While the Linux 2.6.23 kernel is only weeks into development, it's already generated quite a bit of attention. From the merging of the Completely Fair Scheduler (CFS) to the -rc2 kernel being "the new -rc1", the Linux 2.6.23 kernel is certainly in store for being an ornate release. Adding to this attention has been a stable user-space driver API and virtualization improvements (KVM, Xen, and LGuest). With all of this activity surrounding the Linux 2.6.23 kernel we've decided to conduct a handful of benchmarks comparing the Linux 2.6.20, 2.6.21, 2.6.22, and 2.6.23 kernel releases so far.
In this comparison we had used the latest kernel versions in the Linux 2.6.20 through 2.6.23 branches at the time of testing, which is the 220.127.116.11, 18.104.22.168, 22.214.171.124, and 2.6.23-rc2 kernels. The hardware used for all of the kernel tests were two Intel Xeon LV 2.00GHz dual-core processors, Tyan Tiger i7520SD (S5365) motherboard, 1GB of DDR2-400 ECC Registered memory, NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 PCI 128MB graphics card, and Western Digital 160GB Serial ATA hard drive. The Linux distribution used was Fedora 7 with GCC 4.1.2 and X server 1.3. All kernels used in testing were built from source with no external patches applied and the same basic configuration. Benchmarks had consisted of LAME compilation, LAME encoding, timed disk reads, Gzip compression, and RAMspeed with our standard Linux benchmarking procedures. No graphics tests were conducted due to the system hardware used.