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Microsoft Reports OSS Unix Beats Windows XP

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the why-all-the-fighting dept.

Microsoft 442

Mortimer.CA writes "In a weblog entry, Paul Murphy mentions a Microsoft report (40 page PDF) that in many instances FreeBSD 5.3 and Linux perform better than Windows XP SP2. The report is about MS' Singularity kernel (which does perform better than the OSS kernels by many of the metrics they use), and some future directions in OS design (as well as examination of the way things have been done in the past)." From the post: "What's noteworthy about it is that Microsoft compared Singularity to FreeBSD and Linux as well as Windows/XP - and almost every result shows Windows losing to the two Unix variants. For example, they show the number of CPU cycles needed to "create and start a process" as 1,032,000 for FreeBSD, 719,000 for Linux, and 5,376,000 for Windows/XP."

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442 comments

44 pages and the main question is still unanswered (4, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010279)


Here's an interesting snippet I found while perusing the PDF...thought I'd share.
On the other hand, this paper does not validate our goal of increased dependence. Measuring that aspect of a system is significantly more challenging than performance. We do not yet have results for Singularity.
Interesting...Singularity is ostensibly supposed to be about stability, but the 44-page paper has no data on this. Kinda like saying, "Our new bulletproof vest is 40% lighter than our leading competitors, and twice as flexible. How well does it stop bullets, you ask? Sorry...we do not yet have results for that benchmark.".

Wake me when a paper comes out about Microsoft's new stability-oriented OS that actually addresses that particular aspect of the product.

Re:44 pages and the main question is still unanswe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010298)

You may as well sleep forever.

Re:44 pages and the main question is still unanswe (4, Insightful)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010331)

Well, that's sort of to be expected. Stability is not as easy to measure as other things, since you need benchmarks over a long period of time. Further, since it's still a research OS, it's likely in constant flux and doesn't have the same kind of stability hardening of a retail OS.

Re:44 pages and the main question is still unanswe (-1, Troll)

kimvette (919543) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010475)

In order to obtain benchmarks over that long period of time, one must avoid reboots.

I mean, you DO patch your Windows XP box, don't you? Most of the security patches require a reboot. No wonder Microsoft cannot get any data on long-term performance including stability and memory leaks - they're constantly rebooting so their test boxes don't get pwned by script kiddies! ;)

Re:44 pages and the main question is still unanswe (1)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010500)

That is such a troll. Every OS has updates.

Re:44 pages and the main question is still unanswe (1)

lubricated (49106) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010519)

but very few gnu/linux updates require reboots. IOW, It is rare for the kernel itself to need a patch.

Re:44 pages and the main question is still unanswe (4, Informative)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010578)

While technically, reboots are not required for anything other than kernel patches, there are lots of situations where it's easier to reboot than to restart every application (which might as well be a reboot anyways). For example, glibc updates will require almost every application to be restarted, or you risk exposing vulnerabilities.

Re:44 pages and the main question is still unanswe (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010534)

Some OSes don't require a complete reboot when you do an update. Also, some don't require a reboot but recommend one (Solaris comes to mind). In most of the *NIX world, you can just restart a few services instead of rebooting. Personally, I've never been in a situation where I can't take the server down at non-peak times for routine maintenance so it really doesn't matter to me. In fact, a lot of times rebooting is easier than finding which services were patched and restarting them.

But that impacts "stability". (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010591)

I am reminded of the Win9x bug that caused a failure every 49 days.

If your system is not "up" long enough to trigger a bug, is it "stable"?

If "yes", then at what point does a system become "unstable"? If I have to reboot every year? Month? Week? Day? Hour? Minute?

Or is "stable" defined in terms of "unexpected crash" and discounts any "crash" that is avoided by rebooting the system?

This is one of the reasons I like Linux. Because the system doesn't require reboots except to replace the kernel, it is easier to identify apps that are unstable AND GET THEM FIXED.

Re:44 pages and the main question is still unanswe (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010586)

Didn't Mel Gibson say that in a movie once?

"Ev'ry OS has oopdates, but not ev'ry OS reeequires a reboot!"

Seriously though, very few Linux updates, for example, require a reboot. Most updates occur in user space and can be adequately applied by restarting the applicable services (if any). You just have to be aware of exactly what is being updated and what it affects.

