With many Linux distributions receiving major updates in recent weeks and months we have carried out a five-way Linux distribution comparison of openSUSE, Ubuntu, Fedora, PCLinuxOS, and Arch Linux. We have quite a number of tests comparing the 32-bit performance of these popular Linux distributions on older PC hardware.
Fedora 13 was released last week with a number of new features like Btrfs system rollback support and support for easily using the open-source 3D NVIDIA driver, but how does its performance compare to that of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, which was released a month earlier? We have the benchmarks today from three different systems to tell you.
The last time we ran a performance comparison of different Linux distributions on netbooks was in late November when benchmarking Chromium OS, Moblin, Fedora, openSUSE, and Ubuntu Netbook Remix. The results were interesting, but now we have a new set of Linux distributions out there, so we have carried out a new comparison. In particular, we are looking closely at how the MeeGo distribution -- which marries Intel's Moblin and Nokia's Maemo projects -- is performing now that it has reached version 1.0. Also in the testing mix are Ubuntu Netbook Remix 10.04 LTS, Moblin 2.1, and Fedora 13.
Often when we are preparing for cross-distribution comparisons or benchmarks of different operating systems (like our recent Mac OS X 10.6 vs. Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu 10.04 benchmarks) we are often asked to include Arch Linux in the mix. This is usually on the basis of including a rolling-release distribution to provide a performance look at a constantly evolving distribution with many of the most recent open-source packages rather than a traditional distribution with packages that may be months older. Many of those requesting Arch be included in our testing mix also claim that Arch performs significantly faster than Ubuntu and our usual test candidates. The main reason we do not deliver many benchmarks of Arch, Gentoo, or other distributions that use a rolling release approach is that they are not very reproducible with their results since their packages are frequently changing and there are more end-user customizations going on compared to most other distributions. However, to test the performance claims of Arch versus others, we have compared the performance of the newest Arch 2010.05 media against Ubuntu Linux.
Last week we delivered the first of our Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu 10.04 benchmarks to much anticipation, but now we have the results for Apple's Mac OS X 10.6.3 operating system to tack in too. In the first part of that Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu Linux performance examination, we looked closely at the OpenGL gaming performance across six different systems and a whole slew of tests. More articles are on the way looking at the performance and later in the week we already delivered some initial disk benchmarks. However, now it is time to see how Microsoft Windows 7 Professional x64, Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, and Apple Mac OS X 10.6.3 compete with one another.
Last week marked the release of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, this week there was the releases of PCLinuxOS 2010.1 and a new openSUSE 11.3 milestone, and planned for unveiling in just over a week is the final release of Fedora 13. This week the Fedora 13 release candidate is available via their compose system as all hands are on deck to prepare for the release of Goddard.
Yesterday we published our first benchmarks of Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu 10.04 that provided an initial look at the OpenGL graphics performance between these two operating systems on six different systems. Today we are continuing to compare the two operating systems as we look at the power consumption of Ubuntu and Windows on a netbook and notebook.
While Linux has long been talked about as being a faster operating system than Microsoft Windows, in 2010 is this still the case? It seems every time we deliver new benchmarks of the EXT4 file-system it's actually getting slower, recent Linux kernel releases have not been delivering any major performance enhancements for desktop users, the open-source Linux graphics drivers are still no match to the proprietary drivers, and "bloated and huge" is how Linus Torvalds described the Linux kernel last year. This is all while Windows 7 was released last year, which many view as Microsoft's best operating system release to date. Even after using it a fair amount the past few months in preparation for this about-to-be-shared work, it is actually not too bad and is a huge improvement over Windows Vista, but is it really faster than Ubuntu Linux? We have used six uniquely different systems and ran Microsoft Windows 7 Professional x64 and Ubuntu 10.04 LTS x86_64 on each of them with a set of 55 tests (actually, more than 165 if considering that each test is usually run at least three times for accuracy) per installation.
Canonical expressed their plans to achieve a ten-second boot time in June of last year for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, with their reference system being a Dell Mini 9 netbook. In February, we last checked on Ubuntu's boot performance and found it close, but not quite there yet, but did they end up hitting this goal for the final release of the Lucid Lynx? Well, from our tests, not quite. We tested out a near-final version of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS on three netbooks -- including a Dell Mini 9 -- and the boot speed is not quite in the single digits.
While a bulk of the Linux community is engaged by the release of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS next week, another popular Linux distribution put out its first major update of 2010 a few days ago. PCLinuxOS, the Mandriva-based OS that is one of the top 10 most popular Linux distributions according to DistroWatch, is out with this update that bumps their kernel to Linux 18.104.22.168 while still carrying the BFS scheduler, updated NVIDIA and ATI driver support, locale improvements, and much more. We have a few benchmarks up this morning of PCLinuxOS 2010 compared to the latest snapshot of Ubuntu 10.04.
