Re: Goodbye SuSE 9.2. Hello gentoo!
From: David Wright (david_c_wright_at_hotmail.com)
Date: Thu, 09 Dec 2004 09:26:41 +0100
Lin Tong Wang wrote:
> On Thu, 09 Dec 2004 02:13:53 +0000, Paul J Gans wrote:
> I am simply making a comparison, you guys are taking this way too far.
>> I agree totally with houghi on this.
> So do I, in his particular case, but that doesn't mean my observations are
> without merit.
>> All a machine has to be is fast enough.
> Houghi says "or so I am told" so how does he really know?
> I know because I have tried the various versions on a pretty fast
> hardware wise machine.
>> If you are writing programs and doing very large compiles,
>> then you need a faster machine (or certainly faster disks.)
> And if you are running the Indy 500 the fastest car has an advantage.
> However, having a fast car certainly makes getting on freeways a lot
> easier and generally, even in daily use is more pleasant to drive than one
> that can't get out of it's own way. An Indy car is not practical but a 5.o
> liter Mustang is a lot more fun to drive than a 3.8L one.
My 2.0L Diesel Mondeo is fast enough, it gets up to 130 before the end of
the on ramp, so I can be going faster than most of the traffic on the
inside lane before I get to the end (you are right, speed here counts, but
I don't need the extra 3.0L of the Mustang, and braking to fit in is a lot
quicker than finding an extra couple of km/h). The car will cruise at 180
all day long and it is returning around 6.3L/100km (~44.3mpg according to
the onboard computer).
Yes, it isn't as much fun as the BMW M5 I had in England (I could shred a
set of back tyres in a weekend just driving "enthusiastically" - no wheel
spins on pull away, no burn outs, just sliding the back end out on Welsh
mountain roads trying to keep up with a motorcycle tour), but when the
rubber cost $380 a corner and petrol is around $1.50 a LITRE, I'll take
smaller, more economical fast enough and reasonably fun ;-)
>> Or if you are doing long runs of a program, then you need
>> a faster machine.
>> There are a few more cases as well.
> Faster is almost ALWAYS better.
> While there is a price/performance point (ie:nobody needs a P4 3.0 to do
> Word processing)a faster machine is more pleasant to use.
> A sluggish machine is annoying to use.
> Houghi is trying minimize what is a major difference in speed between
I have a range of machines, a pair of Athlon XP(2000+ and 2100+) machines,
an Athlon64 3500+ and a 1Ghz Laptop. The only one that feels slow under
Windows or Linux is the laptop. For general office use and web browsing,
you are probably not going to see much ROI on a 3.4Ghz machine compared to
a 2.0Ghz machine.
All three Athlon boxes run SuSE fast enough that it doesn't get in the way -
the 2000+ has slower disks, so it does pause slightly when loading big
apps, but as that is once a couple of seconds once a day, it isn't really
noticeable. Once OpenOffice and Firefox are loaded, for example, then there
is really visible performance difference between the machines when using
them - under Windows or Linux.
I tried Yoper on the middle machine, and I must admit, I couldn't feel any
significant performance boost over SuSE. Certain tasks would load quicker,
but there again, you aren't comparing like-with-like (editing fstab from
the desktop in SuSE takes a few seconds whilst it loads up YaST, whilst
Yoper is almost instant as clicking the fstab icon opens a terminal session
with fstab open in Vi).
I've never really benchmarked the performance of the applications under
Windows and Linux, and in my small consultancy, two of my machines
regularly get re-installed with different OS's for different tasks. The
biggest noticeable difference between Windows and Linux "performance" wise
is that one of them will take longer to perform a task because it is
counter intuitive, and I must say that it is usually Windows nowadays that
feels counter intuitive. The "performance" difference has nothing to do
with how fast a particular OS install can load modules and execute them,
but the amount of my time that is involved interacting with the machines.
All of the OS's can load the tasks "fast enough" 99% of the time, it is how
the task is presented to the user that makes the difference.
