Updated: January 29, 2011
Let me be a fanboy for a few minutes and tell you a story about my latest endeavor. Without going into details how I got this machine - hint: will prostitute for laptops, I got my hands on a brand new notebook. What's interesting about it is that it has the revvy i5 processor, 4GB RAM, but more importantly, an 80GB SSD storage. The graphics card is not really exciting, but that's not the point of this article.
Anyhow, for the sake of what this laptop is meant for, I installed it with Maverick, setting a 25GB root, 4GB swap and dedicating the rest to home, formatted with Ext4. After the installation, the subsequent updates and minor visual polish, the machine was ready for benchmarking with bootchart. I did a handful of reboots, just in case, to make sure all the reprofiling and whatnot was complete. And here are the results.
The machine boots consistently in about 8.8 seconds give or take a few hundreds of a second. The disk read is supposedly phenomenal, at 102TB/sec, which is a little more than typical SSD hardware can manage, indicating a bug in the Bootchart algorithm. But this fancy visual glitch notwithstanding, the machine completes its boot in 8.8 seconds. Under ten seconds, which seems to a sort of a golden benchmark in this impatient world.
This is quite impressive. While it won't make you any happier or smarter, it might make you more productive. Really nice. Should excite the boot fanatics among you. And probably anger people who call Ubuntu oonoobtu.
I happen to molest yet another machine, with the same specifications, only running Windows 7. This beast takes an upward of 30 seconds to login and let me work, and in fact, it's even slower than my gaming rig. Now, it's not Windows 7 you should blame, it's the software configuration, but it just shows that a lot can be down by going lean and mean and practical.
Well, another strong point of this new machine is that it's frugal and light in every aspect. The battery life with its 9-cell unit is also very impressive. More than eight hours, comparable to what I manage on my eeePC netbook WITHOUT Wireless. And this here with Wireless and Bluetooth enabled. Again, comparing to the Windows 7 machine, which manages about 5.5 hours on the same hardware. Very nice.
Does this mean you ought to stumble, dig and reddit this article? Well, if you love me, yes, but from the practical standpoint, perhaps no. Remember my testing with Lucid boot times? I didn't manage 10 seconds back then, but I did get 15 seconds on a very elderly T60 machine, 32-bit, with a fairly slow disk.
On the other hand, a variety of older and newer machines managed somewhere in between 25-30 seconds. My HP Pavilion takes 17 seconds to do the same. Overall, the improvement is great, but it's not a dramatic and cataclysmic revolution.
Still, deep down, I like this.
There you go. Enjoy the under-10-second boot! As promised, it finally arrived. But then, it's almost impossible to pinpoint what makes one laptop boot faster and another slower. You have ancient laptops that boot as quickly as brand new high-end notebooks. It's a tricky combination of hardware and software, almost a magic, if you will.
Still, eight seconds - or rather, almost nine seconds, is an extremely reasonable number, more so when you compare to other operating systems. I did test with Fedora, openSUSE and several more distros, none gave boot times as good as Ubuntu. Furthermore, taking Windows as the main antagonist in this race, Maverick wins hands down. There's the humble and unexpected battery life bonus, too.
I hope you liked this article. If you got any crazy ideas about other benchmarks, feel free to send me your ideas and your hardware. I'll be more than glad to abuse them.