More on FreeBSD and performance

Since the conclusion of the SMPng project, the focus of SMP development in FreeBSD has shifted from deploying locking infrastructure to careful profiling and optimization of kernel SMP strategies for increased performance on common workloads. FreeBSD 7.0 was the first release to benefit from this optimization work.

The status of this work includes MySQL workload benchmarks and memory allocator performance in the new FreeBSD 8 branch. Also, here is a recent presentation showing FreeBSD compared to several other operating systems like NetBSD, DrangonFly, Solaris, and Linux.

Source: (11/03/2008) where you can also read a lively FBSD vs Linux comments thread.

The Open Source community united

I really like this picture that I stumbled upon last week.

I can see Tux, Beastie, Duke, Mozilla, OpenBSD, R. Stallman, GTK, Java,, GNU, Java, Apache. I don’t recognise the person between GNU and R. Stallman, neither am I sure what the camel is supposed to represent. If I’ve missed out any, let me know in the comments below.

PC-BSD 1.5 Edison – available for pre-order

PC-BSD 1.5 EdisonPC-BSD 1.5 Edison can now be pre-ordered from

PC-BSD 1.5 Edison Edition is a fully functional open source desktop operating system based on FreeBSD 6.3-STABLE. FreeBSD is one of the most used UNIX-like operating systems in the world and is widely renowned as the most stable and secure server operating system. PC-BSD has a Push-Button Installer (PBI) wizard developed exclusively for PC-BSD that lets users download and install a wide range of available applications in a self-extracting and self-installing format.

I’m faster than you! No I am!

All FreeBSD interested people will remember the document that Kris Kennaway released (Introducing FreeBSD). In this paper he explains how dramatic improvements have been achieved in FreeBSD 7.0; especially with regards to SMP and SQL database querying (MySQL and PostgreSQL). According to his findings FreeBSD even outperformes Linux.

There’s always been a healthy competition between Linux and FreeBSD, but stating that FreeBSD is faster than Linux, that hurts….

After major improvements in SMP support in FreeBSD 7.0, benchmarks show it performing 15% better than the latest Linux kernels (PDF, see slides 17 to 19) on 8 CPUs under PostgreSQL and MySQL. While a couple of benchmarks are not conclusive evidence, it can be assumed that FreeBSD will once again be a serious performance contender.

Linux kernel developer Nick Piggin reran the benchmark and came to a different conclusion: In his benchmark Linux was faster than FreeBSD.

I’m not an expert, but what do you guys think of this? Is Nick doing a fair analysis and comparison? Anybody been using FreeBSD 7 in a “heavy duty” (SQL) environment who can comment on this?

Faster performance, fewer machines for FreeBSD?

The need for speed in operating systems is never-ending.In the newly released FreeBSD 7.0, speed is a key improvement with gains of up to 1,500 percent at high load utilization over its predecessors in the FreeBSD 6.x branch.While performance improvements are a key aspect of FreeBSD, it’s not necessarily the most important new item in the free open source operating system.

“What is most important depends on what you want to do, of course,” Michael Lucas, FreeBSD contributor and author of Absolute FreeBSD, told “The performance improvements are quite astonishing and are what most people will notice first.”

This is a short interview with Michael Lucas (author of Absolute FreeBSD) and Matt Olander (CTO at iXsystems) on the release of FreeBSD 7.0.

Review of FreeBSD 7

This article is slightly dated – I presume it was written about 3-4 months ago, as it’s referring to the pending release of FreeBSD 7.0 in December, but it was put on only yesterday (05/03).

Still an interesting read. The article deals with the ULE scheduler, improved performance, DTrace and finstall (FreeBSD new installer)

FreeBSD has come a long way and has created great technical solutions to tough problems. The new scheduler will offer performance gains for years to come. New architectures are being added frequently, including Sun Microsystems Niagra processors, Apple Mac Books (and Mac-mini), and even an initial port to the Xbox platform.

The future is bright for FreeBSD and I’m certainly looking forward to the pending 7.0 release and beyond. The 7.1 release will see the ULE scheduler enabled by default and should also see the inclusion of the new installer into the mainstream releases. The multi-processor scalability will continue with the next goal of linear scalability on sixteen cores. There are now more than seventeen thousand ports and, with the new and improved performance, FreeBSD makes a formidable desktop and server operating system.

Full article can be found here.

First look at FreeBSD 7.0

FreeBSD LogoIn case you’ve not seen the “First look at FreeBSD 7.0″ article on distrowatch: The author used FreeBSD attempted to set up a FBSD 4.x system up a few years ago, and was quite disillusioned.

After configuring the X window and launching KDE, I was greeted with something that only a computing masochist could find enjoyable – no mouse or sound, unsightly jagged fonts, lack of a graphical package manager and other configuration tools… It took hours of searching and following “geeky” documentation before I was able to load the correct kernel modules for the USB mouse, install prettier fonts and set up anti-aliasing – all by editing obscure configuration files in Vim. Needless to say, the first impressions weren’t good. Despite an obviously elegant system with a large number of packages available for installation, the tedium of setting it up as a desktop system was discouraging, to say the least.

He was surprised to see how FreeBSD has improved and transformed over the years to a much more friendlier system and concludes with:

So would FreeBSD 7.0 make a decent desktop system? I haven’t run it long enough to be able to answer the question, but from my initial testing I would be perfectly happy to give it a more intensive try. It certainly looks like a nicely crafted system, with extreme attention to detail – at least when it comes to the kernel and userland. The new package management utilities and improvements in security handling are also impressive. But don’t expect to insert the FreeBSD CD and boot into a gorgeous graphical environment – that’s not what the FreeBSD development team had set out to achieve. Luckily, with projects like PC-BSD or DesktopBSD, one can have the best of both worlds – the speed, stability and reliability of BSD, combined with an intuitive installer, package management and system configuration tools of the Linux world. If you don’t fall into the “geek” category of computer users, you can always trust the two above-mentioned projects to deliver the goods.

Read the whole review here.

Has anybody else, among you, my readers, upgraded to / installed to FreeBSD 7.0 yet? It would be nice to hear from you.