Tuning FreBSD with specific applications

Vittorio De Martino vdm.fbsd at virgilio.it
Thu Jun 2 20:17:35 GMT 2005

First of all:

On my laptop I've being using linux for some years now and "landed" at last to 
the gentoo distribution which I tuned for working with the statistical 
software R and the bunch of TeX programs such as latex, pdflatex, context and 
the likes (this absorb 95% of my activity on the linux box).
The main action I took with gentoo was to compile everything from scratch for 
my pc hardware, limiting the use of X & kde using all the above mentioned 
software prevailingly in a simple console.

Now in a partition of the same laptop I installed freebsd 5.4, set 
softupdates, dma=1, and the same pieces of software as those I had installed 
under linux using the ports, therefore, compiling everything for my pc 
hardware, but, owing to my poor knowledge of Freebsd I'm experiencing some 

In a nutshell I prepared the following test files:

1) a ConTeXt file full of long (useless) chapters and pictures to run with 
2) An R program which reads a long text file, puts the data in dataframes, 
then loops to accomplish many repetitive mathematical calculations.

Now running the test  files in a console linux turns out to be roughly 20-25% 
faster than freebsd. Particulary slow results the loop phase of the R source 
code that while running slows down and seems to clog in the end. The slowing 
down is also perceptible under linux but not at the same level.

Admiring the "ordered and unitary layout" of freebsd, the logical way of 
setting it up, the richness of applications,  I would like to line the 
freebsd installation up to the linux one, improving its performance at most, 
not necessarily making it faster than linux.

How could I obtain those improvements? What could I do to speed those programs 
under freebsd?


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