Geekspeak: April 15, 2002

 
 
By Timothy Dyck  |  Posted 2002-04-15 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

On March 8, IBM developer Martin Bligh posted notice to the Linux kernel development list that he had compiled the Linux 2.4.18 kernel in 23 seconds.

It was like dropping a red handkerchief at a bullring. On March 8, IBM developer Martin Bligh posted notice to the Linux kernel development list that he had compiled the Linux 2.4.18 kernel in 23 seconds.

Bligh used a 16-CPU IBM NUMA-Q box with 4GB of RAM and had whittled that time down from his previous best of 47 seconds through a series of patches tuning Linux for NUMA-Q hardware.

Well, five days later, Anton Blanchard, also at IBM but working on PowerPC hardware, knocked off that number quite handily with a 10.31-second compile of the same kernel using 24 1.1GHz 64-bit Power4 CPUs and 60GB of RAM.

Blanchard didnt identify the exact machine, but the specs match those of a big IBM pSeries 690 box, which normally runs AIX 5.1 and goes through a million dollars of capital expenditure without breathing hard. Its very interesting to see that IBM has people working on tuning Linux performance on its top-of-the-line Unix hardware.

That wasnt the end of it, though. Three days after his first post, on March 16, Blanchard got his kernel compile down to 7.52 seconds by adding eight more CPUs and rewriting the Power-PC 64 memory page-table management code for better performance. "I think Im addicted. I need help!" he wrote.

That record stands—for now.

 
 
 
 
Timothy Dyck is a Senior Analyst with eWEEK Labs. He has been testing and reviewing application server, database and middleware products and technologies for eWEEK since 1996. Prior to joining eWEEK, he worked at the LAN and WAN network operations center for a large telecommunications firm, in operating systems and development tools technical marketing for a large software company and in the IT department at a government agency. He has an honors bachelors degree of mathematics in computer science from the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and a masters of arts degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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