As I'm in the process of retiring an old AMD Opteron dual-socket system, prior to decommissioning it, I figured it would be fun to go back and re-benchmark all of the Ubuntu LTS releases going all the way back to the legendary 6.06 Dapper Drake release. So here are some fresh benchmarks of this AMD Shanghai system with eight cores and 16GB of RAM when re-benchmarking the releases from Ubuntu 6.06 through the latest Ubuntu 16.04 LTS development state.
Tested for this comparison were Ubuntu 6.06 LTS, 8.04 LTS, 10.04 LTS, 12.04 LTS, 14.04 LTS, and the latest development state of 16.04 LTS as of this week. While Ubuntu 16.04 LTS isn't being officially released until April, this upcoming "Xenial Xerus" release already has GCC 5.3 and Linux 4.4 as will be present in the final build. Testing wasn't delayed until April since as mentioned I'm in the process of decommissioning this power-hungry system.
The system used was old enough that it could still run Ubuntu Dapper Drake bare metal, albeit on the older releases there are no OpenGL benchmarks carried out due to the graphics card in the system (Radeon HD 5830). This server has two AMD Opteron 2384 quad-core processors running at 2.7GHz. This system with Tyan Thunder n3600M S2392 motherboard has 16GB of DDR2 memory and is using a 120GB Intel SSD. The Radeon HD 5830 graphics benchmarks were done as far back as possible. Most of the CPU/system/disk benchmarks used in this article were able to still run back on Ubuntu 6.06/8.04, but some of them were not able to run due to library conflicts and other breakage.
All of the system hardware was the same throughout testing, each Ubuntu LTS was cleanly installed, and the stock settings were maintained of each release. Throughout all of this benchmarking, the Phoronix Test Suite was used for carrying out these benchmarks of 10 years worth of LTS releases in a fully-automated and reproducible manner.
The automated Phoronix Test Suite system table recorded the compiler details, file-system default mount options, I/O scheduler, and prominent software versions. To recap some of the prominent information:
- Ubuntu 6.06 and 8.04 were on EXT3 before the switch was made to EXT4.
- With Ubuntu 12.04 and newer is where the Radeon HD 5830 graphics began to work with the R600 Gallium3D driver.
- There are big differences in the GCC compiler and Linux kernel releases between each LTS release.
- The I/O scheduler on 6.06 was anticipatory, from 8.04 to 12.04 the default was CFQ, and then with Ubuntu 14.04 and 16.04 it is deadline.
- Ubuntu 16.04 LTS currently features the Linux 4.4 kernel, Unity 7.4.0, X.Org Server 1.17.3, Mesa 11.1.1, and GCC 5.3.1 compiler.
- The x86_64 releases of each Ubuntu LTS release were used.
That covers all the prominent details for this historical ten year look at Ubuntu's performance from the same system. Before getting too far into this article, if you enjoy all of the unique Linux benchmarks carried out on Phoronix on a daily basis, consider helping out by subscribing to Phoronix Premium (or even a PayPal tip) so you can view the site ad-free and large articles like this on a single page, all while helping to support the site and make future tests possible. Thanks for your understanding and support.