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Ubuntu 10.04 LTS: Lucid Lynx Benchmarked And Reviewed

Test System Specs And Methodology

We based the qualitative side of our review on the overall end-user experience with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS running on five separate test systems: a 64-bit desktop, a 32-bit desktop, a notebook, a netbook, and a USB flash drive. For the quantifiable half, we put the 10.04 LTS desktop system through an updated set of OS benchmarks versus the previous LTS release, 8.04 “Hardy Heron.”

64-bit Desktop Test System Specs

Operating System 1Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Lucid Lynx Desktop Edition (64-bit)
Operating System 2Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Hardy Heron Desktop Edition (64-bit)
ProcessorAMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ @ 2.0 GHz (dual-core)
MotherboardBiostar NF61S-M2 TE
Memory4GB DDR2 @ 800MHz (2 x 2GB)
GraphicsNvidia GeForce GTX 260 (896MB GDDR3), PCIe 1.0
StorageWestern Digital WD2500KS 250GB SATA 3 Gb/s, 7,200 RPM, 16MB Cache
OpticalAsus DVD-RW 1814-BLT-BULK-BG
Power SupplyCorsair TX750W (750W max)

32-bit Desktop Test System Specs

Operating SystemUbuntu 10.04 LTS Lucid Lynx Desktop Edition (32-bit)
ProcessorIntel Pentium 4 @ 2.0 GHz
MotherboardBiostar P4M80-M4
Memory768MB DDR-333
GraphicsAsus V8170 GeForce MX440 (128MB, AGP)
StorageWestern Digital Caviar WD400, 40GB EIDE, 7,200 RPM
Optical 1Hitachi-LG DVD GDR-8163B
Optical 2Hitachi-LG CD-RW GCE-8483B
Power SupplyEnlight HPC-300-101 (300W Max)

Notebook Test System Specs

ModelHP Pavilion dv6700
Operating SystemUbuntu 10.04 LTS Lucid Lynx Desktop Edition (32-bit)
ProcessorAMD Turion 64 X2 TL-60 @ 2.0 GHz (dual-core)
Memory2GB DDR2-667
GraphicsNvidia GeForce Go 7150M 128MB (shared)
StorageWestern Digital Scorpio WD2500, 250GB SATA, 5,400 RPM
OpticalDVD+/-RW w/ LightScribe

Netbook Test System Specs

ModelDell Inspiron Mini 10v
Operating SystemUbuntu 10.04 LTS Lucid Lynx Netbook Edition
ProcessorIntel Atom N270 @ 1.6 GHz
Memory1GB DDR2-533
GraphicsIntel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 950
Storage120GB 2.5-inch 5,400 RPM SATA HDD

USB Test System Specs

ModelKingston DataTraveler 128GB
Operating SystemUbuntu 10.04 LTS  Lucid Lynx Desktop Edition (32-bit) – Live, Persistent
Storage8GB Total, 4GB EXT2 File System for Persistence

Our USB thumb drive in the file copy tests is a 1GB Kingston DataTraveler 2.0. We also used a 4GB SanDisk Cruzer Micro for moving essential benchmarking files to the test machines.


Whenever we rely on a stopwatch to get time trial results, we run the test for more iterations than when our results are measured by the benchmark. Because differences are amplified on a smaller time scale, we run additional iterations for tests that take less time to complete. 

We use clean and updated installations. This means that we do a full install (not upgrade) of the operating systems to the hard drive. While we use virtual machines (VMs) to capture a lot of our screen shots and to quickly reference features, no testing is done on a VM.

We like to run our operating system benchmarks using the default settings of each OS. This means that we leave preference settings (other than disabling screensaver/power management) the way they are configured immediately after a clean installation. However, we had to make some exceptions on this article. For Lucid, the Hardware Drivers utility in the System/Administration menu automatically detected the Nvidia GeForce GTX 260 and installed Nvidia driver version 195.36.15, the latest available for that OS. The Hardy test system did not detect the video card at all. This left us with no choice but to manually install the latest Nvidia drivers in order for Hardy to recognize our card. The driver version used on Hardy is slightly newer than the version used for Lucid testing (195.36.24). We had to break even further from defaults in our graphics-heavy benchmarks in the area of desktop effects due to the use of a newer Nvidia driver on the older system. See our UNiGiNE Heaven benchmarks for a full rundown of the situation.

  • My Logitech Wireless Wave keyboard and mouse didn't work with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Desktop x64 on VMWare Workstation 7.01. It works in the beginning with text screen, but once it goes to GUI screen keyboard function is lost. ;_;
  • WheelsOfConfusion
    There's lots of talk on the Phoronix forums about how Ubuntu + nVidia binaries don't play nicely, while some other distros don't have that problem. This was reflected in an Ubuntu vs. Arch bench-off: surprisingly, Arch only really thrashed Ubuntu in the games and everything else was about even. This might be behind those pitiful scores with the game benchmarks.
    Compiz also has a measurable, negative effect on game benches with nVidia, but not so much with ATI hardware/drivers. I'm not surprised that turning off desktop effects changed the game so much.

    What do you think is going on with 7zip, an ext4 issue?
  • jsowoc
    With 10.10 planning btrfs and GnomeShell, it's a sure recepie for tragedy :-). Very nice article.
  • adamovera
    RE: desktop effects - I'll be adding an ATI card to the mix a little earlier than I had intended in order to look at the desktop effects issue. Stay tuned.
    RE: Gaming FPS - The interesting thing is that the actual games didn't have that big of an impact from desktop effects. It was the unigine benchmarks that showed seriously significant drops in frame rates with them enabled.
    RE: 7z - I suppose it could be EXT4, but I believe EXT4 is the reason for the speed gains in all other comp/decomp tests, as well as the copy time tests. Comprehensive filesystem and archiving benchmarks under the same release should tell us whether or not it's an EXT4 issue.
  • apoq
    Why no benchmark against Windows. You yourself said Ubuntu should be aiming to convert Windows users more than Mac users (and I whole heartedly agree with you). I love Ubuntu and I use most of the time, but every time I boot into Windows (7) I am left with the feeling of a way snappier OS. I think this is where Ubuntu is really lacking.
  • killerclick
    Linux still doesn't have the software I need so I can't use it. However I've noticed a sharp decrease in stupid problems in the past three years (prolly thanks to Ubuntu). Currently my favorite distro is Mint but I remain a Windows user mainly because of a lot of software I own and am proficient in.
    As for the latest Ubuntu, why can't they have a bland business-like theme? Are the Phoenix Suns now paying them to use their colors?
  • For your Skype visibility issues, go to Skype settings and change theme to GTK+. Did the trick for me.
  • samspqr
    looks nice, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions, like:
    * will it play 1080p24 H.264 videos smoothly, with GPU acceleration?
    * will it play vimeo/youtube high-res videos smoothly?
    given how good you say it is on the other fronts, I'll give it a try and see for myself (I'm currently on 8.04, so convincing me to spend an afternoon updating my systems is no small feat)
  • zybch
    So, will this year be another "Year of Linux on the Desktop" like its been claiming for the past decade year in year out? Or will it remain a niche OS which people needing to do actual work on 'real' programs can continue to dismiss out of hand?
  • flightmare
    You can set the minimize, close and maximize buttons to the right again in gconf-editor. Browse to apps/metacity/general and edit button_layout to your likings.