A 10-Way Linux Distribution Battle To Kick Off 2016

Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 12 January 2016 at 10:00 AM EST. Page 6 of 6. 26 Comments.
Ubuntu vs. Fedora vs. Clear Linux vs. Other Distros
Ubuntu vs. Fedora vs. Clear Linux vs. Other Distros

Clear Linux with its faster defaults led to the best performance for Redis.

Ubuntu vs. Fedora vs. Clear Linux vs. Other Distros

Lastly, for the Apache web server the fastest was Ubuntu 14.04 followed by Debian stable and testing.

Overall the results were an interesting mix of data for these latest Linux distributions as of the start of 2016. The two Linux distributions generally performing at the top were Clear Linux 5700 and Debian testing.

Intel's Clear Linux distribution ships with more aggressive defaults than the other nine distributions tested, which includes default compiler flags for faster performance of the resulting binaries, for at least this Haswell Xeon system was using the ACPI CPUfreq scaling driver rather than P-State, etc. Clear Linux, Debian, and Fedora were also defaulting to the CFQ I/O scheduler where as the other distributions were using deadline. While Clear Linux is largely focused on Linux for containers and clouds, these results show that you could also build a mighty fast Linux workstation around the operating system as well. For more details on this new Intel project, see this earlier article on the distribution. Of course, any distribution can be further fine-tuned for maximum performance, but in the interest of the results being reproducible and the experience seen by users out-of-the-box, Clear Linux takes the initiative to go a step further and also saves the user/administrator time from having to tweak the environment. One of the current downsides though is that Clear Linux currently doesn't have as many packages (or as they call it, bundles) as the other tier-one Linux distributions tested, so you'd either need to wait on that or build more of any needed software yourself.

The slowest distribution tested for this comparison was overall with Debian GNU/Linux 8.2. Debian GNU/Linux 8.2 uses older packages compared to most of the fresher distributions, but then again CentOS 7 with the older compiler (along with openSUSE Leap 42.1) and kernel did manage to still run better than Jessie.

If you'd like to reproduce any of these tests yourself, you can easily do so by installing the Phoronix Test Suite. Coming up next in this series will be seeing how OpenIndiana and BSDs compare to these ten distributions.

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About The Author
Michael Larabel

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 20,000 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, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.