This week at Phoronix has been busy with more articles (and news posts) than usual. In fact, most days have had more than one new article. The week began by benchmarking the AMD FirePro V8800, then providing four years of Ubuntu benchmarks via their Long-Term Support testing, offering a look at Fedora 13 Beta, file-system benchmarks with the Linux 2.6.34 kernel, ATI graphics in Fedora 13, the need for Nouveau driver power management, and this morning was testing out the Btrfs system rollbacks in Fedora 13. The week is not over and there will be at least one more Phoronix article before the week is out and certainly more news items too.
It's been three weeks since Phoronix Test Suite 2.6 Alpha 2 was released (compared the usual two weeks, due to the tour of Chernobyl), but the third alpha release for this next release codenamed "Lyngen" is now available.
While most Linux users are fine with just using the kernel supplied by their distribution vendor, there are some enthusiasts and professional users who end up tweaking their kernel configuration extensively for their needs, particularly if they are within a corporate environment where the very best performance and reliability is demanded for a particular workload.
You may notice Phoronix taking a really long time to load this morning or the pages even timing out. This is because of the Chernobyl photographs that were posted yesterday and they are now on SlashDot.
As previously mentioned, today I am leaving for Kyiv, Ukraine to tour the Chernobyl disaster site of the terrible nuclear accident almost 24 years ago (just a few days shy of its anniversary).
While a slight deviation from our usual roundabout with Linux news, benchmarks, and graphics driver articles, two weeks from today I have the unique opportunity to tour the Chernobyl disaster site and surrounding areas like the deserted Pripyat and Red Forest. As those into technology (like those reading Phoronix) seem to have interest in Chernobyl whether it be due to computer games they have played that are based around the Chernobyl site or simply due to the history and fascination by nuclear power and the unfortunate disaster in Ukraine, I will be posting some photographs and HD videos from what Chernobyl looks like in 2010. This will be on Phoronix and potentially a new Phoronix Media site for hosting the high resolution versions and the media may be potentially CC-BY-NC-ND licensed.
I don't generally like to push out software updates over the weekend, but this morning when looking at the patch from 2.6 Alpha 1 (that was released 11 days ago) to the current Git master, it amounts to about 10,500 lines / 400kb. There's really not a lot of code reorganization or other trivial changes, so we are overdue for a new alpha release of Phoronix Test Suite 2.6, a.k.a. Lyngen.
Just yesterday we unleashed Phoromatic 1.0 with a horde of improvements to our remote test management system and as part of that introduced the Phoromatic Ubuntu Tracker, which benchmarks Ubuntu on a daily basis looking for performance regressions across multiple systems. Earlier today we then called out for benchmarking requests as what we should track next using our testing and execution framework (so far the likely contender is seeing how Wine's performance is evolving on a per-commit basis, but let us know what you think). Now to end out this week of announcements I have something else to share that's particularly interesting.
With Phoromatic we make it easy to build a test farm for benchmarking and automated regression management and to prove it we began monitoring the Linux kernel performance on a daily basis where we track the performance of the latest Linux kernel code on a daily basis using multiple systems. This has been going on for months and then yesterday we announced that Phoromatic reached a 1.0 status and that we have launched Phoromatic Ubuntu Tracker, a way to monitor the performance of Ubuntu Linux as a whole on a daily basis by benchmarking the most recent development packages. A day has passed so now we are already thinking of what next to add to our test farm for continuous performance tracking.
Following in the success of the Phoronix Test Suite, last month we launched Phoromatic as a remote test management system targeted for enterprise users of the Phoronix Test Suite that allows the automatic scheduling of tests, remote installation of new tests, and the management of multiple test systems all through an intuitive, easy-to-use web interface. Whether you are looking to build a test farm or just benchmark systems around the world, Phoromatic can turn this otherwise taxing work into a really easy process with turn-key deployment capabilities. As an extension of Phoromatic, we then wrote Phoromatic Tracker that is designed to track any software component (either on a timed or per-commit basis) and automatically execute a set of tests each time around all in an autonomous matter and then pump the data back to the Phoromatic server and showcase it on the Phoromatic Tracker interface.
