Cluster Poll Results (tangent into OS choices)

Mike Snitzer msnitzer at
Tue Nov 4 19:04:12 EST 2003

On Tue, Nov 04 2003 at 14:36,
Andrew M.A. Cater <amacater at> wrote:

> There may be an alternative which will guarantee you code freedom,
> won't charge for licenses in any event, won't bow to "commercial" 
> pressure and won't restrict your code use/re-use/modification/distribution.
> If you want an ultra stable platform to which you can freely contribute 
> code and which you can use for any purpose - try Debian "stable".  
> Debian encourages everyone to build specialist distributions based on
> Debian.  If the hassle's too much, feed in your cluster packages to 
> become part of the main distribution.  There is at least one Debian 
> newsgroup (debian beowulf) where clusters are of high interest.
> Check out what's already within Debian.  As noted in a previous post,
> you may find what you want has already been put in place in the 8000+
> packages.

Debian is at a disadvantage in that RPM is not its native package format;
BUT debs are also what make Debian so robust.  However, RPM is the package
format of choice for HPC, the enterprise, and lets not forget the LSB.

Its unfortunate really, but Debian has generally prided itself on making
aspiring debian developers run the deb packaging gauntlet in order to
prove they've got the required deb-fu. That's something that'll have to be
lessened; possibly by leveraging some of the build systems that are coming
into light from developers in the Debian community.

If anything I'd say that Debian's lack of native RPM support is the
biggest hurdle for debian to have a break-out run as the Linux distro of
choice for many.  BUT there is hope; Progeny recently announced that they
ported RedHat's Anaconda to Debian (still under development).  This is
significant in that projects like ROCKS _could_ theoretically drop Debian
in as a replacement for the underlying Linux distro and still maintain the
complete clustering feature set that ROCKS offers (at least kickstart
compatibility).  Granted extensive RedHat-isms would need to be ported to
be Debian-isms; but this is where the LSB is _supposed_ to weigh-in.

But as Joe Landman pointed out certification and commercial software
support for Debian is non-existent (AFAIK); that _could_ change in the
near future if Bruce Perens and others in the Debian community have
anything to say about it. 

As Bruce Perens recently mentioned on an forum: 
 Bruce: What's wrong with RedHat?
 (Posted Oct 11, 2003 16:02 UTC (Sat) by BrucePerens) (Post reply)

 The most important things that a user-driven distribution can provide
 over RHAS are that the free version will be the certified one, that there
 won't be a lock on support information, and that it won't be dominated by
 one company. I am having talks with sponsors now. You'll hear from me in
 a few weeks.

> This is a purely personal post.  It does _not_ represent my employers
> or any other person.



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