For those of you interested in trying out new open-source software this weekend, Phoronix Test Suite 0.6.0 has been released with an arsenal of new features for this Linux benchmarking platform. There are new and updated profiles with this release, new test suites, support for backing up downloaded tests, and much more. Since Phoronix Test Suite 0.5.0 are 48 official changes in the past week, which reinforces our plans on having a 1.0 release ready by early June.
For those of you maintaining multiple systems for testing or just wish to conserve bandwidth, Phoronix Test Suite 0.6.0 introduces a make-download-cache option. When running phoronix-test-suite make-download-cache, all of the saved files that were downloaded by the Phoronix Test Suite are backed up to ~/.phoronix-test-suite/download-cache/. This folder can then be copied to other PCs or a backup storage medium. When it comes time for the Phoronix Test Suite to download a new file when installing a test, it will first automatically check this download cache to see if the file exists (and the MD5 check-sum matches) and it will copy that file as opposed to re-downloading the requested file. More information on this feature can be found in this mailing list message.
Another added option in this release is sensors. Introduced in Phoronix Test Suite 0.5.0 was a hardware-sensor monitoring system with support for LM_Sensors and ACPI. The Phoronix Test Suite is able to generate line graphs of the monitor results while the test(s) are being executed as well as providing statistics for each sensor. However, if you simply want to view all of the current sensor readings without running any tests, this is now possible. By running phoronix-test-suite sensors, all detected sensors and their current values will be displayed.
Communication between the Phoronix Test Suite and PTS Global has been improved in this release. There is now minor compression support and allowing results from larger suites to be uploaded, where previously the upload would fail. All suites/tests should be able to upload to PTS Global successfully with Phoronix Test Suite 0.6.0 and later. The Phoronix Test Suite line and bar graphing within the PTS Results Viewer has also begun to utilize PNG compression for conserving bandwidth without sacrificing quality.
The two new tests in this release are for X-Plane 9 and GROMACS. X-Plane 9 is the product of Laminar Research and it's one of the most realistic flight simulators available for PCs. X-Plane 9 is natively supported on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. This test (named xplane9) is quite special, as Laminar Research has in fact produced a special X-Plane 9 binary for benchmarking and the Phoronix Test Suite. Ben Supnik of Laminar Research had kindly trimmed down unneeded files and code from X-Plane 9 that aren't relevant when benchmarking, which resulted in a build a little over 400MB. This X-Plane 9 build is still large but significantly smaller than the full retail copy of X-Plane 9 and the web demo. Ben had then written a detailed guide on the X-Plane Wiki containing the frame-rate testing options and other preferences. Many thanks go out to Laminar Research and Ben Supnik for their efforts.
The GROMACS test (md-gromacs) is a package designed around testing the system's performance in calculations surrounding molecular dynamics. The md-gromacs test profile supports single and multi-threaded calculations and four different molecular simulations. Thanks go out to Andrew Schofield for contributing the md-gromacs test and molecular-dynamics suite as well as a number of other Phoronix Test Suite patches. With the addition of md-gromacs, a fortran-compiler package has been added to the PTS External Dependencies.
The gtkperf profile has been updated in this release to now use 2,000 GTK iterations as the basis of that test and there is a Sunflow results parsing fix. In this release, the universe test suite is now a meta-suite that in turn depends upon the other universe-* tests. For all command-line/non-X-dependent tests, universe-cli has been created with those software packages while universe-x contains all graphics/X-dependent tests. New Phoronix Certification & Qualification Suites in Phoronix Test Suite 0.6.0 are pcqs-workstation-graphics and pcqs-motherboard, for Phoronix.com workstation graphics card and motherboard testing suites, respectively. The PCQS suites aren't yet completely finalized. Another added suite is gui-toolkits, which is designed to contain all GUI tool-kit tests.
Using HAL and interfacing via lshal, the Phoronix Test Suite can now detect a motherboard's vendor and model number (or in the case of notebooks, the device's model). This information is then reported to the test notes section in the PTS Results Viewer. Another small but worthy change is switching the PTS process management to being PID-based instead of time-based.
For those interested in building their own Debian packages of the Phoronix Test Suite from either a release source package or a git snapshot, it's as easy as running php pts/etc/scripts/package-build-deb.php from the root phoronix-test-suite/ directory. Permitting dpkg-dev and the other dependencies are installed, a .deb package will be automatically generated. For those looking for just the Debian/Ubuntu package, it can be found on the PTS downloads page. For Ubuntu users, Phoronix Test Suite will be present in the Universe repository starting with Ubuntu 8.10.
Added in Phoronix Test Suite 0.5.1 last Monday as a minor update to Phoronix Test Suite 0.5.0 was a results saving fix, a screen resolution detection fix, improved process detection, an OpenSSL RSA test (openssl), various code clean-ups, changing the default WAV file for encoding and compression tests, and the addition of a pcqs-server-motherboard suite.
That about covers the major changes in Phoronix Test Suite 0.6.0. The official change-log can be viewed here and all git activity can be cloned and downloaded from Phorogit. If you have any questions, feedback, or feature requests, be sure to stop by the Phoronix Test Suite Forum as well as the PTS mailing list. Download here.