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Ubuntu 8.10 vs. Mac OS X 10.5.5 Benchmarks 328

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the there-can-be-only-one dept.
An anonymous reader writes "As a sequel to their Is Ubuntu Getting Slower? Phoronix now has out an article that compares the performance of Ubuntu 8.10 to Apple's Mac OS X 10.5.5. They tested both the x86 and x86_64 spins of Ubuntu and threw at both operating systems a number of graphics, disk, computational, and Java benchmarks, among others. With the Mac Mini used in some of the comparisons, 'Leopard' was faster, while in others it was a tight battle."
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Ubuntu 8.10 vs. Mac OS X 10.5.5 Benchmarks

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  • by PinkyDead (862370) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @09:51AM (#25660167) Journal

    Surely we should be united against the common enemy.

    • by rvw (755107) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @10:03AM (#25660289)

      Surely we should be united against the common enemy.

      It's not fight, it's play. And when one system wins in terms of speed or usability, both systems win in terms of a weaker common enemy.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        How ironic that you would imply that Apple is somehow not the enemy. Their current business practices make pre-antitrust-litigation Microsoft look like Mother Theresa. The only difference I suppose being, that the Apple folks bend over and take it like a champ, and thanks to the genius marketing by Steve Jobs, actually enjoy the reeming.
    • by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Thursday November 06, 2008 @10:09AM (#25660335) Homepage

      This thread will end up getting moderated flame-bait, but what would that common enemy be? Personally I think Windows is rather ok now, Windows 7 will probably be even better, who knows, maybe even better than snow leopard.

      The only thing I see as an enemy is ideas which are pushed down my throat no matter what if I want them or not. I want to use my data and my applications in the way I feel like, not be forced to a single method just because someone else thought it was the best one. But that is true for all operating systems and no special "enemy."

      I like many things in OS X and in applications for it because it makes sense and makes using the computer more comfortable, I don't like some other things because they don't let me do the things I want to do.

      The huge amount of applications for Windows makes it rather likely that you can find one which fits your purpose, some for the window managers and such in the free unix-like oses.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It's not really about Windows, it's about Microsoft. I don't care if Windows is coded by the best programmers in the world, the problem comes from management and their shoddy business tactics.

      • The free software community is [should be?] about choice. I hate Apple and Microsoft because of all they do to restrict customer's (and others) choices, but in the end people have the right to buy software that isn't free, despite what RMS may say.

        In other words, os x isn't the enemy, windows isn't the enemy, both apple and microsoft are.

      • by Draek (916851)

        I want to use my data and my applications in the way I feel like, not be forced to a single method just because someone else thought it was the best one. But that is true for all operating systems and no special "enemy."

        That's not true for any of the Free OSes, like Linux and FreeBSD, where you can do anything, in any way you can think of. It's just that for most methods, there's a step involving "sitting down and writing a metric fuckton of code", but still...

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      THE JUDEAN PEOPLE'S FRONT?

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Fuck off!

        Judean People's Front. We're the People's Front of Judea! Judean People's Front.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Rik Sweeney (471717)

      OK, so who are the following:

      Unicron: A giant Steve Balmer head?
      Galvatron: OS X?
      Hot Rod: Ubuntu?

    • by ray-auch (454705)

      Yes, but who is "we" and what defines the enemy?

      If we == "free software" and enemy == proprietary, then Apple = enemy along with MS.

      If we == "good software" and enemy = crap, then...

  • by zappepcs (820751) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @09:53AM (#25660183) Journal

    It's a lengthy read, and there isn't much in there to say that Ubuntu has any real work to do. Seems like they were comparing two Ferrari race cars and commenting on the differences in interiors... to use a car analogy.

    I've just upgraded 8 systems to 8.10 and am quite happy. I was concerned over real world issues about the upgrade from early reports. The old IBM T22 with 256MB RAM was my test case. Guess what? The upgrade went as fast as my Wireless G card would allow it, after a reboot, and then an update last night, it is working a bit better than with 8.04 from a layman's point of view. Yes, it can drag now and then, but is resource limited severely. After the upgrade I did not have to tweak anything, and any problems I was having prior are now fixed. I appear to have fscked up a setting on the wireless networking, but now it's all good. As far as I am concerned, with two older laptops upgraded, and 3 older desktops upgraded, all with ZERO defects, Ubuntu continues to impress me. I will continue to give out CDs free to anyone that wants to improve their computing life.

