[Beowulf] Re: ECC support on motherboards?

Douglas Eadline deadline at eadline.org
Tue May 20 18:47:06 EDT 2008


If I were MS I would be real worried about this.
But then, I'm just a cluster geek.

Splashtop, if I understand it correctly quickly
launches a lightweight Linux capable of running
certain applications like firefox.

The idea is that instead of waiting for your computer
to boot a full OS, you can power up a browser, instant
message client, voip etc. in a few seconds. Combined
with the growing "web space applications" this could
challenge the traditional "desktop". It is my observation,
that the first application people touch is the one they
often use. Why wait (and wait) for Vista?

As you mention there are a whole slew of cool things you
can do with this capability. Virtualization
is the big one. As always, I look for the
"cluster value" in such mass market efforts.


--
Doug




> On Tue, 20 May 2008, Peter St. John wrote:
>
>> Apparently ASUS intends to embed linux on every motherboard (not just
>> server
>> motherboards) so maybe we are seeing the end of messing with BIOS.
>> http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/05/14/173220
>> Peter
>
> Very interesting article, but 1 GB is still a bit tight.  The really
> interesting times coming are in one year, when the motherboards comes
> with linux in 2 or even 4 GB flash.  In one GB you can load a
> bootstrapper, and/or a fairly sparsely equipped version of linux.  GUI
> sure, but still far from a kitchen sink installation that won't need
> enhancing with more packages to be individually useable and "happy".  In
> 4 GB you can load a fully functional GUI version of linux complete with
> e.g.  Open Office, X, and lots of bells and whistles, and if you install
> 3 GB and give it the ability to add user selected pacakges in the
> remainder people can end up needing nothing else.  In 8 GB you can load,
> well, pretty much the kitchen sink, especially if you get a 2 GB "base
> system" that includes e.g. yum or apt based package managers that
> "automatically" interface to 10 to 20 thousand packages that can be
> installed or removed from the remaining 6 GB at will...
>
>    ...All...For...Free...
>
> We've been discussing this in the department for a while now, as I've
> already got a linux-bootable USB flash drive I carry around in my
> pocket.  Show me a machine that can boot from flash, and five minutes
> later I'll show a machine running linux (allowing for the time required
> to go through the USB boot etc).  We are within a year or two of every
> major mobo vendor selling motherboards with AT LEAST a GB of bootable
> memory onboard as the default boot path.
>
> So what will they put there?
>
> I have some direct experience with embedded Windows, and it is crap.  It
> is partly DELIBERATE crap, as MS is in competition with itself and
> doesn't want its internally bootable products to compete with its
> mainline OS.  It won't run Office, for example, as a consequence.  It is
> also expensive AND crippled.
>
> Many office users need a tiny handful of things.  They need a browser.
> They need an office suite.  They need, well, actually, that's about it.
> In fact, it is good NOT to have kitchen-sink installations, as all those
> games interfere with productivity.  MS tries to accomplish this with
> "terminals" and terminal server, but I have direct experience with the
> scaling of this as well and a) it suck; b) it's pointless or will
> shortly be made pointless by Moore's Law.
>
> The interesting thing is, as the slashdot discussion indicates,
> Microsoft may be completely oblivious to this one coming.  Big truck,
> lights out, dark night.  Vista, at least, suggests that the deer is
> square in what will be the headlights when the light finally turns on.
>
> The other thing that people will put there in that onboard bootable
> flash drive is not JUST linux, but linux running a VM, e.g. Xen or
> VMware (or more likely one of the new ones that pass low level devices
> through relatively efficiently).  Oooo, downright scary, that one.  It
> could be the steam roller that comes through and flattens the
> still-twitching deer carcass out so that it becomes indistinguishable
> from the pavement...
>
>     rgb
>
>>
>> On 5/14/08, Robert G. Brown <rgb at phy.duke.edu> wrote:
>>>
>>> On Wed, 14 May 2008, David Mathog wrote:
>>>
>>>  Greg Lindahl <lindahl at pbm.com> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>  The AMD servers I've been buying default to ECC off. I figure that
>>>>> anyone who doesn't care enough to go through the BIOS and find things
>>>>> like this deserves what they get.
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> I agree, although sometimes going through the BIOS isn't an option...
>>>>
>>>
>>> I agree with both you, but if you're building a big cluster, it is a
>>> real PITA to have to hook up every system with a KVM and reset a BIOS
>>> option.  Can't you get the vendor to do that for you before delivery?
>>> One would think that if you buy systems with ECC memory, the vendor
>>> "should" configure the bios to use it.  No?
>>>
>>>   rgb
>>>
>>> --
>>> Robert G. Brown                            Phone(cell): 1-919-280-8443
>>> Duke University Physics Dept, Box 90305
>>> Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
>>> Web: http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb <http://www.phy.duke.edu/%7Ergb>
>>> Book of Lilith Website:
>>> http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/Lilith/Lilith.php<http://www.phy.duke.edu/%7Ergb/Lilith/Lilith.php>
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>>
>
> --
> Robert G. Brown                            Phone(cell): 1-919-280-8443
> Duke University Physics Dept, Box 90305
> Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
> Web: http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb
> Book of Lilith Website: http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/Lilith/Lilith.php
> Lulu Bookstore: http://stores.lulu.com/store.php?fAcctID=877977
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--
Doug

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