For those curious how the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS "Precise Pangolin" performance has evolved with the new hardware enablement stacks of the Long-Term Support point releases, here are some fresh benchmarks this weekend looking at the new release of Ubuntu 12.04.4.
The benchmarks in this article are some straightforward tests done on the same HP EliteBook (Intel Core i5 2520M, 4GB RAM, Intel 160GB SSD, HD Graphics 3000) when comparing clean installs of Ubuntu 12.04.2, 12.04.3, and 12.04.4. Unfortunately the mirrors of the original Ubuntu 12.04 LTS release and the first point release have vanished, so the testing was limited to these three past point releases for the Linux distribution that originally shipped in 2012 and will be maintained through 2017.
Some items to point out include Ubuntu 12.04.3 LTS upgrading to the Linux 3.8 kernel, X.Org Server 13.3, xf86-video-intel 2.21.6, and the Mesa 9.1.4 graphics stack. The new Ubuntu 12.04.4 LTS hardware enablement stack includes the Linux 3.11 kernel, X.Org Server 1.14.5, a pre-release of xf86-video-intel 3.0, and Mesa 9.2.1. The GCC 4.6 compiler wasn't touched by Canonical between point releases.
All operating system settings were left at their defaults during testing and clean installations were performed for each of the tested Ubuntu 12.04 LTS point releases. All benchmarking was handled in a fully automated and universally repeatable manner using the open-source Phoronix Test Suite software.
Canonical now intends to do an Ubuntu 12.04.5 LTS release in the months ahead that will have the hardware enablement stack of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. For getting an idea how Ubuntu 12.04 LTS compares to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, I'll have some benchmarks in such a configuration in the next few days.