The other big component joining the Phoronix Test Suite collection with Sandtorg is PTS Linux Live. Yes, we are seeking to establish our own distribution, but after a market segment not really designed for by any other distribution. We aim to provide a LiveDVD/LiveUSB environment (for the non-Linux user, this means it does not need to touch your hard drive and there is nothing to install) for carrying out a standardized set of tests. This will allow users to quickly gauge not just if their system works with Linux, but how well it compares to the reference systems in a standardized set of tests. Additionally, it can be used for just stressing the system when testing out a new cooling system or verifying if an overclocked part of the system is stable.
Initially, with an early technology preview release aimed to coincide with the Phoronix Test Suite 2.0 release, this will be like a stripped-down LiveCD Linux distribution but with the Phoronix Test Suite pre-installed, including test dependencies and many of the tests already installed, along with the GTK graphical user interface. Our end goal, however, is much more than this. We will be experimenting with various optimization routines, different kernel configurations, and other changes that would otherwise not get pushed into a standard desktop Linux distribution, but will be worked on here as we will target the latest hardware available and the distribution will be only setup for performance testing. PTS Linux Live may also be limited to an x86_64 architecture. More on these efforts will come later.
With offering a Linux-based platform for users to carry out testing in an automated and standardized manner, we are simply not targeting end-users experienced with Linux, but Windows users too. We have already talked with several fellow technology publications that would be interested in providing Linux test results to complement their Windows-based testing. The main problem though is the writers/reviewers not being familiar with installing Linux, setting up the drivers, carrying out the tests, etc. The time required, reliability, and automation are also key factors. Well, we are designing PTS Linux Live with all of these items in mind.
Version 2.0 "Sandtorg" of the Phoronix Test Suite will be introduced in the third quarter of 2009 with Phoromatic and PTS Linux Live. Specifically, we are looking at an August launch, but development builds will begin as soon as next month. While we have shared most of the biggest features of Phoronix Test Suite 2.0, there are many other changes being worked on for this next release and the releases to follow in the coming quarters. We do have some ambitious goals, but they shall be achieved.
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