    Now, if you just have to have the 'perfect' gaming machine... go ahead and worry about little things. As for the rest of the world, 8.10 is rocking awesomeness.

    • by slashnot007 (576103) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @10:12AM (#25660369)
      For things like compilations, there's a bunch of file opens, caching the compiler and loader, gobs of Mallocs, and so forth that probably intersect the OS. Then there's the driver and video layer tests that look at frames per second. Leopard had 2 to 4 times faster frames per second. then there's the supporting distro services. Tests of My SQL were 4 times faster on the mac. And then there's things like the optimzation of VMs like JAVA where again Leopard excels. THese are clearly optimization problem and can be improved. the purpose of comparing it against a mac is not simply to say "oh yeah mac is faster than unbuntu", but rather to give a bench that shows how much room for optimization ubuntu has. Conclusion is that in almost every aspect Ubuntu is severely unotimized. Since older Linux seemed to be more optimized it suggests that feature bloat is probably either screwing up the design of linux or no one is paying attention to optimizing those features.
      • correcting my post above: actually java on ubuntu is noticably faster than mac.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Abcd1234 (188840)

        Since older Linux seemed to be more optimized

        Based on what, exactly?

        Oh, yeah, nothing but your own bias that Linux is experiencing "feature bloat".

          • by Abcd1234 (188840)

            You mean the benchmarks that were discussed a while back here on Slashdot, where most people concluded that things like aggressive power saving features were most likely the cause for the performance degradation, and *not*, in fact, bloat?

            I mean, FFS, how can you conclude that bloat is the issue when MP3 encoding, which is about as raw a CPU test as there is, became slower? Power saving features are *far* more likely the culprit.

            Run the tests on a proper desktop machine, and get back to me. Until then, I

            • by bonch (38532)

              You mean the benchmarks that were discussed a while back here on Slashdot, where most people concluded that things like aggressive power saving features were most likely the cause for the performance degradation, and *not*, in fact, bloat?

              Wow, they were discussed on Slashdot! That means they were scientifically disproved because some people made up some conclusions that they thought were "likely" so that they could get modded up!

        • by ciroknight (601098) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @01:09PM (#25663305)
          Older Linuxes are built on GCC 3.x or GCC 4.1.x. Since 4.2.x, GCC has produced absolute garbage code when the Gentoo flags are not enabled.

          Since most distros don't ship with --funroll-loops -O19 --ZOMG-MAKE-CODE-FAST, almost everyone has experienced a huge code speed drop. Meanwhile, Apple, knowing that all of their x86 machines support SSE2 or better has no qualms doing said incantations and benefiting from the speedups in autovectorization and other areas where the GCC hackers and Apple have been spending time.

          This leads us to the conclusion that a) Older Linuxes were better optimized (by the compiler, not the coder), b) Newer Linuxes are able to benefit but... c) Newer Linuxes are not benefiting because of their one-size-fits-all nature.
  • More of a summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by ojintoad (1310811) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @10:08AM (#25660315)

    Apple's Mac OS X 10.5.5 "Leopard" had strong performance leads over Canonical's Ubuntu 8.10 "Intrepid Ibex" in the OpenGL performance with the integrated Intel graphics, disk benchmarking, and SQLite database in particular. Ubuntu on the other hand was leading in the compilation and BYTE Unix Benchmark. In the audio/video encoding and PHP XML tests the margins were smaller and no definitive leader had emerged. With the Java environment, Sunflow and Bork were faster in Mac OS X, but the Intrepid Ibex in SciMark 2 attacked the Leopard. These results though were all from an Apple Mac Mini.

