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DavidS
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Proposal to show speed of RISC OS compared to Linux.

Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:09 pm

This is a proposal for testing the speed of RISC OS as an OS in comparison to ARMHF GNU/Linux as an OS.

First there is a problem to overcome, Linux does not provide much as an OS, so to overcome this we add some form of X implementation to the allowable spec for Linux. We could add either traditional X or a Wayland based implementation. For the best performance on Linux I would recommend the use of XCB as the interface (more direct than XLib, and as such faster).

To Be clear on GNU/Linux as an OS:
GNU/Linux is the Linux kernel with a libc version, and the GNU coreutils, to provide an operating system that is similar to Unix. This is the operating system included with many distrobutions, the distrobutions are NOT just the OS, they are the GNU/Linux OS with a lot of extras added. As such we are focusing on GNU/Linux plus the X Windowing System (any implementation of the X Windowing System). This is the OS that Raspbian, Ubuntu, Debian, TinyCore, Puppy Linux, and many others run on top of (these distros include GNU/Linux so they have an OS, they are a bunch of extras packaged with the OS).

Yes it is adding an advantage for GNU/Linux by using the X Windowing System, as X is not part of the OS.

What the challeng is:
The list below is open to change if good suggestions are made that test the Operating Systems speeds (not the speed of other libs or extensions).

Now that we have something that can be compared we need to figure out what to test, so my recommendation would be:
  • Open 16 windows, with various levels of overlap, and draw 8192 each of each of the basic graphics primitives in each (line, oval, circle, rectangle, filled oval, filled circle, and filled rectangle).
  • Draw text in 4 different fonts to each of the windows, with 32 character strings, 8192 times.
  • Close the 16 windows.
  • Repeat the above 3 steps using off screen buffered graphics.
  • Open and close 16 Windows 8192 times.
  • Open a 640x440 pixel window, and place a 1280x880 pixel image in the window.
  • Scroll the picture in the window in each direction 8192 times.
  • Do a block load of a 8MB file from disk (preferably RAM disk for good comparison).
  • Do a block write of an 8MB file from disk (again preferring RAM disk).
  • Do byte wise reading of 4MB of data from file, non sequential.
  • Do a byte wise writing of 4MB to file, non sequential.
Each step would be timed, the entire set should be repeated 100 times in a row. All disk access should be done from a RAM Disk in order to make sure that we are testing the OS, not the particular storage device.

This would be a test that shows the actual speed of the OS in both cases. We would want to minimize the code in the test program so that the speed of the OS is the primarily what is shown, not the speed of the test program.

this is intended to help back the claim that RISC OS is fast, a claim made by many including myself.

Unfortunately RISC OS has some tricks to do things even faster than these tests can show, though there is no equivalent on GNU/Linux+X without adding a bunch of third party libs (and we are testing the speed of the OS not of third party libraries).

Also unfortunately in the case of both OS's there is no standard builtin OpenGL implementation, so testing Graphics acceleration would not say anything about either OS (though would rather speak to the implementations of OpenGL in each).

Update 1:
I am working on a framework to implement these tests. I am making the framework in Assembly, in order to reduce the effect of the implimentation language on the tests. Once the framework is together and posted I will fill in the rest to complete the RISC OS version of the tests.

Thereafter I will ask someone more familiar with X and Linux to implement an equivilent Linux version. If no one else wishes to do this I will do the best I can at impllimenting a Linux version.

Also I added to the list primitive drawing to off screen buffers.

Update 2:
Changed some of the number of itterations, to further ruduce the amount of time spent in the test code (values that can be loaded as imediates in a single MOV instruction now).

Update 3:
Better clarified the definition of GNU/Linux as an operating system.
Last edited by DavidS on Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:13 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Proposal to show speed of RISC OS compared to Linux.

Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:28 pm

topguy wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:19 pm
this is intended to help back the claim that RISC OS is fast, a claim made by many including myself.
So if I say that I have no problem with that claim, we can skip the rest.

Then we avoid all the unnecessary discussion where people will claim that none of these tests actually prove anything other than that Xorg is a big complex mess.. and we knew that already.
I am hoping people to be polite enough to not make those arguments. Unfortunately for a Windowing System as well as graphics primitives on Linux we do not have a better option.

The claim of RISC OS being fast gets argued against more on these forums than anywhere else I have seen, so I only wish to put the arguments to rest.

Though once available I would extend the test cases to include AROS, Haiku OS, and others. Though they are not yet available. Many provide a standard component of the OS for Window Management (AROS Intuition, RISC OS WIMP, and similar), many provide a standard component for Graphics Primitives (RISC OS VDU and OS_SpriteOp, AROS Graphics.library and rtg.library, and the like). So I am hoping that this view will keep people arguing about the nature of X.

