[Techtalk] code efficiency? (was Re: IDE Controller support)

Maria Blackmore mariab at cats.meow.at
Mon Aug 26 21:07:49 EST 2002

On Mon, 26 Aug 2002, Sophie wrote:

> On Sat, Aug/24/02 04:52:45PM -0500, Julie wrote:
> > The oldest desktop box in the house is a 166MHz Pentium (a
> > Dell Dimension XP 166, I think).  It used to run DELL UNIX
> > really well, and older versions of RedHat quite adequately.
> > Today it is =so= incredibly slow.
> nod. This is an issue I have with Linux - over time, it seems to be
> getting bigger and bigger (although obviously supports more).

Just because the size of the code is bigger, that doesn't mean that the
kernel it produces is any larger, since as you pointed out it supports
more, and the chances are that most of this additional hardware that is
supported will not be included in your kernel.

The kernel that my system is using at the moment is just a shade over 1 MB
in size, and if I remember one of the first kernels I ever built myself
(for a machine containing considerably less in the way of fancy hardware)
was about 670 kB.  So from a 2.0.33 kernel to a 2.4.18 kernel, that isn't
such a bad increase.  I remember calling it "bloatware" when I first built
a kernel that was bigger than 800 kB somewhere in the 2.2 series :)

> The systems I have at home around that size (low-end pentiums) mostly
> run openbsd (headless), serving nfs or whatever. I enjoy openbsd
> because it's still fast on the slowest machines - it wasnt written for
> speed, but it just feels so clean, and empty... it cant be anything
> *but* fast.

You know, that's interesting that you say that. :)  I remember you
sitting down at tigger (my workstation) and saying that you percieved it
to be faster and much slicker to use than your significantly more powerful
machine that ran FreeBSD ... also saying that for the first time you could
tell the machine to do things, and they would just happen.

This probably isn't a comparable test, since both tigger and Sophies
machine have two CPUs.  The difference could be in the process scheduler
or anywhere.

> Obviously compared to a desktop system rendering things in realtime
> 3d, it would suck, btu that's not what I use it for.

Only comparatively, remember people used to use systems like that running
POVray overnight :)

> The slowest machines I have (not x86) run commercial unicies, which
> still feel fast, presumablly because they were written specifically
> for that architecture.

I'll have to get out the Personal Iris for you some time :)


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