DragonFly BSD
DragonFly users List (threaded) for 2006-07
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Re: NVIDIA FreeBSD Kernel Feature Requests, interesting info for dfly?

From: Bill Hacker <wbh@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 13 Jul 2006 22:04:32 +0800

Joerg Sonnenberger wrote:

On Thu, Jul 13, 2006 at 05:04:22PM +0800, Bill Hacker wrote:

Old or new branches of X are rooted in a very different architectural philosophy than Win vid, and would have to start over from a clean slate to even match the sort of performance of an Amiga, BeBox, Warp/eCS or OS X deliver(ed) on comparable hardware.

While I agree on most point, this needs some comments. The problem of
current X11 based GUIs is not the protocol or architecture of the X
server. The 99% of the slowdown is to completely broken toolkit design.
Seriously, how could it have been possible to use a single 50MHz Power
CPU and a 10mbit network for a number of X11 terminals 12 years ago?
The difference is that applications and toolkits used an asynchronous
protocol and had been greatly optimised to keep as much work as possible
in the pipeline. Compare that to todays application. A simple GTK
program over a slightly laggy WLAN link is visibly drawing itself a
number of times whenever e.g. a menu has to be opened. *That's* why X11
performance today sucks. Everyone wants to program X11 like they program
Windows, completly ignoring the roundtrip time.


What is needed is really 'none of the above', IOW, there just *has* to be a better way.

Two hints that it is possible include:

- the snappy browser interface included with the QNX demo floppy of many years ago.

- the Bluebottle/Greenbottle UI on Aos / Oberon.

Lean, light, quick across the ground, and nearly indifferent to what video hardware is present, both of them.

Plan 9 is another. Not much to look at, but the 'plumbing' is straightforward and low-load.

'X' had a reason to live in its early distanced server-client incarnation.

Forget the KDE and Gnome resource hogs - even the so-called 'lite' desktops such as Xfce4 are slow and clumsy compared to a well-tuned Warp/eCS Workplace Shell.

Most are arguably inferior to Win 3.11 in responsiveness and polish, given the same hardware.

I don't see that much improvement is likely to happen on F/OSS - X or otherwise.

OS X has closed the gate at one end, Vista will retain MS dominance even if they lose 30% of what is now a maket so huge an entity can get fats on the leavings.

While we are generalizing, the 'C' language has long since become more a part of the problem than of the solution.... My tool of choice for I/O driver work was AS or Forth with native-code-compiler inlining.

Never mind... I know where I can get a couple of nearly-new 17" G4 PowerBooks cheap when this one dies...

Meanwhile, back at the data centre, we have migrated the 1U servers to VIA C3 with FreeBSD 4.11-stable and the 2U servers to Intel core-duo and FreeBSD AMD-64 6.1-STABLE. Plus one Xeon using 6.1, i386.

Not sure DragonFly does C3 as well as 4.11, and reasonably certain DFLY is not AND-64 ready yet.

But we'll keep one eye open...



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