Though if you know of an alternative to X that is as universal as X for Linux please do chime in (may find something as fast as RISC OS WIMP+VDU+OS_SpriteOp).
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Re: Proposal to show speed of RISC OS compared to Linux.

Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:53 pm

OK, so this thread runs the RISC of getting out of hand. So I will arbitrarily delete posts I think are deviating from the original purpose. This is not a language/OS, but a factual comparison of two very different OS's running on the same specification of device.

So, if posts disappear, don't get all out of shape.
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Re: Proposal to show speed of RISC OS compared to Linux.

Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:57 pm

jamesh wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:53 pm
OK, so this thread runs the RISC of getting out of hand. So I will arbitrarily delete posts I think are deviating from the original purpose. This is not a language/OS, but a factual comparison of two very different OS's running on the same specification of device.

So, if posts disappear, don't get all out of shape.
Thank you for that.
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Re: Proposal to show speed of RISC OS compared to Linux.

Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:44 pm

DavidS wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:28 pm
topguy wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:19 pm
this is intended to help back the claim that RISC OS is fast, a claim made by many including myself.
So if I say that I have no problem with that claim, we can skip the rest.
If my limited understanding of the way RISC-OS works - graphics primitives provided by SWI calls - is correct, I can well believe it is very fast and probably easy to program. No library or protocol overheads at all.

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Re: Proposal to show speed of RISC OS compared to Linux.

Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:46 pm

In case someone is interested in getting somewhat of a start on the Linux version, here is the main control for the program:

Code: Select all

  AREA |main|, CODE, READONLY
  ENTRY Start

Start
  STMFD R13!, {R14}

  BL    Initialize

  MOV   R7,#100
lp00
  BL    Wins16
  BL    DrawDirect16
  BL    DrawTxt1632
  BL    CloseWins16
  BL    Win16
  BL    DrawBuff16
  BL    DrawTxtBuff1632
  BL    CloseWins16
  BL    Wins10000
  BL    ImgScroll10000
  BL    BlockRead
  BL    BlockWrite
  BL    NonSeqRead
  BL    NonSeqWrite
  SUBS  R7,R7,#1
  BNE   lp00

  BL    ResultsOut
  BL    CleanUp

  LDMFD R13!,{R15}       ;We are done, exit to OS.

I will post the entire skeleton when I have gotten it that far. Needless to say every procedure must preserve R7 in this (chosen as rarely used register).

This is designed to minimize the effect of the test code, and maximize the effect of the OS on the results. We are testing the speed of the Operating Systems.
Last edited by DavidS on Thu Jul 11, 2019 3:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Proposal to show speed of RISC OS compared to Linux.

Thu Jul 11, 2019 3:01 pm

jahboater wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:44 pm
DavidS wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:28 pm
topguy wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:19 pm


So if I say that I have no problem with that claim, we can skip the rest.
If my limited understanding of the way RISC-OS works - graphics primitives provided by SWI calls - is correct, I can well believe it is very fast and probably easy to program. No library or protocol overheads at all.
Close. The OS_SpriteOp calls are direct SWI calls. The VDU calls are a little different, they use the text stream to implement graphics commands (and are the primitives). So the base drawing primitives are done by calling the likes of OS_Write0, OS_WriteC, OS_WriteS SWI's with the VDU codes in the text stream (actually not the fastest way, though still fast enough).

Some of the graphics can be done faster through the OS_Plot SWI, which does everything that VDU 25 does, just faster as it does not have to parse the text.

For better reference on VDU codes in RSIC OS see:

https://www.riscosopen.org/wiki/documen ... DU%20Codes
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Re: Proposal to show speed of RISC OS compared to Linux.

Thu Jul 11, 2019 4:55 pm

Can you explain to me, and perhaps others, what "Speed of an OS" means in this context ?

To me OS speed would be how long scheduling and task switching takes, how responsive to events, how much latency, how quickly it can allocate memory, load a process into memory, start running it, things like that.

But we seem to be talking 'graphics primitives' ?

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Re: Proposal to show speed of RISC OS compared to Linux.

Thu Jul 11, 2019 5:20 pm

hippy wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 4:55 pm
Can you explain to me, and perhaps others, what "Speed of an OS" means in this context ?

To me OS speed would be how long scheduling and task switching takes, how responsive to events, how much latency, how quickly it can allocate memory, load a process into memory, start running it, things like that.

But we seem to be talking 'graphics primitives' ?
Indeed, that would be my question. The GUI is not part of the OS for the majority of OS's out there (Linux, ThreadX etc), so why should it be part of a OS performance test?
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Re: Proposal to show speed of RISC OS compared to Linux.

Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:04 pm

Yes,

First define "Operating System". Then we can think about comparing whatever features they may have in common.

"Linux" is not an operating system. It's a kernel that operating systems can be built on.

"Raspbian" and the like are operating systems (Which need not be built on Linux). But David seems to want to disallow using pretty much everything they provide out of the box.

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Re: Proposal to show speed of RISC OS compared to Linux.

Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:31 pm

Kinda knew it was DavidS who posted this and I haven't been around that long.

Think I'll stick with Raspbian.
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Re: Proposal to show speed of RISC OS compared to Linux.

Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:25 pm

To keep it ON topic:

Good question on what we are looking at the speed of. Firstly giving an absolute definition of OS is impossible, beyond that it is the base software that provides some functions to applications, and usually also provides some means of adding extensions or libraries.

As to what is part of the OS (to the nature of this thread):
On RISC OS if it is in the ROM Image and provides services for use by applications, modules, drivers, etc.
On Linux a little more difficult, though the Kernel and coreutils. As on RISC OS the Window Manager is a large part of things, we need to add X to the Linux definition to be fair.

Comparing task management would be unfair, as task management on Linux is fully preemptive, while on RISC OS cooperative, so on RISC OS it can take a lot less overhead than on Linux, and the results can be further skewed by choice of timing for the test program on RISC OS.

I did think of possibly including memory allocation and similar, though I really am not sure how much a test of the OS that would be for speed.

The speed of the OS in this context is:
How fast the OS is in doing tasks that effect the users perception of how fast things are running on the OS. This is mostly Disk I/0 overhead and user Interface management, as those are the areas where most OS's have the biggest impact on well written user applications.
Last edited by DavidS on Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Proposal to show speed of RISC OS compared to Linux.

Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:26 pm

I must appologize for the slight delay, I only had about 2 hours infront of my computer total yesterday, and that included getting most of the skeloton code ready (most).
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Re: Proposal to show speed of RISC OS compared to Linux.

Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:43 pm

Surely this should be based on the common set of features/facilities provided by both ? Since Linux doesn't provide GUI/UI then those features in RISCOS should be out of scope. Otherwise you are trying to load the scales in RISCOS favour by including the things that Linux doesn't provide because modern OSs are better structured.

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Re: Proposal to show speed of RISC OS compared to Linux.

Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:59 pm

DavidS,
From elsewhere...
The challenge you speak of is limited by what Linux can provide AS AN OS (not a tone of libraries), if the limits were on the RISC OS side much more could be tested. Same reason that OpenGL is left out of that one, as OpenGL is not part of the OS in either case (though both can do it).
I see you have attempted to address my concerns in recent posts above.

Your definition of an operating system is so much at odds with the definition the rest of the world uses that there is no possibility of a sensible comparison.

Linux is not an operating system. Raspbian, for example is.

What features of RISC OS and Raspbian would you like to compare?

I can think of:

1) Task management
2) Memory management
3) File system(s)
4) Networking
5) Other peripherals, USB etc.
6) Graphics and GUI interfaces.

I'm sure their are OS functionalities expected now a days that I have missed there.

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Re: Proposal to show speed of RISC OS compared to Linux.

Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:03 pm

PeterO wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:43 pm
Surely this should be based on the common set of features/facilities provided by both ? Since Linux doesn't provide GUI/UI then those features in RISCOS should be out of scope. Otherwise you are trying to load the scales in RISCOS favour by including the things that Linux doesn't provide because modern OSs are better structured.

PeterO
Fair statement. I debated hard on if X should be included or not. The thing is must desktop OS users use a Windowing System, and X is the cannon for N*x systems including Linux.

I agree that modern OS's are better structured. Though we do not have anythign more modern than RISC OS. Linux is structured after Unix for the most part, so far from modern. I do hope to include some modern OS's later in testing, and I expect that the modern OS's will out do both of these. Though so far no modern has reached the popularity of either of these.

So If I keep to only what both provide, then RISC OS has an extremely unfair advantage, and I am attempting to give Linux a fair chance.

So if I stick to what both provide as just the OS we have:
  • Console I/O.
  • Task Management (already outlined why I am not doing this, as it gives RISC OS an unfair advantage).
  • Memory Management.
  • File I/O.
  • Basic device management.
  • Networking. EDIT, Linux would not have Networking as a bare OS, sorry.
  • Arguably a Shared C library (arguably as different Linux Distros choose different Shared C Libraires).
I could add a lot to that list for RISC OS, though it would not cross over to Linux.

