Operating Systems Archives
Spectre/Meltdown Performance Impact Across Eight Linux Distributions

While nearly all Linux distributions have been mitigated against the Spectre and Meltdown CPU vulnerabilities for over one year, the performance ahead associated with these speculative execution vulnerabilities can vary. This is especially more so with the enterprise Linux distributions that are generally shipping on older kernel branches prior to where the initial kernel support was mainlined. With recent kernel releases we've also seen varying optimizations and other changes around the Spectre/Meltdown/L1TF mitigations. So for those wondering about the varying impact, here are some side-by-side benchmarks.

11 March 2019 - 23 Comments
Using Clear Linux As A Desktop Linux Distribution - It Works Well But With Some "Papercuts"

While I am a big fan of Intel's Clear Linux distribution for its raw performance on x86_64 hardware that for most workloads goes unsurpassed by any other Linux platform out-of-the-box, there has been a lot of Phoronix readers wondering how well it could function as a standard desktop Linux distribution. With upgrading my main production system earlier this month, I decided to try out Clear Linux and now with 200+ hours into using it as the OS on my main production system, I figured it'd be good to share my initial thoughts.

19 February 2019 - 35 Comments
Ubuntu vs. Debian vs. openSUSE On The POWER9 Raptor Talos II

While we frequently compare the performance of many x86_64 Linux distributions, we haven't done one under IBM POWER9 since getting our hands on the Raptor Computing Systems' Talos II back in November. It's been very interesting to benchmark this libre hardware that's high performance with having 44 cores / 176 threads at 3.80GHz. But how much more performance can be tapped by using other Linux distributions? Here's a look with some of the current POWER9 Linux distribution options.

1 February 2019 - 15 Comments
Windows Server 2019 vs. Linux vs. FreeBSD Gigabit & 10GbE Networking Performance

FreeBSD 12.0, Windows Server 2019, and five Linux distributions were tested for comparing the Gigabit and 10GbE networking performance as part of our latest benchmarks. Additionally, the performance was looked at for the Mellanox 10GbE adapter when also using the company's Linux tuning script compared to the out-of-the-box performance on the enterprise Linux distribution releases.

25 January 2019 - 14 Comments
Microsoft Windows Server Benchmarked Against Six Linux Distributions

While it was not too long ago that Microsoft Windows Server 2019 began shipping and that we conducted some end-of-year benchmarks between Windows and Linux, with being in the process of running a number of Windows and Linux benchmarks as part of our ongoing 10GbE OS performance testing, I also took the opportunity to run some other benchmarks on Windows Server 2016 and 2019 as well as a set of Linux distributions.

23 January 2019 - 20 Comments
WLinux & WLinux Enterprise Benchmarks, The Linux Distributions Built For Windows 10 WSL

Making the news rounds a few months back was "WLinux", which was the first Linux distribution designed for Microsoft's Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) on Windows 10. But is this pay-to-play Linux distribution any faster than the likes of Ubuntu, openSUSE, and Debian already available from the Microsoft Store? Here are some benchmarks of these different Linux distribution options with WSL.

18 January 2019 - 6 Comments
FreeBSD 12.0 vs. DragonFlyBSD 5.4 vs. TrueOS 18.12 vs. Linux On A Tyan EPYC Server

Last month when running FreeBSD 12.0 benchmarks on a 2P EPYC server I wasn't able to run any side-by-side benchmarks with the new DragonFlyBSD 5.4 as this BSD was crashing during the boot process on that board. But fortunately on another AMD EPYC server available, the EPYC 1P TYAN Transport SX TN70A-B8026, DragonFlyBSD 5.4.1 runs fine. So for this first round of BSD benchmarking in 2019 are tests of FreeBSD 11.2, FreeBSD 12.0, DragonFlyBSD 5.4.1, the new TrueOS 18.12, and a few Linux distributions (CentOS 7, Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS, and Clear Linux) on this EPYC 7601 server in a variety of workloads.

10 January 2019 - 8 Comments
Coreprio Can Help AMD Threadripper Windows Performance, But Linux Still Leading Performance Race

Rolled out recently was Bitsum's Coreprio third-party freeware utility designed to offer better Threadripper 2970WX/2990WX performance by its own implementation of AMD Dynamic Local Mode compared to the default Windows scheduler behavior. Here are some benchmarks of Windows 10 against Linux while trying out CorePrio's NUMA Dissociater mode to see how much it helps the performance compared to Ubuntu Linux. Additionally, tests are included of Windows Server 2019 to see if that server edition of Windows is able to offer better performance on this AMD HEDT NUMA platform.

