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Desktops (Apple) Portables Linux

Clear Linux Beats MacOS in MacBook Pro Benchmark Tests (phoronix.com) 155

To celebrate its 14th birthday, Phoronix.com used a 15-inch MacBook Pro to run system benchmarking tests on the following operating systems:

- Windows 10 Pro

- The latest macOS 10.13 High Sierra

- Windows 10 Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) using Ubuntu 18.04

- Ubuntu 18.04 LTS with the Linux 4.15 kernel, GCC 7.3.0, and an EXT4 file-system.

- Clear Linux 22780 with the Linux 4.16 kernel, GCC 8.1.1, and EXT4.

- Fedora Workstation 28 with updates is the Linux 4.16 kernel, GCC 8.1.1, and EXT4.

- OpenSUSE Tumbleweed with the Linux 4.16 kernel, GCC 7.3.1, and default file-system configuration of Btrfs root file-system with XFS home partition.

The results? When it came to outright wins and losses, Clear Linux 22780 was the front-runner 59% of the time followed by macOS 10.13.4 finishing first 21% of the time and then Fedora Workstation 28 with winning 10% of the time.

For losses, to little surprise considering the I/O overhead, Windows 10 was in last place 38% of the time followed by Ubuntu 18.04 being surprisingly the slowest Linux distribution 30% of the time on this 2016 MacBook Pro.

The article also reminds readers that "For those looking for a Linux laptop, there are plenty of better options..."

Clear Linux Beats MacOS in MacBook Pro Benchmark Tests

Comments Filter:
  • Battery life? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Where is the benchmark for battery life? One of the strengths of the MacBook Pro and macOS is the power management and long batter life. I would be surprised if Linux was as good.

    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      Came to post this very comment. Battery life is one of Linux's achilles heels.
      • by shanen ( 462549 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @02:36PM (#56760774) Homepage Journal

        Yes, battery drain is a dimension worth considering, but the main reason this story is absurd is because it ignores the overheads such as installing and updating the OSes. Your computer might save a little time on computations, but how much of your MUCH more valuable human time was consumed along the way? How much of your time was saved if Apple tested the OS more carefully? Looming over all of this in the real world is the recovery question. How much time could you lose trying to recover when something goes wrong? And you know that something is always going to go wrong.

        I am NOT an Apple fanboi. Most of my machines run Windows, though I have 2-1/3 Linux boxen and one Macbook Pro. I actually regard Apple as a dangerous corporate cancer (but I'll drop that tangent for now). However I have to report my latest experience with Apple was MUCH improved. They fixed the hardware much more quickly than I expected, without charge (and even gave me a bit of grace on the warranty period), and without damaging my software configuration. I spent much more time restoring my Android smartphone the last time one of them had to go to the shop. (Actually ASUS has that phone now, and I have NO intention of paying those bastards for any more repairs. (However it's really my own fault because I had dealt with ASUS once before and this is a case of shame on me.) I hope ASUS enjoys eating the phone.)

        The real point of this story is "Penny wise, pound foolish." Didn't find anything along those lines, but at this point I'm not at all surprised to be disappointed with Slashdot. Maybe just a failure of the moderation to make visible some better comments that I couldn't find? Increasingly convinced that the moderation system has become the biggest problem killing Slashdot.

        • by Jerry ( 6400 )

          "ignores the overheads such as installing"

          Indeed. I was ingtrigued so I downloaded their clear-22880-live.img.xz. Chekcsummed it, unxz'd to 5.6GB and then used their recommended dd command to install it on an 8Gb USB stick. Took 1,042 seconds.
          It wouldn't boot.

          So, I re-burned it using Etcher-electron. Still wouldn't boot. mmm... Maybe 8GB isn't big enough?

          Pulled out a 64GB USB stick and used Etcher again. Still wouldn't boot.

          Put FAT32 on the 8GB stick and Btrfs on the 64GB stick and called it an af

          • by shanen ( 462549 )

            I doubt it could be this trivial, but on one of my older machines I recall that booting from a USB stick is rather tricky. Though the BIOS claims to support it, you actually have to change the configuration each time, manually putting the USB stick ahead of the hard disk before it will do the boot as it thinks it is saving the configuration and rebooting.

