Blogger Kevin Bowling takes a look at the never-ending stream of benchmarks from Phoronix, with various Linux distros pitted against each other and even different operating systems, and he wonders, are they bullshit? . Case in point, this Debian vs FreeBSD benchmark that was submitted to OSNews yesterday.
Now that Google has opened up VP8, the big question is obviously how it'll hold up to H264. Of course, VP8 already wins by default because it's open source and royalty free, but that doesn't mean we should neglect the quality issue. Jan Ozer from StreamingMedia.com has put up an article comparing the two codecs, and concludes that the differences are negligible - in fact, only in some high-motion videos did H264 win out. As always, this is just one comparison and most certainly anything but conclusive. Update: Another comparison. I can't spot the difference, but then again, I'm no expert.
Common wisdom has it that Flash is a resource hog, and that HTML5 will prevent your processor from having to work really, really hard to show animations of videos. Well, a number of people have conducted benchmarks with the latest browsers and Flash betas, and common wisdom is starting to show serious signs of crackage.
Phoronix was kind enough to add a deliciously lengthy nine-page compare and contrast between FreeBSD 8 and Ubuntu 9.10 to their arsenal of articles. "Canonical will be releasing Ubuntu 9.10 at the end of next month while the final release of FreeBSD 8.0 is also expected within the next few weeks. With these two popular free software operating systems both having major updates coming out at around the same time, we decided it warranted some early benchmarking as we see how the FreeBSD 8.0 and Ubuntu 9.10 performance compares. For looking more at the FreeBSD performance we also have included test results from FreeBSD 7.2, the current stable release. In this article are mostly the server and workstation oriented benchmarks with the testing being carried out on a dual AMD Opteron quad-core workstation."
With OSNews really diving into the world of the Amiga as of late, with a review of AmigaOS 4.1 on ACube's sam440ep and an upcoming review of MorphOS 2.3 on an Efika, it was kind of coincidental that we have a set of benchmarks comparing MorphOS 2.3 and AmigaOS 4.1 to one another, both running on the Pegasos II machine.
An interesting article, this details the experiments and procedures Vik Singh performed to test the latest versions of several open source search engines, particularly Lucene, Xapian, zettair, sqlite, and sphinx. It tests them by indexing Twitter results in varied categories as well as the amount and relevancy of medical journals for a certain query, providing comparative system stats and relevancy scores. All of the benchmark code is open source as well.
"The past few Linux kernel releases have brought a number of new file-systems to the Linux world, such as with EXT4 having been stabilized in the Linux 2.6.28 kernel, Btrfs being merged into Linux 2.6.29, and most recently the NILFS2 file-system premiering with the Linux 2.6.30 kernel. Other file-systems have been introduced too during the past few Linux kernel release cycles, but these three have been the most talked about and are often looked at as being the next-generation Linux file-systems. Being the benchmarking junkies that we are, we have set out to compare the file-system performance of EXT4, Btrfs, and NILFS2 under Ubuntu using the Linux 2.6.30 kernel. We also looked at how these file-systems compared to EXT3 and XFS."
Phoronix, known for their various speed tests and reviews, compared the latest in Ubuntu and what, until recently, used to be the lastest in Mac OS X with 29 different benchmarking tests. Some of the results were rather interesting.
"Earlier this month we published an article looking at the Linux versus OpenSolaris performance when using the new AMD Shanghai Opteron CPUs. Ubuntu Linux was faster than OpenSolaris 2008.11 in nearly all of the tests, but as mentioned in that article, OpenSolaris is still dependent upon GCC 3.4 where as Ubuntu and most other Linux distributions are now shipping with the newer and much-improved GCC 4 series. Following that article being published, Sun Microsystems had requested some compiler tests since they were confident the results would be different had their Sun Studio compiler been used. Well, in this article we now have some OpenSolaris benchmarks from the same AMD setup using GCC 3.4, GCC 4.0, and Sun Studio 12."
"In January we published a review of the AMD Shanghai Opteron CPUs on Linux- when we looked at four of the Opteron 2384 models. The performance of these 45nm quad-core workstation/server processors were great when compared to the earlier AMD Barcelona processors on Ubuntu Linux, but how is their performance when running Sun's OpenSolaris operating system? Up for viewing today are dual AMD Shanghai benchmarks when running OpenSolaris 2008.11, Ubuntu 8.10, and a daily build of the forthcoming Ubuntu 9.04 release."
