Ubuntu 11.10 Review: Benchmarked Against Windows 7

The Oneiric Ocelot Awakens

Oneiric In The Grand Scheme Of Things

Canonical may have played more fast and loose when it came to pushing features and breaking things in this release compared to others. After all, Oneiric Ocelot is the last stop before the very first LTS release with Unity.

Oneiric adds backwards navigation to Dash, which was one of four big negatives in Natty. The other three were a non-configurable Dash, auto-hide behavior of the Launcher, and the global menu. The Launcher will be configurable in the next release, and the global menu may be dealt with via the HUD. Unfortunately, we've seen no motion towards easily-configurable Lenses.

Although uTouch didn't work out when the proverbial rubber met the road, it still offers a pleasant set of gesture controls. The two-finger scroll in Dash can be fixed by simply adding a decent-sized scollbar to Dash, and the two-finger tap for right-click menus in the Launcher can be switched to a double-tap, or tap and hold.

Support services received the most significant improvements in this release. And that makes sense when we think about it. The Ubuntu Software Center's continued push to become a retail app store and the enhanced Ubuntu One cloud service are both direct revenue streams for Canonical.

GNOME Shell has yet to attract any competitive end-user distros, and Mint is in a transitional phase until version 13. Right now, Unity isn't any more disadvantaged than the other desktop Linux GUIs.

Benchmarks Versus Window

That Ubuntu beat Windows 7 in any of our performance benchmarks (especially when it came to 3D) was not expected, and we're happy to see just how much potential this free platform has in that regard. Unfortunately, it mostly remains just that: potential. While Ubuntu 11.10 has a slight lead over Windows 7 in a number of different tests, our suite is limited to what Ubuntu can run, which is indicative of the bigger picture.

Put it this way: Ubuntu can't play Crysis.

And it can't run Battlefield 3, Photoshop, or stream through Netflix, just to name a few examples. The fact remains that Linux loses because fewer people use it, and fewer people use it because everyone else already uses Windows. It's a vicious, if not ironic, circle.

Developers need to get paid, so developers tend to develop software for the platform with the highest number of potential customers. As far as the average computer user is concerned, Windows wins. It looks like Ballmer called it: “Developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, develop...Yes!"

The Takeaway

Ubuntu 11.10 is a nice upgrade to Ubuntu 11.04, although the new interface has yet to achieve full feature parity with the classic GNOME 2 UI. Unity is better than it was in Natty. However, Oneiric is in no way ready for touchscreen devices. Technically, Ubuntu 11.10 tops Windows 7 in several areas of benchmark performance, but when it comes to the accessibility of more mainstream applications, don't give up your Windows installation just yet.

Ubuntu is a great fit for users who are only concerned with Web browsing. Netflix Instant junkies need not apply. Virtual immunity to viruses, free cloud storage, automatic updates, in-the-background backups, and social network integration on the desktop just sweeten the pot for this crowd. Casual indie games available in the Ubuntu Software Center, music from the Ubuntu One Music Store, and the Ubuntu One mobile clients serve to make Ubuntu more appealing to the growing demographic of smartphone users as well. A slick-looking interface and familiar Web applications like Firefox and Thunderbird also ease the transition from Windows.

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    Top Comments
  • stm1185
    4870, gtx260, doom 3, did i time travel to 2008?
    27
  • Gamer Dude
    jasonpwnsThat's the problem, I've always considered Windows king for gaming, but after looking at Doom 3, and the performance boost over Windows 7. Are we sure we're developing for the right platform? I mean games on Linux theoretically would run a lot better.

    To bad Microsoft has a Monopoly on DX architecture.
    24
  • Anonymous
    Lol. I knew I was gonna see old games on the benchmarks, but all of them id Tech 4? Hahahah.
    23
  • Other Comments
  • compton
    The best part of 11.10 is the renewed appreciation it gave me for Windows 7.
    21
  • Gamer Dude
    comptonThe best part of 11.10 is the renewed appreciation it gave me for Windows 7.

    LOL that bad uh well at leased there is an alternative if the Sopa takes awake my ripped Window 8 copy LOL.
    18
  • jasonpwns
    That's the problem, I've always considered Windows king for gaming, but after looking at Doom 3, and the performance boost over Windows 7. Are we sure we're developing for the right platform? I mean games on Linux theoretically would run a lot better.
    21
  • indian-art
    Happy with the benchmarks. I feel Ubuntu 12.04 will be even better.

