The original BYTE UNIX benchmark suite
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Version 5.1.2 -- 2007-12-26

To use Unixbench:

1. UnixBench from version 5.1 on has both system and graphics tests.
   If you want to use the graphic tests, edit the Makefile and make sure
   that the line "GRAPHIC_TESTS = defined" is not commented out; then check
   that the "GL_LIBS" definition is OK for your system.  Also make sure
   that the "x11perf" command is on your search path.

   If you don't want the graphics tests, then comment out the
   "GRAPHIC_TESTS = defined" line.  Note: comment it out, don't
   set it to anything.

2. Do "make".

3. Do "Run" to run the system test; "Run graphics" to run the graphics
   tests; "Run gindex" to run both.

You will need perl, as Run is written in perl.

For more information on using the tests, read "USAGE".

For information on adding tests into the benchmark, see "WRITING_TESTS".

===================== RELEASE NOTES =====================================

========================  Dec 07 ==========================


One big fix: if unixbench is installed in a directory whose pathname contains
a space, it should now run (previously it failed).

To avoid possible clashes, the environment variables unixbench uses are now
prefixed with "UB_".  These are all optional, and for most people will be
completely unnecessary, but if you want you can set these:

    UB_BINDIR      Directory where the test programs live.
    UB_TMPDIR      Temp directory, for temp files.
    UB_RESULTDIR   Directory to put results in.
    UB_TESTDIR     Directory where the tests are executed.

And a couple of tiny fixes:
* In pgms/, changed "sort -n +1" to "sort -n -k 1"
* In Makefile, made it clearer that GRAPHIC_TESTS should be commented
  out (not set to 0) to disable graphics
Thanks to nordi for pointing these out.

Ian Smith, December 26, 2007
johantheghost at yahoo period com

========================  Oct 07 ==========================


It turns out that the setting of LANG is crucial to the results.  This
explains why people in different regions were seeing odd results, and also
why runlevel 1 produced odd results -- runlevel 1 doesn't set LANG, and
hence reverts to ASCII, whereas most people use a UTF-8 encoding, which is
much slower in some tests (eg. shell tests).

So now we manually set LANG to "en_US.utf8", which is configured with the
variable "$language".  Don't change this if you want to share your results.
We also report the language settings in use.

See "The Language Setting" in USAGE for more info.  Thanks to nordi for
pointing out the LANG issue.

I also added the "grep" and "sysexec" tests.  These are non-index tests,
and "grep" uses the system's grep, so it's not much use for comparing
different systems.  But some folks on the OpenSuSE list have been finding
these useful.  They aren't in any of the main test groups; do "Run grep
sysexec" to run them.

Index Changes

The setting of LANG will affect consistency with systems where this is
not the default value.  However, it should produce more consistent results
in future.

Ian Smith, October 15, 2007
johantheghost at yahoo period com

========================  Oct 07 ==========================


The major new feature in this version is the addition of graphical
benchmarks.  Since these may not compile on all systems, you can enable/
disable them with the GRAPHIC_TESTS variable in the Makefile.

As before, each test is run for 3 or 10 iterations.  However, we now discard
the worst 1/3 of the scores before averaging the remainder.  The logic is
that a glitch in the system (background process waking up, for example) may
make one or two runs go slow, so let's discard those.  Hopefully this will
produce more consistent and repeatable results.  Check the log file
for a test run to see the discarded scores.

Made the tests compile and run on x86-64/Linux (fixed an execl bug passing
int instead of pointer).

Also fixed some general bugs.

Thanks to Stefan Esser for help and testing / bug reporting.

Index Changes

The tests are now divided into categories, and each category generates
its own index.  This keeps the graphics test results separate from
the system tests.

The "graphics" test and corresponding index are new.

The "discard the worst scores" strategy should produce slightly higher
test scores, but at least they should (hopefully!) be more consistent.
The scores should not be higher than the best scores you would have got
with 5.0, so this should not be a huge consistency issue.

Ian Smith, October 11, 2007
johantheghost at yahoo period com

========================  Sep 07 ==========================


All the work I've done on this release is Linux-based, because that's
the only Unix I have access to.  I've tried to make it more OS-agnostic
if anything; for example, it no longer has to figure out the format reported
by /usr/bin/time.  However, it's possible that portability has been damaged.
If anyone wants to fix this, please feel free to mail me patches.

In particular, the analysis of the system's CPUs is done via /proc/cpuinfo.
For systems which don't have this, please make appropriate changes in
getCpuInfo() and getSystemInfo().

The big change has been to make the tests multi-CPU aware.  See the
"Multiple CPUs" section in "USAGE" for details.  Other changes:

* Completely rewrote Run in Perl; drastically simplified the way data is
  processed.  The confusing system of interlocking shell and awk scripts is
  now just one script.  Various intermediate files used to store and process
  results are now replaced by Perl data structures internal to the script.

