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Debian Wheezy GNU/kFreeBSD: Slower Than Linux

Michael Larabel

Published on 25 June 2012
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 6 - 23 Comments

With Debian 7.0 "Wheezy" set to be frozen soon, I took the opportunity to run some new benchmarks of Debian GNU/kFreeBSD, the Debian OS variant using the FreeBSD kernel rather than Linux, to compare it to Debian GNU/Linux as well as Ubuntu Linux and PC-BSD/FreeBSD 9.0.

The kFreeBSD port of Debian has been interesting to watch and try out over the past few years, but it really hasn't seen mass adoption since it was beaten into shape with Debian 6.0 "Squeeze" -- Debian GNU/Linux remains much more popular. For those that have not read earlier Phoronix articles on this Debian variant, it employs the FreeBSD kernel rather than the Linux kernel while the GNU user-space is the same. Debian GNU/kFreeBSD works just fine with APT, the Debian installer, etc. Debian GNU/kFreeBSD meanwhile brings features to the Debian world like D-Trace, ZFS file-system support, and other *BSD features. For Debian GNU/kFreeBSD Wheezy, the kernel version is FreeBSD 9.0.

The Debian GNU/kFreeBSD hardware support isn't as good as Linux and there really hasn't been any major performance advantage to GNU/kFreeBSD over GNU/Linux nor any really compelling reason to choose this Debian port unless you need a BSD-specific capability, but it's fun to run and see it progress from time-to-time.

This article has benchmarks of Debian GNU/Linux and Debian GNU/kFreeBSD from Wheezy/sid as of 22 June 2012. There is also Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and PC-BSD 9.0 20120605 thrown into the mix. The stock/default packages and settings of each operating system were used. Debian GNU/Linux is using the Linux 3.2 kernel while as mentioned already, the FreeBSD kernel version is 9.0. The x86_64/amd64 versions of each operating system were benchmarked.

The test system used for the four operating systems was a Lenovo ThinkPad W510 notebook with NVIDIA Quadro FX880M graphics and an Intel Core i7 720QM quad-core processor plus Hyper Threading. There was 4GB of RAM and a 160GB Intel X-25 SSD as well. Benchmarking of the BSD and Linux platforms was handled in a fully automated and reproducible manner via the open-source Phoronix Test Suite software.

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