Subject: Re: Linux seeming to run faster?
To: Greywolf <>
From: Matthew Orgass <>
List: tech-kern
Date: 10/08/2000 03:22:10
On Sat, 7 Oct 2000, Greywolf wrote:

> I have a question that's been kind of burning on me for a while now,   
> and that is what in blazes are they doing that is giving the illusion
> that they run faster than we do on just about every platform?
  Linux probably does run faster on every platform.  Just try to read the
source to see why:  most of the OS is MD and must be rewritten for each
port.  In many places, Linux directly uses MD instructions where NetBSD
has several function calls.  In other places, Linux structures represent
registers where NetBSD structures represent whatever the registers mean. 
Porting Linux almost means writing a new OS. 
  In return, the time it takes to port NetBSD is a small fraction of the
time it takes to port Linux, and once that is done one hour of MI work on
NetBSD is usually worth at least 1 * N ports hours work on Linux and often
much more.  There are far more Linux developers than NetBSD developers,
yet NetBSD runs better on more platforms.

> Tried Linux.  Want NetBSD.  But what gives in the performance
> department?
  You shouldn't see a huge performance difference unless something is
wrong. A 5% difference on modern hardware would be reasonable (with some
time made up by better algorithms).  However, NetBSD has been getting
slower and should probably be audited for reasonable performance
enhancements and delay abuses.

> Is NetBSD just not cut out for graphical/workstation use,
> practically speaking?  Are we shooting for the server market?
  NetBSD should be used for everything but toasters, microwaves, and such. 
Your toaster, microwave, refrigerator, lights, etc. should, of course, be
mostly hardware with a little firmware and deal with raw data and
controls, with the data being sent do a NetBSD machine that uses your
handy robotic arm to cook your meals and feed your cat while you hack up
an interface driver for your new electric blanket. 
Matthew Orgass