15-Way Linux Distribution / Operating System Comparison, Including Windows 10 & WSL

Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 31 May 2018 at 11:00 AM EDT. Page 8 of 8. 24 Comments.

With the m-queens benchmark, most of the Linux distributions delivered the same performance except for Sabayon, Debian 9.4, and Windows 10 coming in a few seconds slower.

And a look at the Zstd compression performance for the operating systems shipping with the zstd command by default. It's striking how much faster Clear's Zstd support is than the others, but it is in fact accurate.

Or when building the same Zstd package from source on each of the platforms, Clear Linux still came ahead but by only one second while Debian 9, Solus 3, Antergos, and Fedora were much slower.

In the tests where there was native Windows support, the Linux distributions were generally leading right up with Windows 10 April 2018 Update while in some cases the Linux performance was much better, notably where the software is/was primarily designed for Linux/POSIX systems.

The Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) results were not very surprising and jive with our past Windows 10 WSL benchmarks: the I/O performance is still painfully slow but in CPU-bound workloads the WSL performance can be quite good and comparable to native/bare-metal Linux performance.

In terms of the overall leaders from these three dozen benchmarks run, Intel's Clear Linux delivered the fastest performance in this stock/out-of-the-box operating system benchmarks with winning 21 times in first place -- by either small or large margins. Then tied for second place was Sabayon and Fedora Workstation with just three wins each. The rest of the runs were the other operating systems with just a win or two each.

When it came to the operating systems placing in last most often, to no surprise the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) environment topped that list with Debian and Ubuntu. Of the bare metal Linux distributions, Debian 9.4 was the slowest.

That's how things stand today with the out-of-the-box Linux performance on Intel hardware. Though as we have seen from benchmarks earlier this month, Clear Linux can still lead on AMD systems too, which keeps us intrigued by their performance optimizations and that other Linux distributions are now also looking at leveraging them. Similar tests on vastly different hardware is forthcoming soon; if any premium readers have other test requests or requests for benchmark additions, feel free to let me know. Stay tuned for more interesting benchmarks during the Phoronix birthday week.

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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.