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For what purpose? Faster generally means more stripped down and application specific.
I assume you mean an OS fully capable of being a desktop computer.
In most cases, the short answer is probably going to be linux with a properly configured kernel
There are faster OS's with a gui such as some experimental ones written in ASM, but they aren't
very well supported so they probably won't be of much use.
I know Kolibri OS, Visopsys and stuff like that but they are really good for nothing . I would like to know if Gentoo is faster than Arch Linux in terms of boot time and overall performance of applications. Also I see Debian very fast, imo it is faster than Arch Linux
According to a programmer for the browser in Haiku, Linux has the fastest system calls (TLLTS Interview) Linux is used in the NYSE and London stock exchange because it allows transactions in 1/10 the time. (Note: Oracle DB on a Sun server is also used in London case)
Nothing beats instant on for booting. Some old 8 bit OSes had the OS in ROM. Think C64 & Vic 20. Some embedded systems as well probably.
For the lowest latency, FPLAs probably can't be beat. They are also used for calculating md5 hashes in record time. You can't beat a silicon solution in software for speed or latency.
Linux almost owns the top 500 computers competition. If your question is about teraflops, Linux is the OS used.
What is the fastest operating system? The fastest boot time and the best performance? It doesnt have to be Linux.
Performance is usually very application-specific and is measured in terms of speed as well as other parameters. Even speed is an ambiguous measure.
Common performance parameters are latency, especially as regards interrupts and response to them, context switching, memory footprint, etc. Real-time OS's are usually benchmarked in these terms. You will have a hard time discerning any differences in the speed of most common Linux distros. They are all just collections of software with very little actually written by the distro packagers.
On PC platforms it is possible to speed up booting, but in most cases the BIOS consumes so much time from cold booting that it isn't really practical to use the PC platform to achieve really fast boot times. On some embedded systems, sub 1-second boot times (to a Linux shell prompt) are achieved.
I don't really care how long my system takes to boot, but I'd guess maybe 20 seconds max? (I run Debian). I've never run a distro which took 5 minutes... I should mention that my system is hardly cutting edge either (P4 3.4 with 1.5GB RAM and a PATA hard disk).
QNX is quite fast but this is a rather pointless discussion, imho. There are too many factors, both hardware and software wise to consider it withought using a case by case basis. I hae seen custom OS stuff running in silicon that is effectively "instant-on" But you wouldn't do a spreadsheet using it, or edit vido or any of a thousand things. Boot time really only becoems relevant in a machine that is frequently power cycled and needs to be ready as fast as possible. This really doesn't apply (if we're being honest) to any consumer machine and damn few general business ones.