The Start Of New Work In Phoronix Test Suite 2.2
Phoronix Test Suite 2.0 was released earlier this month along with PTS Desktop Live, our own Linux OS designed to run in a live environment and specifically for carrying out hardware benchmarks. Phoronix Test Suite 2.0 "Sandtorg" brought forward many new features, over 100 test profiles, and plenty of other highlights. We are already encouraging other review sites to use this software. However, the excitement doesn't end with 2.0 Sandtorg. Significant work is already underway in the next release, which is Phoronix Test Suite 2.2 and goes under the codename of Bardu.
Phoronix Test Suite 2.2 will not be released until November, and it's only officially been in development now for three weeks, but there are a number of new features worth talking about at this early stage.
When a test profile stresses the system to the point of locking up the system or crashing, the results from the Phoronix Test Suite have been traditionally lost. However, beginning with 2.2 Bardu, this is no longer the case. With Phoronix Test Suite 2.2 it's now possible to actually recover the test information if there was a system crash. The user can choose to examine the results or restart the testing and have the option of skipping the test that crashed the system originally. Most of this capability is exposed through the recover-run command.
Phoronix Test Suite 2.2 also introduces support for "display modes" or rather different interfaces that are outputted from the command-line version of the Phoronix Test Suite during testing. By adjusting the display mode from the user-config.xml file or running a test in a batch mode, will result in a new interface. This interface is much smarter and more concise than the traditional text output in earlier releases. This is really a feature to just try out and see for yourself rather than explaining the timestamps, counts, and other information that is displayed in this mode.
Bardu also adds support for anonymous usage reporting / statistics capabilities. Right now, if enabled, when running the Phoronix Test Suite it will report the length of time it takes to run a test to Phoronix Global, but other reporting capabilities will be added in soon. This information is all optional but will be used to drive new features in the Phoronix Test Suite along with providing other benefits such as being able to more accurately tell users how long a test should take to run, etc.
Beyond the test recovery options, display mode support, and anonymous usage reporting, pts-core in 2.2 Bardu already has received a few bug fixes, support for a virtual test suite that contains all tests that are under a free software license, a few tweaks to the GTK2 GUI, and other changes. There is also experimental support for creating weighted tests, where effectively multiple test profiles can be combined together to produce a single composite result in the end. More on this though will come later.
Outside of improvements to pts-core, Phoronix Test Suite 2.2 will also be picking up even more test profiles. Already committed to 2.2 Bardu is a test profile for the Stream memory benchmark, PyBench, the threaded TSCP chess engine, John the Ripper password cracker, GeekBench, and NASA's NAS Parallel Benchmark. A test profile for the cairo-perf-trace graphics program to stress Linux graphics with Cairo is also being worked on by Chris Wilson.
While these new features and test profiles may sound nice, the best part is that this work is already completed. Just three weeks into the Phoronix Test Suite 2.2 development, all of this work is in place. You can go grab the latest PTS development code right now off Phorogit and begin testing. With that said, there's still three months left before the final release of Phoronix Test Suite 2.2 and with that many more features to come. We will talk about the not-yet-implemented features that excite us later on. New features will also be coming to PTS Desktop Live 2009.4 "Loderhof" that we will talk about in the coming months. The first alpha release of Phoronix Test Suite 2.2 will come in early September.
As always, we invite feedback on our open-source testing software either in our mailing list or forums. For more information stop by Phoronix-Test-Suite.com.
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