Phoronix Test Suite 0.4.0 Released
Written by Michael Larabel in Software on 24 April 2008. Page 1 of 1. 25 Comments

Following last week's release of Phoronix Test Suite 0.3.0 and the 0.3.1 hot-fix, a surprising amount of changes have wound up in this week's development release known as version 0.4.0. In fact, there are 21 major changes in this new release not counting general development work and minor bug fixes. Among the changes are new test profiles, a number of new PTS options, PTS External Dependencies support for new Linux distributions, reworking how results are saved, and the graphs are now rendered locally when saving the results.

Starting with the new profiles, are the addition of scimark2, java-scimark2, sunflow, and norsetto-shadow. SciMark 2.0 has both C++ and Java versions and this scientific and numerical computing benchmark (Fast Fourier Transform, Sparse Matrix Multiply, Monte Carlo, and other tests) comes from a scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Norsetto-benchmark is a basic OpenGL benchmark developed by an independent developer that had written support for it to be integrated into the Phoronix Test Suite. Sunflow is an open-source rendering system designed for photo-realistic image synthesis using a ray-tracing core written in Java. The build-linux-kernel profile in this release has been updated for Linux 2.6.25 kernel support and it contains stock profiles for both x86 and x86_64 architectures.

Now having two Java-based tests, java-scimark2 and sunflow, a Java test suite has been added with Phoronix Test Suite 0.4.0. The Java suite will run all available Java benchmarks within our Linux benchmarking environment. This release also corrects naming regressions previously found in the motherboard suite.

Phoronix Test Suite 0.3.0 had added External Dependencies support for Fedora, and now with this release is support for both CentOS and Mandriva, thanks to Pekka Panula and Stephane Teletchea, respectively. The External Dependencies feature also supports a few new packages with all supported distributions. Ubuntu, Fedora, CentOS, and Mandriva are now supported by this feature, but we are looking for (distro-packages.xml and install-distro-packages.sh) patches from other distribution vendors as well for their support.

Another new feature with this release is now basic web browser detection support. Prior releases had only launched the PTS Results Viewer with Mozilla Firefox, but now Konqueror, Epiphany, and Mozilla are also supported.

When running phoronix-test-suite, there are also now several new arguments introduced. Running phoronix-test-suite system-info will print to the screen the system's basic hardware and software information. Running phoronix-test-suite diagnostics will output important debugging information that can be helpful in solving some issues. In addition, the diagnostics argument also dumps all of the environmental variables that are accessible to the test scripts and it shows their value for the current system configuration. A show-result argument has also been added, which when supplying it with the name of a saved result file, will automatically open the PTS Results Viewer within your web browser.

The Phoronix Test Suite now also supports logging into your PTS Global account. These accounts can be created easily and for free through the Phoronix Test Suite website and it allows you, your friends, and co-workers to easily find results uploaded by your account. For instance, you can find all of the results I had uploaded by going to this page. Many other PTS Global features will be coming soon. To log into your account, after you have registered and verified your email address, run phoronix-test-suite login and then supply your username and password. From that point on, all results uploaded will be under your account.

The two latest options now supported by the Phoronix Test Suite are suite-info and test-info. Running suite-info when supplying the name of a test suite will display detailed information about the suite. Among the information that is displayed include the number of tests, what tests make up the suite, the maintainer, and other important pieces of information. The test-info argument works in much of the same way in providing more details about a particular test.

Aside from the new options, Phoronix Test Suite 0.4.0 has a major rework for how the test results are saved with each set of results now having its own directory. These test results also now default to ~/.phoronix-test-suite/test-results/ for its saved location, but the path can be configured in ~/.phoronix-test-suite/user-config.xml. Similarly, the directory where new benchmarks are installed now defaults to ~/.phoronix-test-suite/installed-tests/.

Also new with the PTS Results Viewer is that all graphs are now rendered locally. Previously the results were rendered remotely on one of our servers when the Results Viewer would load in the web browser, but now it's all taken care of client-side with pts-grapher. By rendering these graphs locally, it's now required that PHP GD library is installed on the test system. With some distributions, the PHP GD library may be built into PHP, but for all others you will need to install the GD module separately (likely called php-gd or php5-gd within your package manager). The graph size, colors, and font sizes can be adjusted through ~/.phoronix-test-suite/graph-config.xml. In addition, those vendors packaging up the Phoronix Test Suite for their distribution or for internal use within a company can configure a graph template and store it at pts-core/pts-results-viewer/graph-config-template.xml to be used automatically on new installations.

The last major change in this release is a packaging improvement for the Phoronix Test Suite. Now the phoronix-test-suite executable can be separated from the rest of the Phoronix Test Suite files and it will continue to function as intended. For example, phoronix-test-suite can be moved to /usr/bin/ while all other files can be within /usr/share/phoronix-test-suite/. The only change needed is setting the PTS_DIR variable in phoronix-test-suite to /usr/share/phoronix-test-suite/.

Aside from these major changes, there are also a number of minor changes to be found within Phoronix Test Suite 0.4.0. Be sure to try it out, upload your results to PTS Global, and then to provide feedback in the Phoronix Forums. Download it at Phoronix-Test-Suite.com.


About The Author
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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 10,000 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 or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.


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