Wednesday, June 22, 2011

FreeBSD 9.0 and EKOPath (Path64) Compiler

You may be aware that Pathscale announced they are making their EKOPath compiler suite open-source. This is great news, even if it's a GPLv3 license. I''d be happier with a BSD license so we could bundle it easier with FreeBSD, but regardless, having free access to this excellent compiler is just what we need to increase FreeBSD's performance, and start catching up with other OS'es for performance.

Phoronix released info about the story here

Compilers do make a difference in the speed of our OS, don't think for a second that you're getting full performance in FreeBSD from the old gcc 4.2.2 on modern hardware.

I've recently done some tests with clang/llvm vs gcc with various optimization switches, and there is a definite increase from the default generic builds of FreeBSD for my standard environment of NFS-ZFS-ESX. I'll post about that shortly when I've finished my tests.

For now, Martin Matuska has some info about compiling FreeBSD with a newer version of gcc, and also links to some statistically valid data showing the speed increase from doing this. You can start here, and find his performance data link at the bottom.  

clang/llvm is a great step forward, I wish it would beat gcc for compiled binary run speed, but it can't. In my tests, the only time clang/llvm was faster than gcc was when I was doing compression based tests, and I'm assuming this is because the newer clang/llvm can take advantage of more modern processor extensions than the older gcc 4.2.2

FreeBSD is committed to clang/llvm, as it's a BSD license, and we need that for making the entire FreeBSD distribution as GPL free.  It will get better, but FreeBSD isn't the focus of this project.

Anyway, I digress: This is about Path64. Start here:

Sources to download Path64 compiler:
You'll need to include two libraries for this to work;

pkg_add -r libdwarf
pkg_add -r cmake

Follow the instructions in the readme, or check Marcello's page for more info.

I followed his instructions, the only difference is that I'm on FreeBSD-9-CURRENT, a build from 2011. , and I used this cmake command:

set MYLIBPATH=/usr/lib

cmake ~/work/path64 \
-DPSC_DYNAMIC_LINKER_x86_64=/libexec/ \

There is discussion about this on the FreeBSD mailing lists here.

That's as far as I've made it - The tests with the compiler start now. I dream of a buildworld with this, but I know that's not going to be easy. For now, I'm going to start with some "Hello World" type programs.


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