I am comfortable with SuSE, I've tried Debian and Yoper, I felt no perceived
performance advantage in general use, and they didn't feel as well rounded.
Having used "something better", I don't enjoy working with Windows as much
these days, *but* I have to, most of my customers still use it, so I still
have to run it - I'm going to have to fork out for MSDN Professional
subscription shortly as well...
>> But if you are browsing the web, writing a letter, reading
>> your mail, playing a CD, etc, etc., etc., then all you
>> need is a machine that is fast enough.
> So then why settle?
> I'm not sure what you guys are talking about, but I am talking about
> different operating systems on the same hardware and along that line,
> gentoo is noticeably faster than Suse to the point it is very obvious.
> Screen refreshes, faster program loading and trust me it's a much larger
> difference than the .5 seconds quoted by houghi makes a difference.
> The trade off, like I stated is configuration time but once it's set up
> it's done and you can enjoy the speed.
Their point is, that the performance of SuSE on their hardware is "fast
enough", they don't sit around twiddling their thumbs waiting for things to
happen. I must admit on my machines, apart from the old laptop, I've never
noticed a screen refresh, which means that if Gentoo does it quicker I
probably won't notice it.
Once the apps are loaded (which is something which happens, usually, once a
day, once it's loaded, there is no need to close it again with a machine
with plenty of memory), the actual difference in performance is minimal.
My morning routine is to grab the toothbrush and start brushing, walk into
the office, turn on my workstation, walk into the kitchen and turn on the
coffee, back to the bathroom to finish my morning toilet, then back to the
workstation and log on. Whilst that is happening, I go to the kitchen and
get the first coffee of the day, by the time I'm back, the session has
restarted all the apps I'll need during the day... So, for me, unless I
need a special app I don't use very often (K3b for example), then the app
load times are irrelevant...
As I've said, I haven't tried Gentoo, I downloaded the ISO's a while back,
but with the influx of work lately and the lack of spare machines to test
on, I haven't had time to try it. I did try Yoper and Debian during the
summer, and apart from Yoper being a pain to install and being rough around
the edges, using my "morning routine", I couldn't notice any difference and
SuSE felt more "comfortable".
> I see houghi's points as more applicable to purchasing a new machine or
> possibly trading off convenience for slower running software on an
> already purchased machine when a simple distribution could turbo charge
> that same exact hardware.
> If both of you actually tried each machine you would go for the faster one
> every single time.
No, I'd go for the most comfortable. One may have slightly better refresh
rates or slightly quicker load times, but if the way it does common tasks
gets in the way, I'll use the "slower" one if I can get the tasks done
quicker... As I said, apart from rendering, games etc. any modern machine
above 2-2.5Ghz is going to be fast enough to run any current OS and basic
office packages without much perceivable difference, it is going to be down
to the way it runs them. And which OS suits you best will be down to the
way it allows you to accomplish the tasks, not how fast it can load the
task in the first place. There are several different distros with different
approaches to configuring them and using them, the reason for that is,
people are different, they like different things, they work in different
ways. Your "way" may be different to mine, and thus which OS or distro
suits you best may be different, it doesn't mean that either of us is wrong
or either distro is inherently bad. Linux and its distros gives you you
choice, no one distro is "right" or "wrong", well we could discuss things
like Linspire, but ... ;-)
And if houghi is using mainly command line tools and apps, which will run
pretty much instantly on anything above a Pentium 133, switching between
distro's is not going to make any real difference for him, he'll stick to
the distro that allows *him* to do the less common tasks more quickly.
I'll stick with SuSE for the time being as it does what I need fast enough
that I don't notice a difference when comparing it, to say Yoper, and when
it comes to less frequent tasks, it does them more intuitively than Yoper
or Windows... E.g. some server configurations (E.g. Samba) I use a text
editor to reconfigure, others I use less frequently or don't know as well I
may use YaST or Webmin.