Compared to our benchmarking of Ubuntu and Mac OS X last year, we were using the brand new Ubuntu 9.04 release and the slightly updated Mac OS X 10.5.6. We also had many more OS X compatible tests to run with the Phoronix Test Suite in this latest round of benchmarking. In looking over these results, Apple's Mac OS X 10.5.6 was faster than Canonical's Ubuntu 9.04 in 17 of the 29 benchmarks! The Jaunty Jackalope is not so fast after all when compared to Mac OS X on a Mac Mini.
Ubuntu 9.04 really performed sorely when it came to the 2D and 3D graphics performance, audio encoding, floating-point arithmetic, SQLite, Crafty, PostgreSQL, and the Sunflow Rendering System. Mac OS X 10.5.6 on the other hand did much worse when it came to the compilation tests (although we were using GCC 4.2.1), OpenSSL, and Java SciMark.
Overall, Mac OS X 10.5.6 already outpaces Ubuntu 9.04 when it comes to many respects of the desktop and server performance. With the introduction of Mac OS X 10.6.0 "Snow Leopard" in a few months, the Apple gains will likely widen considering the efforts they are putting forth on improving the performance via a smaller memory footprint, OpenCL, etc. The graphics performance in Ubuntu 9.10, which will be out after the release of Mac OS X 10.6, may improve with Intel working to fix its regressions and Gallium3D could be enabled in time. Beyond improving the graphics performance and potentially some minor performance improvements thanks to an updated Linux kernel (well, a big improvement in SQLite unless they regress again) and the newer GCC 4.4 series, we would not anticipate the Ubuntu 9.10 performance to be drastically different.
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