SprezzOS Is Indeed Trying To Be A Faster Linux
SprezzOS, a Linux distribution that most people have likely not heard of, is aiming for real change with their open-source operating system. They previously claimed their ambitions were to become the "most robust, beautiful and performant Linux", and it turns out they are indeed trying to at least live up to their performance goals.
SprezzOS was exclusively covered on Phoronix earlier this year in the aforelinked article. Many downplayed this Linux distribution that sent information to the Phoronix news box. The developers later made claims of a 120 second Linux server installation.
Since January I hadn't heard any information from the developers or any other news surrounding SprezzOS. Most Phoronix readers that read about the distribution have likely written it off as a fluff.
However, today I was tipped off to some SprezzOS news that shows the distribution is indeed progressing and they're aiming to make real change.
The latest news is that as part of their "Raptorial" project, which is a modern rewrite of APT with an emphasis on parallelism and project art. Raptorial is aiming to be a backwards-compatible, drop-in replacement for the APT packages. Raptorial is made of a common code-base that is focused on performance, documentation, and testing.
It's quite an interesting and some may view the goals as being a bit lofty, but they already have code to show for it. Nick Black of SprezzOS announced "rapt-show-versions", his replacement to apt-show-versions, is already much faster than the Debian version. His single-threaded version of apt-show-versions is nearly five times faster than Debian's apt-show-versions while his multi-threaded version on a quad-core processor is insane: 1.01s for the default Debian copy or 0.04s for his multi-threaded rapt-show-versions. If he can make dependency resolving and other parts of APT faster, this will be quite impressive.
Nick Black has approached the Debian development community to see if they're interested in integrating his faster code within the official APT code-base or provide this new rapt-show-versions alternative in the Debian world. He made the proposal here.
It's nice to see this original innovation possibly going into upstream Debian, which would benefit other Linux distributions too, rather than just having this drop-in replacement be closed-up or pushed behind CLAs and other restrictions. So far the response seems to be Debian developers wanting to see more code and saying they want to rely upon APT cache (Raptorial doesn't use a cache) and that by rewriting their existing code in C++ they might alreay get a speed-up by using libapt-pkg.
We'll see what else comes out of SprezzOS in the months ahead.
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