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Do Linux Benchmarks Have A Leg To Stand On?

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A recent set of Linux distro benchmarks appears to show some surprising results. Yet it also shows the dangers of relying too heavily upon such benchmarks to make real-world technology decisions.

Phoronix is one of the few Web sites with a heavy focus on Linux hardware testing. Its editors have also developed a comprehensive, and highly regarded, testing and benchmarking suite for Linux distros. As a result, Phoronix is a notable source for comparative data on Linux distro performance, involving both multiple distros and different releases of the same distro.

Recently, Phoronix offered up comparative benchmarks of four leading Linux distros.

Different distros typically run different versions of key software, and this case was typical. While three of the distros installed the EXT4 file system by default, for example, a fourth -- Mandriva -- uses EXT3. To some extent, these differences make exact comparisons very difficult, although benchmarking can still provide useful information about general performance trends.

Or can they?

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