FreeBSD's problems as seen by the community

Robert Watson rwatson at
Thu Jan 10 07:41:30 PST 2008

On Thu, 10 Jan 2008, Adrian Chadd wrote:

> Again, if someone there wrote up some performance test suites or built a 
> testing environment then I'm sure you'll get some help.
> The FreeBSD has always been helpful when people willing to develop have 
> stood up and engaged the community in coming to a solution. So, are you guys 
> willing to stand up and contribute something towards solutions to the 
> problems you're seeing?

Indeed -- experience suggests that we tend to do the best job at improving the 
performance and quality of code when there are willing hands with quantitative 
measures by which to evaluate progress.  Something I'd really like to see, for 
example, are some tests that look at the latency of operations visible to 
users in the windowing system and reduce the results down to a set of simple 
values that can be used to drive optimization.  This has worked very well with 
workloads like SQL processing, DNS, etc, and I think could work well in other 
areas.  The key here is getting people who care about workloads to invest time 
to try and make them (or comparable workloads) accessible to developers. 
Coming up with those benchmarks, or at least measures, proves tricky and 
requires quite a bit of technical expertise, but I think it's often more 
accessible than coming up with the fixes and architectural changes required to 
improve numbers.  But it's surpising how motivation a simple set of 
performance numbers can be in the right hands.

Robert N M Watson
Computer Laboratory
University of Cambridge

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