6 January 2019 - 4 Comments
The Ryzen 7 1800X Linux Performance Evolution Since The AMD Zen Launch

With it quickly approaching two years since the launch of the original AMD Ryzen processors and complementing our other end-of-2018 Linux performance benchmarks, in this article are some fresh benchmarks seeing how the Linux performance at the start of 2017 on the Ryzen 7 1800X compares to the latest Linux performance at the start of 2019.

4 January 2019 - 18 Comments
FreeBSD 12.0 Performance Against Windows & Linux On An Intel Xeon Server

Last week I posted benchmarks of Windows Server 2019 against various Linux distributions using a Tyan dual socket Intel Xeon server. In this article are some complementary results when adding in the performance of FreeBSD 11.2 against the new FreeBSD 12.0 stable release for this leading BSD operating system. As some fun benchmarks to end out 2018, here are the results of FreeBSD 11.2/12.0 (including an additional run when using GCC rather than Clang) up against Windows Server and several enterprise-ready Linux distributions.

31 December 2018 - 9 Comments
Clear Linux Ending Out 2018 With Even More Performance Optimizations

With the Windows Server 2019 vs. Linux benchmarks this week on a dual socket Intel Xeon Scalable server and testing six different Linux distributions and three Windows Server configurations, Intel's open-source Clear Linux was the winner in nearly half of the dozens of benchmarks carried out across these Linux and Windows operating system tests. But the results did yield some areas they could improve upon for better performance and as a result have already landed some more performance optimizations.

29 December 2018 - 15 Comments
Windows Server 2019 Performance Benchmarked Against Linux On An Intel Xeon Server

A few days back I delivered the first of our Windows Server 2019 benchmarks against Linux (as well as FreeBSD). That initial testing was done with a dual socket AMD EPYC server while in this article the tables have turned with using a dual Intel Xeon Scalable server while benchmarking Microsoft Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2019 with its new Windows Subsystem for Linux, Windows Server 2016, and an assortment of Linux distributions including Fedora Server 29, openSUSE Leap 15, Ubuntu 18.10, CentOS 7.6, Debian 9.6, and Intel's own Clear Linux.

27 December 2018 - 12 Comments
Benchmarking OpenMandriva 4.0 Alpha - The First Linux OS With An AMD Zen Optimized Build

On Christmas Eve marked the long-awaited release of the OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 Alpha and with that new version of the Mandrake/Mandriva-derived operating system came an AMD Zen "Znver1" optimized Linux build. Of course that caught my interest and I was quickly downloading this first Linux distribution with an AMD Ryzen/EPYC optimized binaries to see how it compares to its generic x86_64 operating system installation.

26 December 2018 - 13 Comments
Windows Server 2019 vs. Linux vs. FreeBSD Performance On A 2P EPYC Server

When Microsoft rolled out their Windows 10 October 2018 Update they also released Windows Server 2019. Now over the slower holiday period I am finally getting caught up in benchmarking Windows Server 2019. For this initial benchmark comparison is a look at the Microsoft Windows Server 2019 performance against a handful of Linux distributions as well as FreeBSD 12.0 for seeing how this latest Windows Server performance compares on a dual AMD EPYC 7601 server.

24 December 2018 - 16 Comments
The Performance Of Five Linux Distributions From Early 2016 To The End Of 2018

With the end of another year upon us, there has been the start of many year-end benchmark comparisons looking at how various aspects of Linux performance has evolved over 2018. In this comparison though is going back further than that and seeing how five Linux distributions have experienced performance changes over the past nearly three years -- using the CentOS, Clear Linux, Fedora, and openSUSE Linux distribution releases from early 2016 to their latest releases as of right now with their stable updates.

21 December 2018 - 17 Comments
Five-Way Linux OS Comparison On Amazon's ARM Graviton CPU

Last month Amazon rolled out their "Graviton" ARM processors in the Elastic Compute Cloud. Those first-generation Graviton ARMv8 processors are based on the ARM Cortex-A72 cores and designed to offer better pricing than traditional x86_64 EC2 instances. However, our initial testing of the Amazon Graviton EC2 "A1" instances didn't reveal significant performance-per-dollar benefits for these new instances. In this second round of Graviton CPU benchmarking we are seeing what is the fastest of five of the leading ARM Linux distributions.

17 December 2018 - 9 Comments
180+ Benchmarks On Debian GNU/Linux 9.6 Against Debian Buster Testing

There is the release of Debian 10 "Buster" to look forward to (hopefully) next year for succeeding Debian 9 "Stretch" that debuted back in 2017. Curious about the current performance of Debian Buster, I ran 183 benchmarks on Debian 9.6 stable against the current Debian Buster Testing images for seeing how the performance compares.