It's been just a month since releasing Phoronix Test Suite 2.4 and that was followed by the release of our PTS Desktop Live 2010.1 operating system, but since then work has been flowing into the next release of the Phoronix Test Suite and related benchmarking technologies. The next release, Phoronix Test Suite 2.6, is codenamed Lyngen and will be officially available in May. Today the first alpha release for Phoronix Test Suite 2.6 is available.
There's a surprising number of people curious about what the Phoronix office looks like from where hardware is tested and the Phoronix Test Suite developed, so here are a few humble photographs from last month that display this area.
For those out there using the Phoronix Test Suite, the first (and likely only) point release for the 2.4 Lenvik release is now available. The 2.4.1 release incorporates a variety of bug-fixes and other work that was back-ported to Lenvik over the past two weeks.
As a reminder, this weekend is the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) that is being held in Los Angeles, California. This three day affair that's sponsored by the likes of Google and IBM has a wide array of talks, including one of our own. As the last talk on Saturday for Track C prior to the day's evening reception is a presentation by Matthew Tippett (the former ATI Linux manager) and myself entitled "Five Stages of Benchmark Loss: PTS and You."
One of the most common areas of feedback on Phoronix and also by those using the Phoronix Test Suite has been over the graphs that show our test / benchmark results. They're simple yet effective, however, as of late more parties have become interested in having these graphs display greater detail about the test results and other information. Fortunately, one of the major areas already being planned for Phoronix Test Suite 3.0 (to be introduced by the end of 2010) is a totally overhauled graphing interface.
Phoronix Test Suite 2.4 "Lenvik" was released earlier this month, but the first (and likely only) point release for this major release that brought many changes should be released. Phoronix Test Suite 2.4.1 will consist of various small fixes and cosmetic improvements that have been committed since the 2.4.0 Lenvik release. There may also be a new test profile if AMD commits its new OpenCL test in time.
Phoronix Test Suite 2.4 (codenamed "Lenvik") was released on Tuesday. Since then we have been quite pleased with the adoption of this new quarterly update and the new features and enhancements that it provides. There are also many new uploads on Phoronix Global, new registrations on Phoromatic, etc.
Tomorrow we will be formally releasing Phoronix Test Suite 2.4 "Lenvik" as a quarterly update to our testing software that brings many major improvements. Later this month we will be releasing PTS Desktop Live 2010.1 "Anzhofen" as the second release of our Linux LiveDVD/USB distribution that is designed to carry out Linux benchmarking in a completely standardized software stack. This release is likely coming prior to our benchmarking talk in California. Anzhofen is the successor to PTS Desktop Live 2009.3 "Gernlinden", but for those unfamiliar with our benchmarking OS, here is an excerpt from our documentation:
Since earlier this month I have received at least two dozen emails from individuals looking for a refund on software they claim to have purchased from us... What software? The Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and other software projects developed by Phoronix Media are free software. All of them claim it's for anti-virus software!
I had intended for Phoronix Test Suite 2.4 Beta 2 to be the last development build for this release codenamed Lenvik, but things have changed. After continuing to do intensive, last minute work on Phoronix Test Suite 2.4 since the Lenvik Beta 2 release four days ago, a third beta has been warranted.
Just a week ago Phoronix Test Suite 2.4 went into beta, but now the second (and potentially last) beta release is available. Phoronix Test Suite 2.4 "Lenvik" brings a multitude of new features that are discussed in various Phoronix articles -- image quality comparison capabilities, support for mobile device/phone platforms, initial Windows support, and literally many other advancements to this benchmarking framework. However, I have decided to hold off on pushing a bulk of the Microsoft Windows 7 support until the Phoronix Test Suite 2.6 cycle at this point in time 2.4 Lenvik is in a rather clean and optimal state so I am pressed to release this major update a bit early.