In the (non-Windows) server world, rebooting is a big no-no.

-matthew

Re:44 pages and the main question is still unanswe (5, Funny)

teknopagan (912839) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010362)

I just have to bow before the guy who can read a 44 page pdf and post an intelligible, coherent comment on it in less than two minutes. I just have to ask - where do you get that kind of caffeine?

Amazing.

Re:44 pages and the main question is still unanswe (1)

pingveno (708857) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010471)

It sounds like this is a *research* project. That doesn't mean that everything is perfect and optimized yet, but only that new ideas are being tested out. Stability comes far later.

Re:44 pages and the main question is still unanswe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010474)

Kinda like writing a paper on TripMaster monkey without including a section on blatant god awful Karma Whoring.

Re:44 pages and the main question is still unanswe (5, Interesting)

trondd (824943) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010503)

You clearly don't know much about what makes an operating system stable... Stability depends partly on how much error checking the compiler is capable of doing, partly on how people write software (design) and partly on how well the operating system is designed to separate processes and different parts from each other. Singulary addresses all of these issues: Its mainly writen in a "safe" language which is strongly typed and does lots of compiletime check and it is a microkernel operating system which (at least in theory) prevents your cheezy usb webcam driver from crashing the kernel. Most other unix wannabe systems are writen in the ancient language C :), and run monolithic kernels.

But singularity isn't all new, it just implements old ideas: Occam and QNX!

But in my opinion, Singularity just might be the most interessting os to emerge in the last years. It will be interesting to see how long it will take the free software world to come up with something similar :) (btw, I am a long term happy gnu/linux user, and have no plan of switching...)

Dependence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010513)

...this paper does not validate our goal of increased dependence.

As in drug dependence?

dependance or dependability? (1)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010595)

Are these guys non-native speakers or what? Dependance is a bad thing, dependability is good.

sheesh.

Too Telling (5, Funny)

teknopagan (912839) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010290)

Isn't it telling that the idea of Microsoft telling the truth is considered front page news on /.?

Re:Too Telling (0, Redundant)

Rei (128717) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010408)

Actually, what I found most telling about Windows was (from the summary, not the article):

they show the number of CPU cycles needed to "create and start a process" as 1,032,000 for FreeBSD, 719,000 for Linux, and 5,376,000 for Windows/XP."

5,376,000 cycles just to spawn a process? Dear YHVH, what the heck are they doing with that many cycles? Writing its biography? Waiting for the release of Duke Nukem Forever? usleep(5375000000000)?

It is kind of amusing, however, to see Microsoft (which has constantly spun Windows as being faster than Unix) admit how poorly it performs.

Re:Too Telling (5, Interesting)

Deviate_X (578495) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010547)

I don't know what those 5m vs 1m cycles are doing. But what I do know that fundamentally Windows was designed with high-performance threading/wait operations and high-performance asynchronous operations, whereas Unix and its derivates rely on high performance process-creation, blocking I/O for sever applications.

I.e. Apache 1.3x series performs poorly on windows because it was a straight copy of the Unix edition - using processes rather than threads.

Re:Too Telling (3, Interesting)

websaber (578887) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010454)

This is the real big threat to the open source community. Once Microsoft becomes honest whith themselves they might start making real progress on the engineering side of their product. Marketing will get you so far when you have no more competition but good engineering can make it stick.

Re:Too Telling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010478)

No, what's telling is that it's only front page news on /. when that news favors [Linux|Apple].

Re:Too Telling (2, Insightful)

PickyH3D (680158) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010505)

I think it's more telling that the paper shows Linux or FreeBSD as performing better in a few tests, which is the reason it was able to appear on the front page.

I'm happy though that MS may be taking Singularity seriously. Maybe we will see their OS in 2011-2015 based on it? Unless some sort of major shift in its purpose occurs, then I would definitely jump ship from whatever I am on then, to that and I will definitely port/develop my software for the OS.