So within those constraints do you have a reasonable suggestion on how to test the speed of OS operations between the two OS's in a way that it illistrates how the OS operations effect the speed of user applications (most of which are GUI based now days, and there would be no way for that in Linux)?
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Re: Proposal to show speed of RISC OS compared to Linux.

Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:11 pm

@Heater:
And you mention the reason I included X. I even gave freedom on the implimentation, I think that the best results on Linux would use WayLand.

Though all of your questions are answered. USB is not being tested, as there is little way to be able to test that without possibility of the USB HW beig more of the issue. Networking has similar issues, how do you test how much of the result is do to the OS.

Otherwise I agree with your list. And you will note that GUI is a big part of it. To be fair and not give RISC OS an advantage I stuck with only the GUI operations that can be done directly in X (without and toolkit or widgit lib etc), as the extra layer of abstraction needed on Linux would give RISC OS an unfair advantage.

I am ommiting Task management simply because I can not think of a way to do it without giving RISC OS an unfair advantage.

Can we keep on track please. Thank you for the positive input.
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Re: Proposal to show speed of RISC OS compared to Linux.

Fri Jul 12, 2019 4:47 pm

Well today I got absolutely nothing done on this project today, nor any other project, too busy with the forums.

Ok I got one thing done, found out what assembler to use on both RISC OS and Linux.

Now I am running short on time before I am going to have to be awayfrom my comuter until tomorrow. So I am going attempt to get something done. I will still monitor the forum, because sometimes valid, on topic, contributing posts do come along.
Last edited by DavidS on Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Proposal to show speed of RISC OS compared to Linux.

Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:27 pm

Calling Linux "GNU/Linux" just gives due credit where it belongs. "linux", the kernel, is an amalgam of stuff written by linus torvals (and his helpers) and stuff written by the GNU software movement, and all true Linux (the OS) users should have known that.
So calling Linux GNU/Linux isn't obfuscating in any real sense, i would say to the contrary.
please continue. :D

p.s. no modern OS these days can work without some kind of GUI, so if you want to compare two OS's these days you should compare how their respective GUI's stack up to each other.

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Re: Proposal to show speed of RISC OS compared to Linux.

Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:41 pm

It only came about when Richard Stallman got miffed that no one was using his kernel (Hurd), which now looks to be "dead in the water" as its web page has not updated for 2 years.
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Re: Proposal to show speed of RISC OS compared to Linux.

Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:06 pm

If Stallman was "miffed" it was/is not about Hurd.

He did initiate GCC.

He did start the Free Software Foundation

He did create the license used by Linux and many others.

He did inspire the entire user land...

...that the fetal Linux needed to make progress at the crucial moment.

He did quit his job to dedicate himself to promoting the very idea of Free Software, that we all enjoy and use to great advantage today.

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Re: Proposal to show speed of RISC OS compared to Linux.

Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:14 pm

Heater wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:06 pm
If Stallman was "miffed" it was/is not about Hurd.

He did initiate GCC.

He did start the Free Software Foundation

He did create the license used by Linux and many others.

He did inspire the entire user land...

...that the fetal Linux needed to make progress at the crucial moment.

He did quit his job to dedicate himself to promoting the very idea of Free Software, that we all enjoy and use to great advantage today.
Hurd was lagging behind the rest of the GNU tool set and the Linux kernel came along and filled the gap, but Stallman wanted credit despite Linux filling the gap left by the GNU projects failure to produce a useable kernel. Linux saved the GNU project ! I followed this quite closely at the time.
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Re: Proposal to show speed of RISC OS compared to Linux.

Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:35 pm

Yes, I know. I have been following it since God knows when as well.

I have the greatest respect for Stallman and Linus and all the thousands of other Free Software and Open Source contributors.

However. I run "Linux". Unless somebody asks me to be more specific.

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Re: Proposal to show speed of RISC OS compared to Linux.

Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:22 pm

mahjongg wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:27 pm
No modern OS these days can work without some kind of GUI.
Actually, none of the production server systems under my control have a GUI. They run databases and network services, and I use SSH to connect to them if that's necessary. They run FreeBSD and Ubuntu LTS Server, which are 'modern OSses'.

I agree that for human productivity work (writing, reading, webbrowsing, email, design) a GUI is very beneficial, so most OSses are able to run some kind of userland GUI. But the GUIs are separate from the OS. You can even run MS Windows without GUI ;-)
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Re: Proposal to show speed of RISC OS compared to Linux.

Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:27 pm

Michiel O. wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:22 pm
mahjongg wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:27 pm
No modern OS these days can work without some kind of GUI.
Actually, none of the production server systems under my control have a GUI. They run databases and network services, and I use SSH to connect to them if that's necessary. They run FreeBSD and Ubuntu LTS Server, which are 'modern OSses'.
I find Raspbian Lite excellent.

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