The Fast-Food Syndrome

Somebody at OSNews wrote an editorial lambasting modern Linux distributions for giving in to feature bloat and ending up slower than Windows XP. It doesn't match with my experience at all, Linux has always seemed snappier to me, especially on older machines. So I ran a few tests to see if Fedora Core 2 is really more resource intensive than XP. Test one is a simple memory usage test. I loaded up these apps on XP: Word, Internet Explorer, Outlook, and GAIM. On FC2, I loaded these apps: Writer, Mozilla Firefox, Mozilla Thunderbird, and GAIM. Memory used:

Windows XP: 187MB

Next I tried to measure application startup times. The best I could do is start each application with the Unix "time" command, which measures how long a program runs for and then try to click the close button as soon as the window came up. It's not scientific but it'll give us an estimate. I tested the word processors and the web browsers:

OO.o Writer: 3.876s
Firefox: 1.962s

Word: 3.700s
Internet Explorer: 1.573s

So I'm not sure where the author is coming from. Especially disturbing is that he singles out developer Havoc Pennington for criticism, which is ridiculous because Havoc is a crusader for optimization and behind some of the coolest open source projects like