the primary 'reason' for OSX slowness was that Apples binary format is designed to maintain 'compatability' with the register set of the 68k processors, and in fact they're not using all the PPC registers in a way that is most efficient?

I haven't looked into it for a while (mod me down for being uncertain if you like), but I seem to recall that there were serious leaps and bounds still left in OSX performance, with a change to the ABI register use, potentially, in the future ...

Re:Haven't read the article yet .. (1)

merdark (550117) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325448)

I dunno about all that but OS X doesn't seem slow at all to me. But to give you a little bit more technical of an answer, I'm sure many OS X programs use altivec, which would break compatability with older processors without it. How does apple maintain compatability? Each application can acutally contain multiple 'binaries', one for older machines, one for newer machines, maybe one for 64 bit machines even.

Re:Haven't read the article yet .. (5, Informative)

torpor (458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325503)

I dunno about all that but OS X doesn't seem slow at all to me.

Try running LinuxPPC on your mac some day, and you will see a huge difference in general snappiness.

I'm not saying OSX is un-usably slow, or even slow at all - heck my Rev. A tiBook, beaten and aged, is still all the computer I need, and I am very productive with it ... but I do have to admit that in all my computing experiences, OSX seems to be the one OS that is more 'acceptably mediocre', performance wise, than any other.

On the register side of things, I can't for the life of me remember the full details, but I believe that the ABI for OSX only uses a sub-set of the PPC's full register set, and thus this means more swaps in/out ... that there are 'unutilized registers' in the PPC architecture when it is running OSX.

This is separate from AltiVec, which is an instruction set, not just a register setup ...

Re:Haven't read the article yet .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325592)

I dunno about all that but OS X doesn't seem slow at all to me.


You're a victim of the Reality Distortion Field and don't even realise it.

Re:Haven't read the article yet .. (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325485)

I don't believe that for a second. From what I can tell, OS X uses the PowerOpen ABI, which has no compatibility considerations built in at all. It wouldn't make sense, either. OS X is a new development for PowerPC, not an improved 68K based system like OS 7 and maybe later were.

Re:Haven't read the article yet .. (1)

torpor (458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325550)

Okay, I did a little google, and here's what I found. Hopefully it will provide you with some further insight into what I'm talking about:

Unsanity.org article about the Mach-O ABI [unsanity.org]

Wrong (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325706)

Might be a troll, but I'll bite.

That's the reason OS 7/8/9 were slow on PowerPC, not OS X.

optimizing Windows 2000/XP (5, Informative)

xplosiv (129880) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325416)

Check out www.blackviper.com [blackviper.com] , it's one of the better sites dedicated to tuning and increasing performance of Windows 2000/XP

Re:optimizing Windows 2000/XP (1)

Atmchicago (555403) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325609)

Yeah that website works real well, they must be running so fast my DSL line can't keep up!

Re:optimizing Windows 2000/XP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325624)

This website sucks ass.

As if the performance of my computer wasn't wasting enough of my time, you just had to go and waste it more with a stupid, slow, crap link.

Thank you.

The Only True Solution (5, Funny)

Pike65 (454932) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325422)

More hamsters!

Re:The Only True Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325538)

More pigeons

Re:The Only True Solution (1)

FearTheFrail (666535) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325616)

A Beowulf cluster of hamsters...with more high availability wheels!

Re:The Only True Solution (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325697)

Tell that to Richard Gere.

10 steps (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325428)

1. remove bloat
2. ...
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

Here's that list trimmed down to just 3 steps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325511)

1. remove bloat

2. ??

3. profit!

Am I Supposed To Be Impressed By Apple? (3, Insightful)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325440)

After all, they make OS X for a very limited subset of hardware that they also produce (or at least assemble). Presumably they write all the drivers (or at least have input to them) and are already making use of a lot of good work from the Open Source community.

What takes genius is getting every ounce of speed from a Linux or Windows box that can be a conglomeration of different motherboards, CPUs, graphics cards, hard disks, etc.

Re:Am I Supposed To Be Impressed By Apple? (2, Insightful)

Cyclopedian (163375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325528)

What takes genius is getting every ounce of speed from a Linux or Windows box that can be a conglomeration of different motherboards, CPUs, graphics cards, hard disks, etc.

No. What takes genius is getting every combination of different motherboards, CPU, graphic cards, hard disks, etc and make it *ALL* work flawlessly and without any configuration at all. Just plug it in, turn it on and it's ready.

No updating drivers. No having to check for incompatibilities between different mobos and wifi chipsets (or anything). It. Just. Works.