* Removed from the index runs file system read and write tests which were
  ignored for the index and wasted about 10 minutes per run (see fstime.c).
  The read and write tests can now be selected individually.  Made fstime.c
  take parameters, so we no longer need to build 3 versions of it.

* Made the output file names unique; they are built from

* Worked on result reporting, error handling, and logging.  See TESTS.
  We now generate both text and HTML reports.

* Removed some obsolete files.

Index Changes

The index is still based on David Niemi's SPARCstation 20-61 (rated at 10.0),
and the intention in the changes I've made has been to keep the tests
unchanged, in order to maintain consistency with old result sets.

However, the following changes have been made to the index:

* The Pipe-based Context Switching test (context1) was being dropped
  from the index report in v4.1.0 due to a bug; I've put it back in.

* I've added shell1 to the index, to get a measure of how the shell tests
  scale with multiple CPUs (shell8 already exercises all the CPUs, even
  in single-copy mode).  I made up the baseline score for this by

Both of these test can be dropped, if you wish, by editing the "TEST
SPECIFICATIONS" section of Run.

Ian Smith, September 20, 2007
johantheghost at yahoo period com

========================  Aug 97 ==========================


Double precision Whetstone put in place instead of the old "double" benchmark.

Removal of some obsolete files.

"system" suite adds shell8.

perlbench and poll added as "exhibition" (non-index) benchmarks.

Incorporates several suggestions by Andre Derrick Balsa <>

Code cleanups to reduce compiler warnings by David C Niemi <>
and Andy Kahn <>; Digital Unix options by Andy Kahn.

========================  Jun 97 ==========================


Minor change to fstime.c to fix overflow problems on fast machines.  Counting
is now done in units of 256 (smallest BUFSIZE) and unsigned longs are used,
giving another 23 dB or so of headroom ;^)  Results should be virtually
identical aside from very small rounding errors.

========================  Dec 95 ==========================


Byte no longer seems to have anything to do with this benchmark, and I was
unable to reach any of the original authors; so I have taken it upon myself
to clean it up.

This is version 4.  Major assumptions made in these benchmarks have changed
since they were written, but they are nonetheless popular (particularly for
measuring hardware for Linux).  Some changes made:

-	The biggest change is to put a lot more operating system-oriented
	tests into the index.  I experimented for a while with a decibel-like
	logarithmic scale, but finally settled on using a geometric mean for
	the final index (the individual scores are a normalized, and their
	logs are averaged; the resulting value is exponentiated).

	"George", certain SPARCstation 20-61 with 128 MB RAM, a SPARC Storage
	Array, and Solaris 2.3 is my new baseline; it is rated at 10.0 in each
	of the index scores for a final score of 10.0.

	Overall I find the geometric averaging is a big improvement for
	avoiding the skew that was once possible (e.g. a Pentium-75 which got
	40 on the buggy version of fstime, such that fstime accounted for over
	half of its total score and hence wildly skewed its average).

	I also expect that the new numbers look different enough from the old
	ones that no one is too likely to casually mistake them for each other.

	I am finding new SPARCs running Solaris 2.4 getting about 15-20, and
	my 486 DX2-66 Compaq running Linux 1.3.45 got a 9.1.  It got
	understandably poor scores on CPU and FPU benchmarks (a horrible
	1.8 on "double" and 1.3 on "fsdisk"); but made up for it by averaging
	over 20 on the OS-oriented benchmarks.  The Pentium-75 running
	Linux gets about 20 (and it *still* runs Windows 3.1 slowly.  Oh well).

-	It is difficult to get a modern compiler to even consider making
	dhry2 without registers, short of turning off *all* optimizations.
	This is also not a terribly meaningful test, even if it were possible,
	as noone compiles without registers nowadays.  Replaced this benchmark
	with dhry2reg in the index, and dropped it out of usage in general as
	it is so hard to make a legitimate one.

-	fstime: this had some bugs when compiled on modern systems which return
	the number of bytes read/written for read(2)/write(2) calls.  The code
	assumed that a negative return code was given for EOF, but most modern
	systems return 0 (certainly on SunOS 4, Solaris2, and Linux, which is
	what counts for me).  The old code yielded wildly inflated read scores,
	would eat up tens of MB of disk space on fast systems, and yielded
	roughly 50% lower than normal copy scores than it should have.

	Also, it counted partial blocks *fully*; made it count the proportional
	part of the block which was actually finished.

	Made bigger and smaller variants of fstime which are designed to beat
	up the disk I/O and the buffer cache, respectively.  Adjusted the
	sleeps so that they are short for short benchmarks.

-	Instead of 1,2,4, and 8-shell benchmarks, went to 1, 8, and 16 to
	give a broader range of information (and to run 1 fewer test).
	The only real problem with this is that not many iterations get
	done with 16 at a time on slow systems, so there are some significant
	rounding errors; 8 therefore still used for the benchmark.  There is
	also the problem that the last (uncompleted) loop is counted as a full
	loop, so it is impossible to score below 1.0 lpm (which gave my laptop
	a break).  Probably redesigning Shell to do each loop a bit more
	quickly (but with less intensity) would be a good idea.

