September 14, 2009 -- A few weeks back Con Kolivas returned to the Linux kernel scene after parting ways with kernel development for two years. Con, who has contributed a great deal to the Linux kernel in the past particularly with CPU schedulers, returned and introduced BFS. BFS (not to be confused with the file-system of the same name) is a new scheduler for the Linux kernel that's designed for optimal performance on hardware that's more common with a majority of Linux desktop users, not massive data centers running dozens (and in some cases, hundreds) of CPUs. The BFS scheduler is designed to offer "extremely low latencies for excellent interactivity", according to Con Kolivas. In this article we have a set of benchmarks comparing BFS and the current default scheduler within the Linux kernel, the Completely Fair Scheduler.
September 04, 2009 -- Last Friday we published Mac OS X 10.6 benchmarks and then on Monday they were joined by Ubuntu 9.10 vs. Mac OS X 10.6 benchmarks. One of the requests that has come up since publishing those articles are to carry out a set of tests comparing the performance of LLVM and LLVM-GCC. With Apple's Snow Leopard release, some parts of the operating system were built using LLVM-GCC for optimized performance, although this compiler is not yet matured. In this article we have a set of 12 benchmarks comparing GCC to LLVM-GCC.
August 27, 2009 -- Beyond pushing out a new graphical boot screen just before the feature freeze went into effect for Ubuntu 9.10, Canonical released the first public version of their own app store, previously codenamed AppCenter, but now known as the Ubuntu Software Store (or software-store as its package is called). Canonical does have some grand plans for the Ubuntu Software Store and in this article we have some screenshots of what it looks like currently and how it functions along with some of their plans for the future.
August 13, 2009 -- When benchmarking development releases of Fedora in particular, they often end up being much slower than the final build and perform lower when compared against some of the other leading desktop distributions. As we have mentioned in previous articles, this is generally due to the debugging support enabled within the development builds of Fedora. To see just what the performance cost is, we have compared the Fedora 11 performance of the normal kernel against the kernel-debug package. Additionally, we also compared the performance when disabling SELinux and system auditing support.
August 12, 2009 -- Have you considered embracing Linux in any of your articles? If you have, but have not acted on such thoughts, why is that? Is it the Linux learning curve? The "lack of benchmarks"? Simply the lack of resources on the part of your editors and product evaluators? After speaking with several editors from fellow publications, these seem to be most of the excuses at hand. However, at Phoronix Media, we have the solutions to these problems -- and they are free and easy to adopt. I would invite you to think how using Linux to complement your Windows testing in hardware reviews could benefit your publication by providing more thorough reviews to fulfill the needs of more readers, wooing more hardware companies with having another feature to offer, and generate additional page views from having more content.
August 04, 2009 -- Phoronix Media has released version 2.0 (codenamed "Sandtorg") of the Phoronix Test Suite, which encompasses hundreds of updates to its flagship testing and performance profiling software. Phoronix Media has also released PTS Desktop Live 2009.3 (codenamed "Gernlinden"), which is the first Linux-based desktop operating system designed exclusively for carrying out automated tests using the Phoronix Test Suite from a live environment. Phoromatic, a web-based remote test management system, has also entered closed beta testing.
July 23, 2009 -- In less than two weeks we will be officially releasing Phoronix Test Suite 2.0 "Sandtorg" and this by far is the biggest upgrade ever to our flagship testing and benchmarking software. While the Phoronix Test Suite is most often associated with Linux, this open-source software is also compatible with Mac OS X, OpenSolaris, and BSD operating systems too, all of which offer new improvements with Phoronix Test Suite 2.0. In this article we have detailed some of the major highlights of Phoronix Test Suite 2.0 and how we seek to drive innovation into PC benchmarking and performance profiling.
July 13, 2009 -- Since we began benchmarking Btrfs a few months ago we have found it to not deliver any spectacular file-system performance results on Linux. This next-generation Linux file-system that has often been compared to Sun's ZFS has not really performed that well, granted it's still very much under development. Btrfs is far from being the performance king and even its SSD mode has had little positive effect. Just weeks ago we delivered EXT4, Btrfs, and NILFS2 benchmarks, but now there is a new release of Btrfs available. Committed to the Linux 2.6.31 kernel was Btrfs v0.19. Does this release bring any performance improvements? Yes and no.
July 08, 2009 -- The Linux 2.6.31 kernel is still under active development
until it is released later this quarter, but the merge window is closed and most of the work going on is to address bugs and other regressions within this massive code-base. Some of the key additions to the Linux 2.6.31 kernel include many graphics-related advancements (merging of the TTM memory manager, Radeon kernel mode-setting, Intel DisplayPort, etc), an ALSA driver for the Creative X-Fi, initial USB 3.0 support, file-system improvements, and much more. To see how the general system performance has been impacted by the new Linux kernel that is in development, we have a few benchmarks today.
June 29, 2009 -- The past few Linux kernel releases have brought a number of new file-systems to the Linux world, such as with EXT4 having been stabilized in the Linux 2.6.28 kernel, Btrfs being merged into Linux 2.6.29, and most recently the NILFS2 file-system premiering with the Linux 2.6.30 kernel. Other file-systems have been introduced too during the past few Linux kernel release cycles, but these three have been the most talked about and are often looked at as being the next-generation Linux file-systems. Being the benchmarking junkies that we are, we have set out to compare the file-system performance of EXT4, Btrfs, and NILFS2 under Ubuntu using the Linux 2.6.30 kernel. We also looked at how these file-systems compared to EXT3 and XFS.