Clock this first post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010295)

Damn, did not make it!! You damn Linux hippies

premature optimization (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010301)

is the root of all evil -- some famous computer guy

example:
install python, wxpython, pythoncard, egenix python extensions, java, jpype,
& a few other python modules in linux. latest version of python btw.

do the same in windows

see which takes longer

so much for 'performance'

Re:premature optimization (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010400)

is a lot like premature ejaculation; You will regret if you do it.

Re:premature optimization (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010404)

see which takes longer

Is "searching the manpages" included in the benchmark time?

*Ducks*

I believe that's, Premature Ejaculation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010602)

That's the root of all evil.

5 Steps of Grieving (4, Funny)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010303)

hmm funny, the last step is Acceptance. Too bad it seems Microsoft skipped the "bargaining" step.

Re:5 Steps of Grieving (1)

justsomebody (525308) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010342)

Too bad it seems Microsoft skipped the "bargaining" step.

And all those times billg or steveb visited some coutry would be called what? Extortion?

Re:5 Steps of Grieving (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010431)

You sort of have to accept the mistakes of the past if you hope to do better in the future. Anything else is insane.

What is interesting is that this might be a signal that they are actually trying to do something better. To honestly work to improve stuff at the core rather than slapping on another layer of shiny sparkles.

I doubt this would happen without Linux and the BSDs coming in on the flanks.

What's the point of CreateProcess benchmarks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010306)

Let me know when you have an application that creates thousands of processes on Windows, and I'll pay attention.

dom

Re:What's the point of CreateProcess benchmarks? (4, Insightful)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010351)

It's not so much about its ability to start thousands of processes. What is important is that it takes Windows XP five times as long as FreeBSD to create a single process, and seven times as long as Linux. That's a significant difference.

Re:What's the point of CreateProcess benchmarks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010376)

But how long does it take to create threads? Either of those might change the whole outlook.

Re:What's the point of CreateProcess benchmarks? (3, Informative)

ichin4 (878990) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010520)

Processes in Unix are lightweight objects, and the OS spawns them left and right. Processes in Windows are heavyweight objects, and the OS creates only a handfull of them. The lightweight objects in windows are threads, and you'll notice that Windows thread creation is faster than Unix thread creation. These are just different OS design philosophies.

Re:What's the point of CreateProcess benchmarks? (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010492)

Did you ever think that the reason there aren't any is that Windows can't handle it well? Seems like pretty circular reasoning.

Re:What's the point of CreateProcess benchmarks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010543)

It is sort of artificial. The only thing that would do serious process creation would be script interpreters. But you don't use scripts for speed. Scripts that do strive for speed incorporate a lot of builtin commands to help with this problem.


As for thread creation (mentioned in a subreply), it's also sort of a non problem. Everybody assumes thread creation sucks on all platforms, so they use thread pools as a standard thing. If some OS managed to implement super fast thread creation, they'd have a hell of a time to get programmers to *stop* using thread pools.

Singularity is truly an intriguing system. (5, Insightful)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010315)

Singularity is a very interesting system. But that's not surprising, when you consider some of the brains behind it: Galen Hunt, Wolfram Schulte, Ulfar Erlingsson, Rebecca Isaacs, and many others who are well-known for their research.

In twenty or so years we may look back at Microsoft Research with the same admiration we have for Bell Labs.

Re:Singularity is truly an intriguing system. (5, Funny)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010357)

In twenty or so years we may look back at Microsoft Research with the same admiration we have for Bell Labs.

I just shot soda out of my nose. You owe me a keyboard.

Re:Singularity is truly an intriguing system. (4, Interesting)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010389)

Now that you're done being sarcastic, go look into some of the research [microsoft.com] that is being done at Microsoft Research. Like it or not, it is top of the line work. They're at the cutting edge, and they're well financed.

Re:Singularity is truly an intriguing system. (4, Interesting)

geomon (78680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010438)

Like it or not, it is top of the line work. They're at the cutting edge, and they're well financed.

Okay, but how many of their innovations (Christ Microsoft loves that word!) actually make it to the outside world?

I think your comparison to Bell Labs is good, however, in that much of what Bell Labs created required others to make into real products. AT&T/Ma Bell sat on every innovation until it nearly suffocated due to lack of capital investment.

Re:Singularity is truly an intriguing system. (1)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010469)

We will just have to wait and see. Then again, even if a specific project doesn't go commercial, there is always the knowledge that was gained from it. In many cases that is more valuable than the tangibles the project may deliver.

