What OpenBenchmarking.org Is About & Why It Matters

Written by Michael Larabel in Software on 2 February 2011. Page 1 of 5. 11 Comments

February has finally arrived. Later this month Phoronix Test Suite 3.0 "Iveland" and OpenBenchmarking.org will be officially unveiled from the Southern California Linux Expo during the talk entitled "Making Better Linux Hardware Choices" by myself and Matthew Tippett, the former ATI/AMD Linux Core Engineering Manager. Before the California Linux event, there may also be a public demonstration in Munich of this major Linux testing/benchmarking breakthrough. While the Phoronix Test Suite 3.0-Iveland software can currently be downloaded as beta, OpenBenchmarking.org is not yet publicly available nor have we said much about the project. What has been said though is that it will cause Linux benchmarking to change, it will likely cause a greater impact than Phoronix.com, may result in my editorial departure from Phoronix, and will change the way that you find Linux compatible hardware. Here though is a primer of some of what you can expect out of OpenBenchmarking.org when it becomes available late in the month.

OpenBenchmarking.org and the new Phoronix Test Suite 3.0 capabilities are briefly summed up by this SCALE abstract for the speech that is taking place on 26 February in Los Angeles.

It was once a time-consuming and exhaustive process to find computer hardware that would work well with Linux. It would require scouring different forums, reading reviews, and scanning mailing lists all while taking notes about kernel and driver version requirements, copying configuration file notes, and often building packages from source. In 2011, this is fortunately an issue of the past, but there still is always the challenge that a consumer of any operating system faces: finding the best software configuration and hardware that meets your needs and performance requirements. With the launch of the open-source Phoronix Test Suite 3.0 project and OpenBenchmarking.org, this process can be streamlined and made easy while ensuring more informed purchasing decisions by providing an open and collaborative testing platform.

OpenBenchmarking.org is a project that provides a massive community vault of continuously-growing test data and other hardware information (such as system logs, result logs, and configuration files) that makes it impeccably easy to compare the performance of multiple computers across a variety of sub-systems while running Linux, BSD, and other operating systems. With OpenBenchmarking.org it has also made easy to crowd-source hardware testing and it allows you to compare the performance of a given software/hardware configuration against that of others. Integrated search capabilities make it effortless to find relevant information from this repository of Creative Commons licensed data while a shopping-cart-like comparison system ensures you're accurately yet efficiently looking at the most important aspects of performance for your needs or that of the organization.

Besides posting a few early development screenshots of OpenBenchmarking.org in December, this article also contains the first official images showing off OpenBenchmarking.org. However, these are still incomplete and the layout/graphics and other items are still subject to change before launch. These screenshots also do not illustrate all of the available features. As OpenBenchmarking.org is not yet complete, these enclosed screenshots are intentionally at lower quality.

OpenBenchmarking.org is the successor to Phoronix Global, which served the Phoronix Test Suite since version 0.1 of the open-source software was available up through the Phoronix Test Suite 2.8 release in 2010. OpenBenchmarking.org though is completely rewritten and an entirely beast than what Phoronix Global was for distributing test results across the Internet. Phoronix Global provides only limited search capabilities, lacked integration with test profiles and suites, and did not support any social or collaborative abilities. However, OpenBenchmarking.org completely revolutionizes what is available to the interested enthusiast, normal Linux desktop user, and corporate consumer.

OpenBenchmarking.org is effectively a centralized testing ecosystem. The project provides a collaborative, open test platform with a standardized test profile and suite management system for distributing and standardizing tests. With the introduction of this package-management capability, no longer are tests and suites bound to a particular Phoronix Test Suite release nor is the Phoronix Test Suite limited to being the only client. OpenBenchmarking.org not only makes it efficient to gather new tests and suites and to find test results -- whether it be quantitative or qualitative based -- for a given hardware or software configuration, but it also provides a robust feature-set for exploring and discovering new tests and hardware, analyzing results in great detail, communicating over result findings, and to collaborate over future software and hardware tests.

An example OpenBenchmarking.org category page. Shown are some of the most popular motherboards tested by the Phoronix Test Suite community, OpenBenchmarking.org search/browsing activity related to the said category, popular motherboard tests/suites, and even the leading motherboard vendors on a month-by-month basis.

On the following pages are some of the features and notes of OpenBenchmarking.org. This list is not exhaustive and is listed in no particular order. The official list will come later this month and will be talked about in more detail during the Southern California Linux Expo event.

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