    Also worth mentioning are the collection of posts from the last thread that convincingly argued various problems with the Phoronix Benchmarks.
    Example 1 [slashdot.org]
    Example 2 [slashdot.org]
    Example 3 [slashdot.org]

    Speed tests are good, let's make sure we're doing them right

    • by Milyardo (1156377) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @11:16AM (#25661309)

      Apple's Mac OS X 10.5.5 "Leopard" had strong performance leads over Canonical's Ubuntu 8.10 "Intrepid Ibex" in the OpenGL performance with the integrated Intel graphics, disk benchmarking, and SQLite database in particular. Ubuntu on the other hand was leading in the compilation and BYTE Unix Benchmark. In the audio/video encoding and PHP XML tests the margins were smaller and no definitive leader had emerged. With the Java environment, Sunflow and Bork were faster in Mac OS X, but the Intrepid Ibex in SciMark 2 attacked the Leopard. These results though were all from an Apple Mac Mini.

      Also worth mentioning are the collection of posts from the last thread that convincingly argued various problems with the Phoronix Benchmarks. Example 1 [slashdot.org] Example 2 [slashdot.org] Example 3 [slashdot.org]

      Speed tests are good, let's make sure we're doing them right

      Every one of those examples are fail at reasoning weaknesses in the Phoronix Test Suite and this is why:

      Example 1 [slashdot.org]

      If you look closely you'll notice that (a) the benchmarks were run on a Thinkpad T60 laptop, and (b) there were significant differences on some benchmarks like RAM bandwidth that should have little or no OS components.

      If you look closely you'll notice that (a) the laptop the benchmarks are run on effects in no way, the validity of the benchmark as long as they are run consistently on the same laptop and (b) some benchmarks like RAM bandwidth have theoretical limits that are not effected at all by the Operating System but in actual practice, is entirely limited by the operating system you are using.

      Example 2 [slashdot.org]

      Some of the benchmarks were hardware testing, and those showed variation. They should not, unless the compiler changed the algorithms used to compile the code between distros.

      All of the benchmarks were testing the hardware and should have showed variation. The compilers used on all the benchmarking applications are all the same. But the compilers used to build the Operating Systems are all completely different versions. Therefore the compiler on each distro will compile the same "algorithm" slightly different way. That is assuming there were no changes between implementation of packages between distros (of which there were actually hundreds of thousands of changes in the code itself, build options, and runtime configurations)

      Example 3 [slashdot.org]

      The test suite itself: The Phoronix test suite runs on PHP. That in itself is a problem-- the slowdowns measured could most likely be *because* of differences in the distributed PHP runtimes.

      The Phoronix-Test-Suite Only uses its PHP back-end to aggregate benchmarking information. If a compilation with GCC took 5 seconds, its going to take 5 seconds no matter what version of the PHP runtime is used to to start the sub-shell that GCC runs in. It's take the same amount of time if you invoked GCC from bash, from perl, python, java, tcl, C, or C++. It doesn't matter because GCC is its own process just like every other benchmark.

      What exactly are they testing? The whole distro?

      Yes.

      The kernel?

      Yes again, since that is a part of the distro

      If they're testing the released kernel, then they should run static binaries that *test* the above, comparing kernel differences.

      No, what wouldn't prove anything as most of the binaries with ea

      • by chrb (1083577) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @11:38AM (#25661693)

        If you look closely you'll notice that (a) the laptop the benchmarks are run on effects in no way, the validity of the benchmark as long as they are run consistently on the same laptop and (b) some benchmarks like RAM bandwidth have theoretical limits that are not effected at all by the Operating System but in actual practice, is entirely limited by the operating system you are using.

        a) Well that depends on what you mean by validity of the benchmark. If you only run tests on a single laptop, then any statistically significant results you find apply only to that single laptop - not even that laptop model, but that specific laptop. Who knows, maybe this specific laptop has some faulty memory or hard disk? Maybe the PSU is under-powering the system leading to slow down? The point is that without wider testing, you just don't know. To draw general results, you need randomised testing across different hardware platforms.

        b) You should see very little variation between operating systems when hardware is the limiting factor. "RAM bandwidth" is certainly not "entirely limited by the operating system you are using".

