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Benchmark Results: File Copy Times

Ubuntu 10.10: Maverick Meerkat Benchmarked And Reviewed
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HDD to HDD

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.

USB to HDD

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.

HDD to USB

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!

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    Anonymous , 31 October 2010 03:15
    There are many useful and good-looking features in UNE 10.10. However, there should be ways of accessing those features with the keyboard. For instance, it is not obvious at all how to access the "workspaces" feature with some key combination. That reduces usability for the time being ...
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    Micropat , 13 November 2010 18:08
    It seems the hibernate/wake system is pretty useless if you don't need to keep anything open or running while away from your pc. If you add the shutdown, bios and boot times there's not much difference to adding hibernate and wake.

    I continue to use 10.04 on my laptops and upgraded to 10.10 on my pc. I've noticed that problem with the file transfer bar being full well before the usb can be removed safely on both ubuntus.