Ubuntu 10.04 LTS: Lucid Lynx Benchmarked And Reviewed


It has been a little over two weeks since the final code for Ubuntu 10.04, codenamed Lucid Lynx hit the Internet. Last time, I had to wait a month before getting into 9.10, due to heinous errors, crippling bugs, and excruciatingly slow software repositories. Thankfully, none of this occurred with 10.04.

And it shouldn't. You see, Ubuntu 10.04 carries the LTS acronym, which stands for Long Term Support. Every six months, a new version of Ubuntu is released into the wild, but it's only once every two years that we get to see an LTS. The last LTS release was in April of 2008, when Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron made its debut. These releases are especially important because this can make or break Ubuntu for OEM sales. Hardware partners, who could potentially sell systems with the OS pre-installed, will be looking to the LTS release as a benchmark for both quality and stability. Developers, too, will be paying close attention. Creating compatible software for Ubuntu should be much easier, and more likely to happen on the longer release cycle.

This review is more personal for me because it was 8.04 that made me an Ubuntu convert and a full-time Linux user. Before that, I was only a visitor, tinkering with various RPM distributions like Mandriva and Red Hat. I used Ubuntu 7.04 and 7.10 briefly, but I always came back to the familiarity of a KDE/RPM distro.

This all changed with the rock-solid release of Hardy Heron. So, with this in mind, I decided to take a look at how far Ubuntu has come since the last LTS release. Along with the standard review of Ubuntu 10.04, in requisite Tom's Hardware fashion, we've put the Lucid Lynx in a no holds barred cage match against the Hardy Heron. We'll determine whether the OS has become bloated over the past two years, or if performance has streamlined. Does Canonical have another 'Karmic Katastrophe' on its hands, or is Lucid Lynx a runaway hit? Read on to find out.

  • 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.