        All of the benchmarks were testing the hardware and should have showed variation.

        I believe you were missing the OP's point: when hardware is the limiting factor in a test, then there should be very little variance in the test result. If you are seeing a lot of variance, then you need to quantify why, because it is unexpected.

        Wrong. You isolate it down to one independent variable, its called the scientific process. And there was only one independent variable involved, the distro. Everything else is dependant on that variable.

        You then need to go and find out why you're seeing the results you see. Scientists also constantly question their own test methodology - you need to verify that the results you observe are indeed caused by significant differences between the systems under test, or by the test setup itself. And you also need randomised tests, otherwise your results can't be generalised. Oh, and you don't need to isolate it to one variable - see Factorial experiments [wikipedia.org].

  • Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GauteL (29207) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @10:10AM (#25660347)

    ... for those that can't be bothered to read this lengthy yet information sparse piece.

    1. MacOS X is faster in graphics intensive benchmarks.
    2. The other benchmarks are fairly even with Ubuntu coming out on top more often than OS X (one notable exception is SQLite).

    This is hardly anything new. OS X has a well optimised graphics system with good drivers for the intel chips (which up until now was used in both Macbooks and Mac Minis).

    Also SQLite is AFAIK integral to many features of OS X, and for this reason it makes sense for Apple to have optimised for it.

    Overall the benchmarks suggests that Linux (not just Ubuntu) needs some work on the graphics system and the Intel drivers. What a shock.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bill_mcgonigle (4333) *

      2. The other benchmarks are fairly even with Ubuntu coming out on top more often than OS X (one notable exception is SQLite).

      Ah, very interesting. Firefox 3 doesn't work in networked OSX environments because the Mozilla devs don't want to turn on a SQLite feature to make it compatible with AFP for performance reasons. Seems like some testing is in order.

    • Overall the benchmarks suggests that Linux (not just Ubuntu) needs some work on the graphics system and the Intel drivers.

      Since they only tested on a Mac Mini, what the results actually suggest is that an operating system distribution that's been finely tuned for a very small set of hardware beats a generic distribution that's currently running on thousands of different hardware configurations. If they actually wanted to draw some generic conclusions about Ubuntu versus Mac OS X, then they should've install

  • SQLite inserts? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by zoid.com (311775) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @10:15AM (#25660405) Homepage Journal

    What's up with the SQLite inserts? Is EXT3 really that bad? I would be interested in seeing PostgreSQL benchmarks.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Zan Lynx (87672)

      I am pretty sure Apple cheats on fsync which SQLite uses a lot. To get a real fsync from OS X you have to use the special secret F_FULLFSYNC fcntl.

      "Cheat" may be too strong, but Linux fsync sends a command to disk to flush all disk buffers and OS X does not.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by argent (18001)

        Is this because it doesn't do an fsync, or is it vecause it returns from the fsync once the journal is written?

        If it's the latter, why is that cheating?

      • Re:SQLite inserts? (Score:4, Informative)

        by coolsnowmen (695297) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @12:06PM (#25662171)

        http://developer.apple.com/documentation/Darwin/Reference/ManPages/man2/fsync.2.html [apple.com]

        You are right, and that is not what I expected.

        Note that while fsync() will flush all data from the host to the drive (i.e. the "permanent storage
                  device"), the drive itself may not physically write the data to the platters for quite some time and it
                  may be written in an out-of-order sequence.

                  Specifically, if the drive loses power or the OS crashes, the application may find that only some or
                  none of their data was written. The disk drive may also re-order the data so that later writes may be
                  present, while earlier writes are not.

                  This is not a theoretical edge case. This scenario is easily reproduced with real world workloads and
                  drive power failures.

                  For applications that require tighter guarantees about the integrity of their data, Mac OS X provides
                  the F_FULLFSYNC fcntl.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Space cowboy (13680) *

        I read it as the other way around. Linux, Windows, the Mac, just about everything cheat on fsync(). Posix allows this, and even allows a null implementation. Note that linux implements fsync() as a no-op for some filesystems, and that some versions (I don't know which) of Windows can remove fsync() functionality via a registry setting.

