[Beowulf] A press release

Tim Cutts tjrc at sanger.ac.uk
Thu Jul 3 01:34:19 PDT 2008

On 2 Jul 2008, at 4:22 pm, Prentice Bisbal wrote:
> 2. Now that I'm a professional system admin who often has to support
> commercial apps, I find I have to use a RH-based distro for two  
> reasons:
> A. Most commercial software "supports" only Red Hat. Some go so far as
> to refuse to install if RH is not detected. The most extreme case of
> this is EMC PowerPath, whose kernel modules won't install if it's  
> not a
> RH (or SUSE) kernel.

We have that problem as well, with HP SFS.  The way we get around is  
simply that we run our older Lustre clients using Debian Sarge with a  
SuSE 9 kernel, which is perfectly possible, if a bit icky.

> B. Red Hat has done such a good job of spreading FUD about the other
> Linux distros, management has a cow if you tell them you're installing
> something other than RH.

Fortunately, our management doesn't have that fear.  In fact their  
fear is usually the other way around:  Following the reams of broken  
promises from certain large UNIX vendors in particular about the  
future of certain products and features, which required us to copy  
petabytes of storage to new filesystems, which took more than six  
months.  Our IT management now has a completely rational fear of  
buying commercial UNIX products, because the company might be bought  
out, change its focus, charge you a fortune for continued support, or  
all of the above.   Consequently, we go for open source stuff whenever  
possible, and as far as the distribution was concerned, Debian was the  
obvious choice -- and pretty much the only choice at the time, since  
Fedora did not exist, and I'm still not sure how separate from Red Hat  
Fedora and CentOS really are, but that's probably just my ignorance.   
The fact that we could easily demonstrate that Debian did everything  
we needed of it on a technical level made the decision a very  
comfortable one for the management.

Another aspect to our choice of Debian is that pretty much all of the  
bioinformatics software written here is itself open-sourced and given  
away, and if you, as a small genomics lab, want to run mirrors of  
various chunks of our stuff, you can, without worrying that any part  
of it might have licensing issues.


 The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute is operated by Genome Research 
 Limited, a charity registered in England with number 1021457 and a 
 company registered in England with number 2742969, whose registered 
 office is 215 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BE. 

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