The first beta release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0 was made available yesterday morning. RHEL 6.0 is set to offer many virtualization enhancements, power management improvements, new security features, many package updates, and even some reported performance enhancements. With Red Hat mentioning this major upgrade to their enterprise operating system carrying "performance enhancements", these claims have now been tested using the Phoronix Test Suite within our labs. There are some improvements for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0 to note, but also some losses.
Last week we shared that we were benchmarking Ubuntu's current and past LTS releases and began by running graphics benchmarks looking at how the proprietary drivers from the past compare to open-source drivers from the present, but now we have our assortment of system benchmarks to publish from the Long-Term Support releases of Ubuntu 6.06.1, Ubuntu 8.04.4, and an Ubuntu 10.04 development snapshot. In this article, we are looking at how Ubuntu's performance has evolved over the past four years.
Besides the Fedora 13 Graphics Testing Week taking place over the next few days, this week is also significant within the Fedora community as it will mark the release of Fedora 13 Beta. There's just one month left to go until Fedora 13 (codenamed Goddard) will be officially released, but over the past few hours we have been testing out what will become the official Fedora 13 Beta spin this morning. Fedora 13 is quite exciting and worth checking out.
Yesterday we published Mac OS X 10.6.2 vs. Ubuntu 10.04 benchmarks. Overall, both the latest Mac OS X and Ubuntu Linux operating systems were competitive with one another, but there were a few strong points to each OS. As luck would have it, Apple finally introduced the Mac OS X 10.6.3 update that brought a variety of maintenance updates to Snow Leopard. There were a few rumored performance-related changes as well as addressing "compatibility issues with OpenGL-based applications" that was supposed to mean graphics driver updates, so we decided to run our automated tests atop Mac OS X 10.6.3 to look for any differences.
While we are just weeks away from delivering the most comprehensive Mac OS X vs. Windows 7 vs. Linux benchmarks, and Apple is on the heels of releasing the major Mac OS X 10.6.3 update, for those impatient ones today we have published an extensive set of tests comparing the performance of Mac OS X 10.6.2 against a development build of Ubuntu 10.04. This is our first time exploring how Canonical's Lucid Lynx can compete with Apple's Snow Leopard.
This morning a call for testing went out to try out the new pm-utils-powersave-policy package that should be making its way into the Lucid Lynx repository in time for the release of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS next month. This package offers up several fixes and new power savings features that should help those mobile users running Ubuntu 10.04 to prolong their battery life. We tested out this new package with a notebook and netbook to see how it changes the power game for Ubuntu 10.04 along with whether it's much of an improvement over the current Ubuntu 9.10 release.
Last week we delivered benchmarks of Fedora 13 Alpha and Ubuntu 10.04 (along with testing the Fedora 11 and 12 too), but today we have a new set of comparative benchmarks that are covering the latest development versions of Ubuntu 10.04, Mandriva 2010.1, PCLinuxOS 2010, and openSUSE 11.3. Here they are.
Following the release of Fedora 13 Alpha this week we delivered Intel graphics benchmarks looking at the performance of an Intel Atom Netbook using the very latest kernel, DRM, and Mesa packages that Fedora is known for carrying. There are regressions in the Intel stack worth noting, but in this article, we are continuing in our Fedora 13 benchmarking by looking at the general system performance of the Linux desktop.
PC-BSD 8.0 was released last week and while we have already delivered FreeBSD 8.0 benchmarks including against Debian GNU/kFreeBSD and Fedora / Debian / OpenBSD / OpenSolaris for which PC-BSD is based, we took this opportunity to deliver a fresh set of *BSD benchmarks. In this article we have benchmarks of PC-BSD 8.0 x64 against Kubuntu 9.10 x86_64.
After releasing Phoronix Test Suite 2.4 earlier this month and delivering the subsequent 2.4.1 update, we have now released PTS Desktop Live 2010.1 "Anzhofen" to the public. PTS Desktop Live 2010.1 makes it extremely easy to benchmark your computer on a completely standardized software stack from a Live DVD/USB environment.
FreeBSD 8.0 was released in November with a number of improvements and various performance enhancements as our FreeBSD benchmarks have shown, but if the text-based installation process has put you off from installing this popular BSD distribution or other usability challenges, there's no reason to fear any longer. The PC-BSD project has finally come out with their stable PC-BSD 8.0 release that is derived from FreeBSD 8.0 but with much desktop-oriented love and its friendlier installer and package management system.
