Which Linux Distribution Boots The Fastest? An 11-Way Linux Comparison

Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 25 November 2017. Page 1 of 3. 54 Comments

Following my recent tests of looking at the Ubuntu boot times from Linux 4.6 to 4.15 kernels, a request came in to look at the out-of-the-box boot performance on various Linux distributions. Here is a look at how the out-of-the-box Linux boot performance compares for 11 different distributions.

The 11 distributions used were cleanly installed to the same system and using their out-of-the-box defaults/packages except for where needing to change the setting to auto-login the user to the desktop, in measuring the time to the desktop rather than the respective login manager. The time of the third boot was used as reported by systemd and automatically recorded via the Phoronix Test Suite.

When testing all of these Linux operating systems, a modest Kabylake system was used with an Intel Core i5 7600K with integrated HD Graphics 630, Gigabyte Z270 motherboard, 8GB DDR4 memory, and a Samsung 850 256GB SSD. Again, this is looking at the out-of-the-box / default boot experience on each of these distributions as otherwise each distribution could be endlessly tuned based upon personal preferences, etc. The distributions used were:

Antergos 17.11 - This Arch-based Linux distribution currently ships with the Linux 4.13 kernel, GNOME Shell 3.26.2 by default, and an EXT4 file-system.

CentOS 7 - The community flavor of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. CentOS Linux 7 latest has Linux 3.10, GNOME Shell 3.22, and uses an XFS file-system.

Clear Linux 19260 - Intel's performance-optimized Linux distribution presently ships with the Linux 4.13 kernel, GNOME Shell 3.26.2, and EXT4.

Debian 9.2.1 - The latest stable release of Stretch is using the Linux 4.9 kernel and GNOME Shell 3.22.3 atop EXT4.

Fedora Workstation 27 - Fedora 27 has the Linux 4.13 kernel, GNOME Shell 3.26.1 with Wayland, and EXT4.

Manjaro 17.0.6 - Some more Arch Linux based action happening. Manjaro 17.0.6 has Linux 4.9, Xfce 4.12, and EXT4.

Solus 3 - The Solus Linux distribution that continues growing in popularity currently has Linux 4.13, its GNOME-derived Budgie desktop environment, and EXT4 file-system.

Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS - The current LTS release of Ubuntu Linux with Linux 4.10, Unity 7.4, and EXT4.

Ubuntu 17.10 - The latest Ubuntu stable release with Linux 4.13, GNOME Shell 3.26.1 atop Wayland, and EXT4.

openSUSE Leap 42.3 - The current stable release of openSUSE built from SUSE Linux Enterprise sources with the Linux 4.4 kernel, KDE Plasma 5, and XFS file-system.

openSUSE Tumbleweed - The rolling-release version of openSUSE with the Linux 4.14 kermel, KDE Plasma 5 desktop, and XFS file-system.

Now let's see how these 11 Linux distributions compare out-of-the-box for their boot performance with this Intel Kabylake desktop.

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