The first alpha release for Ubuntu 9.10 was made available yesterday and while it does not yet integrate Plymouth or any other new features, it has picked up a few new packages. Most prominently, Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 1 features the Linux 2.6.30 kernel and GCC 4.4. There are also other updated packages from Debian like GNOME 2.27, but most notable are the kernel and compiler updates. We have tested out Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 1 and compared its performance to Ubuntu 9.04. While this is very early within the Ubuntu 9.10 development cycle, the results already may come as a surprise.
For testing we used the x86_64 version of Ubuntu 9.04 and Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 1. The key packages in Karmic Alpha 1 include the Linux 2.6.30-5 kernel, X Server 1.6.0, Mesa 7.4, and GCC 4.4.1. These packages are in comparison to the Linux 2.6.28 kernel and GCC 4.3.3 in Ubuntu 9.04. The X.Org and Mesa packages have not yet been updated but will be in the coming weeks after the Ubuntu Developer Summit. Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 1 is also continuing to use the EXT3 file-system by default. Each Ubuntu release was done using a clean installation and with all stock settings.
On the hardware side we were running an Intel Core i7 920 processor clocked at 3.60GHz, an ASRock X58 SuperComputer motherboard, 3GB of CSX DDR3 memory, 320GB Seagate ST3320620AS SATA 2.0 hard drive, and an ATI Radeon HD 4770 graphics card.
This Ubuntu Jaunty vs. Karmic testing was done using the latest Phoronix Test Suite code for carrying out the testing in a standardized and automated way. The PTS test profiles included timed MySQL compilation, timed ImageMagick compilation, 7-Zip compression, LAME MP3 encoding, FFmpeg, Crafty, GraphicsMagick, SQLite, C-Ray, POV-Ray, Dbench, IOzone, Flexible IO Tester, and timed MAFFT alignment.