15 December 2018 - 9 Comments
A Look At The Clear Linux Performance Over The Course Of 2018

With the end of the year quickly approaching, it's time for our annual look at how the Linux performance has evolved over the past year from graphics drivers to distributions. This year was a particularly volatile year for Linux performance due to Spectre and Meltdown mitigations, some of which have at least partially recovered thanks to continued optimizations landing in subsequent kernel releases. But on the plus side, new releases of Python, PHP, GCC 8, and other new software releases have helped out the performance. For kicking off our year-end benchmark comparisons, first up is a look at how Intel's performance-optimized Clear Linux distribution evolved this year.

14 December 2018 - 5 Comments
DragonFlyBSD 5.4 & FreeBSD 12.0 Performance Benchmarks, Comparison Against Linux

Coincidentally the DragonFlyBSD 5.4 release and FreeBSD 12.0 lined up to be within a few days of each other, so for an interesting round of benchmarking here is a look at DragonFlyBSD 5.4 vs. 5.2.2 and FreeBSD 12.0 vs. 11.2 on the same hardware as well as comparing those BSD operating system benchmark results against Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS, Clear Linux, and CentOS 7 for some Linux baseline figures.

5 December 2018 - 3 Comments
EC2 Cloud Linux Benchmarks: Amazon, Clear, Debian, Red Hat, SUSE, Ubuntu

Complementing our many recent bare-metal Linux distribution comparison benchmarks, here is a fresh look at how the various high profile Linux distributions are running on Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). For this round of testing on their current-generation M5 instance type, Amazon Linux 2, Clear Linux 26600, Debian 9.6, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.6, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15, and Ubuntu 18.04 LTS were benchmarked.

3 December 2018 - 5 Comments
Trying DragonFlyBSD & FreeBSD On The Intel Core i9 9900K With ASUS PRIME Z390-A

Since last month's Intel Core i9 9900K launch for this eight core / sixteen thread processor we have explored its performance for Linux gaming, how the performance and power efficiency go from the Intel 990X to 9900K, the Spectre mitigation costs, and the Intel Coffeelake Refresh performance across various Linux distributions. For those curious about using the new Intel CPUs and Z390 motherboards with one of the BSD operating systems, I spent a few days over the weekend trying out FreeBSD and DragonFlyBSD releases with the i9-9900K and ASUS PRIME Z390-A motherboard combination.

14 November 2018 - 6 Comments
Initial Benchmarks Of OpenBSD 6.4, DragonFlyBSD 5.3, FreeBSD vs. Linux

Given the recent release of OpenBSD 6.4, FreeBSD 12 now being in beta, and DragonFlyBSD 5.3 evolving nicely for what will eventually ship as DragonFlyBSD 5.4, here is the start of some fresh benchmarks between the BSDs and a few Linux distributions to see how the performance compares as we approach the end of 2018.

2 November 2018 - 18 Comments
Trying To Make Ubuntu 18.10 Run As Fast As Intel's Clear Linux

With the recent six-way Linux OS tests on the Core i9 9900K there was once again a number of users questioning the optimizations by Clear Linux out of Intel's Open-Source Technology Center and remarks whether changing the compiler flags, CPU frequency scaling governor, or other settings would allow other distributions to trivially replicate its performance. Here's a look at some tweaked Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish benchmarks against the latest Intel Clear Linux rolling-release from this i9-9900K 8-core / 16-thread desktop system.

30 October 2018 - 29 Comments
8-Way Linux Distribution Benchmarks On The Intel Core i9 9900K - One Distro Wins 67% Of The Time

Following last week's release of the Intel Core i9 9900K, I spent several days testing various Linux distributions on this latest Core i9 CPU paired with the new ASUS Z390-A PRIME motherboard. I was testing not only to see that all of the Linux distributions were playing fine with this latest and greatest desktop hardware but also how the performance was looking. Benchmarked this round on the i9-9900K was Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS, Ubuntu 18.10, Clear Linux 25720, Debian Buster Testing, Manjaro 18.0-RC3, Fedora Workstation 29, openSUSE Tumbleweed, and CentOS 7.

25 October 2018 - 42 Comments
Ubuntu 18.10 Is A Nice Upgrade For Radeon Gamers, Especially For Steam VR

Among the changes to find in Ubuntu 18.10 are the latest stable Linux kernel as well as a significant Mesa upgrade and also the latest X.Org Server. These component upgrades make for a better Linux gaming experience particularly if using a modern AMD Radeon graphics card. Here are some results as well as whether it's worthwhile switching to Linux 4.19 and Mesa 18.3-dev currently on Ubuntu 18.10.

18 October 2018 - 37 Comments

794 operating systems articles published on Phoronix.