	This benchmark appears to be very heavily influenced by the speed
	of the loader, by which shell is being used as /bin/sh, and by how
	well-compiled some of the common shell utilities like grep, sed, and
	sort are.  With a consistent tool set it is also a good indicator of
	the bandwidth between main memory and the CPU (e.g. Pentia score about
	twice as high as 486es due to their 64-bit bus).  Small, sometimes
	broken shells like "ash-linux" do particularly well here, while big,
	robust shells like bash do not.

-	"dc" is a somewhat iffy benchmark, because there are two versions of
	it floating around, one being small, very fast, and buggy, and one
	being more correct but slow.  It was never in the index anyway.

-	Execl is a somewhat troubling benchmark in that it yields much higher
	scores if compiled statically.  I frown on this practice because it
	distorts the scores away from reflecting how programs are really used
	(i.e. dynamically linked).

-	Arithoh is really more an indicator of the compiler quality than of
	the computer itself.  For example, GCC 2.7.x with -O2 and a few extra
	options optimizes much of it away, resulting in about a 1200% boost
	to the score.  Clearly not a good one for the index.

I am still a bit unhappy with the variance in some of the benchmarks, most
notably the fstime suite; and with how long it takes to run.  But I think
it gets significantly more reliable results than the older version in less

If anyone has ideas on how to make these benchmarks faster, lower-variance,
or more meaningful; or has nice, new, portable benchmarks to add, don't
hesitate to e-mail me.

David C Niemi <>		7 Dec 1995

========================  May 91 ==========================
This is version 3. This set of programs should be able to determine if
your system is BSD or SysV. (It uses the output format of time (1)
to see. If you have any problems, contact me (by email,


The document doc/bench.doc describes the basic flow of the
benchmark system. The document doc/bench3.doc describes the major
changes in design of this version. As a user of the benchmarks,
you should understand some of the methods that have been
implemented to generate loop counts:

Tests that are compiled C code:
  The function wake_me(second, func) is included (from the file
timeit.c). This function uses signal and alarm to set a countdown
for the time request by the benchmark administration script
(Run). As soon as the clock is started, the test is run with a
counter keeping track of the number of loops that the test makes.
When alarm sends its signal, the loop counter value is sent to stderr
and the program terminates. Since the time resolution, signal
trapping and other factors don't insure that the test is for the
precise time that was requested, the test program is also run
from the time (1) command. The real time value returned from time
(1) is what is used in calculating the number of loops per second
(or minute, depending on the test).  As is obvious, there is some
overhead time that is not taken into account, therefore the
number of loops per second is not absolute. The overhead of the
test starting and stopping and the signal and alarm calls is
common to the overhead of real applications. If a program loads
quickly, the number of loops per second increases; a phenomenon
that favors systems that can load programs quickly. (Setting the
sticky bit of the test programs is not considered fair play.)

Test that use existing UNIX programs or shell scripts:
  The concept is the same as that of compiled tests, except the
alarm and signal are contained in separate compiled program,
looper (source is looper.c). Looper uses an execvp to invoke the
test with its arguments. Here, the overhead includes the
invocation and execution of looper.


The index numbers are generated from a baseline file that is in
pgms/index.base. You can put tests that you wish in this file.
All you need to do is take the results/log file from your
baseline machine, edit out the comment and blank lines, and sort
the result (vi/ex command: 1,$!sort). The sort in necessary
because the process of generating the index report uses join (1).
You can regenerate the reports by running "make report."


========================= Jan 90 =============================
Tom Yager has joined the effort here at BYTE; he is responsible
for many refinements in the UNIX benchmarks.

The memory access tests have been deleted from the benchmarks.
The file access tests have been reversed so that the test is run
for a fixed time. The amount of data transfered (written, read,
and copied) is the variable. !WARNING! This test can eat up a
large hunk of disk space.

The initial line of all shell scripts has been changed from the
SCO and XENIX form (:) to the more standard form "#! /bin/sh".
But different systems handle shell switching differently. Check
the documentation on your system and find out how you are
supposed to do it. Or, simpler yet, just run the benchmarks from
the Bourne shell. (You may need to set SHELL=/bin/sh as well.)

The options to Run have not been checked in a while. They may no
longer function. Next time, I'll get back on them. There needs to
be another option added (next time) that halts testing between
each test. !WARNING! Some systems have caches that are not getting flushed
before the next test or iteration is run. This can cause
erroneous values.

========================= Sept 89 =============================
The database (db) programs now have a tuneable message queue space.
queue space. The default set in the Run script is 1024 bytes.
Other major changes are in the format of the times. We now show
Arithmetic and Geometric mean and standard deviation for User
Time, System Time, and Real Time. Generally, in reporting, we
plan on using the Real Time values with the benchs run with one
active user (the bench user). Comments and arguments are requested.

contact: BIX bensmith or rick_g