PTS Desktop Live is a Linux distribution designed to provide a free software platform for carrying out system tests and hardware benchmarks in an automated, reproducible, and effective manner. PTS Desktop Live is designed around the Phoronix Test Suite with the operating system itself consisting of a stripped down Linux environment, then built upon that is the Phoronix Test Suite with its test profiles and suites. This distribution is not a standard Linux desktop with the normal throng of packages. Testing with PTS Desktop Live is intended to be via a Live DVD or Live USB (i.e. flash drive or memory card) environment. PTS Desktop Live makes it very easy to deploy the Phoronix Test Suite across an array of systems, isolates any software differences when seeking to perform hardware comparisons, and is designed to be very easy to carry out these Linux benchmarks even for a first-time Linux user.
The mission of PTS Desktop Live and the Phoronix Test Suite will not be achieved until it has made Linux benchmarking incredibly robust and innovative, drop dead easy to perform nearly any kind of benchmark, and when it out-paces other leading operating systems for its benchmarking abilities. PTS Desktop Live is being updated quarterly in conjunction with new Phoronix Test Suite releases.
With the PTS Desktop Live 2010.1 release we continue catering this testing distribution towards the very latest and greatest hardware. PTS Desktop Live is only offered in x86_64 form, but with the Anzhofen release we have begun stripping out all drivers for older and uncommon hardware. The Anzhofen kernel, which is derived from the Linux 2.6.33 kernel, is nearly three times smaller than the default Ubuntu Karmic/Lucid kernel! We are also using build optimizations explicitly for Intel Core 2 processors and newer. If your system isn't running a Core 2 or newer, we simply don't recommend you try out PTS Desktop Live but just stick to your favorite OS or Linux distribution and install the Phoronix Test Suite on top. The PTS Desktop Live 2010.1 ISO size for installation onto a DVD or USB device is about 1.6GB. There's also other features to PTS Desktop Live 2010.1 that we will talk about later and upon its official release.
Additionally, to cater to those running newer hardware but on the netbook/nettop side, we are going to be introducing PTS Netbook Live. PTS Netbook Live 2010.1 will be the first official release and it should too arrive later this month. PTS Netbook Live 2010.1 is derived from the Anzhofen release of PTS Desktop Live 2010.1, but it's trimmed down even further and will feature optimizations for Atom processors (and be spun for i686) instead of the 64-bit Core 2 (and newer) series.
Right now the Anzhofen kernel for PTS Netbook Live with its Atom optimizations is about 14MB in size, but by the time of it's officially released we hope it will be under 12MB if not 10MB. With the Atom optimizations, we have also stripped out all DRM and other graphics support aside from using the Intel integrated graphics commonly found on these netbooks. NVIDIA's ION platform found with netbooks like the ASUS Eee PC 1201N is not supported at all but will be in future releases, particularly when the Nouveau driver stack better supports the GeForce 9400M.
The PTS Netbook Live package set is even smaller than that of PTS Desktop Live and will feature support with Phoronix Test Suite 2.4 for carrying out 30~40 benchmarks -- including select graphics tests -- that are more netbook oriented. The size of PTS Netbook Live 20101.1 will be small enough to fit on a 1GB USB flash drive. There's also a few other ideas being currently thrown around for PTS Netbook Live.
With PTS Netbook Live it will be very easy and straightforward to benchmark Atom-powered systems whether you are a Linux user or not. A major UK publisher is already in talks with us to begin using the Phoronix Test Suite and PTS Netbook Live for carrying out their hardware testing. There is the GTK2 GUI with the Phoronix Test Suite and its full capabilities are exploited on Anzhofen with both PTS Desktop Live and PTS Netbook Live. Stay tuned for its release.