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Ubuntu 10.10: Maverick Meerkat Benchmarked And Reviewed

Benchmark Results: File Copy Times


The HDD to HDD file copy time in Ubuntu 10.10 is drastically different between iterations. Our methodology is to copy the test folder to the Desktop and to the Home directory, record each time, delete the copies, empty the trash, restart and repeat. In Maverick Meerkat the copy times to these two locations differ by over 100%. It doesn't matter whether you copy to the Desktop or Home directory first, the second time is always less than half of the first. This led us to run twice the number of iterations on Ubuntu 10.10 to get a complete sampling of both the first and second copy times.

Before running the final benchmarks, we made a few modifications to our methodology just to test the veracity of this test. First we copied a new test folder with an identical file size and similar composition immediately after the original test folder. We then timed the contents of our test folder, a large ISO file and a folder full of HD wallpapers, separately. We also timed the copy operation from the terminal to rule out a GUI status bar error. The very same strange results occur using any of these modifications, so our original methodology remains.

Lucid Lynx completes the HDD to HDD file copy operation in just under eight and a half seconds. Maverick Meerkat's first time is a staggering 22+ seconds. The second time is a mere 6 seconds. We have to call this one in favor of Lucid. Even though the 10.10 second time is over two seconds faster than Lucid, we can't see why someone in the real world would be copying the exact same files repeatedly. In the more realistic first times, Ubuntu 10.04 LTS absolutely trounces 10.10, beating it by well over 50% - Lucid's time is also stable.


Fortunately, the USB to HDD file copy tests went off without a hitch.

Maverick beats Lucid in USB to HDD transfers by a half second, but in a 70 second test, that's essentially a tie.


In our previous Ubuntu review we tabled the tests for HDD to USB file copy times because the preliminary results were nearly identical to that of Ubuntu 8.04 LTS. In this article, those same tests show Maverick Meerkat completing the HDD to USB transfer remarkably faster than Lucid Lynx--in almost a third of the time! Obviously, this sent up some red flags. A quick visual inspection of the USB thumb drive revealed that the busy light was still blinking. Attempting to 'safely remove' the thumb drive resulted in another status bar that read:

Sure enough, Maverick's time is too good to be true. The progress bar in the file operation dialog is not reporting the status correctly, and ending prematurely. In order to get the true time it takes files to copy from the HDD to the thumb drive, we had to modify the way we time this process.

Instead of stopping the clock when the file operations dialog closes, we kept it going and immediately initiated the safe removal procedure. The clock was finally stopped when the safe removal dialog closed. Just to make sure there was no hidden time in Ubuntu 10.04 LTS either, we had to run another few iterations there as well. The safe removal dialog only flashes on the screen for a split-second, when visible at all, in Lucid.

Though Maverick Meerkat falsely reports a complete data transfer, even with the added 'hidden' time, the new release copies files to USB nearly a minute before the LTS.

HDD To USB: Updated: 10/22/10

Just to see if updates to Ubuntu 10.10 fix the inaccurate status bars, we ran some more iterations of the HDD to USB file copy times on 10/22/10.

Sure enough, updating fixes the premature closure of the file operations dialog and extra-long duration of the safe removal dialog. However, the new time recorded in Maverick Meerkat is nearly one minute and 20 seconds slower than Lucid Lynx!

  • "With the appearance of Windows 7 on slate devices in perpetual limbo"

    How is that Limbo? You can buy one right now.
  • adamovera
    I didn't know they were taking pre-orders yet, though HP Slate doesn't ship until the middle of November. Unfortunately, the HP Slate looks like a really half-hearted attempt. Business product? That pretty much means not to get your hopes up. It should have been out much closer to the iPad, but got pushed back repeatedly. Ever since they bought Palm it seems like their Windows efforts in this form factor will take a backseat until they try to make WebOS work - can't blame them really, WebOS is pretty slick and they paid a lot for it. But I still do want to get my hands on the Slate, but look forward to seeing what they do with WebOS more now.
  • arkadi
    If we "put all the issues aside", i love allot of things.....Don't get me wrong, i love to play with Linux at home, but at the moment I prefer to use it at work, in the server room ware it belongs (at the moment). Using it at home it just to much of an effort, to many issues, hardware compatibility etc...Hopefully one day...
    Any way Ubuntu came a long way to make it happen....But still few days ago i tried it and few others on a net book, with via chip set and CPU with no luck...
  • TomSah
    "Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition is also a mess. As a netbook operating system intended for actual people to use in a production environment, I have to say that UNE 10.10 should be avoided. From our experience on the Dell Mini 10v, UNE Meerkat is in no way ready for general consumption. Its many bugs and poor performance are just not acceptable or at all realistic for the average end-user. Loading almost anything on UNE 10.10 was clearly sluggish"

    Wow. Im running 32-bit Maverick UNE on my Asus eee 1000HA and i have to say that i fell in love as soon as it installed! As soon as i disabled the unity interface to get the desktop interface I was away laughing! I havnt had any of the problems you mention, app startup has been great, no crashes/bugs - And this is my first serious attempt at using a Linux distro. I had a lot of fun tweaking everything to my liking and i now feel like I have the perfect OS for me. Its really strange you had bad experiences like that, must be the dell mini haha.
  • adamovera
    As soon as i disabled the unity interface to get the desktop interface I was away laughing!
    Well there you go, you got rid of Unity. I don't doubt it works fine now, LOL. I'm using the 10v with 10.10 32-bit Desktop Edition right now and it's absolutely fantastic, one of the best OSes on this thing by far. The track pad is a nightmare, and there's no fixing that, but in 10.10 it's much better than earlier versions. Tap to click is the best in Windows 7, but drag and drop in Ubuntu is much less maddening than Win7.
  • pinkfloydminnesota
    How come you don't compare the benchmarks to Windows?
  • randomizer
    Just moving the cursor up and down the launcher shows how slow Unity is. The delay between when the cursor moves over an application to when the application's name pops up gives the impression of playing a game at very low framerates.

    The Ubuntu font looks ok but it's really only usable in menus and window titles (which I think is all it is used for, fortunately). There's no way such a stylised font could be readable for long periods in a document.

    Adam, you should see if any updates fixed the consistently inconsistent HDD to HDD file copy performance.

    9503393 said:
    How come you don't compare the benchmarks to Windows?

    Because Windows is not a Linux distro, and this review is for a Linux distro?
  • adamovera
    Adam, you should see if any updates fixed the consistently inconsistent HDD to HDD file copy performance.
    As of 10/22/10, when I re-tested the HDD to USB times, they had not.

    pinkfloydminnesotaHow come you don't compare the benchmarks to Windows?Workin' on it, stayed tuned. But randomizer is right, this is a review of the new Ubuntu release. As a review of the new version of a software product, this type of article isn't the appropriate forum for that comparison.
  • 64 bit vs. 32 bit? 32 seems much better all round, stability, compatibility etc.. Is there that much speed difference to be worth using 64 bit?
  • dEAne
    I guess there are lots of things to do to make it good.