Updated: April 4, 2013
Fuduntu is a pretty awesome distribution. Rarely do I give a perfect ten to one, and so far, only Linux Mint managed that accolade. But then recently, I tested the last edition of Fuduntu, and it turned out to be magnificent. So much, in fact, that I had it committed in my production setup, where it failed just short of the 10/10 mark, but still exhibited fairly great results.
I showed you the Nvidia graphics card and Broadcom network drivers setup, Steam, Netflix, and a few more tricks besides. What I did not do is give any regard to the claimed battery life improvements. Fuduntu is supposed to be ultra-optimized for laptops and netbooks, and should offer you some 40% more battery juice than its counterparts. I checked.
I surely did not use voltage and amper meters or any sophisticated equipment for measuring the battery charge. What I did was use a single laptop, which means an identical hardware configuration, charge the battery to the max, then let it drain for five minutes before checking the remaining time. I did not pay too much attention to the loaded drivers, startup services, the number of background processes, or if any indexing tool or such happened to be running at the time of the test. Normally, this can skew the results, and the very short test time is also pretty inaccurate. However, it's a reasonable set for a simple experiment.
I do not have a screenshot to share, because Fuduntu display the remaining time as a popup, and it read 1 hour 20 minutes after being discharged for five minutes.
Linux Mint with Cinnamon
Running from the same laptop and installed on the same external USB disk was also a copy of the latest Mint, which I fired and let drain for a brief while. Lo and behold, this other distribution gave an almost identical result, 1 hour and 22 minutes. Of course, the individual minutes are meaningless, and anything less than a quarter of an hour is probably within the statistical error, but such accuracy means we're spot on identical. Moreover, if Fuduntu could really offer a whole of 40% more battery life, then it would be evident.
Ubuntu and Kubuntu
Next, I checked the Pangolin and Kubuntu 12.10. I have no screenshots that will prove my claim, but since you know I'm as uncompromising as Mercury's orbit round the Sun, then you will trust me, when I tell you, the figures are rather identical.
I might check yet another box, but not this time, gents.
Fuduntu 2013.1 is a great distro, and it might, in some very specific conditions yield results that are much better than its competition. But in my test, nothing of that kind happened. If anything, all four distros gave absolutely consistent results, which is more surprising than the gain of any advantage by any one of the players.
Of course, this stands to reason. The kernel is fairly optimized, as is, and it's more or less the same in all cases. Then, you get the same set of drivers loaded, and idle desktop environments hardly cause any drain. So what we have is a very logical tie. Sure, I'd love one of the Fuduntu guys to try to explain the optimizations and improvements they saw in their own setups, because I'd sure love to extend my battery life. But this does not seem to be the case. Even so, I can forgive this omission. But the harsh and complex reality, according to Dedoimedo, has a somewhat Monty Python quality, or as they say, And now for something completely different. There you go. I hope you enjoyed this article. It's scarce in images, but it is rich in quality and wisdom.