It has been no secret that we have been working to create our own Linux distribution that is designed to run off a Live DVD/USB device and would provide a standardized free software stack for running hardware benchmarks whether you are a computer review web-site like us, an independent hardware vendor interested in seeing how well their hardware performs on Linux, or just a hobbyist wishing to compare your system's performance against that of your friends. We first shared our plans for this a few months ago when talking about driving Linux-based benchmarking with Sandtorg (a.k.a. Phoronix Test Suite 2.0). We also briefly mentioned this Linux OS again last week when providing a detailed guide to Phoronix Test Suite 2.0, but today we are formally announcing PTS Desktop Live 2009.3 (codenamed "Gernlinden"). PTS Desktop Live is being released as a free download in tandem with the release of Phoronix Test Suite 2.0 on the 4th of August.
Below is an excerpt taken from the PTS Desktop Live documentation.
PTS Desktop Live is a Linux distribution designed to provide a free software platform for carrying out system tests and hardware benchmarks in an automated, reproducible, and effective manner. PTS Desktop Live is designed around the Phoronix Test Suite with the operating system itself consisting of a stripped down Linux environment, then built upon that is the Phoronix Test Suite with its test profiles and suites. This distribution is not a standard Linux desktop with the normal throng of packages. Testing with PTS Desktop Live is intended to be via a Live DVD or Live USB (i.e. flash drive or memory card) environment. PTS Desktop Live makes it very easy to deploy the Phoronix Test Suite across an array of systems, isolates any software differences when seeking to perform hardware comparisons, and is designed to be very easy to carry out these Linux benchmarks even for a first-time Linux user.
The inaugural release of this operating system is PTS Desktop Live 2009.3 (codenamed "Gernlinden") and is combined with Phoronix Test Suite 2.0. The Gernlinden release ships with more than 50 open-source test profiles and with all needed files being located on the disc image. PTS Desktop Live uses the GTK2 GUI dialog for the Phoronix Test Suite by default, but the CLI options are also accessible. This initial 2009.3 release should be considered a beta or technology preview release with there still being some "rough edges" to this build when it comes to some minor details, customizations, and extra test-related features, but this will all be enhanced in forthcoming releases. Future releases of this distribution will also contain greater work when it comes to optimizing the Linux kernel and related components for use on the latest high-end hardware and other performance related tweaking. There are also some features accessible through the command-line version of the Phoronix Test Suite that are not yet implemented from the GUI, but that too will be addressed in future releases.
The mission of PTS Desktop Live and the Phoronix Test Suite will not be achieved until it has made Linux benchmarking incredibly robust and innovative, drop dead easy to perform nearly any kind of benchmark, and when it outpaces other leading operating systems for its benchmarking abilities. PTS Desktop Live is being updated quarterly in conjunction with new Phoronix Test Suite releases. The Phoronix Test Suite will continue to be supported under all other Linux distributions, OpenSolaris, Mac OS X, and *BSD operating systems, but PTS Desktop Live is just another addition on top of that.
PTS Desktop Live is designed to run on x86_64 compatible systems with 2GB or more of system memory (ideally 4GB if you wish to run many of the tests in a live environment) being highly recommended along with a modern CPU and graphics processor. No proprietary graphics drivers are shipped with PTS Desktop Live at this time, so depending upon the hardware you may not have OpenGL acceleration to run the few graphics-related tests that are included with this release. An Internet connection is not required but is needed for communication with Phoronix Global and for utilizing some of the other Phoronix Test Suite features.
Now on the following pages we have more in-depth details on the creation of PTS Desktop Live (formerly known as PTS Linux Live) and a few videos of the 2009.3 release in action.