Linux OpenGL: Ubuntu 13.04/13.10 vs. Fedora 19/20

Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 5 October 2013 at 02:35 AM EDT. Page 1 of 4. 17 Comments.

Under the microscope this Saturday morning are benchmark results comparing the Intel Haswell graphics performance of Ubuntu 13.04, Ubuntu 13.10 Beta, Fedora 19, and Fedora 20 Alpha. The System76 Galago UltraPro with Intel Iris Pro 5200 graphics was used to see how these four Linux distribution releases compare in their open-source OpenGL graphics/gaming performance.

For those not following the many Linux graphics articles each week, and numerous articles that have already covered the Ubuntu 13.10 performance in its current development state, there's a lot to look forward to with this next Ubuntu Linux release. As Ubuntu doesn't ship major updates to the Linux kernel, Mesa, or other key components as stable release updates, going from Ubuntu 13.04 to Ubuntu 13.10 means big changes are in store. Ubuntu 13.04 is packing Linux 3.8 and Mesa 9.1.4, as the two principal components affecting the open-source Linux GPU performance, while Ubuntu 13.10 will premiere with the Linux 3.11 kernel and Mesa 9.2.0. Both Linux 3.11 and Mesa 9.2 have a lot of improvements over what's found in Ubuntu 13.04, and just not for Intel hardware but also with the Nouveau and Radeon drivers. There's already been many comparison tests covering this on Phoronix but there will be more surely to come.

Fedora 19 meanwhile has already shipped Linux 3.11 and Mesa 9.2.0 as stable release updates. The only advantages that Fedora 20 Alpha has over Fedora 19 is some slightly newer Linux 3.11 kernel changes, GNOME Shell over GNOME Shell 3.8.4, xf86-video-intel 2.21.15 over xf86-video-intel 2.21.12, and a newer GCC 4.8 snapshot. These changes won't mean much though for the tests done today looking at the OpenGL graphics performance. The Fedora 20 Alpha performance may also end up being slower than Fedora 19 anyways due to the packages currently being in their debug state that in the past at least has negatively affected the system performance which is why we don't tend to benchmark Fedora pre-releases.

Fedora 20 also now has the Wayland Tech Preview option, but that isn't the subject of today's tests and will be covered in another article in the coming days on Phoronix. Ubuntu 13.04, Ubuntu 13.10 Beta, Fedora 19, and Fedora 20 Alpha were all in their updated, stock-configured states at the time of benchmarking via the open-source Phoronix Test Suite platform for conducting fully automated Linux performance benchmarks in a turn-key and reproducible manner.

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