The support for linux applications makes Chrome OS very interesting to me. But I would like to know more about their actual performance.
Apparently, the applications are executed in KVM. The google docs are a bit confusing, since they don't distinguish clearly between containerization and virtualization. This article is called Running Custom Containers Under Chrome OS but it quite clearly says that the various linux features are sandboxed in a virtual machine.
This website talks about the performance penalty of virtualization, but doesn't give any concrete numbers:
The second limitation is that Google runs Linux apps by placing them in a Debian-based virtual machine. For those that aren’t familiar, this means that performance won’t be quite as good as you’d get from a native app installation. That’s likely the reason Google is kicking off support with the beefy Pixelbook.
Can you tell me how much overhead is introduced here ? How does the performance of a linux application on chrome os compare with the same application on ubuntu for example.
I appreciate the feedback given so far and would like to make my question more precise. As far as I understand, there are three problems with my question:
- The hardware setup is important. Something like the pixelbook might get special fine-tuning.
- The software I'm using is important.
- The baseline for comparison is not clearly defined.
To address these points:
- I can't give you precise information on the hardware. For the sake of this argument, let's assume an Intel ULV chip, something like the i5-7Y54, together with 4GB of RAM and 64GB eMMC. For a chromebook I think this would be quite beefy, while still being much slower than most windows laptops. (This might even be the hardware of the pixelbook. If so, it's not intended)
I'm interested in software development. The most basic tools I need are VS Code and Latex, I assume that this will not be a problem. It would be nice to run Android Studio and PyCharm. I sometimes do some image editing, let's say GIMP. Gaming is not really a topic for me, but if we have Linux, let's try playing some Half Life 2 :).
For the baseline, let's say we install software over apt and look at Chrome OS + KVM vs Ubuntu or Debian. If we have something like Gentoo where everything is compiled from source, I know that it will be impossible to predic the effect of compiler optimizations.
I also searched a bit more and found this nice article: https://forum.level1techs.com/t/how-fast-is-kvm-host-vs-virtual-machine-performance/110192
Actually, I think this is almost an answer to my question: Given enough resources, the performance difference between KVM and host OS is negligible. It's just that this article is very much focused on a high-end PC. Can you give me some intuition, how this scales if the host becomes much slower ?