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Ciao, Off On A Sabbatical With Windows


Published on 23 December 2009 05:59 PM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix

Nearly two months ago I showed off the Phoronix Test Suite running on Windows 7 and later confirmed that the first bits of Windows compatibility within this leading open-source testing software would arrive with Phoronix Test Suite 2.4. The Windows 7 support is just the latest that is coming after the Linux, OpenSolaris, Mac OS X, FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD operating systems are already well supported.

To date what's been committed to the Phorogit code repository is the initial hardware/software detection support through Phodevi (the "Phoronix Device Interface" library), a Windows launcher, and a few other compatibility hooks. The GTK-based GUI is running with Windows 7 as well as the command-line interface. However, a lot of other Windows work is left to accomplish with making some of the actual test profiles run under Microsoft Windows and then related work within the pts-core engine to allow it to run the tests properly and with full support for all of the features and autonomous, turnkey deployment capabilities that Phoronix Test Suite users have come to love. With that said, in an effort to get a good portion of this work completed for the 2.4 "Lenvik" release, I will be dedicating the next few weeks to bettering this support.

Tomorrow morning I will be off in Europe with the recently released ASUS Eee PC 1201N running Microsoft Windows 7 Premium. My focus will be on getting as much running with the Phoronix Test Suite under Windows as possible. By the time I return in mid-January I hope that many of the key tests will be running properly on Windows and that most of the internal pts-core features and functionality (like image quality comparison support, system sensor monitoring, etc) will be natively implemented on Windows. Cygwin or any other POSIX compatibility layers are not being used in this port. The Phoronix Test Suite Windows client will be compatible (actually, it's already working) with Phoronix Global, Phoromatic, and Phoromatic Tracker. Eventually I would hope that pts-core, Phodevi, and related components reach a full feature parity between the Windows and Linux/BSD/OpenSolaris/Mac OS X support, but this will likely mature over several releases.

Why is this being done? Well, many companies have expressed interest in Windows support for the Phoronix Test Suite (though no one is sponsoring the Windows port yet) as the automated benchmarking / testing software has several unique advantages even for what's already commercially available on Windows. I would hope that once the Windows support is fully in place that more Linux developers will use it for tuning against and optimizing their software to strengthen some current weaknesses of the Linux operating system compared against Windows. Granted, this can already be done against BSD, Mac OS X, and OpenSolaris. Of course, Microsoft could also use the Phoronix Test Suite in the exact opposite way too if they so choose.

While there are areas within Windows 7 Premium that I have already found to be more "slow" than Ubuntu Linux 9.10 with this dual-core, NVIDIA ION netbook, there are other areas I found where the Redmond operating system had the advantage. The battery power consumption, for example, appears to be significantly better with Windows 7 than Ubuntu with its Linux kernel, X stack, etc. Some of the tests when being manually carried out are also running faster on Windows.

The Phoronix Test Suite will make it possible to nearly reach a point of 1:1 quantitative comparison capabilities between Windows/Linux/BSD/OpenSolaris/MacOS. With the pts-core support, it's just a matter of the test profile writers to actually implement the Windows paths. There are, of course, some multi-platform benchmarks already available, but not any extensible testing platform like what the Phoronix Test Suite is able to provide -- especially when it comes to autonomous and repeatable testing.

More details will be shared as this work develops over the next few weeks. If there is any media or organizations based in Germany that are interested in seeing the Phoronix Test Suite running on Windows and more on the capabilities that it will provide, contact me.

In my absence the Phoronix news may be slightly slower than normal with its expedited rate, but already in the publishing queue during this time is a review of an EagleTech 2.5-inch SATA enclosure, AMD's 2009 Linux Year in Review, 32-bit vs. 32-bit PAE vs. 64-bit kernel benchmarks, a Phoronix 2009 yearly recap, a review of an Encore 802.11n WiFi adapter, benchmarks of the Gentoo-based Sabayon distribution, a review of the OCZ Zee flash drive, the first benchmarks of Unigine Heaven for Linux, and a look at NVIDIA's VDPAU performance on mobile devices.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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