[Beowulf] hpl size problems

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Fri Sep 30 12:04:56 PDT 2005

On Fri, 30 Sep 2005, Leif Nixon wrote:

> Robert G. Brown <rgb at phy.duke.edu> writes:
>> I remember well and with no regrets managing all kinds of software that
>> one had to kludge together solutions for back in the /usr/local days.
>> This is one of the things that MOTIVATED application packaging and FSH
>> -- splitting up applications into multiple, non-standard paths does NOT
>> scale well and can NOT handle arbitrarily complex package installation
>> requirements without work, and the work required to MAKE it work is
>> immense and would be done slightly differently by every two people who
>> ever tried it (so all that work isn't even reusable).  Bad, bad, bad.
> So what about us poor souls who need to have several versions of the
> same package installed in parallel? Like five gcc versions, two Dalton
> versions, two Gaussian (spit!) versions, three Molcas versions, two
> Matlab versions...

The right solution or the practical solution?  The right solution is to
firebomb somebody's house (or possibly begin with delicately veiled
threats and a horse's head in their beds) until a company that is
selling you software actually bothers to do as decent a job of packaging
and keeping up with linux as all the developers in the world do who are
doing it for free (or as part of an open source initiative, anyway).

Applying your sucker rod to your Gaussian and Molcas user base seems
like it might be a good idea, as would sitting people down at a
mandatory octave tutorial.

However, since the Evil here is both incredibly, appallingly obvious to
us all -- and not your fault, I give you Absolution for any hackery you
have to engage in while you're looking for plutonium on the black

I mean this is exactly what I'm referring to.  How much cruft that has
to be hand maintained can you afford to care for before you go Mad?  How
expensive is this foolishness (in your time and in real money)?
Sometimes you just have to say no, everybody has to move their research
codes to current gcc, current molcas, current... by such and such a date
because a) maintaining older versions is nonlinearly expensive; and b)
newer versions work better and have fewer bugs (in the long run) anyway.

Even when no turns out to be yes after all, it is important to say it,
to articulate very clearly why this way madness lies.  Who on this list
reads your list of apps without shuddering?


Robert G. Brown	                       http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at phy.duke.edu

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