    Just around a couple of months for its launch!
    15
  • malimbar
    One major irrelevancy in beginning of the article: while Mint overtook Ubuntu in Distrowatch, it's nowhere near the actual userbase: http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2012/02/stats-show-ubuntu-not-losing-ground-to-linux-mint/

    Interesting article otherwise, and very well done. I particularly like how it highlights major areas that ubuntu developers need to work on, but still gives ubuntu as a OS credit where it deserves it. It's more worthwhile IMO to review LTS releases (and one is coming up soon), but in the meantime it's great to see where Ubuntu is right now.
    9
  • Anonymous
    Lol. I knew I was gonna see old games on the benchmarks, but all of them id Tech 4? Hahahah.
    23
  • rmpumper
    jasonpwnsThat's the problem, I've always considered Windows king for gaming, but after looking at Doom 3, and the performance boost over Windows 7. Are we sure we're developing for the right platform? I mean games on Linux theoretically would run a lot better.


    If you did not notice, all of the 3 tested games are OpenGL which is barely supported in Win7. How about we see some DirectX9 10 and 11 games before making silly conclusions? And in any case, who gives a rat's ass about Doom3 - 7 year old awful game?
    -12
  • Gamer Dude
    jasonpwnsThat's the problem, I've always considered Windows king for gaming, but after looking at Doom 3, and the performance boost over Windows 7. Are we sure we're developing for the right platform? I mean games on Linux theoretically would run a lot better.

    To bad Microsoft has a Monopoly on DX architecture.
    24
  • nekromobo
    Linux is only free if your time has no value.
    17
  • stm1185
    4870, gtx260, doom 3, did i time travel to 2008?
    27
  • Gamer Dude
    rmpumperIf you did not notice, all of the 3 tested games are OpenGL which is barely supported in Win7. How about we see some DirectX9 10 and 11 games before making silly conclusions? And in any case, who gives a rat's ass about Doom3 - 7 year old awful game?

    DX11 sucks and its in few games and the ones it is even in mostly run like ass with terrible codding and patch jobs plus The Witcher 2 looks better than any DX11 game.
    -22
  • Gamer Dude
    rmpumperIf you did not notice, all of the 3 tested games are OpenGL which is barely supported in Win7. How about we see some DirectX9 10 and 11 games before making silly conclusions? And in any case, who gives a rat's ass about Doom3 - 7 year old awful game?

    You know what else Doom3 was a monumental achievement do be dissing John Carmack.
    -9
  • jimmysmitty
    jasonpwnsThat's the problem, I've always considered Windows king for gaming, but after looking at Doom 3, and the performance boost over Windows 7. Are we sure we're developing for the right platform? I mean games on Linux theoretically would run a lot better.


    Sorry but those benchmarks for games are almost pointless. They are old games and the only reason they run on Linux is due to OpenGL. I do wonder though why RAGE was not tested, as its OpenGL. Maybe it didn't work since its a much newer engine using a much newer OGL standard. Or maybe it just didn't show Ubuntu doing very well.

    Windows is still the king of games since the majority of the games out there are DX based, not OGL.

    And from my experience with Ubuntu, 11.04, the 64Bit version is not stable enough and its finicky with ATI GPUs. Had to buld a system for a customer and with 64Bit, it would just flicker as well on 32bit with a HD6450. Had to swap to a nVidia GT210 on 32Bit to get it stable. And then to enable multi monitor support, that was another nightmare. You still have to do everything via a shell prompt with the X (X meaning the GUI) disabled to install the drivers. And thats just the start, If it goes well, you are in business, if not you may just reboot to a shell prompt and no GUI. Or at least thats what happened to me. Had to reinstall Ubuntu over it to get the GUI then reinstall nVidias drivers. Luckilly third time was the charm and it worked.

    Ubuntu has its place, but for the majority of consumers its not the best option as it takes more technical knowledge to operate it efficiently. Windows is for the majority who just need a system to do what they need. Or Android.

    For now I will stick with Windows 7 and enjoy my games.

    I would have liked to see this done on an SSD too.