Re:Singularity is truly an intriguing system. (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010465)

And where did the last great scientific lab come from? A raging monopoly (AT&T), that's where. When did they do their best work? When they were funded by a raging monopoly. I think the comparison to Microsoft Research is quite apt.

Re:Singularity is truly an intriguing system. (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010594)

The interesting thing is that MS Research does do a lot of truly interesting pieces of research - but the funny thing is, despite this, MS itself uses few to none of the fruits of this research, preferring instead to just buy up other companies and copy other technologies.

Re:Singularity is truly an intriguing system. (1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010439)

So, if you work for Microsoft Research, there's no way you can be doing cutting edge research?

Re:Singularity is truly an intriguing system. (1)

geomon (78680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010461)

So, if you work for Microsoft Research, there's no way you can be doing cutting edge research?

No, but if you work for Microsoft Research it is likely that the results of your research may never see the light of day as products. Unless there is a way for Microsoft to make hoards of cash from your idea, it will be stillborn.

Re:Singularity is truly an intriguing system. (1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010531)

I bet Microsoft patents most of its research just like IBM. Hence, most of the research will see the light of day. Of course, if you believe that patenting is a bad idea and equivalent to withholding research, you are right.

Re:Singularity is truly an intriguing system. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010399)

"In twenty or so years we may look back at Microsoft Research with the same admiration we have for Bell Labs."

Shut up you nimrod.

MS Research has never actually produced anything of value. It's sole purpose is for Microsoft to collect smart people from throughout the industry and pay them to sit around and not create innovative stuff for other companies. Microsoft could care less if they pick their noses for eight hours a day or write new operating systems.

Re:Singularity is truly an intriguing system. (5, Insightful)

yurnotsoeviltwin (891389) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010429)

You definitely have a good point there. Everyone around here bashes Microsoft obviously, and for good reason. Their business practices can get a bit on the shady side sometimes, though they problably aren't deserving of quite the amount of hate they get around these parts. But their programming and research, particularly research, isn't that shabby, and certainly isn't "evil." Remember, M$ doesn't just sell operating systems, it makes them too, and to do that you have to have brains. I think some people around here need to give at least the engineers and researchers in Microsoft a little more respect.

Re:Singularity is truly an intriguing system. (1)

errxn (108621) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010523)

I think some people around here need to give at least the engineers and researchers in Microsoft a little more respect.

Here? On /.? I suspect that day will occur right around...NEVER.

Re:Singularity is truly an intriguing system. (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010444)

In twenty or so years we may look back at Microsoft Research with the same admiration we have for Bell Labs.

Well, they caught up with our hatred for Ma' Bell in NO TIME. That ought to say something :)

Re:Singularity is truly an intriguing system. (1)

raxx7 (205260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010527)

The ideia behind isn't new. IBM's very successfull AS/400 line used the same concept.
However, I think that now is a good time to take another look at the concept, using the improvements in JIT and applying OOP concepts to the OS.

Re:Singularity is truly an intriguing system. (3, Insightful)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010544)

Sad that your comment is modded as funny. In fact what you say is insightful and probably will turn out to be true. It amazes me how most people in this forum refuse to give Microsoft credit for anything they do or have done, but they are more than willing to heap blame upon them. I believe that *overall* Microsoft has in fact been a positive force in the industry. This doesn't mean everything they have done worked out for the "common good", but I think the scale tips in that direction. And don't forget that they continue to spend lots of R&D dollars both on product development and pure research. You would think a technical audience like /. would appreciate that. To me it smacks mostly of envy and jealousy. Can't we all just get along?

Re:Singularity is truly an intriguing system. (1)

SnprBoB86 (576143) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010593)

I am even more saddened that your comment was not modded up. I wish had had mod points for you.

Competition (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010322)

Don't you love competition????

How can you hate microsoft or *nix? We need each other so that we can constantly get better and gauge our progress. I really hope that MS can learn to live with the OSS community; it will benefit everyone, including MS.

5,376,000 cycles for Windows/XP (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010326)

Is that including the spyware/worm/rootkit overhead?

