15 May 2007

The Gentoo experiment

Podunk said:
<arnold>Gentoo iss fo getting you pumped uuuup!<arnold>

Well, that an for agonizing over which CFLAGS to use to make programs that already complete in milliseconds do so 3% faster.

My experiment with Gentoo is complete. As it so happens, a coworker got the same hardware that I did, at the same time. He installed Ubuntu 7.04. It turns out that the compile times, and some other benchmarks really were around 0.1% (if that at times) between the two different installs.

I know a learned a huge amount of information about how a Linux install works under the hood. Much props to any Linux distro that moves you through it painlessly. There was also some strange fascination that I derived in watching source get downloaded and compiled so effortlessly. Perhaps its that same feeling you got when you used to see a kernel compile; you're really not that smart- you didn't write the code after all, but compiling it sure feels cool- especially when the screen is dumping debug like there's no tomorrow.

But, back to the point- why is it that there's no real performance difference between an Ubuntu and a Gentoo- one compiled for my machine, and another based off pre-compiled binaries? Maybe that's the beauty of the operating system. Maybe I'm just an ass. I don't know.

I do know this- I like my Debain based distros, and I've switched back to one.

apt-get install happiness

1 comment:

  1. I've never been through the process of living with a gentoo install. I tried twice a long time ago, but didn't have the free time to devote to learning it.

    I did find this, though:

    Is a Gentoo system faster? Anecdotal evidence is mixed. It seems that a Gentoo system runs somewhat faster than an identically configured system running one of the more popular distributions. But, any minor performance advantage is squandered completely if the system is not installed, configured and tuned correctly. Because many of us don't know how to do that, and because Gentoo offers so much latitude to do your own thing, it's easy to lose the benefits of slightly faster programs if you do something silly.