Fast Java Libraries

October 30, 2011

It has been more than a year of not posting, but I’m back.
I just made a permanent Page to collect fast Java libraries.
I will make a Post about each of these in the next few days.

Fast Java Libraries

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ReactOS

September 5, 2010

So I have been quite busy lately, but now I hope I can update this blog more often.

Today I don’t want to talk about Browsers. Even though there is enough going on in the browser world I could blog about, I want to talk about an operating system called ReactOS. ReactOS is (as it says on its website) “a free, modern operating system based on the design of Windows® XP/2003. Written completely from scratch, it aims to follow the Windows-NT® architecture designed by Microsoft from the hardware level right through to the application level”.

Altogether it will become a free and open source OS compatible to windows applications, but in contrast to Windows it will be allot more customizable (and have feature Windows might never have).

I installed a trunk build (unstable, but recent) on VirtualBox and gave it a try.

the installation process feels very XP like (maybe smaller text?)


the boot screen changed since the last release. I love the new one =)



On first boot you have to set some basic settings and the wine gecko engine is downloaded.


The ReactOS Desktop


ReactOS comes with an application installer, which is really handy



even the most recent Firefox version (3.6.8) runs without problems


but while trying to download AdBlockPlus ReactOS crashed
Even after trying it again and again it crashed. I guess that comes from installing trunk builds.

Altogether I like ReactOS very much. I like this open source linuxish feel within a Windows familiar environment. Imagine a Windows that is able to run multiple Desktops, access ext-File system (or who knows maybe even btrfs!), runs on the ARM-Architecture, is totally customizable and best of all is free =). I mean, this could become the OS for guys like me, I mean I love Linux but somehow I’m still stuck with Windows. ReactOS could solve this problem for me =)

ReactOS is still in Alpha state, so allot doesn’t work well yet, wtill it is nice to see the progress this project is making and the effort people put into it.

I’m looking forward, to one day installing ReactOS on an old machine, because everything works well and it uses much fewer resources. I hope this dream will come true =).

Visit www.reactos.org for more

The HTML5 standard makes it possible to integrate videos into homepages just by adding “<video>videoname.avi</video>”, which I think is pretty awesome! No need for flash players with different features, just the same player for every video. But of cause there are problems, mostly about the codecs which should be used. HTLM5 doesn’t specify which codec you should use, so all the browsers kind of have their own idea which one this should be.

Firefox made a quite clear statement on this. They said their going to use only an open source and patent free codec. So they went for Ogg Theora, which is an open source codec that works quite well. Problem is, that Google already started to host videos coded with H264 and of cause implemented both Ogg and H264 into Google Chrome. H264 is most likely the best codec right now, but it is patented and thus has licensing fees. The reason most browsers don’t want to support Ogg Theora, is because it’s quality and that it may have submarine patents, which could lead to licensing fees in the future (Apple claims to own such patents). So because of the issues with Ogg and H264 there was the need for a alternative. Because Google bought a company called “On2” in February, which where working on an codec called VP8 (which should get close to H264), many people demanded, that they make it Open Source. Surprisingly Google really planned to make VP8 Open Source, which doesn’t have the issues the other two have. So now everybody should be happy, shouldn’t they?

No -.-

A few days after the announcement from Google, Microsoft had something to say. They said the new Internet Explorer (IE9) would support only H264 and nothing else.. .. ..
Well, if I where Google I would be pretty pissed.. I mean they where really so kind to solve the whole problem with their own effort and Microsoft just screws everything. Well there is reason why Microsoft wants to use H264. The reason is, that they own a few of the patents of H264 (as does Apple) and could make money with it if people use it.

So I compared the codecs and which browsers would agree to use them, so I came up with two charts.
I want to stress, that these ratings reflect my personal view and understanding of things and may not be correct.

So here Ogg Theora loses, because the quality seems to be the worse, it’s not sure if it is patent free and hardware support.. no idea.
H264 has a very good quality and broad hardware support (even in mobile devices), but has the patent problem.
VP8 has better quality than Ogg (but most likely not that of H264) is patent free, but how can there be hardware support if it isn’t out yet?

Now to what Browser supports/will support/wants to support which codec.
IE said they only want to support H264.
Firefox wants something Open Source and patent free.
Chrome i guess is good with all.
Actually I don’t know what Apple wants to do, but I know they love H264.

So it’s pretty clear, that there is no way around H264 and in the end it is by far the best choice (if you don’t take the patents into account). In the end I would love to see all three codecs supported in all big browsers, then you could simply choose the codec by which demands you have (H264 for quality, VP8 for fast encode etc..)… but well who thinks this is going to happen…

Edit 23.05: It seems that there is a solution. Google made VP8 open source and wants make it standard together with Ogg Audio and WebM container (similar to .mkv). Mozilla, Opera and Google Chrome immediately supported the codec. But the good news, IE9 will support it too =). So from the major browsers there is only Safari left, which will have to support it too. Only problem is, it seems that VP8 copied allot from H264 as this article explains, so it might not be patent free. Let’s hope, that it doesn’t violate any patent…

Today I discovered, that the second platform preview was out. Because I finally switched from XP to Win7 I realized I could test it. With having Windows7 I could also run the hardware acceleration of the 3.7 alphas.

Browsers tested:

  • IE9 Platform Preview 2
  • FF 3.7 preAlpha 5 (from portable apps)
    + activated direct write
  • FF 3.6.3
    with all my Addons and Bookmarks

I run three tests, first was Googles V8 Benchmark (more is better)

IE9 Prev2 Benchmark V8

FF 3.7      – 916
IE9            – 849
FF 3.6.3  – 489

So in this test IE9 did really good, but Fire Fox 3.7 is still better.

Webkit’s Sunspider 0.9.1 (less is better)
+ added IE8 for comparison

IE9 Prev2 Benchmark Sunspider

IE9              – 566,8 ms
FF3.7         – 723,9 ms
FF3.6         – 910.1 ms
IE8 64bit  – 4848.3 ms

Here IE9 is ahead. This may also be the test they are optimizing their JavaScript-engine for.
Somehow both Firefox versions kind of flashed after every Test. IE’s stayed static. This could be one of the reasons why they take a little more time.
FF3.7 also took

Lastly I also tried Futuremark’s Peacekeeper where IE9 sucked pretty hard. FF 3.6.3 was faster in every part of the test, except for the “String Operations”. Generally IE9 was allot worse that FF3.6.4.  FF 3.7 and IE8 didn’t complete this test.

Well all in all, I’m quite happy with the improvements of Internet Explorer, even though it isn’t a complete Browser yet. I hope, that Jägermonkey (the new JS-Engine Project of Mozilla) can improve the performance of Firefox soon. To track the performance JägerMonkey adds to Firefox(‘s TraceMonkey), you can use www.arewefastyet.com.

So now I will get some sleep..
..night

Edit: I run a Laptop with following specs:

  • Windows 7 Professional 64bit
  • Core 2 Duo 2,4 GHz
  • Nvidia Geforce 9600M
  • 4GB RAM

Hello world!

April 29, 2010

Hello, my name is Tobi!

I’m from Austria and among other things I’m pretty interested in technology.
Here I want to blog about all the stuff I find interesting.
I’ll try to keep it interesting =)