That explains a lot (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010337)

I guess this explains why linux boxes do so much better than windows boxes at high load, it takes the windows computer almost 8x as long to start a new process! That's something where a little bit of optimising really helps =)

No it doesn't. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010430)

It explains why apache for windows uses threads. Everyone has always known creating processes is slow on windows. Unix has always heavily optimized this since unix programs were so frequently written to fork(). Very few windows programs spawn processes at any rate that would cause you to notice a slowdown.

Re:That explains a lot (1)

wzzrd (545802) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010616)

In regard to your signature: "There are 4 boxes to use in the defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury, ammo. Use in that order. Starting now." You forgot one box. A Linux box. But you probably get that remark all the time ;)

Microsoft Research is not Microsoft. (4, Insightful)

Kickasso (210195) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010349)

Microsoft is not Microsoft Research. Microsoft Research folks use and make free software, and in general are not ideologically bound to the parent organisation.

You're SO fired! (4, Funny)

Kevin Burtch (13372) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010359)

I bet the person who put that report on MS's site has been drooling over the severance package... ;-)

Great, now... (1)

Orrin Bloquy (898571) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010360)

...all we need is a system where Slashdot beats OSNews and Fark.com to a scoop. /save your mod points, it's a joke. //OSNews covered this yesterday ///just like the x86 OS X performance story

Sure, linux, great.. (0, Flamebait)

InsideTheAsylum (836659) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010364)

I mean, yeah, I'm up for IP socialism, but when games come to Linux is when I come to linux. Simple as that! It's windows (frowny face minus :(- ) for me for now.

Re:Sure, linux, great.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010457)

I mean, yeah, I'm up for IP socialism, but when games come to Linux is when I come to linux. Simple as that! It's windows (frowny face minus :(- ) for me for now.

So what you're saying is you're a gaymer?

Give me a fucking break (5, Insightful)

Wonko42 (29194) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010368)

I've been seeing this damn report hailed all over the Internet for the last few days as Microsoft saying Unix is better than Windows, but apparently nobody has actually read the report.

For one thing, Windows is not slower than Unix in most of the tests. It's slower than Unix in some of the tests and faster in others. For another, these benchmark results are for low-level things like spawning processes and threads. Any programmer who knows anything about Unix and Windows will tell you that threads are cheaper in Windows and processes are cheaper in Unix, because that's how they were designed. So of course Windows is going to be slower than Unix at creating processes, and of course Unix is going to be slower than Windows at creating threads.

The only thing worth reporting about this thing is the performance of Singularity, which looks like it's shaping up to be an excellent modern kernel.

Re:Give me a fucking break (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010479)

Any programmer who knows anything about Unix and Windows will tell you that threads are cheaper in Windows and processes are cheaper in Unix, because that's how they were designed.

You, sir, actually know something about computers and are not welcome here. Or, at least, please confine your comments to "I bet Steve Ballmer through a chair at teh flying spagetti monstar!!!!" and the like.

Re:Give me a fucking break (2, Informative)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010495)

Are you saying that Paul Murphy's statement that, "almost every result [in the published report] shows Windows losing to the two Unix variants." is inaccurate?

(I'm not being sarcastic: I haven't yet had time to read the full report, and would genuinely like to know.)

Re:Give me a fucking break (4, Insightful)

Wonko42 (29194) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010551)

Yes. It's the "almost every" that I have an issue with, because it's a blatant exaggeration. I've also seen that phrasing used in several news articles about the report. But when I looked at the actual report, I saw plenty of tests where Windows actually beat Unix. I didn't bother counting, but I'd estimate that the two came out pretty evenly matched, with Unix maybe slightly ahead. In any case, no matter which one beat the other more times, these are very low-level tests. Nobody's going to notice these differences unless they're running a high-traffic server or doing some really heavy-duty computing.

You are not welcome here (-1, Offtopic)

DogDude (805747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010515)

Sorry, but this is Slashdot where facts and level-headed discussions are not welcome.

Memory Usage? (3, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010374)

XP sucks memory.

The future: Longhorn will suck far more memory than XP.

They must be in cahoots with the memory makers, alert Rambus!

TFA (1)

222 (551054) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010375)

From TFA...

