Praise For the Kernel

I just needed to express how impressed I just found myself with how well the linux kernel was working this morning. I was on my AMD X2 3800 processor (dual core, about 2-3? years old) and was simultaneously listening to some tunes on rhythmbox, watching an XVid movie, and browsing the web while emerging ( compiling for those who don’t use Gentoo) on both cores without any noticeable slowdowns in any the realtime activities I was doing! For those of you who aren’t into process schedulers, and realtime priority queuing and such, it makes a huge impression when you realize that you are compiling (arguably one of the most processor intensive tasks) while decoding XVid (another processor intensive task) and mp3, while having packets flying around on your internet connection, and not notice any lag. A good process scheduler should determine what processes should have focus so that the user doesn’t have to wait for computations he doesn’t particularly care about, and this is exactly what was impressing me this morning. Furthermore, even Compiz was running smoothly. I doubt that the Windows kernel could keep pace with the quality of process scheduling that the Linux kernel does. I’ve heard stories that Vista Aero can hamper the networking stack, and other stories like that which point to inferior CPU resource allocation. Although this is an allegorical blog post with no real benchmarks, I still hope that this piqued interest in Linux for the Vista users out there, and inspired Linux users to start learning more about what drives the core of their operating system. At any rate, its a great example of the quality of OSS code. Open Source for the win!

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2 Responses to Praise For the Kernel

  1. RadonPL says:

    I also noticed this recently when I was stressing my computer. I ran 2 instances of Phun (http://phun.at/) with lots of water particles splashing around and was browsing the web and listening to podcasts without any slowdowns at all.

    Kudos developers for a great computing experience!

  2. Chris Lees says:

    Phun is cool 🙂 I noticed that around the time of Ubuntu Dapper, the scheduler was really really good. It got a little worse with Feisty, and then it was great again at Gutsy.

    When the kernel really supports multitasking so well, it’s a real incentive to do multiple things at the same time.

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