Keep an Open Eye has been following the Apple versus Adobe debate with a bit of a jaundiced eye – wondering how Flash video and all its broad range of applications can run so fast on Windows yet apparently so slow on Macs [and Linux too]. Adobe claims that the latest Flash player 10.1 has not been tuned quite yet and the Mac OS graphics accelerator APIs have not been available to Adobe developers on a timely basis. And Apple and Steve Jobs bemoans the fact that Flash is too slow, too insecure too, too buggy and without explicitly saying so – a piece of software crap.
However, a recent report in Engadget caught my eye. It points to a comparison of MacOS/X vs Windows 7 vs Ubuntu 10.04 done at Phoronix measuring the graphics performance of the 3 popular OS on what can be nearly the same Apples and Apples basic computing hardware – its always a Mac Mini platform. In fact Phoronix has taken pains to do so by getting Windows 7 and Ubuntu to run on the Mac Mini. The results [see one of several charts above]are most interesting and applicable to the Apple vs Adobe debate.
In 4 different graphic tests using 6 popular resolutions [from 800 x 600 screen to HDR 1920 x 1080] Windows 7 running on the NVidia graphics hardware beat both MacOS/X and Ubuntu consistently – even when the graphics accelerators were changed. Now consider this – Windows 7 was never beaten and the margin of victory was 30 to 300% better than Apple. Even more intriguing Ubuntu Linux, though never besting Windows 7 , also consistently outperformed Apple MacOS/X.
So this raises a legitimate question – was Steve Jobs dissing Adobe Flash performance to distract attention from Apple’s own very poor graphics performance? With graphics performance on Macs on average 30-60% slower than Windows, wouldn’t Flash video just run slower? Phoronix is promising more benchmarks with other graphics software after its May 2010 posted results. Here is one party that will be keeping an open eye for such a posting.
See the July update report here: Apple improves but Linux Leaves