Mac OS X or Linux?

Robert Latham robl at
Mon Apr 7 13:57:48 EDT 2003

On Mon, Apr 07, 2003 at 11:33:30AM -0500, Carlos Ernesto Lopez Nataren wrote:
> Hi!, we recently acquired 6 Xserve nodes at my institute, and we are
> planning to setup a beowulf cluster, can anyone tell if it is worthy to
> set it up with the OS it brings??? (Mac OS X server jaguar) or if it is
> better to try to use linux on these beauties???

please, if you have the time and resources, make them dual-boot
(granted, with six, it will mildy annoying to switch operating
systems) and tell us how well your applications run under an os x
cluster versus under a powerpc linux cluster.  

You'll spark a massive flame war, but there is a dearth of real data
showing how good or bad mac os X is in a cluster environment (where
the benefits of "good user interface" and "i can watch quicktime
trailers" aren't important) compared to linux on the same hardware.

please note that you'll need a quite recent linux kernel to support
the xserve hardware

I can show you lmbench numbers that show linux outperforming os x in
*operating system specific* tasks, but real applications carry more
weight than microbenchmarks.


Rob Latham
Mathematics and Computer Science Division    A215 0178 EA2D B059 8CDF
Argonne National Labs, IL USA                B29D F333 664A 4280 315B
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