-Cyc

You should be impressed (1)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325644)

The steps apple introduced are some pretty good ideas. I wouldn't be suprised to see them start showing up in Linux and *BSD. Maybe even Windows in the next couple releases.

Re:Am I Supposed To Be Impressed By Apple? (4, Informative)

Matthias Wiesmann (221411) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325657)

Actually, if you had bothered with reading the article instead of repeating the old Apple has it easy with limited hardware cliché, you would have noticed that this is absolutely not related to driver performance.

Only one optimisation presented is related to hardware drivers, and it is cache of what kernel extensions will probably be loaded. Most of the optimisations (basically lots of caching and dynamic defragmentation) could be implemented in Linux, regardless of the amount of supported hardware.

Speed Improvements on Old Hardware (4, Interesting)

Paulrothrock (685079) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325443)

I've been using OS X since public beta, and every upgrade has been considerably faster, even on my four-year old G4/400. I expect to be using that machine as a server well into the future, mostly due to the fact that Apple is doing such a good job making operating systems work well on older machines.

And the fact that I won't be discouraged from keeping 10.3 or 10.4 on that system if the next version doesn't support my hardware through annoying EULAs.

Hello? Linux, are you there? (4, Interesting)

Stevyn (691306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325446)

I wish these were incorporated into linux more. I don't care what anyone says, comparing windows and linux on the same machine has always shown to ME that windows seems a lot faster. Applications take longer to load in linux. Mozilla for example, takes longer to load than it did in windows on the same computer. Other applications that I can't compare directly seem to take a while when they're just small apps.

Aparently, windows caches a bunch of stuff and has a bunch other little hacks that allows this. So why can't linux and the kde people do this. They've copied everything else, why not this?

Before you mod me as flamebait or troll, I switched over to linux a while ago and I have no intention on going back to windows. I'm not some ms fanboy bitching about my 10 minute experience with linux. All I'm saying is that here are some points where linux annoys me.

I've got one word for you... (2, Informative)

pb (1020) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325498)

... prelinking.

What distro are you using?

Re:I've got one word for you... (1)

Stevyn (691306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325654)

I'm using mandrake 10. I decided on this distro because it's the easiest I've found and I wanted to introduce myself with my hands held. I've heard of prelinking and I've googled for it but I haven't found anything that can easily explain how it works and how it's used. Most stuff I've read on it just says to "use it." If anyone knows much about it or can point me and I'm sure many other people in its path that would be appriciated.

Re:I've got one word for you... (2, Informative)

Miles (79172) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325771)

http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/prelink-howto.xml [gentoo.org]

A guide for gentoo, but the prelink program should be available for whatever distro you run.

Re:Hello? Linux, are you there? (1)

Wun Hung Lo (702718) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325517)

Part of the reason that MS applications load faster is that they keep a portion resident in memory. So even if you're not using IE or Office, there is a little bit using up resources. The true measure is how fast the app runs, not how fast it opens.

Re:Hello? Linux, are you there? (1)

Kiryat Malachi (177258) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325752)

So, Mozilla is an MS app now?

He was comparing Moz on Windows and Linux.

Cuz Mickeysoft loads all that crap on startup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325567)

Why do you think it takes three minutes for your Windoze box to start up?

depends on the distro (2, Interesting)

poptones (653660) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325607)

I know what you mean. In fact, I wrote a "call for help" a very loing time ago about just this, as I had purchased (at very low price) a bunch of old vectras for use as "giveaway desktops" and I was looking to make the most of their 200mhz pentium mmx cpus. I tried several different linux distros with minimal windows managers (like blackbox) and none of them felt as snappy as the same machine running windows 2000.

So, I know what you mean. And I've even noticed the same thing when trying ootb installs of mandrake 7,8,9,10, redhat 6,7 etc. on my 1600 athlon xp.

Until I tried SuSE 9.1. I'm not a fan of kde but this distro looks really nice and it feels snappy in a way I've never known from linux in the half dozen or so commercial distros I've tried over the years. Between the snappy desktop, the eye candy and yast, it sets a REALLY high bar for every other desktop. You might give it a try and see if you don't agree.

And no, I don't work for novell...

Re:depends on the distro (1)

jazzer (732722) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325733)

Depends on what you are using. Firefox starts at least as fast as it did in Windows. Openoffice is a little slower, it is marginal though. However, this is on a P4 2.6Ghz. Linux has come a long way from a few years ago, back when we using Netscape..

It depends on what software you are using. I try to keep to applications that use the same toolkit, that way the library is already loaded up. IE, if I use GNOME I try to always use GTK applications.

