In this article is the first of several articles comparing the recently released Fedora 16 to Ubuntu 11.10. This first article is looking at the boot performance and power consumption from several different notebooks when performing clean installs of Fedora Verne and Ubuntu OneiricOcelot.

There are several significant differences between Ubuntu 11.10 and Fedora 16 that make for an interesting comparison. Fedora 16 is shipping with the Linux 3.1 kernel and the GNOME3.2.1 desktop, including the GNOME Shell. Fedora 16 also furthers its integration with the much talked about systemd init service, after it made its premiere with Fedora 15. Fedora also ships with the bleeding-edge Linux graphics stack. Meanwhile, Ubuntu 11.10 shipped last month with the Linux 3.0 kernel and some GNOME 3.0 packages around Canonical’s Unity desktop. Ubuntu has no plans in the foreseeable future to abandon Upstart in favor of systemd. Both Fedora 16 and Ubuntu 11.10 have some similarities like both using GCC 4.6 and sticking to the EXT4 file-system by default for now.

The battery testing and power consumption comparison is being done from a Lenovo ThinkPad T61, ASUS Eee PC, and Lenovo ThinkPad W510 to represent a few popular notebook/netbook configurations on the market.

Linux desktop performance benchmarks and other articles are forthcoming.

The boot speed was measured using Bootchart and for each clean install of the 64-bit version of Ubuntu 11.10 and Fedora 16, the Phoronix user was set to automatic log-in. All other distribution settings were at their defaults. Each system rebooted three times before capturing the Bootchart result.

Starting with the Bootchart results is the ASUS Eee PC 1301N. This netbook has an Intel Atom 330 dual-core x86_64 CPU with NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics on Nouveau, 2GB of RAM, and a 250GB Hitachi 5400RPM SATA HDD.

 

Bootchart in Fedora measured a start time of 32.72 seconds. Ubuntu 11.10 had a reported boot time of 32.40 seconds on the same hardware.

 

When running the Lenovo ThinkPad T61 with its Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 CPU, 4GB of RAM, and 100GB Hitachi 7200RPM SATA HDD, Fedora 16 booted in 28.23 seconds. Ubuntu 11.10 meanwhile booted in 22.88 seconds for the Intel Core 2 Duo notebook.

The last notebook being measured today is the Lenovo ThinkPad W510 with an Intel Core i7 720QM quad-core CPU plus Hyper Threading and a 160GB Intel SSD (SSDSA2M160). For this Intel notebook that is still powerful by today’s standards, Fedora 16 booted in 25.81 seconds. Ubuntu 11.10 managed to come in much faster at 12.24 seconds.

 Fedora’s increased usage of systemd would give it a lead in boot performance plus all of the other upstream optimizations and improvements made by the Fedora / Red Hat engineers, this was not the case in comparing Fedora 16 and Ubuntu 11.10. On the Atom netbook the boot speed was comparable between Ubuntu 11.10 and Fedora 16, while for the more powerful Intel notebooks with an HDD and SSD, the Ubuntu 11.10 boot speed was superior. This is a bit surprising because Ubuntu 11.10 has regressed hard on the boot speed, but had there not been this regressing since Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, Oneiric Ocelot would have performed even better.

In terms of the power usage between Fedora 16 and Ubuntu 11.10, first up are the results from the Atom 330 netbook with the NVIDIA ION (GeForce 9400) graphics on Nouveau for both operating systems running on battery.

When both Linux distributions were idling with their respective desktops, Fedora 16 was going through slightly less power than Ubuntu 11.10 for the ASUS Eee PC 1301N.

When running the OpenArena game, Fedora 16 was going through slightly less power Ubuntu 11.10.

OpenArena was also running faster on Fedora 16 with its more bleeding-edge open-source graphics capabilities.

When the poor Intel Atom 330 was being hammered with C-Ray, the power consumption was nearly identical between the Canonical and Red Hat operating systems.

Ubuntu 11.10 was slightly faster this time, although both Linux operating systems are using GCC 4.x.

Now it is onto the power consumption between Fedora 16and Ubuntu 11.10 for the Core 2 Duo Lenovo ThinkPad T61.

For this system, Ubuntu 11.10 ends up with slightly lower power consumption than Fedora 16 when idling.

Ubuntu 11.10 is also slightly more power efficient than Fedora 16 for this Core 2 Duo notebookwith NVIDIA Quadro graphics when running the OpenArena ioquake3-based game.

Fedora 16, however, is much faster than Ubuntu 11.10 thanks to carrying more recent Nouveau driver patches.

The C-Ray power consumption results were close.

This time the ray-tracing test itself was faster under Fedora 16 than Ubuntu 11.10.

Finally it is onto the power consumption results for the Core i7 + NVIDIA Quadro FX 880M notebook, a.k.a. the Lenovo ThinkPad W510.

The power consumption when running the OpenArena game averaged out to be the same between Fedora 16 and Ubuntu 11.10.

However, like all of the other results, the OpenGL performance was much faster under Fedora 16 thanks to its more liberal graphics stack.

There also was not any significant power consumption difference between these two popularLinux distributions when tapping all of the available CPU cores with C-Ray.

The C-Ray test result here was also the same on both distributions.

While Ubuntu 11.10 may commonly be booting faster than Fedora 16, when comparing the power consumption results there is no frontrunner. For the most part, the power consumption is the same between Fedora 16 and Ubuntu 11.10, but depending upon the CPU, GPU, and other factors there can be slight differences. Fortunately, for both operating systems, there are power management improvements coming down the pipe that will hit for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and Fedora 17, if they do not end up being back-ported.

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