        On the Mac, calling fsync() does the same thing as it does on anything else with a working fsync() call - it flushes all the data out to the drive and returns.

        What the mac a

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 06, 2008 @10:17AM (#25660437)

    Ubunu isn't getting slower, Mac OSX is getting faster.

    Do any of you recall Mac OSX 10.0?

    The day I installed Apple's first "modern" OS, I thought X marked the spot of Apple's demise.

    Apple has done an admirable job bringing MacOS into the 21st century, and their future looks promising.

  • by glennrrr (592457) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @10:19AM (#25660475)
    Next year, we will be seeing how much the extreme emphasis Apple is placing on performance will affect comparisons like these. Apple has figured out that since they can no longer hope to use differences in the CPU to differentiate themselves with generic Windows boxen, they will be using Microsoft's extreme backwards compatibility needs against them when it comes to fully using all the cores--whether they be in a CPU or a GPU--in a computer, and making full use of the 64-bit instruction set. GPGPU programming can give a huge performance boost to certain algorithms and the cleaner, more register rich, 64-bit instruction set is intrinsically faster in addition to allowing larger data sets.

    That's why they stopped selling non 64-bit capable computers a couple years ago, and why the new MacBooks have much improved integrated graphics. That's why they are moving their developers to include 64-bit compiles as part of newly shipped universal binaries. Next year is when all this latent potential gets switched on.

    Linux has the opportunity to do the same; perhaps more opportunity as it has less of a legacy binary issue, although Linux has to deal with a multitude of graphics chips, Apple only has to optimize for a handful.
    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @10:38AM (#25660745) Journal
      Leopard has already improved performance in a lot of areas. In particular, mmap performance no longer sucks. I had an interesting experience where I wrote two back ends for some of my code, one with aio and one with mmap. On FreeBSD they were within 5% of each other. On OS X 10.4, the mmap one was an order of magnitude slower (and aio ran slower on the OS X machine, but that's not a very fair test - the OS X machine had a faster CPU but a slower disk). I extended this pathological case to a simple program which mmap'd a 2GB file and then touched one byte in every page in turn, 200 times. On 10.4, this completely killed the machine until it finished running, and didn't finish when I left it overnight. On 10.5, the machine stayed responsive (some slowdown, but not much), and finished in about an hour. Now that it's certified as fully complying with SUS'03, Darwin is a pretty nice OS, although too many parts of it (audio subsystem, for example) are closed for it to really be useful without OS X.
    • by scorp1us (235526) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @11:00AM (#25661035) Journal

      So many people are going to call BS on this, but...

      I was in the mac store the other day, and I swear I could tell the difference between the new Mac books with the NVIDIA chips and the ones without. From just looking at the scaling performance of the doc as you mouse over it, it looked so much more solid.

      I tend to be very sensitive to visual artifacts. I hated my MythTV box because of the tearing (memory bus issue) and blocking on Comcast (so glad I now have FIOS, which still blocks, but only for static or oceanscapes).

      Things like a dock where it feels "solid" (better servicing of repaints) just give a better impression of stability and performance, even if its just a simple scale operation. Having no flicker in position or delay in rendering make an impression on people who may not even be aware of what they are seeing.

      • by bendodge (998616)

        I heartily agree. I always feel nervous when I see bits of redraw gunk flash by when I open a menu or mouse over something. I get this nagging feeling that I'm about to get a driver error (I've spent too much time trying to fix nv4_disp BSOD's). I honestly would feel much better about using Linux if it responded more like XP Pro with the Classic interface (no menu delays, no artifacts, clicks registered immediately). There's something psychological about smooth UI responses, and it's my biggest con of KDE4.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Yup right after they piss off 1/2 their user base by abandoning the G5's and G4 processors.

      There are a crapload of G5 and G4 apples still in use daily. I know of at least 30 that still create the TV shows and TV commercials you all watch.

      • Yup right after they piss off 1/2 their user base by abandoning the G5's and G4 processors.