Re:Hello? Linux, are you there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325711)

Kernel 2.6.x + NTPL threads + swapiness = 0 + little tweaking --> snappy
Bloated distro + 300 daemons + brain dead settings ---> not snappy
Windows ---> snappy not snappy snappy not snappy not snappy not snappy reboot ...

a new type of troll (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325452)

windows is dying!
make room bsd and apple, windows is dying too!

story of the upcoming death [slashdot.org]

Make the Pie Higher (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325454)

Disinformation worked for Bush! Why not for your OS?

Good basis of metrics for O/S (1, Insightful)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325455)

After the government changes in the US and the DOJ is free to investigate monopolism in software again...

How hard would it be to make the case that consumers would be advantaged by gaining access to just a basic o/s?

It mightn't be easy because the courts are legal organs not technical forums, but with a disciplined argument based on metrics derived from the types of performance issues noted in the article... an articulate, intelligent lawyer might get this done.

Right?

Optimize Windows... (0, Redundant)

smatt-man (643849) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325456)

Step 1: Buy a G5 Mac.

Re:Optimize Windows... (-1, Troll)

baggachipz (686602) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325502)

winDOZE iz teh slow suck!!!!111 LOLOL OMFG
M$ cant mak a os cuz it SUXX0RZ!!!11

HAHAHAHAA

Score: -1, repetitive from post above.

The FIVE things Apple did to make OS X faster. (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325458)

Is it just me or are the first six items all caching schemes?

Re:The FIVE things Apple did to make OS X faster. (1)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325604)

Is it just me or are the first six items all caching schemes?

The first 5 things are not just caching.

The first 2 are caching but they are caching of different things. And, how can on-the-fly defrag be a caching. As in windows where you go run defrag every now and then, in OS X it is done on the fly as you are operating. This keeps the file structure at it's peak from a clustering standpoint.

The same way I make my code faster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325463)

Throw faster hardware at it.

Some tips on making your computer faster (5, Informative)

wiggys (621350) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325477)

1) Don't install so much crap on your computer. 5 megapixel photos set as wallpaper along with Real Player, Gator Spyware Crap, Quicktime Task, HP scanner registration reminder sofware, webshots, Norton anything, MS office bar etc running on startup will make your nice shiny new computer run like an arthritic snail on sleeping tablets.

2) Turn off some of the eyecandy. All those fades and whooshes and stuff don't actually do anything useful, they just consume CPU cycles and waste your time.

3) Use Ad Aware and SpyBot regularly to keep scumware out of your computer. I had to clean up a PC this morning which had stopped working because the BASTARDS at NewDotNet wrote some software which fucked the TCP/IP stack backwards.

4) Defrag regularly and run MSCONFIG to check what crap is sneaking back on to your Startup scripts.

BTW, Windows 3.1 sitting on MSDOS 6.2 ran like shit of a stick on my old P133. I wonder if/how it would run on a modern system?

um, no (2, Interesting)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325523)

Problem with this is that it's things the user needs to do. The article is about what apple did that is independant of the user.

Re:Some tips on making your computer faster (2, Insightful)

benzapp (464105) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325585)

BTW, Windows 3.1 sitting on MSDOS 6.2 ran like shit of a stick on my old P133. I wonder if/how it would run on a modern system?

I don't know, but I ran Windows 3.1 on top of OS/2 3.0 and on a P133 and it worked perfectly, and its speed was acceptable. It must have run significantly faster on native DOS.

Defrag? What's that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325611)

Oh, now I remember. It's something for toy computers that don't use a filesystem that doesn't need need to be defragged.

Prebinding not all good (5, Interesting)

mac-diddy (569281) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325484)

Sure, prebinding does speed up loading, but it also breaks everything from tripwire, to backup. Since the file is changed out from under you, all traditional unix tools that use checksums or file size to determine file changes break.

Apple, and other system vendors need to consider these types of management issues when making a change. Speed improvements are only good if they are "management friendly"

Re:Prebinding not all good (1)

alanoneil (749691) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325640)

Doesn't prebinding only change executable Application Packages?

Shouldn't the prebinding on programs only change at major OS updates or changes to the libraries they access?

Shouldn't Application Packages already be excluded from backups for the most part anyway?

