Benchmark (Phoronix): FreeBSD 9.0-RC2 vs. Oracle Linux 6.1 Server

Daniel Kalchev daniel at
Thu Dec 22 11:11:40 UTC 2011

On 22.12.11 12:50, Igor Mozolevsky wrote:
> On 22 December 2011 10:12, Daniel Kalchev<daniel at>  wrote:
>> As for how fast to get from point A to point B. If you observe speed limits,
>> that will depend only on the pilot, no? :)
>> Both cars are sufficiently faster than the imposed speed limits.
> You are ignoring acceleration, handling, and other factors... Besides,
> you're missing the point: *given same conditions* a benchmark allows
> one to show how A performs compared to B, which is why I said it is
> important to keep everything else constant! At the end of the day,
> what users, sysadmins,&c want to know is given hardware configuration
> H and requirement R will software X outperform software Y or Z. The
> components and the bells and whistles of X, Y or Z are, quite often,
> irrelevant (unless one has some silly idealogical reason, for
> example).

None of the benchmarks measure 'comfort'.
None of the benchmarks measure how the system 'feels' while performing 
an numerical computation.
The benchmarks measure how soon the computations are finished.

You typically achieve that by tuning the OS to say, ignore any 
interactivity at the cost of focusing all resources to compute-intensive 
If you use the same hardware, the CPU can do only so much and if there 
are any differences, that will be in how the OS asks the CPU to do other 
things, besides the task you benchmark.

You need to define your criteria. Otherwise the benchmark cannot be used 
to make comparisons.

>> On very specific hardware, such as systems with many CPUs and lots of
>> memory, you may see one better than the other -- this in most cases will be
>> relevant to tuning, but also to overall system architecture.
> Are you saying that careful tuning will give you _orders of magnitude_
> performance increase? Got numbers to back that up? ;-)

Ah.. now we are talking :)

Two things:

Someone once said, that you may have an very fast computation if only 
you need not make sure the results are correct. So yes, you can! :)

It is all too easy to make things worse, from the theoretical baseline. 
So often we measure not how 'good' an OS is, but how 'bad' it actually 
manages the hardware.

Well.. there is also some hardware that has limitations and you need to 
define the benchmark in a specific way to not touch them. Or you may 
have specific OS trying to avoid touching them -- and thus providing you 
with 'performance'.

>> You may make an very "scientific", well documented and repeatable benchmark,
>> such as this one:
>> time dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/null
>> .. then optimize your particular OS to run it at the highest possible
>> rate... and so what? Do you know what this benchmark measures? :)
> Yes, do you? I hope you are not being deliberately obtuse here...

I know, that different people will see different things being measured 
here. Let's see if someone else will jump in. (which is the purpose of 
this example)

> Besides, I would criticise your test in this example: have you tried
> running that with, say, bs=1g count=1000?

That would measure different things. :)

> Is there a difference how fast FreeBSD completes that vs how fast a Linux box does the same?

Why not? I would expect there will be difference in how fast different 
versions of FreeBSD complete it as well.

It could be also interesting to measure (although it's somewhat 
subjective) how interactive both systems stay during this task.


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