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SubjectRe: -Os versus -O2
On Sun, 24 Jun 2007, Arjan van de Ven wrote:

> On Sun, 2007-06-24 at 18:08 -0700, wrote:
>>> on a system level, size can help performance because you have more
>>> memory available for other things. It also reduces download size and
>>> gives you more space on the live CD....
>>> if you want to make things bigger again, please do this OUTSIDE the
>>> "optimize for size" option. Because that TELLS you to go for size.
>> then do we need a new option 'optimize for best overall performance' that
>> goes for size (and the corresponding wins there) most of the time, but is
>> ignored where it makes a huge difference?
> that isn't so easy. Anything which doesn't have a performance tradeoff
> is in -O2 already. So every single thing in -Os costs you performance on
> a micro level.

this has not been true in the past (assuming that it's true today)

ok, if you look at a micro-enough level this may be true, but completely
ignoring things like download times, the optimizations almost always boil
down to trying to avoid jumps, loops, and decision logic at the expense of

however recent cpu's are significantly better as handling jumps and loops,
and the cost of cache misses is significantly worse.

is the list of what's included in -O2 vs -Os different for different
CPU's? what about within a single family of processors? (even in the x86
family the costs of jumps, loops, and cache misses varies drasticly)

my understanding was that the optimizations for O2 were pretty fixed.

> The translation to macro level depends greatly on how things are used
> (you even have to factor in download times etc)... so that is a fair
> question to leave up to the user... which is what there is today.

ignore things like download time for the moment. it's not significant to
most people as they don't download things that often, and when they do
they are almost always downloading lots of stuff they don't need (drivers
for example)

users are trying to get better performance 90+% of the time when they
select -Os. That's why it got moved out of CONFIG_EMBEDDED.

David Lang

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