In Windows 7 there is a tool that calculates some kind of index of your machine: the performance index. I am not sure how it is done, but it is nice to know, to be able to compare machines.
Does anybody know of anything similar for ubuntu?
Phoronix Test Suite is a complete benchmark facility that works on any Linux distribution, Windows and MacOSX systems.
Here are its features:
You can download it from: http://www.phoronix-test-suite.com/
Hardinfo : can gather information about your system's hardware and operating system, perform benchmarks, and generate printable reports either in HTML or in plain text formats.
Monitoring Your System Performance in Ubuntu
You can have better system performance if you are monitoring your system properly. Every operating system has the tools and techniques to monitor the system performance , ubuntu too has tools to monitor.You can monitor your Ubuntu system in one of the following ways.
System Monitor is a default installed utility to monitor the system. It can be loaded from Applications > System Tools > System Monitor.
You can use the saidar tool to monitor your system. It is a tool which shows system performance in terminal. So to use saidar, you must be familiar with terminal. To install it, simply run following command in terminal.
Once installation is complete, open your terminal and type saidar
You will get information about your CPU and memory in terminal.
Also see the following links,it may help you
There no application benchmark as simple as the Windows vista/7 index. Phoronix Test Suite is a really powerfull and complete benchmark tool, it would be a great addition to it, maybe we should propose it to the phoronix team.