[R] Ubuntu vs. Windows

Abhijit Dasgupta adasgupt at mail.jci.tju.edu
Tue Apr 22 22:27:34 CEST 2008

My naive understanding of this (I switched to Ubuntu a year ago from 
WinXP for similar reasons) is that Ubuntu as an OS uses less memory than 
WinXP, thus leaving more memory for computation, swap space, etc. In 
other words, Ubuntu is "lighter" than XP on system resources.


Doran, Harold wrote:
> Dear List:
> I am very much a unix neophyte, but recently had a Ubuntu box installed
> in my office. I commonly use Windows XP with 3 GB RAM on my machine and
> the Ubuntu machine is exactly the same as my windows box (e.g.,
> processor and RAM) as far as I can tell.
> Now, I recently had to run a very large lmer analysis using my windows
> machine, but was unable to due to memory limitations, even after
> increasing all the memory limits in R (which I think is a 2gig max
> according to the FAQ for windows). So, to make this computationally
> feasible, I had to sample from my very big data set and then run the
> analysis. Even still, it would take something on the order of 45 mins to
> 1 hr to get parameter estimates. (BTW, SAS Proc nlmixed was even worse
> and kept giving execution errors until the data set was very small and
> then it ran for a long time)
> However, I just ran the same analysis on the Ubuntu machine with the
> full, complete data set, which is very big and lmer gave me back
> parameter estimates in less than 5 minutes. 
> Because I have so little experience with Ubuntu, I am quite pleased and
> would like to understand this a bit better. Does this occur because R is
> a bit friendlier with unix somehow? Or, is this occuring because unix
> somehow has more efficient methods for memory allocation?
> I wish I knew enough to even ask the right questions. So, I welcome any
> enlightenment members may add.
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