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[20070520] Application-level benchmarking NetBSD and FreeBSD
There was some public outcry some time ago when Gregory McGarry did a micro-benchmark Comparing of NetBSD 2.0 and FreeBSD 5.3 - microbenchmarks are useless, only application-level benchmarks show real differences, etc.

Leaving aside all the arguments, Thor Lancelot Simon did some musing on the subject, and taking two identical MacMinis, he ran them with an application that's common to many of us: compiling stuff. "Stuff" in that case was building a release of the NetBSD 4.0 release branch, using NetBSD-current (as of may 2007), and FreeBSD 6.2RC2. The results?

  • Build platform:   NetBSD 4.99.19 i386 started: Tue May 15 18:24:20 EDT 2007 ended:   Tue May 15 20:01:29 EDT 2007

  • Build platform:   FreeBSD 6.2-RC2 i386 started: Tue May 15 18:25:28 EDT 2007 ended:   Tue May 15 20:20:47 EDT 2007
I.e. 97 minutes build time on NetBSD, and 115 minutes on FreeBSD. Juggling numbers, one could say that NetBSD was about 20% faster in this case. Wow!

Maybe it should be noted that the building was done with 4 concurrent processes, to keep both cores of the MacMinis warm. On the NetBSD side, the SMP implementation is also the new "newlock2" based code by Andrew Doran that removes the kernel big lock for some paths inside the kernel, which may be responsible for the boost in performance.

See Thor's mail for more details.

(P.S.: This isn't intended as FreeBSD bashing, in case it's not obvious. Just a few facts...)

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