[Beowulf] Security issues

Tim Cutts tjrc at sanger.ac.uk
Fri Oct 24 05:31:16 PDT 2008

On 24 Oct 2008, at 12:42 pm, Jon Aquilina wrote:

> but why waste time sifting through all 26,000+ pkgs in the repos  
> when u can
> have a distro with repos focused on clustering pkgs?

They're grouped according to purpose, so I didn't have to do any such  
sifting.  That list I produced from a cursory glance through the  
scientific software section, and the few packages I already knew  
about.   I also very much agree with Carsten - there have been any  
number of occasions when people have asked me for really quite obscure  
bits and pieces of software, and I've thought "Oh, that's never going  
to be packaged up already... oh, wait, yes it is... aptitude install  

The point I was countering was the idea of creating [yet another]  
derived distribution, when it isn't necessary.  Maintaining a Linux  
distribution is an *enormous* amount of effort, especially if you're  
going to attempt to keep up with security patches and so on, so why  
anyone would want to do it themselves is beyond me.  Just use one of  
the widely used and well supported distros, and supplement it with a  
local package repository if you have local custom needs.  This is what  
we do; we use plain old Debian Etch, with a local package repository  
of a few things we have updated to more recent software versions  
(cfengine, rsync, multipath, heartbeat and one or two other things).   
I do the equivalent thing for SLES10, for our Oracle boxes.  When we  
decided to move from Debian Sarge to Etch, it was a really simple  
move; we had half a dozen or so local packages to rebuild against the  
updated distro, and that was it, we were up and running.

The amount of effort required is pretty small (at least for anyone  
who's passingly familiar with build RPMs or DEBs from source)


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