Benchmark and compare Perl 6 implementations against perl5
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% perl6-bench: Tools to benchmark and compare Perl family language implementations


  1. Make sure you'll have a net connection and idle CPUs for the next few hours
  2. Run a quickstart: a. If your primary goal is performance testing run: ./bench quickstart b. If your primary goal is stress testing run: ./bench quickstress
  3. Profit!


NOTE: This is an EARLY RELEASE, and no attempt has been made to bulletproof the tools. Play nice. :-)

A sample sequence for building, benchmarking, and comparing a few compilers is as follows:

# First step chews network bandwidth to mirror repos; see next section
./bench setup

# Benchmark several different compilers' May 2013 releases
export CHECKOUTS='perl5/v5.18.0 nqp/2013.05 nqp-jvm/2013.05 rakudo/2013.05 niecza/v24'
./bench extract $CHECKOUTS
./bench build   $CHECKOUTS
./bench time    $CHECKOUTS
./bench compare $CHECKOUTS


perl6-bench tries to front-load as much of the network traffic as possible, so that you can run ./bench setup once on a fast network, then disconnect and do benchmarking to your heart's content without touching the network again (unless you run ./bench fetch to bring in new upstream commits).

During the setup process, bench clones a bare mirror of the git repos of every component it knows about. After that, the extract command simply makes local clones of these bare mirrors as needed, not touching the network at all. Also, special care is taken during component builds so that components such as NQP and Rakudo that want to automatically clone other components during build don't do so over the network, making fast local clones instead.

Thus, after setup you can build, benchmark, and analyze without touching the network again. Eventually though you may want to grab the latest changes to the component repos, e.g. to benchmark a new release when it comes out. You can do this with ./bench fetch, which takes care to only update the bare mirrors across the network -- not requiring nearly as much bandwidth as the original setup since only new commits and tags are pulled -- and then update all extracted checkouts locally from those mirrors.

NOTE: There is one exception to this magic -- Niecza's build process needs to download a ZIP of an older release in order to build a new one. Unfortunately, because these are changed quite often, it would waste quite a bit of bandwidth to download all the ZIPs at once during setup if the user doesn't plan to benchmark every Niecza release. For this reason, if you plan to benchmark Niecza when you are not on a fast network, you should at least build the Niecza releases you want to test while still well-connected.


Make sure you stop background processes when benchmarking! Mail programs, web browsers, media players, and server applications of many types are particularly suspect. They tend to use lots of CPU and memory, run heavy background tasks at both regular and irregular intervals, and often chew a fair amount of I/O and cache capacity as well. This will strongly affect the benchmark results.

Memory usage can be particularly important. The benchmarks are tuned to work within the memory footprint of a 32-bit machine with 2 GiB RAM or a 64-bit machine with 3 GiB RAM. However, running a mail client and a web browser at the same time when memory is already tight can result in heavy swapping, which will produce useless results (VERY SLOWLY to boot).


You will need at least perl5 5.10.x, with the following modules installed:

JSON::XS (best) or JSON::PP (slower)

You will need a Perl 6 compiler to run the bench interface (though you can benchmark the tests "manually" using the raw timeall and analyze Perl 5 scripts in a pinch). The author generally uses bleeding-edge Rakudo, but any Rakudo as of 2013.04 or later should do. Patches welcomed to make bench work well with other Perl 6 compilers.

Your Perl 6 compiler will need the following modules installed:


If you have panda installed, you should already have these, as they are installed during the panda boostrap procedure.

You may also need to have some extra items in your PATH, such as a recent version of mono/mono-sgen for Niecza and node/d8 for Perlito*/JS. YMMV.

Paths to the proper working directory of compilers not yet handled by the ./bench extract mechanism can be set in the %COMPILERS hash at the top of the timeall script. The default directories are assumed to be created by extract, or in parallel checkouts at the same directory level as the perl6-bench checkout. For example, Perlito's directory is currently assumed to be ../Perlito/ relative to the perl6-bench directory; eventually it will be clonable and extractable in the same way as nqp, niecza, and rakudo.

Compilers tested so far:

Perl 5
Perl 6
    nqp    (github perl6/nqp)
    niecza (no pir:: or nqp:: support)



perl6-bench is Copyright 2012-2014, Geoffrey Broadwell. This project is open source, and may be used, copied, modified, distributed, and redistributed under the terms of the Artistic License 2.0 .

The jqplot/ directory contains selected files from the jqPlot and jQuery projects; copyright details may be found in jqplot/copyright.txt .

Some benchmarks have been based on other open-source programs; in particular, benchmarks named with a leading rc- prefix were modified from versions found on Rosetta Code which licenses all content under the GNU Free Documentation License 1.2 .