            However, this is the kind of price and pain you have to pay for being pound foolish. I'm willing to do such things sometimes on the theory that I'm learnin

          • by ci4 ( 98735 )

            That's true - it didn't work for me either as an image under VirtualBox (hangs after the message about not having kvm support) and after an installation under VMware Player 14. The installation process was buggy anyway with numerous python errors displayed; upon reboot after enabling EFI it output four lines and hung.

            Needless to say, any traces of Clear Linux were obliterated from my laptop.

      • Came to post this very comment. Battery life is one of Linux's achilles heels.

        Apple cultists would like it to be. But the fact is, Linux is good at power management, now leading the pack. Chromebooks prove it. Androids prove it. My laptop proves it. My kill-o-watt meter on my Debian workstation proves it.

        • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

          What the GP meant is that Apple has always been better at Intel power management. Chromebooks and Android are usually not x86, and when they are, they're typically much slower, lower-power x86 hardware than what ships in a Mac laptop. So of course they have long battery life. That goes without saying.

          To use a car analogy, comparing a Chromebook to a Mac laptop is like comparing an electric golf cart to a Tesla and saying that the golf cart is as good as the Tesla at battery management because it can run

          • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

            by Tough Love ( 215404 )

            My laptop and desktop are not ARM. One is Intel and the other is AMD. They both excel at power management as measured by battery life in the first case and measured power consumption in the second. Linux does just fine with Intel power management, thanks. Not in the least because they have a team of Linux developers working on it.

            True fact about car analogies: save the typing, you prove nothing.

            • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

              My laptop and desktop are not ARM. One is Intel and the other is AMD. They both excel at power management as measured by battery life in the first case and measured power consumption in the second. Linux does just fine with Intel power management, thanks. Not in the least because they have a team of Linux developers working on it.

              Doing "just fine" and doing as well as companies that are working directly with Intel under NDA are not necessarily the same thing. The original question was about numbers when ru

              • Your reading comprehension is questionable. Did I not tell you that Intel employs Linux kernel devs, some of whom specifically work on power management? This means that Linux actually has more advanced power management than Windoze, which is worked on only by Microsoft devs and you know how good they are, or not. Same goes for Apple.

                Show numbers yourself. So far you have only showed clueless blathering.

                • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

                  I'm not the one who wrote the article or asked the original question. I don't care much at all about this — certainly not enough to install Linux just to provide the statistics. And obviously, you don't either. The burden falls upon the folks who actually did the testing to produce the numbers in question.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      See https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Fedora-Battery-Numbers-2018

  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <moiraNO@SPAMmodparlor.com> on Sunday June 10, 2018 @07:46AM (#56759362)

    So a super-lightweight quasi real-time IoT Linux OS beats macOS on it's native hardware 60% of the time? Give me an effing break, will ya?
    I'm no Apple fanboy and there's plenty of stuff going on with Apple right now to piss on, but performance and integration of their high-end all-out desktop OS into their purpose built hardware is still next to none, by a far margin.

    Trying hard to find something that 'beats' them at that game makes you look like an idiot.
    So let's not be silly.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Did you actually check which benchmarks were run? Your remark only applies to a few of them.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        No... He just want to defend Apple blindly. Not a fanboy at all. No, not at all.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Qbertino ( 265505 )

          Not a fanboy at all. No, not at all.

          My last Mac is a 13" MBAir from 2010. I'm about to sell it.

          My main OS is x86 Linux (Xubuntu on my large ThinkPad and Manjaro i3 on my small one).

          And while I really like Apple and appreciate some of the very neat stuff they do and I also like the fact that there is some very neat software available on mac, I am not a fanboy. Right now I find them way too expensive and apparently their new keyboards - allthough I really liked typing on them at the Apple store - need a redo

    • by dfghjk ( 711126 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @08:41AM (#56759484)

      "So a super-lightweight quasi real-time IoT Linux OS beats macOS on it's native hardware 60% of the time? Give me an effing break, will ya?"