Missing Step (4, Informative)

baudilus (665036) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325510)

The number one thing they should do IMHO is reduce overhead. Using Microsoft Windows as an example, windows 98 has much less overhead than 2k, which in turn has much less than XP. A lot of it is eye-candy, which is all well and good, but those should be options that are OFF by default. XP differs from previous versions because it uses a 'shell' based gui (similar to KDE / GNOME, etc), which, while nice, is going to cause some system slowdown. Using the 'explorer' shell, which is heavily intergrated into the Windows OS, is the fastest, and should be the default. Then if people want to change it to look pretty [litestep.net] they can, by sacrificing speed (in slower machines).

Stop adding services / features that are on by default, and you'll see a huge improvement in speed.

Unrealistic (1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325627)

Then if people want to change it to look pretty [litestep.net] they can, by sacrificing speed (in slower machines).

Unrealistic.

1) People who like bright-shiny-and-animated-GUIs like that of XP have hard time setting a desktop background image. Imagine asking them decide between various desktop enhancements and selectively switching them on.

2) If it doesn't look pretty, it doesn't sell to the masses.

Re:Missing Step (3, Interesting)

lpangelrob2 (721920) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325727)

I'm not sure if one can say on a general level that even the majority of users considers speed to be important. I'll take up OS X because I remember reading a quote on an Apple webpage -- Why did we do it [fancy graphics *everywhere*]? Because we could.

I'll simplify the comparison quiter a bit, but I think Apple decided to trade speed for distinguishing features. It must've worked, because people noticed.

Re:Missing Step (1)

stanmann (602645) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325762)

IME on a 1ghz machine w/ no hardware changes the speed breakdown is thus from fastest to slowest

NT4
W2K
W98
WXP
Note that XP was tested after stripping it down to look and behave as much like 2k as possible. And these are times to "login screen" not to desktop. Time to desktop differences were not humanly perceptable.

ibook speed (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325526)

all I can say is that I was on an ibook 933mhz that was loaded up with programs, I hit the expose key and it was FAST.

This comes through rendering GUI through the graphics card. Something linux will have trouble with due to GLP vs binary drivers from NVIDIA and ATI.

I floated the idea a while back that we need "open source" hardware designs so that there is a open design for a fast graphics card.

All the cards are basically made in taiwan fabs from designs from elsewhere anyway. The only problem is patents....

Apparent Speed (3, Insightful)

rf0 (159958) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325570)

Of course one could argue that is worth making the GUI faster to give an apparent speed increase whilst allowing improvments in CPU/Disk to carry the rest of the OS. Then again of course I know nothing about system design

Rus

Hard drive alternatives (4, Insightful)

joshds (768748) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325572)

Hard Drive is the bottleneck........ Has anyone tried using a RAMdisk as their OS drive? I've read a lot and heard of people trying, but never come across a comprehensive how-to + review. With the amount of ram we can have nowadays (new pc's coming with 6 banks for dual-channel DDR), I'd pay $250 for an extra 2GB of ram in order to have my OS + key apps run off of that. Other solutions? (CF too slow?)...

Entire OS on RAM drive (1)

vasqzr (619165) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325662)


You can load Knoppix entirely into RAM (if you have a lot of it, anyway)

vmlinuz toram

Re:Entire OS on RAM drive (1)

joshds (768748) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325725)

I've heard of ideas where, at boot the pc runs a script that copies the C drive onto a ramdisk, routinely (as you wish) will backup the ramdisk file changes to physical disk, and on shutdown saves any changes.

The issue with windows is to a) keep an OS parition that is small enough for your ramdisk allocation (not too hard really) b) have a bootup script to manage the ramdisk.

2GB should be plenty, for XP + some key programs. Dual channel DDR would be quite a bit of bandwidth for your OS.

Re:Entire OS on RAM drive (2, Interesting)

kryptkpr (180196) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325750)

You missed an issue.

c) Have a shutdown script that will always run on shutdown. From what I understand, Windows has more then one shutdown (there's at least 2: the "slow" shutdown you get from Start -> Shutdown, and the "fast" shutdown you get from pushing the soft power button on your case).

Making Linux Faster (3, Funny)

turgid (580780) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325576)

For you noobs out there, here's how to make Linux faster.

Download yourself the latest cutting-edge gcc from the 3.5.0 branch on CVS and do a make bootstrap. Install this over your original C compiler.

Get the latest 2.6.7-preX kernel from kernel.org and configure it with no modules: everything build it. Modules slow you down.

Enable all the EXPERIMENTAL drivers. They are ususally much faster than the old ones that may have been in the kernel now for 6 or more months.

When you have saved your configuration, hack the top level Makefile to add "-O9 -fomit-instructions" in the CFLAGS macro.

time gmake -j64 bootstrap. Even if you have a single CPU system, building with lots of processes in parallel is faster because it soaks up CPU idle time when waiting on I/O operations.

