Updated: January 2, 2013
Same drill, new distros. Just like six months ago, I want to tell you all about the boot times of the latest Ubuntu family, named Quantal Quetzal. While you may argue that this is a trivial segment of the overall computing business, you cannot deny the fact companies are placing quite a bit of emphasis on it, plus a lot of people seem to like reading about this kind of stuff. Well, it's easily measured and can create a lot of buzz. So let us buzz.
I will pit these three against one another - Ubuntu, Kubuntu and Xubuntu, all Quetzals, and then we will also compare them to the spring releases, so see what gives. My test setup is the T61 machine with two cores, 2GB of RAM and two 40GB SSD. Without further ado, follow me for a quick competition.
Pangolin managed to boot to desktop in 12 seconds, a degradation of three seconds compared to Ocelot. This time around, the fairly sucky Quetzal booted in about 21 seconds, which is almost double the spring value. Not a good indication of how things are supposed to be, but not surprising given the overall low quality of the autumn release. Please ignore the ugly theme, it's all part of my testing.
With bootchart in place, Kubuntu Quantal clocked 16.4 seconds, which is about 1.5 seconds less than its predecessor. Again, this does not surprise us, because the autumn release is that much better than the spring one. Oh, do note the linked review is for a test performed on a different machine, one with Nvidia graphics card. However, in this session, I specifically installed and test the distro on the dedicated laptop with SSD, like the rest.
The Xfce-flavored Ubuntu version is the most surprising candidate of all. Not only has it shown steady improvement in the past year to the point of becoming truly amazing, it also maintained its sharp, fast edge. Xubuntu Quetzal took only 8 seconds to boot. So if you're so happily blathering about Windows 8 super-fast boot on latest hardware, don't. This four-year-old machine and its Xfce distro beat that easily. Last time, Xubuntu managed to complete its boot sequence in 8.5 seconds, and now it's even sprightlier than before, blimey.
Another session, another slew of surprises. The variation and inconsistency are intriguing. Ubuntu manages to be the worst with 21 seconds under its belt, while Xubuntu is lightning quick with only 8 seconds. This is an even wider gap than in May. What more, the two non-stock distros are showing improvement, ever so slight, while the parent release has experienced an almost 80% degradation, on top of the 50% loss it already had.
If boot times are any indicator, and they seem to be, Xubuntu is the distro you want for your machine, be it slow or fast. Indeed, I am almost willing to commit this operating system to my production setup, that good it is now. Kubuntu is also tad better, and it's always nice to see fresh things and improvement. Ubuntu disappoints in yet another category, on top of everything else. Lots of bugs, privacy issues, abysmal Nvidia setup, and now this. Well, that's how it is. You make your own conclusions. Me, I'm gonna keep writing fancy articles for you. There you go. Unneeded, but fun.