      As if those features explain the test results. Give me an effing break, will ya?

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      > So a super-lightweight quasi real-time IoT Linux OS

      If that is what you want to call the standard Linux kernel. It does have decent soft-realtime capabilities, it is pretty light weight (I wouldn't say super light weight, but neither is WIndows or MacOS), and it certainly can be used for some "IoT" applications.

      > beats macOS on it's native hardware 60% of the time?

      No that's not the claim at all, perhaps English is not your first language? Clear Linux was the leader out of 7 systems tested, 59% of the

    • You're overstating a bit. ClearOS is based on CentOs, and installed on large servers by HP. Not exactly IOT.

    • The bigger issue is that all you're really testing is multi-platform optimization.

      Very similar programs on the benchmark list perform exactly opposite of one another on two different OSes. It's almost as if the test is just determining whose cross platform port is best optimized for each platform.

      The real take-away from the test is that PHP isn't very well optimized for Windows while Python is.

    • I've been using Linux, Windows and Mac as well as Hackintosh for a few years now, and one thing I, as well as a few others have noticed is that while Mac runs really well on low spec machines (4gig of ram), it does not seem well suited towards higher spec machines. It runs just fine on higher spec machines but it's not setup to really make the most of it.

      Take my systems for example, I had three machines all running El Capitan, a 2014 Macbook Air (I7 and 8gb ram) and two desktops, one a 2600k and another
  • by Rewind ( 138843 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @08:02AM (#56759398)
    That does not sound like a very fun birthday party...
    • I looked at the Phoronix home page. It appears to be the kind of stuff they find joy in. That's cool. It's a worthwhile thing to dwell on.

  • by Salo2112 ( 628590 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @08:49AM (#56759510)
    Finally, it's here!
    • I have a Linux ultrabook, a high end Linux notebook, and a monster i7 Linux desktop replacement laptop. They all work perfectly and when people see my Plasma desktop they ask me, what is it? I say Linux, they say really?? Yes it is, kids. Several instant converts that way, I just point them at a usb-keyable net install.

  • by LostMyBeaver ( 1226054 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @08:55AM (#56759528)
    Windows Defender is tuned for Windows kernel integration and performs well there. Although to be honest, recent builds of defender have been a hog as I'm assuming it's being a bit more aggressive at sandboxing for CPU prediction bugs.

    That said, Windows defender doesn't seem to understand the WSL stuff at all, however it's using the entire system resources to real-time monitor disk reads and writes.

    When running without Windows Defender real-time monitoring enabled, it seems to increase performance of the VM to near bare-metal speeds.
    • WSL is not a VM, it is bare-metal just with another kernel.
      • Well, to be accurate, it's subsystem. Win64, Win32, Win16, OS/2-16, POSIX, and Linux all run as subsystems on top of the Windows Kernel.

        I was a bit tired when I wrote that and now that I'm reading it, I'm struggling to understand why I wrote it that way.

        WSL is absolutely amazing in the sense that it's basically a clean-room "kinda user space" Linux Kernel. Microsoft, re-implemented the Linux Syscall interface (not that amazing, Sun, FreeBSD, etc... have all done this) and re-implemented components of devfs
        • Sorry to make such a small reply to your long wall of text but I just wanted to clarify that when I wrote "just another kernel" I meant from the viewpoint of the Linux userland. E.g WSL is not a Linux distribution running in a VM but a Linux distribution running 100% natively (e.g there are no hypervisor involved [sw or hw]) with another Kernel (e.g the Windows Kernel instead of the Linux Kernel).

          • Sorry for the long reply it was fun to research as I was writing it.

