Friday, April 04, 2008

Scientific Linux – The Big Physics Community Linux of Choice

In the Big Physics community, Linux is quite popular. Having met with numerous groups, Linux almost always comes up as a topic of discussion and in many cases it’s part of their labs roadmap for rolling out control, test, and other systems. The first issue is cost. Microsoft Windows costs $100 or more for each computer and when you have hundreds of systems, it adds up to real money fast. The second issue is support. Some claim that almost any problem with Linux (seeking a driver, asking a technical question, etc.) can be found on Google since the Linux community is quite large.

To reduce redundancy and provide commonality, Fermilab and CERN have anointed a version of Linux as Scientific Linux.

The FAQ on the site talks about the foundation of Scientific Linux as the “Enterprise version” of Linux. I believe it’s based on a version of Red Hat Linux but the FAQ declines to mention it citing trademark restrictions.

As always the issue of support comes up since the community provides it rather than a particular vendor. Fermi Lab offered a Fermi Linux so the support users found with that version will probably be what they find with the Scientific Linux version.

A general history of Scientific Linux can be found here.

Best regards,
Hall T.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, it's based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. In many respects it *is* RHEL (as are other RHEL source rebuilds like CentOS) since it's compiled from the same source code, which Red Hat make available to comply with the GPL. The (minor) differences are listed on the Scientific Linux site: in addition to removal of Red Hat branding and connections to Red Hat automated update services, a few packages differ in accordance with the preferences of the Scientific Linux community. On the whole though, Scientific Linux is basically a free distribution of Red Hat's solid enterprise product. The only really significant difference is the reliance on community support rather than the paid support that Red Hat provides.

Saturday, April 05, 2008 4:42:00 PM  
Blogger cecco said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Sunday, April 06, 2008 4:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

on this distro you can also install "big software" like oracle (even rac!). it's like centos, and these communities are working togheter in order to solve some common problems. and consider this: scientific communisty behind scientific linux must solve -big problems- (clusters with hundreds of nodes, big and clustered databases, many many advanced services, workstations and notebook) and they almost use only this distribution. even redhat techs can find -very- useful tips on s.l. forums and sites! go, and spread the word!

Sunday, April 06, 2008 4:07:00 AM  
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