When announcing Ubuntu 9.04, the Jaunty Jackalope, Mark Shuttleworth had hoped to make this next Ubuntu Linux release perform better and to boot "blindingly quick", in particular with Ubuntu beginning to appear on more mobile devices. Well, with Alpha 4 have been released earlier this month, are Canonical developers and the community in the right direction with making Ubuntu 9.04 boot quickly? We have boot-time benchmarks of the latest Ubuntu 9.04 work along with Linux desktop benchmarks comparing it to its predecessor, Ubuntu 8.10.
To recap the key packages in Ubuntu 8.10, the Intrepid Ibex ships with the Linux 2.6.27 kernel, GNOME 2.24.1, X Server 1.5.2, xf86-video-intel 2.4.1, Mesa 7.2, GCC 4.3.2, and uses the EXT3 file-system by default. Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha 4 provides the Linux 2.6.28 kernel (it will not end up shipping with Linux 2.6.29), GNOME 2.25.5, X Server 1.6.0 RC2, xf86-video-intel 2.6.1, Mesa 7.3, GCC 4.3.3, and uses the EXT3 file-system by default but there is EXT4 support.
For these initial tests comparing the Ubuntu 9.04 development performance to that of Ubuntu 8.10 we used a Samsung NC10 netbook with an Intel Atom N270 CPU, OCZ Core Series V2 32GB SSD, 2GB of DDR2 memory, and Intel integrated graphics.
Is Ubuntu 9.04 booting faster than its predecessor? With the Intel Atom netbook at least, it is a resounding yes! It took 29 seconds to boot Ubuntu 8.10 but only 21 seconds for Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha 4. Bootchart measured these results, all settings were left at their defaults, and in each case we did a clean installation of Ubuntu occupying the entire solid-state drive. Had we switched to using the EXT4 file-system the Ubuntu 9.04 performance may have been even better. Below are the Bootchart graphs for Ubuntu 8.10 and 9.04, respectively.
Also worth noting from these Bootchart results is the maximum disk throughput on Ubuntu 8.10 was 80MB/s, but with Ubuntu 9.04 during the boot process it topped out at 99MB/s.