"So why is this interesting? Because their test methods reflect Windows internals, not Unix kernel design. There are better, faster, ways of doing these things in Unix, but these guys - among the best and brightest programmers working at Microsoft- either didn't know or didn't care."

So, Windows still loses at times when using what seems to be a biased (or simply uninformed) testing method? Loelz.

Quick Show of Hands: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010379)

Who didn't already know this was true?

Who didn't already know this was true for the last twenty years?

The best benchmark is your own actual use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010395)

The best benchmark is your own actual use. Different benchmarks model different situations, none of which actually measure how things perform for your specific case.
You can get evaluation copies of just about anything.

That's why it's called "development" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010406)

Hence Singularity being a research project and not a commercial offering (yet). So how well did Linux stack up to other OSes when it was still pre-beta? This is such a non-story. Posts like this are what gives /. its reputation for being an outlet for OSS fanboys.

Funny how memos like "Windows XP still hands Linux its ass in the desktop market -- any questions?" never leak out to the public.

Re:That's why it's called "development" (1)

geomon (78680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010489)

Funny how memos like "Windows XP still hands Linux its ass in the desktop market -- any questions?" never leak out to the public.

How much of that advantage is performance based and how much is due to monopoly control?

Processes v. threads (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010414)

NT (and its latter incarnations like XP and so forth) are desgined to use threads rather than process for multi-processing/concurrency, I understood. Is Win XP less efficient in multi-threading than BSD/Linux? The history of threads in UNIX seems more later bolt-on - UNIX was designed with multi-process model, I think.

No I didn't RTFA.

Re:Processes v. threads (4, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010536)

Exactly. NT got it's process model from VMS, and process creation was a very heavyweight operation. Unix, by contrast, had a very lightweight process creation operation. Hence NT needed threads to provide a faster alternative to processes, while Unix (whose processes were almost as cheap to create as NT threads) didn't really need threads for anything other than a marketing checklist (about the only thing Unix threads get you that processes don't is fully-shared address space, and I'd argue that's often more a problem than an advantage).

Strangely enough, 5,376,000 (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010421)

is also the number of cycles needed to crash a process.

Wohoo! (2, Funny)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010433)

Finally a proper microkernel OS design by Microsoft! prof Tanenbaum would be proud!

Come on, who cares about statistics? I'm glad they're actually doing something useful: CS research!

Oh wait, this is /.: Die M$ XP, DIE! *pinky to mouth*

Re:Wohoo! (1)

Kickasso (210195) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010483)

It's not really a mickokernel, as everything (including the userland) is in one big address space.

Any measure of CPU cycles for granny tasks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010445)

How many CPU cycles does granny take to configure her printer on the different OSes?

Typical (5, Interesting)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010451)

This is pretty typical. Microsoft's biggest competitor is their old software, so their new offerings have to look good against it.

Remember Windows 95's marketing? "32-bit memory protection makes it uncrashable!" Remember Windows 98's marketing? "Even more stable than 95!" Remember Windows 2000's marketing? "Based on an NT core, it's more stable than the crash-prone Windows 9x!"

Its revisionist history. The only way to get a somewhat accurate picture is if you compare their current claims with what they've said about new technology in the past.

Article misses the point (4, Informative)

ichin4 (878990) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010456)

This article takes a very interesting report on a reference implementation of some innovative ideas in OS design and reduces it to a couple of entirely peripheral, seat-of-the-pants benchmarks that support the "OSS rulez!" thesis.

Even people like me, who have only a basic knowledge of OS architecture, can tell you that processes are lightweight in Unix and heavyweight in Windows. The lightweight objects in Windows are threads, which is why Windows makes so much use of threads, while Unix spawns processes left and right.

Typical slashdot post exaggerations (4, Insightful)

chris09876 (643289) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010458)

The scenario stated in the slashdot post does show a situation where linux performs better than Windows. ...but after looking through the "performance" section of the whitepaper, it's pretty much the only case where linux is better. Windows appears to beat linux on quite a few other tests (such as memory use of a 'hello world' program, the executable size, and even some of the 'cost of basic operations' tests)

This isn't Microsoft (5, Interesting)

The Pim (140414) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010467)

This is Microsoft Research. They have the same independence as university researchers--that is how Microsoft lures them away from academia. These guys are making honest comparisons to Linux and FreeBSD, because that is what they do as good researchers. Microsoft is enlightened enough not to interfere.

