[Beowulf] Definition of HPC

Joe Landman landman at scalableinformatics.com
Thu Apr 18 07:52:03 PDT 2013

On 04/18/2013 10:37 AM, Ellis H. Wilson III wrote:

> Please note: I NEVER run as root, I just "tinker" as root.  I don't
> think there is ever a good reason to run as root.  But having and using
> root is not so evil as you claim.  In particular, I have NO doubt you
> require root to build JackRabbits, but I doubt you claim you are "one
> misstep from misfortune."  You're probably just careful.

Ahhh ... strawmen.  Don't purposely misread/misconstrue what I wrote.

I am talking about handing root to grad students/postdocs/profs who then 
effectively integrate it into their work processes to do things that are 
better done outside root.  Most of the examples you gave are better done 
with sudo, and sudo has emerged as a "best practices" scenario ... its 
not a panacea, but its infinitely better than running a shell as root.  
You have fine grain control over what the person can and cannot do using 
sudo.  Which is very helpful if you have someone inexperienced.

I am also not talking about systems setup, which is, naturally, a 
destructive process to things below it.  That is a strawman at best.  
The other issues with system tuning, etc ... can you not setup sudoers 
access for this?  Yes, having root is so much easier. And that much more 

I am talking about moving directories around.  About installing software 
in user directories.  About making system level changes when they don't 
comprehend what rm -rf / actually does.

I am guessing your work doesn't involve a great deal of support. Mine 
does.  You can poke fun at this viewpoint if you wish, but its been 
formed over 2 decades of cleaning up other peoples mistakes, and even 
some of my own.

Joseph Landman, Ph.D
Founder and CEO
Scalable Informatics, Inc.
email: landman at scalableinformatics.com
web  : http://scalableinformatics.com
phone: +1 734 786 8423 x121
fax  : +1 866 888 3112
cell : +1 734 612 4615

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