Enjoy.

Re:Making Linux Faster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325680)

Beware to the noob who takes this advice. Beyond these doors lurks PERIL!

LOL (1)

poptones (653660) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325699)

"For you noobs out there..?"

I love you guys who talk of compilers and switches and say things like "hack the top level makefile" when you're supposedly talking to "noobs."

This is just one of the many reasons people:

a) stick with windows

b) buy a mac.

Re:Making Linux Faster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325749)

Hey, that's a mean trick to play, giving the new folks advice like that. Shame on you. Seriously, though.. you are kidding, right? If I ever had mod points, I'd either mod you +4 funny or -2 Unstable.

Perhaps... (1)

IDigUNIX (544392) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325589)

Perhaps we should look at the other side of this equation. Namely, "What makes each new OS release appear slower".

I for one cannot honestly say that I think WinXP is any faster than Win2K, nor was Win2K any faster than Win98, and so on.
Now naturally I relize that individual components become faster. But the overall feel seems to slow down each release. The same thing applies to Linux, in the form of each new release of taking longer to login and initialize.

faster use of preference files: TtoF (4, Interesting)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325595)

Early versions of some film scanner software that I worked on were terribly slow. A quick profile of the running code showed that about 10% of the time was spent in a little piece of code called TtoF(). This code parsed and coverted text into floats.

The earliest versions of the software did not convert key preference/calibration/setup files into internally stored numerical values -- instead, anytime the code needed a calibration/setup value, it went to the file, read it, and converted it. Needless to say, that "feature" was quickly corrected.

That's not as bad as an early VAX image processing program that prepped newly allocated file space by setting all the bytes to zero, one byte at a time.

Order of CPU hogging (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325600)

On any given day these are my top CPU hogging activities.

1.) Games
2.) M$ Apps
3.) Firewall Apps

How I would improve the speed of the system... (4, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325695)

Rewrite it!

This holds especially for applications, but it definitely applies to operating systems as well. Most modern software is simply bloated beyond belief.

BeOS, by all accounts, is a full-fledged OS, and it takes a Pentium (not Pentium 4, but original Pentium) 15 seconds to boot it, including the GUI. What's up with Windows and OS X taking over a minute on hardware that is several times faster?! On Linux, you could at least skip most of the init stuff and boot in seconds (likely mostly pauses that you have to keep for faulty PC hardware).

Then there's the libraries. glibc is well over 5 megabytes. You are not going to convince me that isn't bloatware. If all that code doesn't eat CPU time, it at least eats memory, which could lead to more swapping. GTK is also typical - ever resize a GTKWindow? It's visibly slow! That doesn't happen to Windows 3.11 on my grandpa's 486! What is that code doing?!

Applications... Firefox is what? 10 megabytes installed size? And that's a light weight browser. What? We need 10 megabytes on top of libc, X, and GTK for parsing a simple markup language and rendering those widgets? Excuse me! Even lynx is hundreds of kilobytes, and it mostly just reads data from a socket, strips the tags, and spits it straight out. What the fsck? Say "OpenOffice.org" or Java and I'll explode.

All we have today is bloatware. I'm *really* tempted to roll my own OS and applications, and I am going to have a shot at it this summer.

Easy! (2, Funny)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325722)

CFLAGS="-O99 -march=p4 -fomit-frame-pointer"

At least, that's what I heard on IRC. Oh, and use about a gram of silicone grease on the northbridge - that'll speed up your RAM.

What a surprise- MS does the same stuff, but... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325768)

...apparently not as well as Apple. Gee, didn't see that coming.

Every revision of OS X has run (or at least "felt") faster than its predecessor did on the same hardware. Panther will run fine on a five year-old G4, assuming you've added RAM to what the machine shipped with in 1999.

You absolutely cannot say that about Windows. Nobody sane would even consider trying to run XP on a PC they bought new in 1999. One of Microsoft's growing problems is that people are getting off the upgrade treadmill-- they've begun to REFUSE to upgrade to version n+1 because they know their computer will feel slower than it does with version n.

I've got a 733MHz G4 running OS X 10.2.8, and a home built (with *quality* parts) Athlon XP 2600 system running XP, and there's no comparison... the XP box feels terribly slower, even heavily optimized with all the XP eye candy shit turned off, unneeded services disabled and spyware, etc ruthlessly prevented/exterminated. OS X running on a machine with 1/3 of the horsepower thoroughly embarasses it in terms of user-perceived speed. That's just plain pathetic.
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