[Beowulf] [OT] MPI-haters
Lux, Jim (337C)
james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Thu Mar 10 13:35:19 PST 2016
My first "real" cluster (as opposed to a "group of workstations with some custom software that happens to share computation") was a bunch of little mini-itx motherboards that booted off compact flash (running a version of MS-DOS) and used a ramdisk for local storage.
USB support in Linux back then was pretty wonky. I'd build the image on another machine, copy it to the CF, then boot them. It was great when I got the network drivers working and could use NFS, and even better when PXE worked. No more software update via sneakernet
I would not willingly go back to that model of operation.
From: Beowulf [mailto:beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org] On Behalf Of Prentice Bisbal
Sent: Thursday, March 10, 2016 11:42 AM
To: beowulf at beowulf.org
Subject: Re: [Beowulf] [OT] MPI-haters
You joke, but I actually did, sort of. I didn't do it myself, but at the place I was working at at the time (~2000 or 2001) we built a 10-node Linux cluster, and kickstarted it with a boot floppy containing the kickstart . I can't remember if the rest of the OS was installed over the network or from a CD in the local CD drive, but the nodes definitely booted of a floppy and read the kickstart file from the floppy. The physicists were very hands-on at the time, and they set this up themselves, since they bought it with their budget, but I remember being there when they were booting off a floppy, one node at a time.
USB was around at the time, but I don't think the small USB thumb drives were available or common then. If they were available, I'm sure they were still a lot more $$$ than a floppy disk, and I'm not so sure Linux had good USB support back then. I don't remember USB thumb drives being common until 2003 or 2004, and they were pretty pricey initially, about $1/MB, IIRC
On 03/10/2016 02:18 PM, Lux, Jim (337C) wrote:
> Yeah, and you'll be telling stories about how you brought up your first cluster using 3.5" floppies.
> Jim Lux
> (818)354-2075 (office)
> (818)395-2714 (cell)
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Beowulf [mailto:beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org] On Behalf Of
> Prentice Bisbal
> Sent: Thursday, March 10, 2016 10:49 AM
> To: beowulf at beowulf.org
> Subject: Re: [Beowulf] [OT] MPI-haters
> On 03/10/2016 01:34 PM, Jeff Becker wrote:
>> On 03/10/2016 10:32 AM, Prentice Bisbal wrote:
>>> This list used to get A LOT more traffic. Not sure what happened
>>> over the past few years. I miss the witty banter and information I
>>> used to get from all that traffic, but I definitely don't miss Vincent.
> It just occurred to me that if you know who Vincent or RGB is, you're probably an old-timer on this list now.
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