[Beowulf] A Good Linux Distribution to Start with?

Tilman Koschnick til at belleville.ch
Fri Sep 10 10:14:33 PDT 2004

Richard Miguel San Martin wrote:
> Hi all, 
> I was reading the thread about this topic and i cannt see some opinion about
> debian as an good distribution for clusters HPC. So, i know that is possible
> build a cluster with debian .. but i ask you is a good solution too?.. exist
> some successfull implementation with debian ?.
> Thanks
> R. Miguel

Hi Richard,

I'm running Debian and Redhat on clusters, and much prefer Debian. I'd
say Debian is a good solution for about any environment, if you can put
up with not being on the bleeding edge with regards to software
versions. Which in my book is a plus (not being bleeding edge, that is).
I like things to be a bit more on the conservative side, well tried and
tested, and to have longer release cycles. Besides, you can always work
with backports to the current stable version. The coming version, 3.1
aka Sarge, is already in pretty good shape and will be released any time
soon (I'm using it already in a cluster environment).

Apart from speed of release, Debian scores high in all other aspects:
Superb software management (dpkg/apt), huge archive of already included
and tested software (http://www.debian.org/distrib/packages), sensible
defaults on package configurations, good bug tracking system, plenty of
support on mailing lists. I could go on, but that might slip into
religious realms :-)

The only problem I had were clients wanting 2nd level support for third
party software, and most software vendors don't certify for Debian. Most
software still runs fine, it's the same Linux under the hood after all,
but with many commercial products, you're on your own.

Cheers, Til

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