Phoronix Test Suite 0.5.0 Released
A week ago Phoronix Test Suite 0.4.0 was released and today Phoronix Test Suite 0.5.0 has outdone that. This release of the Phoronix Test Suite incorporates more than 40 major changes to this open-source Linux benchmarking platform! Among the changes are new test profiles, various clean up work, sensor monitoring support, and an improved PTS Results Viewer. Development of the Phoronix Test Suite is coming along quite nicely and by early June, the public should have its hands on version 1.0.
Starting with the new test profiles in this release are a 7-Zip compression test (compress-7zip), parallel BZIP2 compression test (compress-pbzip2), and espeak text-to-speech engine test (espeak). The 7-Zip and BZIP2 compression tests join the compress-gzip test in making up a new suite called compression, which as the name implies consists of all file compression related tests. In addition, a suite consisting of SMP-friendly tests (the suite is named multicore) has been added. The multicore test suite currently consists of the build-mplayer, build-php, build-imagemagick, sunflow, compress-7zip, and compress-pbzip2 tests. All of the included test profiles in the Phoronix Test Suite have been updated in this release. Phoronix Test Suite 0.5.0 has officially 34 test profiles and 12 test suites.
Phoronix Test Suite 0.5.0 introduces support for handling file downloads on the behalf of the test scripts. If the test maintainer has a properly formatted downloads.xml file within their test-resources folder, the Phoronix Test Suite has support for handling file downloads from random mirrors as well as MD5 check-sum comparisons. This integrated support cuts down on the size of the test scripts and makes it easier on the maintainer with all file downloading now being handled directly by the Phoronix Test Suite. As this downloading mechanism is unified between all test scripts, it will also allow for some additional features in the future such as easily being able to easily backup all downloaded files so that they can be quickly and easily transferred to another system. Some test scripts have also had additional work done in this release, such as the audio encoding tests now using a much larger WAV file so more accurate results can be gathered. In addition, the build-imagemagick test has been fixed by using a download mirror that archives the older releases.
This release also gives test maintainers the ability to write their test installation, pre-run, and post-run scripts in PHP. For these scripts, previously the only option was having the test maintainer write a bash script. Now if the resource files are named install.php, pre.php, and post.php instead of install.sh, pre.sh, and post.sh, the scripts will be evaluated as PHP code. Test maintainers also have an option of specifying an IgnoreFirstRun option in their XML profile. If IgnoreFirstRun is set and the test runs multiple times, the result of the first run will be ignored. This feature was added as some software benchmarks don't portray accurate results during the first run due to caching.
When it comes to Linux distribution support with the Phoronix Test Suite, there are a few additional changes in this release. For distributions where the PHP 5 binary is provided as only php5 with no link from php, previously users would need to create this link manually. However, the Phoronix Test Suite now detects if the binary is only named php5 and it will automatically switch to using that binary. An earlier version of the Phoronix Test Suite had dropped the PHP bcmath dependency, but pts-grapher continued to depend upon this math library. In Phoronix Test Suite 0.5.0, however, bcmath has been completely dropped -- including in our graphing software -- as it's switching to an internal PTS function. In this release, pts-grapher has switched to using the Liberation Sans font for rendering text and the local PTS Results Viewer has also seen a few aesthetic improvements along with a basic pts-monitor-viewer. Line graphing via pts-grapher is also working properly in this release.
Moving on to hardware, Phoronix Test Suite 0.5.0 has improved CPU and GPU detection. The improved CPU detection revolves around detection differences for multiple cores and systems with multiple physical processor packages. Improved on the graphics processor detection side is now reading the anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering levels for NVIDIA graphics cards. If the NVIDIA binary driver has overridden the AA and AF levels, the Phoronix Test Suite will report the modified levels in the test notes section of the PTS Results Viewer. Also being reported to the test notes area is whether Enhanced Intel SpeedSteep Technology or AMD Cool 'n' Quiet / PowerNOW is enabled on the system, as this could influence the results in a comparison. Last but not least, if you are running a Linux notebook with the Phoronix Test Suite, it will be reported to the test notes area if the system is running on battery power.
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