            I risk a possible new tangent (sadly I use message forums as a public diary.. or is a diarrhea to organize my thoughts)

            A VM doesn't actually require a hypervisor :)

            What's really cool about the architecture of WSL is that it is kinda a VM and almost even a hypervisor :)

            If we were to suggest that a hypervisor provides APIs to a guest virtual machine through simulation of hardware or that a hypervisor provides the principle of a system call th
    • by Anonymous Coward

      WSL is what Windows terminology calls a "subsystem". It's not a VM. Applications on Windows always run through some subsystem or another. There's one for running DOS programs on Windows, one for running 16-bit Windows programs on Windows, one for running 32-bit Windows programs on Windows, one for running 64-bit Windows programs on Windows, one for running UNIX programs on Windows and now a newish one for running Linux programs on Windows.

      Basically, programs running on WSL are exactly the same as anything e

    • by Holi ( 250190 )
      VM? WSL is not a VM.
  • Gentoo (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert&slashdot,firenzee,com> on Sunday June 10, 2018 @08:58AM (#56759538) Homepage

    As i understand it, clear linux is a distribution optimized for modern hardware, with all packages compiled with newer compilers and a lot of legacy cruft disabled etc...
    So it would be interesting to see how it compares to gentoo, which is also usually configured in that way.

    It's also interesting how badly ubuntu fares in many of these benchmarks, despite being only a small step behind clear linux in terms of kernel/gcc versions in use.

    • These are all Phoronix measurements. Unfortunately, they do not discuss how they measured it, why they think there are performance differenecs between distributions. Differences could come from any number of sources. Also, I could not find any details regarding test setup, warmup phases, repeats etc.

      Things which are greatly suspicious are for instance the Windows WSL performance compared to Windows native. As WSL is more or less an API mapper, it should be slower than native Windows. Except you cache disksp

    • As i understand it, clear linux is a distribution optimized for modern hardware...

      That is not hard. For example, the kernel is compiled with O2, which makes zero sense for 99% of it, when O3 gives faster, more power efficient code. Just Linus being get off my grass you kids about that. Easy enough to fix - lightweight makefile patching does the trick.

    • by Creepy ( 93888 )

      I see two probable reasons. 1) Clear is a minimal distribution focusing on performance in cloud computing, and 2) Ubuntu is a user facing distribution focusing on the desktop and based on Debian, which puts stability first and everything else including performance after that.

      Ubuntu felt like a slow train wreck after moving from GenToo (there were literally tasks that took 4x as long when I profiled my code), but honestly, for normal users I'd never in a million years advise GenToo (especially the version th

  • Usability is number one with a bullet for 98% of us.
    • by darkain ( 749283 )

      I came here for this exact same comment. I'm personally sick and tired of constant performance benchmarks. Usability is not something easy to test, therefor is something not engineered into the Linux ecosystem by any of the major distros out there. Most still feel about on-par with Windows 98, which shockingly is 20 years old at this point.

      • I'm personally sick and tired of constant performance benchmarks.

        Speak for yourself. For me, there is no such thing as too much performance, especially for free. And your Windows 10 machine sucks for usability, compared to recent Plasma.

        • > And your Windows 10 machine sucks for usability

          Recently? What Steam games work on it, especially group games with millions of users worldwide? How well does it work with GMail, and with Outlook, and for financial applications like TurboTax ?

          I've been on the leading edge of exciting technologies many times in my career. I, and engineers like me, get _paid_ for making what the client wants work well, even if we disagree with that tool's design philosophy.

          • Games will be the last niche that Windows clings to. I haven't played a game on window in, um, over ten years. Ps3/4 before slumming in Windows, thanks.

            You just go ahead and cling to your precious Windows machine if that's what floats your boat, as it fade, fade, fades away. Linux is already the majority of the market, and for your information, most games are Android games these days, that is, Linux. Don't mean to brag, but hey, Windows is the evil spawn of evil Microsoft, and you carry water for that. BTW,

          • And Dota2, the biggest money game of all time with millions of players, works great on Linux, including with Vulkan. Linux desktop gaming only gets better every month, I have more AAA titles than I have time to play.

    • Usability is number one with a bullet for 98% of us.

      So therefore you want to be using KDE Plasma. I have a Macbook here and a Windows 10 machine. They both suck for fit and finish, configurability, features, flexibility, performance, you name it, compared to Plasma.

