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SubjectRe: real kernel bloat
J. Sean Connell writes:
> On Mon, 24 Jun 1996, Steve VanDevender wrote:
> > I recently got a DEC AlphaStation at my new job. It's running Digital
> > UNIX, since that's what the other machines I am charged with maintaining
> > run.
> >
> > As far as I can tell Digital UNIX (formerly Digital OSF/1) is a fat
> > bloated pig. At boot the kernel allocates over 8 megabytes of memory to
> If you think *that*'s bad:
> At work, we have a Sun SparcStation 20 with something like 196MB RAM.
> Once you have the OS and X (well, OpenWindows) loaded (to make it somewhat
> useful), that's gone and chewed up 48MB of the RAM. The proxy cache chews
> up the rest :)
> (As for load, I've noticed that it seems to be about as fast as my
> 486DX4/133, but then, this was back when it had 96MB RAM, with the cache
> server going, swapping like mad when you tried to execute anything else...
> haven't done much serious stuff with it since the upgrade...)
> --
> J. Sean Connell Systems Software Architect, ICONZ
> "Oh life is a glorious cycle of song,
> a medley of extemporanea,
> #include <stddisc.h> And love is a thing that can never go wrong...
> And I'm Queen Marie of Romania."
> I *hate* Sun Type 4 kbs! --Dorothy Parker
I wonder, people, what you do to your kernels. We have
AlphaStations of the very first vintage, running at 133 MHz. They have
64 Megs of RAM, but they run much more than just the OS and X Window.
For what we do, anywhere from 32 to 256 MB of swap is always in use.
And amazingly enough, I do not see any performance difference with my
Linux machine, which is 32 MB RAM 100 MHz P5/ AHA 2940 and does not do
almost anything. It is true that DEC's kernel is several Megs in size,
but don't forget it is capable of much more than Linux is, and,
arguably, will ever be. The lacking capabilities are of no concern
to most people, however the truth remains: Digital UNIX is a better
multitasking, multiuser OS than Linux. I am no DEC's or Sun's fan,
but let's be honest - there is no way that a group of people, most
of who hold daytime jobs, can compete with the multibillion
corporations, which employ some of the best minds on this planet.
If marketing people and incompetent management would not get in the
way, the products would be even better.

As for Solaris, I run Solaris 2.4 on Sparc2 with 32 MB of RAM and
120 MB of swap. Once again, it does more than just OS+OpenWindows.
Just to give you an idea :
visual55alex~ ps -aux | wc
73 883 5626
And trust me, it is comparable with 486 computers under Linux,
despite the aforementioned Sparc is older than any 486 I've seen.
Of course it is much slower than my P5 Linux box, but should one
be surprised?
visual56alex~ ls -l /kernel/unix
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root 907616 Oct 27 1994 /kernel/unix*
magneton-ra37alex~ ls -l /usr/src/linux/vmlinux
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 759356 Jun 12 10:02
/usr/src/linux/vmlinux* ^^^^^^

Not a whole lot of a difference, isn't it?

Now, assuming that you can buy Solaris x86 + Sun's Workshop (the best
C++ implementation, debugger with the support for multi-threading,
multiprocessor tools) for around say $300, and you have to pay
similar amount for Linux distribution (just stretch your
imagination), what would you rather have?

Linux is a fine operating system. No, considering the cost, it's a
wonderful operating system. But don't kid yourself, you like it
so much because it's free, not because it is better than DEC/OSF
or Solaris. Not on a server, anyway.

Alex Krimkevich.

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