[Beowulf] Gentoo in the HPC environment

Gavin W. Burris bug at wharton.upenn.edu
Wed Jun 25 06:51:42 PDT 2014

Hi, Jonathan.

I would make a strong argument against Gentoo.  I would recommend that
you choose Red Hat or its binary-compatible derivatives, like CentOS.

At the end of the day, you need to ask yourself what you are trying to
accomplish.  In an HPC environment, that should be a customer-facing
service that is reliable and well supported.  You do not want to be
constantly patching, compiling or changing APIs out from underneath of
research code.  Enterprise Linux provides a stable base for HPC
application development with a very solid lifecycle.  

Being part of a larger community, running the same builds, has its
advantages.  You won't be the only person encountering a weird stability
or performance bug.  You also get vendor hardware support, which is

I know the counter arguments here.  There is always going to be the
coder that wants Ubuntu and this-month's release of $LANGUAGE, like on
their vagrant box.  I have found the Software Collections to be a
fantastic solution to this demand.  You get the stability of an
enterprise OS, plus the latest language features for developers.  This,
along with environment modules, is win-win.

Even if you are a one-man shop, ask yourself what you want to be doing.
Do you want to be a systems programmer, or do you want to be a
research application developer.  Your time is precious.  Choose wisely.


On Tue 06/24/14 08:43AM +0200, Jonathan Aquilina wrote:
> Hey guys,
> I am just curious as I have recently switched to Gentoo for every day use
> due to its customizability and how everything is compiled for a particular
> system.  Has anyone used Gentoo in an HPC application?
> Regards,
> Jonathan
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Gavin W. Burris
Senior Project Leader for Research Computing
The Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania

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