        Abandoned how? I have a G4 eMac that runs great with Leopard. Snow Leopard won't work on it, but I'm not upset that I'm "stuck" with 10.5. What would a new OS give me that the current one doesn't, other than support for new hardware that my system doesn't have?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by freedom_india (780002)

        Actually you are right and wrong.
        I have G4 iBook. I upgraded to Leopard last week from Tiger.
        Tiger was the fastest OS i had.
        The upgrade failed. iBook became terribly slow (no, spotlight was done).
        I had to wipe and install.
        Somehow it seems slower and less colorful now.
        Panther was slow. Tiger was fastest. Leopard is like XP.
        powerPC is something i like. It is a different architecture than the staid crappy x86. It was beautiful.
        I don't know whom to blame: arrogant IBM or impatient Apple or us suckers.

  • by Eravnrekaree (467752) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @11:13AM (#25661259)

    I have not noticed performance problems from Ubuntu. Sometimes I think these small differences are pretty much unnoticeable to the common user. I would say that while Linux always seems fast and snappy to me, its Windows which has a truly noticeable sluggish feel.

    I certainly do not think it is a good trade off in an OS to sacrifice features for an increase in speed which really is not noticeable. In most cases this is not necessary as many parts of a system can be made optional. The schedular and some core kernel systems effect the speed of the whole system, but most other components are optional, like X, like drivers, like Gnome, and so on.

    Which also is the nice thing about X: the designers of X decided not to try to build in a bunch of heavy user interface junk into the X server, ironically which many people criticise. Excluding memory leaks in some drivers not related to X itself, the X protocol and server system is actually very efficient by todays standards and does not use much memory. Most memory usage is in caching and in bad drivers full of crappy code. Therefore you can run our own window manager without carrying a bunch of stuff you wont use. But the eye candy is there if you want it. People should choose how many features and memory or how little they wish to use.

  • Why turn off Compiz? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by argent (18001) <peter@slashdot.2 ... m ['nga' in gap]> on Thursday November 06, 2008 @11:22AM (#25661417) Homepage Journal

    Since OS X doesn't have an option to turn off compositing, shouldn't it be comparing Ubuntu with Compiz enabled?

    • It would only serve to further hurt Ubuntu. There's something about the Linux graphics subsystem where it doesn't multitask very efficiently among multiple applications requesting 3D acceleration. Keeping Compiz on means that their 3D benchmarks are all that much slower, if not causing rendering errors too. It's not exactly "fair", but anyone here who's serious about Linux knows that it's a good idea to kill Compiz before gaming.
  • When cars first came out, they were very slow. Today my four door econ car can do 0 to 60 in about 9 seconds and can go about 3 times as fast as my states law allows on most roads.

    Computers are there too. My Mac is a core 2 duo with an 8600M GT DDR3. I can dual boot it into OS X or XP. It sits at 0% resource usage 99% of the time.

    It's not about how fast you are, it's about what you get done.

    With my Mac OS X side I can get a lot more done than my Windows boot side. XP requires me to think more about

  • Ubuntu loses on any disk intensive operation, especially when it is required to perform synchronisation (with sqlite, for example).
    That's not surprising at all, given how the default ext3 Ubuntu partition is set up.

  • In Phoronix's original test, Ubuntu 7.04 (and sometimes 7.10) performed twice as fast as later releases. When later compared to Fedora, they showed that Fedora's numbers were fairly consistent over the last two years, and close to the same as recent Ubuntu releases. It seems like either something was wrong with the benchmark run on the 7.04 release or there was a huge change after 7.04. Has anyone explained that?

  • I use Ubuntu 8.04 and 8.10 daily on my laptops and OS X 10.5.5 on my iMac. In most daily tasks the actual speed is quite irrelevant, what counts is the 'snappiness' of the user interface. From this point of view I must say that OS X fails miserably and I'm seriously considering to install Ubuntu and forgetting about OS X on my iMac.

    Fact is, Ubuntu on my old thinkpad T42 with 1GB RAM (already used when bought) feels much faster in daily use than OS X on my iMac 2Ghz Dual Core with 2GB RAM. Cocoa apps in g

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