Back in August we shared that Sun would be discontinuing SXCE, or formally known as Solaris Express Community Edition. Solaris Express Community Edition for the past five years has served as Sun's delivery mechanism for the latest and greatest Solaris code that will eventually make it into the next Solaris stable release, but earlier this month Sun Microsystems put out their last bi-weekly build of SXCE and as of the end of this week all downloads will cease. OpenSolaris has superseded Solaris Express Community Edition, but with this article, we are taking one last look at Build 130, the final version of Solaris Express Community Edition.
Last week we published the first Debian GNU/kFreeBSD benchmarks that compared the 32-bit and 64-bit performance of this Debian port -- that straps the FreeBSD kernel underneath a Debian GNU user-land -- to Debian GNU/Linux. We have now extended that comparison to put many other operating systems in a direct performance comparison to these Debian GNU/Linux and Debian GNU/kFreeBSD snapshots of 6.0 Squeeze to Fedora 12, FreeBSD 7.2, FreeBSD 8.0, OpenBSD 4.6, and OpenSolaris 2009.06.
There has been an effort underway within the Debian development community to pull the FreeBSD kernel within this distribution to provide an alternative to using the Linux kernel. In essence with this Debian GNU/kFreeBSD project you have the standard Debian package set providing a GNU user-land with a GNU C library, but the FreeBSD kernel is running underneath. The Debian project has also been working on Debian GNU/Hurd to effectively do the same thing but with the GNU Mach microkernel. But unlike Debian GNU/Hurd, with the release of Debian 6.0 "Squeeze", Debian GNU/kFreeBSD will reach a release status. With the Debian Squeeze release being just two months away we have decided to provide the first public set of benchmarks that compare the Debian GNU/kFreeBSD performance to that of Debian GNU/Linux. We have tested both the 32-bit and 64-bit builds of Debian with the Linux and FreeBSD kernels.
With Ubuntu 10.04 Alpha 2 having made it out yesterday, we couldn't resist but to run some new benchmarks of the Lucid Lynx after our original tests last month found Ubuntu 10.04 was off to a poor performance start. In some areas the performance of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Alpha 2 remains lower than in Ubuntu 9.10 -- largely due to performance regressions upstream in the Linux kernel -- but we have also included some very early performance numbers from Fedora 13.
For those looking to experiment with a Gentoo-based Linux system but are not looking forward to the obstacles of installing Gentoo itself, an easier and quicker approach can be to use a distribution like Sabayon Linux. Sabayon uses pre-compiled x86 and x86_64 packages for installing the Linux distribution from its LiveDVD and uses their own Entropy system for package management, though these binary packages are compiled from Gentoo's Portage and using the Portage system is still available. The LiveDVD installer is also very easy to use and is just like using Ubuntu's Ubiquity or Red Hat's Anaconda. With all the benchmarking though of Ubuntu and Fedora as of late on Phoronix, we found it time to put out some benchmarks of Sabayon Linux. Up today are benchmarks from the recently released Sabayon 5.1 along with the older Sabayon 4.2 and for comparison is Kubuntu 9.10.
Coming up in our forums was a testing request to compare the performance of Linux between using 32-bit, 32-bit PAE, and 64-bit kernels. This is coming after Linus Torvalds has spoke of 25% performance differences between kernels using CONFIG_HIGHMEM4G and those without this option that allows 32-bit builds to address up to 4GB of physical RAM on a system. We decided to compare the performance of the 32-bit, 32-bit PAE, and 64-bit kernels on a modern desktop system and here are the results.
Ubuntu 10.04 Alpha 1 was released last week and while it did not bring any major features yet for this Long-Term Support release of Ubuntu Linux to be released in April of 2010, it began to introduce some underlying changes like the switch to the Linux 2.6.32 kernel, X Server 1.7, and the complete removal of HAL. Our early benchmarks of Ubuntu 10.04 show that there are some negative performance regressions right off the bat, but that is from within the Linux desktop. One area that Canonical is focusing upon in particular with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS is speeding up the boot process, so we decided to provide some benchmarks there too.
Tomorrow will mark the first alpha release of Ubuntu 10.04, and while there is still a long journey ahead for this Long-Term Support release before it officially makes its debut in April, we could not pass up the opportunity to provide some early benchmarks of the Lucid Lynx. Ubuntu 10.04 LTS has already pulled in X.Org 7.5 with X Server 1.7 and other updated graphics packages along with the Linux 2.6.32 kernel that it will be using in the final build, which already presents some core differences from the current stable release, Ubuntu 9.10.
With the stable release of FreeBSD 8.0 arriving last week we finally were able to put it up on the test bench and give it a thorough look over with the Phoronix Test Suite. We compared the FreeBSD 8.0 performance between it and the earlier FreeBSD 7.2 release along with Fedora 12 and Ubuntu 9.10 on the Linux side and then the OpenSolaris 2010.02 b127 snapshot on the Sun OS side.
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