Enhancing BSD Benchmarking With 4.4-Forsand
Written by Michael Larabel in BSD on 30 January 2013 at 01:00 AM EST. 2 Comments
New features and other enhancements for the performance benchmarking of *BSD operating systems have been committed with the forthcoming release of Forsand.

It was just last week that Phoronix Test Suite 4.4-Forsand Milestone 1 was released along with some impressive new/updated benchmarks (Wine benchmarks too) while ready for testing today is the second development milestone release.

Phoronix Test Suite 4.4 Milestone 2 is largely about bettering the support for *BSD operating systems with our open-source automated testing platform that supports Linux, BSD, Solaris, OS X, Hurd, and Windows platforms. Popular BSD operating systems like FreeBSD, DragonFlyBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD have been supported by the Phoronix Test Suite going back years. However, the non-Linux operating system support hasn't been quite as advanced with not quite the same amount of features exposed, but that's being changed for BSDs.

Regardless of operating systems, the test profiles/suites are executed the same along with all other relevant procedures for ensuring the benchmark results are reproducible and comparable. What hasn't been the same though is the same quality of tertiary features like software/hardware detection/parsing of installed components, external dependency handling for test profiles, friendly error reporting for users, and other non-essential functionality.

First of all, with Phoronix Test Suite 4.4 Milestone 2 there is now support within pts-core's "external dependency" system for fetching and installing needed test dependencies using ports and pkgsrc in different ways, while previously the external dependency handling on *BSDs was limited to pkg_add. The new external dependency handling improvements in the past week have been written and performed on FreeBSD/PC-BSD 9.1 and DragonFlyBSD 3.2.2 installations while coverage of other popular BSDs will be done in the coming days/weeks to ensure good support for Phoronix Test Suite 4.4.

Another change for BSD enthusiasts benchmarking their hardware/software is enabling the checking of exit status codes from test profile installs/executions, which in turn allows for other features to be exposed (some of which were talked about in the Forsand Milestone 1 announcement). There's also been a couple improvements to Phodevi (the Phoronix Device Interface) library for its abstracted interfaces for reading installed hardware and software configurations.

On the OpenBenchmarking.org side with the test profiles and test suites, a number of them have now been validated against FreeBSD/DragonFlyBSD and have made to be in a working state for these alternative operating systems. Run phoronix-test-suite openbenchmarking-changes to see those recent test profile changes. Running phoronix-test-suite info pts/bsd will show a concise list of all test profiles now known to work on the *BSD platforms.

Of course, with the expanded BSD testing support, you can expect more BSD benchmarks on Phoronix.com in the near future... Until then you can see some standalone reference results of FreeBSD/PC-BSD 9.1 compatible tests within 1301297-FO-FREEBSD9105.

For those not using a BSD operating system, other highlights of Phoronix Test Suite 4.4 Milestone 2 include improvements to detecting errors from failed test installations, a deprecated flag for test profiles, support for scanning test run log files automatically to look for errors when tests fail to execute, better detection of the running version of the Xfce desktop environment, support for detecting if the Enlightenment desktop is running, and support for detecting if the Consort Desktop Environment (GNOME 2 Fork) is active.

Expect the next development milestone release of Phoronix Test Suite 4.4 to happen in the next week or two with more *BSD support improvements, a continued focus on making test profiles easier to write, better test analysis, and other to-be-announced features. The final release of Phoronix Test Suite 4.4 will happen in March. Commercial support, behind-the-firewall installations of OpenBenchmarking.org, and other custom enterprise services continue to be offered to organizations by contacting us, or for companies simply wishing to sponsor/support this open-source multi-platform benchmarking framework.

Download the latest open-source benchmarking software at Phoronix-Test-Suite.com.

About The Author
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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