Cluster Poll Results (tangent into OS choices)

Mike Snitzer msnitzer at
Tue Nov 4 02:11:47 EST 2003

On Mon, Nov 03 2003 at 21:58,
Joe Landman <landman at> wrote:

> The "smile" test?  I thought it was all about risks, support, etc.  
> ROCKS appears to be in significant use as indicated by the ROCKS counter 
> page.  

In my _personal_ utopia of the industry smile-tests are worthy; I do
however realize business is business and people want stable yet affordable
solutions before anything else.  That said, smiles can be had along the
> Remember that RedHat's added value is in packaging, bug fixes, etc.  

Not to mention numerous contributions to the Linux kernel, low-level
libraries (nptl), compilers and much more.

> I would argue that Fedora is more like a permanent beta.  It doesn't 
> look like we will get good things into Fedora anytime soon (x86_64, XFS 
> et al), and the release/support cycle is too short to be useful for long 
> term customer support.   The risks of that platform would be somewhat 
> high for a commercial deployment, and I would find it hard to justify 
> installing this for a customer knowing full well that next year, they 
> are support free.

It all comes down to opportunity cost; time spent working with the Fedora
project (and its evolving policies) to add required features is 
time consuming and takes away from _real_ HPC innovation.  BUT, if the
entire HPC community actually worked together to bring about that change
it wouldn't be that hard.  Too idealistic?  It would appear so based on
the resounding cry for rebuilt RHEL solutions.  Keep in mind that
customers want "the real thing".

> Ripping of RedHat?  I thought they were packaging GPL and similar 
> software... how is taking GPL software which is Libre' and 
> redistributing recompiled versions of it (allowable under the license)  
> ripping off the folks who have a their own packaging of it?

It comes down to the unfortunate reality that many in the HPC community
would rather continuously fork/reinvent RHEL than work with Red Hat to
arrive at a mutually beneficial arrangement.

> RedHat is focused upon its primary market, which appears to be 
> Unix/Windows server displacement.  Mike's employer is focused upon 
> selling hardware.  Glen's company is focused upon good quality cluster 
> software.

While I appreciate you associating myself and my views with my employeer I
have expressed my _personal_ views.  However, your assessment of my
employeer's focus is not accurate; but I'm not going to get into that

> For companies like mine, the issue is a stable reliable platform to 
> build our product offerings.  The problem with things like the permanent 
> beta cycles of Fedora is that we will have to focus more upon the 
> underlying issues of the platform changes (which will not be focused 
> upon HPC needs) than on our own development.  This is a moving target.  
> This is "Not A Good Thing(TM)".
> A whole bunch of commercial software vendors have "old" and  "outdated" 
> OS support for their wares.  I have to carefully check the software OS 
> support matrix when building engineering or bioclusters.  RedHat 7.3 is 
> long in the tooth, and it happens to be a very good cluster 
> distribution, in large part because so many commercial codes have been 
> ported in the RH7.x time frame.  

Make no mistake about it, its not good for any commercial company that
historically relied upon Red Hat Linux; hence the extensive attention this
debate has recieved all over the Internet.  You have blantantly attempted
to spin this thread in a self-serving/tangential direction of company<foo>
vs company<bar>; and it wasn't about that.  Now I know why this list is
perdominantly technical and _tries_ to stay away from the commercial
interests of any one vendor.


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