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Improving performance with custom-compiled source packages

Feb 17, 2011, 15:05 (1 Talkback[s])


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"Feeling-the-need-for-speed asks: Can custom-compiled source packages really improve performance compared to pre-compiled binary packages? If yes, by how much?

"DistroWatch answers: Yes, software that is compiled specifically for your system will often provide a performance boost compared to binary packages provided by distributions. The packages in distro repositories are designed to work across a wide variety of machines and so will leave out optimizations. When we compile software to work specifically for our processor we can throw away the backward compatibility restrictions and gain more efficient programs. Linux Magazine featured an article a while back by Christopher Smart comparing standard Ubuntu packages with custom-made Gentoo software. Some of the tests resulted in similar results for both custom and pre-built software, but in some cases there's a dramatic difference.

"There is a downside. Compiling your own software to get these performance boosts takes time. So, before you start compiling replacements for all your applications, take a look at what you stand to gain and what it's going to cost. For example, it might take you several hours to compile LibreOffice and the result will be a slightly lighter, slightly faster office suite."

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