With Debian 6.0 "Squeeze" set to be released in the coming months, we have decided to run a set of benchmarks looking at the performance of Debian 6.0 across different sub-systems relative to the performance of Debian 5.0 "Lenny" and Debian 4.0 "Etch" to see how this new release may stack up.
We have already benchmarked Debian Squeeze when looking at the Debian GNU/kFreeBSD performance with its new kernel, Debian GNU/kFreeBSD vs. Debian GNU/Linux, and Debian versus Fedora/FreeBSD/OpenBSD/OpenSolaris. In this article, we are just looking at the performance of Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 versus its predecessors. We went back through Debian Etch for benchmarking, which was released in 2007 and the first to come that shipped with the Linux 2.6 kernel by default, migrated to the modular X.Org stack, and replaced GCC3 with GCC4. The particular releases we tested were Debian 4.0r9, Debian 5.0.6, and a Debian 6.0 testing snapshot with its beta installer.
Debian GNU/Linux 4.0r9 had the Linux 2.6.18-6 kernel, GNOME 2.14.3 desktop, X.Org Server 7.1.1, and GCC 4.1.2. Debian 5.0.6 was tested with the Linux 2.6.26-2 kernel, GNOME 2.22.3, X.Org Server 1.4.2, and GCC 4.3.2. Lastly, Debian 6.0 is currently carrying the Linux 2.6.32-5 kernel, GNOME 2.30.2, X.Org Server 1.7.7, and GCC 4.4.5. All three Debian installations used the EXT3 file-system by default. Both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Etch, Lenny, and Squeeze were tested.
With the 32-bit Debian GNU/Linux benchmarking we used a Lenovo ThinkPad R52 notebook with an Intel Pentium M 1.86GHz CPU, 2GB of system memory, a 100GB Hitachi Serial ATA hard drive, and ATI Mobility Radeon X300 graphics. For compatibility going back to Debian 4.0 in the 64-bit world, we used KVM virtualization on the Core i7 970 Gulftown system. The Gulftown system with its six physical cores plus Intel Hyper Threading was running on a system with an OCZ Vertex 2 SSD, 3GB of system memory, an ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics card, and an ASRock X58 SuperComputer motherboard. The host operating system was a stock Ubuntu 10.10 installation. The Debian virtual machine was able to access all 12 processor threads and had allocated 2048MB of system memory.
The benchmarks ran on these past three Debian GNU/Linux releases included Apache, PostgreSQL, PostMark, C-Ray, 7-Zip, Parallel BZIP2, x264, FLAC, Gcrypt, GnuPG, and NAS Parallel Benchmarks. All of this testing was facilitated by the Phoronix Test Suite using the latest Iveland snapshot.