    Gamer DudeDX11 sucks and its in few games and the ones it is even in mostly run like ass with terrible codding and patch jobs plus The Witcher 2 looks better than any DX11 game.


    I disagree. DX11 is actually faster than DX9, when coded properly. Its been shown. Add in the Tesselation, which DX9 cannot do, and its a great setup. Just wait till the games start doing it more in DX11. It will get better.
    22
  • sseyler
    nekromoboLinux is only free if your time has no value.


    Or if you can save a huge amount of money (compilers come to mind) by getting free Linux software, or if you know what you're doing and it doesn't really take that much time, or if what you can do with Linux outweighs the cost in time that it takes to set up and run Linux, or...
    7
  • Gamer Dude
    jimmysmittySorry but those benchmarks for games are almost pointless. They are old games and the only reason they run on Linux is due to OpenGL. I do wonder though why RAGE was not tested, as its OpenGL. Maybe it didn't work since its a much newer engine using a much newer OGL standard. Or maybe it just didn't show Ubuntu doing very well.Windows is still the king of games since the majority of the games out there are DX based, not OGL.And from my experience with Ubuntu, 11.04, the 64Bit version is not stable enough and its finicky with ATI GPUs. Had to buld a system for a customer and with 64Bit, it would just flicker as well on 32bit with a HD6450. Had to swap to a nVidia GT210 on 32Bit to get it stable. And then to enable multi monitor support, that was another nightmare. You still have to do everything via a shell prompt with the X (X meaning the GUI) disabled to install the drivers. And thats just the start, If it goes well, you are in business, if not you may just reboot to a shell prompt and no GUI. Or at least thats what happened to me. Had to reinstall Ubuntu over it to get the GUI then reinstall nVidias drivers. Luckilly third time was the charm and it worked.Ubuntu has its place, but for the majority of consumers its not the best option as it takes more technical knowledge to operate it efficiently. Windows is for the majority who just need a system to do what they need. Or Android.For now I will stick with Windows 7 and enjoy my games.I would have liked to see this done on an SSD too.I disagree. DX11 is actually faster than DX9, when coded properly. Its been shown. Add in the Tesselation, which DX9 cannot do, and its a great setup. Just wait till the games start doing it more in DX11. It will get better.

    When coded proper DX11 can be faster if it was implemented for performance enhancements and not graphical enhancements but mostly the devs have botched DX11 up in most circumstances DX9 performed better and can still look the dickens The Witcher 2 case in point. DX 11 will be allot better and come into its own only when the next gen of DX11 enabled console arrive in another 50years.
    -3
  • Gamer Dude
    Gamer DudeYou know what else Doom3 was a monumental achievement dont be dissing John Carmack.
    -9
  • adamovera
    hotsacomanLol. I knew I was gonna see old games on the benchmarks, but all of them id Tech 4? Hahahah.

    That's the best of what runs natively on Linux. OilRush is out, but has no benchmarking tools, so we have the three Ungine benchmarks. Hopefully, Postal 3 (Source engine) and Rage will be available later this year. Amnesia is also available for Linux, but it isn't really a benchmark-type of game.
    12
  • adamovera
    rmpumperIf you did not notice, all of the 3 tested games are OpenGL which is barely supported in Win7. How about we see some DirectX9 10 and 11 games before making silly conclusions? And in any case, who gives a rat's ass about Doom3 - 7 year old awful game?

    On Windows we ran the Unigine tests in OpenGL AND DirectX. Linux doesn't do DirectX.
    8
  • wildkitten
    jasonpwnsThat's the problem, I've always considered Windows king for gaming, but after looking at Doom 3, and the performance boost over Windows 7. Are we sure we're developing for the right platform? I mean games on Linux theoretically would run a lot better.

    Except which distro do game developers supports?

    A lot of game developers actually tried doing Linux versions a few years ago. The problem they ran into was there was enough variation between each distro, they almost each distro had to be supported, so they gave up shortly after they started supporting it because there simply was not enough customers to be able to do so much support.
    15
  • Gamer Dude
    sseylerOr if you can save a huge amount of money (compilers come to mind) by getting free Linux software, or if you know what you're doing and it doesn't really take that much time, or if what you can do with Linux outweighs the cost in time that it takes to set up and run Linux, or...

    TH members have no seance of humor geez what a drag always life and death serious around here GODDDDDDDDD !
    -12