With 2009 having come to an end, here are the twelve most popular articles and news stories that were published on Phoronix in 2009. Over 230 original articles and 880 news stories were published on Phoronix.com in 2009.
Back on Friday we published Mac OS X 10.6 benchmarks and found it to offer some terrific performance improvements, but at the same time, there were a few notable regressions. Apple engineers have been working hard at pushing technologies like Grand Central Dispatch (GCD), OpenCL, full 64-bit support, and other changes to their OS X stack to bolster its performance capabilities and reduce the overall footprint. Now that we have tested Mac OS X 10.6, we are seeing how its performance compares to that of Ubuntu Linux. Ubuntu 9.10 "Karmic Koala" will be out in October and does have some performance improvements as our earlier tests have shown, but Canonical engineers have not been exclusively focusing on performance optimizations with this release. Can the Karmic Koala outperform Snow Leopard? Yes and no.
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.
The past few Linux kernel releases have brought a number of new file-systems to the Linux world, such as with EXT4 having been stabilized in the Linux 2.6.28 kernel, Btrfs being merged into Linux 2.6.29, and most recently the NILFS2 file-system premiering with the Linux 2.6.30 kernel. Other file-systems have been introduced too during the past few Linux kernel release cycles, but these three have been the most talked about and are often looked at as being the next-generation Linux file-systems. Being the benchmarking junkies that we are, we have set out to compare the file-system performance of EXT4, Btrfs, and NILFS2 under Ubuntu using the Linux 2.6.30 kernel. We also looked at how these file-systems compared to EXT3 and XFS.
Last year we provided benchmarks looking at Ubuntu versus Mac OS X when it came to using the latest releases for both software platforms at the time. Both operating systems had performed competitively -- in some tests, the Apple OS wound up on top while in other areas Canonical had the advantage. Since that article back in November, Apple has released a minor update to Leopard (v10.5.6) and Canonical last month released Ubuntu 9.04. We have already looked at the performance of Ubuntu's Jaunty Jackalope, and even found it to perform with old hardware, but how does it now compete with Mac OS X? We have more benchmarks this morning to continue this performance investigation.
With the release yesterday of the Linux 2.6.29 kernel, we have set out to explore how the desktop performance has evolved over the past six major kernel releases. On a few occasions in the past we have provided kernel benchmarks (at one point even benchmarking 12 kernels), but this time around we have included nearly two dozen benchmarks using the Phoronix Test Suite. How has the Linux performance evolved since the release of the Linux 2.6.24 kernel back in early 2008? Well, simply put, the Linux 2.6.29 kernel in a few areas does pack some serious performance boosts.
Intel released Moblin 2.1 earlier this month, Canonical released Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.10 late last month, and various other vendors have offered up their fall distribution refreshes too. Oh yeah, and Google just released the Chromium OS source code a few days ago! With all of the netbook-focused distribution updates, we found it time to run an onslaught of new benchmarks, comparing some of the leaders in this field along with running a couple full-blown desktop distributions for this round of Linux netbook benchmarking. Here are our benchmarks, including the world's first look at the Chromium OS (Chrome OS) system performance from the latest development build. Covered is everything from the video playback performance to encoding to battery power consumption and CPU/memory usage tests.
In late August we started asking our readers for any questions they had for NVIDIA about Linux and this graphics company's support of open-source operating systems. Twelve pages worth of questions were accumulated and we finally have the answers to a majority of them. NVIDIA's Andy Ritger, who leads the user-space side of the NVIDIA UNIX Graphics Driver team for workstation, desktop, and notebook GPUs, answered these questions. With that said, there are some great, in-depth technical answers and not the usual marketing speak found in many interviews. While Linux is our focus, Andy's team and his answers for the most part apply equally to NVIDIA drivers on Solaris and FreeBSD platforms too. There are many questions that range from the status of new features in their proprietary graphics driver to why it is unlikely there will be any official open-source support from NVIDIA to download percentages of their Linux driver.
Fedora 11 was released earlier this week so we have set out to see how its desktop performance compares to that of Ubuntu 9.04, which was released back in April. Using the Phoronix Test Suite we compared these two leading Linux distributions in tasks like code compilation, Apache web server performance, audio/video encoding, multi-processing, ray-tracing, computational biology, various disk tasks, graphics manipulation, encryption, chess AI, image conversion, database, and other tests.
Over the years we have looked at dozens of ASRock motherboards, and as we have noted in recent reviews, over the past year or so they have really ramped up their efforts on providing feature-rich motherboards while still delivering them at very low prices, as they have long been known for their budget status. Two recent motherboards we had looked at that illustrate this trend is the M3A780GXH/128M and the X58 SuperComputer, both of which motherboards had bolstered a nice set of features, were priced well, and carried other unique advantages. ASRock has not only been focusing upon driving innovation into their motherboards, but now other products too. In conjunction with Pegatron Corp, ASRock has released its first Atom-based nettop computer. We have our hands on this new ASRock NetTop ION 330 product and to say the least it is a wonderful system using Intel's Atom processor with NVIDIA's ION platform.
Back in November Intel had formally launched the Core i7 series, but Linux benchmarks were not to be found. However, in the weeks that followed, results began to emerge through the Phoronix Test Suite and Phoronix Global. Over time there were many more Linux test results from the Phoronix Test Suite community, but now we have posted some of our own Intel Core i7 numbers from Ubuntu Linux.
With the EXT4 file-system having been stabilized with the Linux 2.6.28 kernel, the Ubuntu developers are preparing to adopt this evolutionary Linux file-system update. EXT4 will not replace EXT3 as the default file-system until at least Ubuntu 9.10, but as of yesterday, Ubuntu 9.04 now has install-time support for EXT4. In this article we are looking at the EXT4 support within Ubuntu as well as providing a few Linux file-system benchmarks from a netbook-embedded solid-state drive. In this article we have published Ubuntu benchmarks of EXT4, EXT3, XFS, JFS, and ReiserFS file-systems.
Earlier this year NVIDIA introduced the ION, which is their new system platform that pairs a GeForce 9400M GPU with an Intel Atom processor to make it an appealing platform for those desiring a netbook or nettop computer but are interested in a higher level of graphics performance than what is currently possible with Intel's integrated graphics. Products using the NVIDIA ION have been slow to emerge, but in recent weeks, we have begun seeing more devices around, including those from smaller manufacturers. One company that is now selling an ION-powered nettop is ZaReason, which is a Linux-focused hardware company. In this article we have a whole arsenal of Linux-based tests showing off the NVIDIA graphics performance with the Intel Atom processor under Linux.