[Beowulf] /usr/local over NFS is okay, Joe

Jon Forrest jlforrest at berkeley.edu
Mon Jul 7 09:38:28 PDT 2008

Tony Travis wrote:

> In particular, Sun went out of their way to move a lot of things from 
> /bin into /usr/bin precisely so it could be shared by NFS. I also agree 
> with the widely used convention that '/usr/local' means local to the 
> site, not the particular machine. 

The way we used to this about this in the CS Department at
Berkeley was that /usr/local holds locally built stuff. It
had nothing to do with where the bits are stored.

Using tricks that other people have mentioned, we created
a "Software Warehouse" which held software that we built.
It contained the standard BSD, GNU, and other open source stuff.
This was stored on an Auspex file server. We built
mostly the same stuff for ~6 architectures. The file systems
on the Auspex were named in ways that made it clear which
architecture they were for, but they were always mounted
as /usr/sww on the desktop machines. (We could have
called this /usr/local but we wanted to make it clear
where the file systems were coming from.)

Long ago I wrote what became the standard document for
how to create a "dataless" environment for the DEC OSF
operating system. (Talk about a non-intuitive use of words - "dataless"
is perfect example. All it means is everything except the root
file system is remotely mounted). This allowed me to use the
same method for /usr that we used for /usr/sww.

This was a long time ago when disks were small, slow, and expensive,
and before rsync was born. I'm not sure the same architecture would
make sense now, even with fast networks.

Jon Forrest
Research Computing Support
College of Chemistry
173 Tan Hall
University of California Berkeley
Berkeley, CA
jlforrest at berkeley.edu

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