  • by williamyf ( 227051 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @11:15AM (#56759978)

    When a new mac is spawn out of cupertino and unto the world, the linux crowd has not had enough time to adapt drivers and stuff to the system. Therefore the benchmarks always go the way of MacOS. Two years down the road, one needs to use a barebones IoT linux distro to get better performance than MacOS itself, because propper linux desktop distros do not cut mustard.

    Do not get me wrong, I like linux a lot, I was a linux evangelist in the early 2000's, my beef is not with linux, is with the moron who wrote the article, and with editordave for summiting it.

    Slow news day...

    • Your experience differs from mine. I am getting great Linux performance right out of the box on modern hardware these days. Sure, every now and then some idiot will throw in a curve ball with some funky nonstandard hardware that takes a while to sort out, but those are the exceptions.

    • Muster, not mustard.
  • by Espectr0 ( 577637 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @11:24AM (#56760020) Journal

    before this article i have never heard of clear linux before.

    the question is, can it be used as a regular distribution? from its webpage i didn't get the impression it could be used as a regular desktop distro

    • If your read the daily spam that phoronix creates, they have adopted the so called clear linux, as the next big thing after sliced bread.
      Do you know why?
      Because it's intel's, it doesn't have support aside from several intel CPUs and ... did I say, created by Intel?
      You DO know what's better to benchmark than say a traditional popular distro like debian or fedora or opensuse? OFC the Intel Clear Linux distro.
      Don't forget to give your shekels or consider disabling your ad blocking plugin, because here at Phoro

  • People choose an operating system to have certain experience and run apps that they find useful - not to run a for loop quickly. I doubt that Linux is a winner in either of these departments, or even in benchmarks of real world apps that would be able to use optimized frameworks for specific tasks. I do like Elementary OS UI over OSX/Win, but Gimp is no Pixelimator. So good for web browsing (since Chrome is the same) but not real work. Accidentally, Linux Chrome stutters on 4K video while ChromeOS plays it

  • by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Sunday June 10, 2018 @01:03PM (#56760398) Homepage Journal

    Because the first thing I think when I get a new laptop is how fast can it run PHP.

  • macOS has much more stuff going than any Linux OS every will.

    E.g. the whole Continuity+Handover thing, as well as the seamless BT-integration of their accessories.

    It's a ridiculous, click-baity comparison to begin with.

    That said, Meltdown+Spectre Patches probably tool their toll on this one. Later hardware has less performance impact, AFAIK.

    • macOS has much more stuff going than any Linux OS every will.

      Haha, that only makes sense to a single-button brain.

  • by Philotomy ( 1635267 ) on Monday June 11, 2018 @02:01AM (#56763292)

    Linux is my main OS, but I see no compelling reason to run Linux as the native OS on a MacBook. If you want to run Linux on a laptop, get a laptop with better specs and run Linux on it. If you want a MacBook, just run MacOS.

    The primary reason I own a Mac is for Xcode and iOS development. I'm hoping Apple updates the Mac Mini soon. If they do that, I'll get a Mac Mini for iOS development and replace my (aging) MacBook Pro with a Linux laptop. (I run Arch on my desktop/workstation, but I might give Ubuntu a try on a new laptop.)

    • I've been trying linux on my Macbook Pro (2015) the last month or two, and I can only agree. It has a ton of quirks. I was getting a bit tired of doing some scripted fixes for all kinds of weird errors, bad webcam quality, random 100% cpu worker threads that needed some /sys/ fiddling and whatnot. Forget changing BIOS stuff :). I felt that if linux needed this much hands-on fixes, it wasn't really for me. But then I installed it on another desktop PC I wasn't using. Really none of the above issues appeared
  • - audio latency
    - editing of several 4k video streams, and exporting to h.265
    Try those and see macOS winning hands down.
  • Windows and MacOS are for amateurs.

    I'm more interested in how OpenSUSE+btrfs managed to fare so much worse than Fedora+ext4 on the same hardware.

    A misconfiguration perhaps?