What's really amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010480)

What's most amazing to me isn't the results of the research -- facts I take for granted anyway -- but the fact that Microsoft published it in PDF and not .doc format on their own website.

Waking up? (2, Interesting)

headkase (533448) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010517)

Instead of paying rapt attention to what Microsoft is doing what I would like to see the OSS community do is consciously form more organizations that would as an express purpose chip away at Microsoft's software base. What I mean by this is make sure your program runs on Windows for now. Get people using OSS and used to the idea so that the next time average-joe needs some software he'll search for an OSS program first. Then once that mindshare has been established begin to work towards the more core functions like the OS itself. Who knows, Microsoft might at some point simply open up the source of Windows to counter a loss of control to OSS if they see that their customers are truly ready to abandon ship. And to build that feeling in customers give them options - if all their useful software is OSS then they can swap out the lower levels (like Linux for Windows) without feeling any transition pain at all because their software applications didn't change at all only the plumbing did.
Ballmer's right, it is all about developers. OSS developers can introduce OSS values into the Windows "ecosystem" for lack of a better word and see what happens.

Win/XP, MacOS/X, WhatThe/Heck? (4, Funny)

danaris (525051) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010540)

Entirely OT, I know, but...

Why is it that some people seem to think that all OS names, when they have a qualifier of some kind attached to the generic term, need a slash to separate them? Just because GNU/Linux is written that way does not mean it's some kind of law, people...

It's Windows XP. That's WINDOWS {SPACE} XP. And Mac OS X. Spaces. No slashes.

...

I don't know why I even bother...

Dan Aris

Re:Win/XP, MacOS/X, WhatThe/Heck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010592)

Tell it preacher!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That = true!!!!!!!!

Wow is this ever misleading (4, Insightful)

tqbf (59350) | more than 8 years ago | (#14010555)

Here's the table from the paper, ranked best-worst, W=windows, F=freebsd, L=linux, S=singularity:

Read Cycle Counter: W: 2, F: 6, L: 6, W: 2, S: 8

ABI Call: S:87, L:437, W:627, F:878

Thread Yield: S:394, W:753, L:906, F: 911

2-Thread ping-pong: S:1207, W:1658, L: 4041, F: 4707

2-Message ping-pong: S:1452, L: 5797, W: 6244, F: 13304

Process Creation: S: 300000, L: 719000, F: 1032000, W: 5376000

The only stat in this table that Windows trails on is process creation. And anybody who has ever ported Unix code to Win32 knows exactly why: Windows is thread-oriented, and Windows systems don't tend to use helper programs or demand-forking to get work done. Which might be why Windows beats Unix in the thread benchmarks, but not in the IPC benchmarks. On the more general benchmarks, like cycles to issue a system call, Windows falls smack in the middle --- and, again, Windows has a slightly different take on what is and isn't a system call.

Drawing comparisons between Singularity and normal operating systems here is silly. Singularity doesn't have processes in the conventional sense; since there's no hardware dependencies on "process" creation in Singularity, IPC and forking are much faster.

Which is why this benchmark is reasonable inside the Singularity tech report (they're trying to demonstrate that there's a major performance benefit in rethinking boundaries between programs), but totally unreasonably outside that context: these are micro-benchmarks, like the ones CISC and RISC people throw at each other, and don't describe the amount of time it takes to complete a high-level task. Time to execute a system call is meaningful only in the context of how many system calls it takes to complete the task you're measuring.

I don't know what the author was reading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010573)

But if you read the *actual* numbers in the PDF, windows XP beats Linux and FreeBSD in virtually every category *except* process creation.

You guys want to claim this demonstrates XP is slow at process creation, sure, be my guest because you're dead on right, but to claim this is some sort of hidden "gotcha" document where Microsoft unwittingly demonstrates the superiority of the Free 'nixes requires some *serious* cherrypicking of the data.

SLASHDOT NIGGERS BURN IN HELL (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14010588)

I fucking hate nigs. Fuck all of you slashdot niggers. Niggers burn in hell. After cumming on their shit colored faces.
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