So Windows 7 is supposed to be screaming fast, right? Anecdotal accounts report it booting quicker and feeling snappier than Vista, but the proof is in stats. TuxRadar has benchmarked Windows 7 against Vista and Ubuntu Linux, comparing install time, disk space usage, boot speeds and filesystem performance. The graphs also show how the sparkly ext4 filesystem compares against its older brother.
From Phoronix: "Have you ever wondered on what operating system Java works the best? While by no means is it a conclusive multi-platform comparison, for this article we ran a number of Java benchmarks on both Windows Vista Premium and Ubuntu Linux to see how the Java Virtual Machine performance differs. In addition, when running Ubuntu we had tested Sun's official Java package as well as the OpenJDK alternative."
Japan's Tsubame supercomputer was ranked 29th-fastest in the world in the latest Top 500 ranking with a speed of 77.48T Flops (floating point operations per second) on the industry-standard Linpack benchmark. Why is it so special? It uses NVIDIA GPUs. Tsubame includes hundreds of graphics processors of the same type used in consumer PCs, working alongside CPUs in a mixed environment that some say is a model for future supercomputers serving disciplines like material chemistry.
The choice of filesystems on Linux is vast, but most people will stick with their respective distributions' default choices, which will most likely be ext3, but you're free to use ReiserFS, XFS, or something else completely if you so desire. Things are about to change though, with btrfs just around the corner. To bridge the gap between now and btfrs, ext3 has been updated to ext4, which adds some interesting features like extents, which are already in use in most other popular file systems. Phoronix decided it was time to do some performance checking on ext4.
Phoronix compared the performance figures of Mac OS X 10.5.5 with those of Ubuntu 8.10. They conclude: "Apple's Mac OS X 10.5.5 Leopard had strong performance leads over Canonical's Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex in the OpenGL performance with the integrated Intel graphics, disk benchmarking, and SQLite database in particular. Ubuntu on the other hand was leading in the compilation and BYTE Unix Benchmark. In the audio/video encoding and PHP XML tests the margins were smaller and no definitive leader had emerged. With the Java environment, Sunflow and Bork were faster in Mac OS X, but the Intrepid Ibex in SciMark 2 attacked the Leopard. These results though were all from an Apple Mac Mini."
Intel has already shipped 45nm processors, while AMD is trying to get its 45nm to market. TI is claiming big 45nm performance too. Meanwhile, IBM believes it can lead the market to 32 and then 22nm chip production: "At 22nm, the existing techniques for microprocessor manufacturing useful at the 45nm and 32nm nodes will become obsolete. While currently lithography techniques cannot produce 22nm circuitry, IBM has developed a new approach called Computational Scaling, which will allow for this tiny-scale production. The new technique uses advanced mathematical computation to adjust the shape of the masks and illuminating source during etching."
Andrew Ziem takes a close look at Microsoft Word performance in a benchmark with 4500 measurements in 5 categories covering 6 versions and 12 years of releases to determine whether Word has become slower or faster over the years.
David Williams over at iTWire has done a comparison of Windows vs Linux. It is performed by doing functionally identical tasks in both the OSes. This comparison is not a fair one by any measure. The laptops running the Windows and Linux were different in the hardware config and the software used for the tests were comparable but clearly different (MS Office vs OpenOffice; IE vs Firefox 3).
Green, power reduction, and climate change are all the rage these days, and the world of computers is not off the hook on this one. Software and hardware manufacturers are trying hard to keep power consumption down - while first something for mostly mobile computers, desktops and servers are now part of the effort too. PC World tested Windows Server 2008 and two Linux server offerings and compared their power usage patterns.
The first webpage was served off a NeXTcube at CERN, Switzerland, developed by Tim Berners-Lee. He also wrote the first web browser, confusingly named WorldWideWeb - the world of web browsers has come a long way since then, more or less turning into a platform of their own. This puts increasing pressure on web browsers to be really really good pieces of software, and as such, ZDnet has a 7-page comparison of the world's major web browsers, comparing Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, and Safari.