Canonical released Ubuntu 9.10 last week, which introduced the Ubuntu Software Center and brought a wide variety of other improvements, while Red Hat is scheduled to release Fedora 12 in two weeks. With the impending release and the current development freeze, we took the compose release candidate for Fedora 12 x86_64 and have looked at how its performance compares to Ubuntu 9.10. In this article are our results, which actually show some rather large differences between Fedora and Ubuntu when it comes to the speed of the Linux desktop.
Our test system for this article consisted of a Lenovo ThinkPad T61 notebook, which was running an Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 Penryn dual-core processor clocked at 2.50GHz, an Intel PM965 + ICH8M-E motherboard, 4GB of system memory, a 100GB Hitachi HTS72201 7200RPM SATA 2.0 hard drive, and a NVIDIA Quadro NVS 140M 512MB graphics processor. The important packages worth noting from the Fedora 11.92 (the effective release candidate, taken from the nightly compose directory) is the Linux 2.6.31 kernel, GNOME 2.28.1, X Server 1.7.0, NVIDIA 190.42 display driver (manual install), GCC 4.4.2, and an EXT4 file-system. Ubuntu 9.10 "Karmic Koala" is packing the 2.6.31 kernel as well along with the GNOME 2.28.1 desktop, X Server 1.6.4, NVIDIA 190.42 (manual install), GCC 4.4.1, and an EXT4 file-system. Besides manually installing the latest binary display driver on each system for the NVIDIA Quadro 3D support, both Fedora 12 and Ubuntu 9.10 (using the x86_64 spins) were left in their stock configurations, including the use of SELinux by default on Fedora.
Powered by the Phoronix Test Suite, the tests we ran included World of Padman, Warsow, PostgreSQL, C-Ray, LAME MP3 encoding, FFmpeg video encoding, GraphicsMagick, IOzone, John The Ripper, MAFFT, NASA NAS Parallel Benchmarks, and PostMark. This is just a very small collection of the 120+ tests that are available in the Phoronix Test Suite.