As the inaugural Phoronix Test Suite release for 2010, we have just released the first beta of the upcoming Phoronix Test Suite 2.4 "Lenvik" milestone. Phoronix Test Suite 2.4 is set to deliver initial Windows support, support for Palm webOS and other mobile devices, new test profiles, image quality comparison support, and many other new features that are detailed in this article.
For those of you attending the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) next month in Los Angeles, Matthew Tippett and I will be hosting a talk. This talk is entitled "5 Stages of Benchmark Loss: PTS and You" and, of course, covers the Phoronix Test Suite software and its capabilities and more for autonomously testing Linux and other operating systems.
While I am technically away on a sabbatical that is focused on providing support for Microsoft Windows in the Phoronix Test Suite, which will make PTS the first full-featured, open-source testing framework that is compatible with Linux / BSD / OpenSolaris / OS X / Windows operating systems and its numerous test profiles, work on a new benchmark has also commenced.
Nearly two months ago I showed off the Phoronix Test Suite running on Windows 7 and later confirmed that the first bits of Windows compatibility within this leading open-source testing software would arrive with Phoronix Test Suite 2.4. The Windows 7 support is just the latest that is coming after the Linux, OpenSolaris, Mac OS X, FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD operating systems are already well supported.
Last week there was the release of Phoronix Test Suite 2.4 Alpha 2 and that was the last planned development release of "Lenvik" for 2009, but this evening a third alpha release has been made available. Phoronix Test Suite 2.4.0 Alpha 3 doesn't bring anything too exciting for end-users over the second alpha release, but most of the changes are internal to the pts-core benchmarking engine. This third alpha release is being put out in preparation for a big Windows push that will be announced tomorrow and then happen over the coming weeks.
Last week we rolled out Phoromatic Tracker as the public interface to our test farm and with the Phoromatic Tracker launch we made it possible for other projects and companies to build their own performance/regression trackers using our Phoromatic software in conjunction with the Phoronix Test Suite. Our initial reference implementation of Phoromatic Tracker was in the form of our kernel tracker that autonomously benchmarks the latest Linux 2.6 kernel code on a daily basis with about 50 benchmarks.
While the plan was to release PTS Desktop Live 2009.4, the quarterly update to our Linux-based benchmarking operating system from a Live DVD/USB environment, shortly after the release of Phoronix Test Suite 2.2, this has not happened and it is not going to happen. I have decided not to make the release public of PTS Desktop Live 2009.4 (formerly codenamed "Loderhof"). I am just too bottlenecked at the moment and therefore cannot be certain that this OS update will far exceed my own personal goals and expectations for this release. Instead, these efforts will be diverted to ensuring a rock-solid release of PTS Desktop Live 2010.1, which is codenamed Anzhofen.
As of this morning the second alpha release for Phoronix Test Suite 2.4 "Lenvik" is available for PC benchmarking and testing. Phoronix Test Suite 2.4 Alpha 2 brings many changes, including but not limited to, GTK GUI improvements, test result merging improvements, new command options (analyze-image-delta and analyze-linear-tracker), support for soon-to-be-announced Phoromatic features, and many enhancements to bilde_renderer (our image rendering library that's used for generating the JPG/PNG/SVG/SWF graphs) and in particularly vastly improving the SVG renderer back-end.
When shopping online this holiday season, don't forget to use our shopping links (always available from the home-page) for NewEgg and Amazon. Additionally, if you want to get yourself something, consider a Phoronix Premium subscription for yourself that will let you view Phoronix and the Phoronix Forums without any advertisements, are able to view multi-page articles on a single page, and this is also a gift to us (or you can also make a tip/donation in being able to better support all of our Linux hardware efforts (we have some exciting announcements planned for this week!).
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