The last time we ran a performance comparison of different Linux distributions on netbooks was in late November when benchmarking Chromium OS, Moblin, Fedora, openSUSE, and Ubuntu Netbook Remix. The results were interesting, but now we have a new set of Linux distributions out there, so we have carried out a new comparison. In particular, we are looking closely at how the MeeGo distribution -- which marries Intel's Moblin and Nokia's Maemo projects -- is performing now that it has reached version 1.0. Also in the testing mix are Ubuntu Netbook Remix 10.04 LTS, Moblin 2.1, and Fedora 13.
The MeeGo operating system as a joint project between Intel and Nokia was announced back in February. An initial test release was made available in early April, but yesterday's MeeGo 1.0 release is the first where they are providing a stable netbook version. MeeGo 1.1 that is being targeted for release later this year will offer compatibility with touch-based devices like tablets and mobile Internet devices. An ARM variant is being worked on, but this initial netbook version is targeting Intel Atom processors, similar to the Moblin releases. MeeGo isn't just a standard Linux stack with a user-interface designed for small screens nor is it just a Qt-ified version of Moblin, but many changes have been going into this operating system, including the use of Btrfs by default and Google's Chrome / Chromium web-browser.
MeeGo 1.0 for the netbook runs with the Linux 126.96.36.199 kernel, X.Org Server 1.8.0, Mesa 7.8.1, GCC 4.4.2, and the Btrfs file-system. Meanwhile, Ubuntu Netbook Remix 10.04 LTS launched last month with the Linux 2.6.32 kernel, X.Org Server 1.7.6, xf86-video-intel 2.9.1, GCC 4.4.3, and an EXT4 file-system. Fedora 13 just launched earlier this week and it uses the Linux 188.8.131.52 kernel, X.Org Server 1.8.0, xf86-video-intel 2.11.0, Mesa 7.8.1, GCC 4.4.4, and is equipped with an EXT4 file-system by default. Lastly, Moblin 2.1 was introduced with the Linux 2.6.31 kernel, X.Org Server 184.108.40.2061, Mesa 7.6, GCC 4.3, and an EXT3 file-system. Our test system was a Samsung NC10 netbook with an Intel Atom N270 CPU, a 32GB OCZ Core Series V2 SSD, 2GB of system memory, and an Intel 945G integrated graphics processor driving a 1024 x 600 LVDS panel.
We monitored the netbook's battery performance under each of these desktop Linux distributions along with the boot times and lastly a set of performance benchmarks. These performance benchmarks facilitated by the Phoronix Test Suite included OpenArena, PostMark, Unpack-Linux, LAME MP3, FFmpeg, OpenSSL, John The Ripper, and 7-Zip compression.