Canonical will be releasing Ubuntu 9.10 at the end of next month while the final release of FreeBSD 8.0 is also expected within the next few weeks. With these two popular free software operating systems both having major updates coming out at around the same time, we decided it warranted some early benchmarking as we see how the FreeBSD 8.0 and Ubuntu 9.10 performance compares. For looking more at the FreeBSD performance we also have included test results from FreeBSD 7.2, the current stable release. In this article are mostly the server and workstation oriented benchmarks with the testing being carried out on a dual AMD Opteron quad-core workstation.
Among the new features to be found in Ubuntu 9.10 include performance improvements in several different areas (as shown by some of our benchmarks), integration of the GNOME 2.28 desktop, usage of the EXT4 file-system by default, updated X.Org packages, the Linux 2.6.31 with its plethora of new features and drivers, many minor usability fixes, and other changes for this six-month update to Ubuntu 9.04. With FreeBSD 8.0, which will arrive about five months after the release of FreeBSD 7.2 and just a few months shy of two years since the release of FreeBSD 7.0, brings improved ZFS support, Xen DomU support, a rewritten TTY layer, a new USB stack, NFSv4 support, network stack virtualization support, superpages, an experimental new driver for AHCI, D-Trace improvements, ULE 3.0 (improved SMP-optimized scheduler), support for light-weight kernel threads, and many other changes.
Both FreeBSD 8.0 and Ubuntu 9.10 will be included in our upcoming big operating system comparison, but for now we are just focusing upon comparing Ubuntu 9.10 and FreeBSD 8.0, but have also added in FreeBSD 7.2 for reference and to see how the performance of this BSD operating system has changed. With FreeBSD 8.0 we were using the AMD64 DVD of the first release candidate using a stock installation. With Ubuntu 9.10 we were using the x86_64 server CD of the Alpha 6 build. With FreeBSD not shipping with a desktop environment by default, we used the Ubuntu server CD so that both could be tested just from the terminal in a similar environment. All of the FreeBSD and Ubuntu options were left at their defaults. One of the package versions worth noting is that GCC 4.2.1 is used in both FreeBSD 7.2 and FreeBSD 8.0 while Ubuntu 9.10 is using GCC 4.4.1. FreeBSD was also using the default UFS file-system while Ubuntu 9.10 is running with EXT4. Each operating system was tested with its default settings (including any debug options) and packages to test an "out of the box" experience. We will be back with more benchmarks once each of these operating systems have been officially released.
The hardware used in this testing included two AMD Opteron 2384 processors (Quad-Core CPUs; clocked at 2.70GHz), a Tyan Thunder n3600M (NVIDIA MCP55) motherboard, 4GB of DDR2 Registered Memory, a 160GB Western Digital WD1600YS-01S SATA HDD, and an ATI FirePro V8750 2GB graphics card.
The tests that were carried out under FreeBSD 7.2, FreeBSD 8.0 RC1, and Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 6 included timed ImageMagick compilation, LAME MP3 encoding, 7-Zip compression, Gzip compression, LZMA compression, POV-Ray, C-Ray, John The Ripper, dcraw, timed MAFFT alignment, GraphicsMagick, BYTE Unix Benchmark, Fhourstones, SQLite, Stream, and the Threaded I/O Tester. All these tests were run through the Phoronix Test Suite, which provides automated testing capabilities atop Linux, BSD, OpenSolaris, and Mac OS X systems.