Coming Up: Benchmarks Of GNU Hurd
Written by Michael Larabel in GNU on 15 July 2011 at 12:13 AM EDT. 19 Comments
At Phoronix we benchmark Linux, obviously, but of course we also run some tests of Mac OS X, the *BSDs, Solaris and the OpenSolaris-derived distributions, and even Microsoft Windows when doing a hardware/driver comparison to other platforms. It's the platforms that are supported by the Phoronix Test Suite, and with better mobile device support coming, we'll be delivering benchmarks there too. But there's yet another new platform target with Lillesand: GNU Hurd. Yes, we have benchmarks running now even under GNU Hurd.

There's been a fair amount of talk this week about this GNU operating system that's long been in development since a GNU Hurd status update was issued. This status update also made mention that with Debian "Wheezy" in late 2012 or early 2013, the Debian developers hope to ship a "Debian GNU Hurd" port in a similar manner to Debian GNU/Linux and Debian GNU/kFreeBSD, but strapping the Debian user-land atop the GNU Hurd kernel. When trying out the latest development snapshot of Debian GNU Hurd this evening, I decided to see if I could bring up Phoronix Test Suite test framework support into GNU Hurd.

The Phoronix Test Suite ran quite easily on Debian GNU Hurd without modifications, but none of the test profiles or suites were executing. The reported software/hardware information was also minimal. However, within a matter of minutes that changed as it ended up being quite easy to port the Phodevi (Phoronix Device Interface) library to GNU Hurd with many of the Linux code-paths being compatible and then just making other minor modifications. When making a workaround so that test profiles could be installed (since the XML test profiles / suites themselves don't yet advertise a bit for GNU Hurd compatibility, so for now a simple safety check is made based upon compatibility relative to Linux and BSD). Phodevi is detecting some of the installed software / hardware on the virtualized GNU Hurd instance.

In much less time than expected, Debian GNU Hurd is running the Phoronix Test Suite! Tests are successfully executing. The Phoronix Test Suite can virtually adapt to any platform.

Due to the GNU Hurd kernel not supporting more modern hardware at this time, the testing will be limited to different KVM/QEMU configurations. For comparison, I'm thinking of starting out with Debian GNU/Linux and Debian GNU/kFreeBSD with the matching Debian Wheezy packages.

Results should be out next week. Feedback is welcome. Look for more proper GNU Hurd support in Phoronix Test Suite 3.4-Lillesand when officially released this September.

About The Author
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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