This is the Message Centre for Azimuth

Linux is the way to go!

Post 1

Peet (the Pedantic Punctuation Policeman, Muse of Lateral Programming Ideas, Eggcups-Spurtle-and-Spoonswinner, BBC Cheese Namer & Zaphodista)

Hi, Azimuth!
Glad to find a Linux user here - I might need some help in the near future... I've got a half-dozen Pentiums, plus various fast 486s and a sack of network cards, and am planning to convert them into a Beowulf cluster for graphic rendering. (If you're not familiar with Project Beowulf, check out http://www.beowulf.org - from your intro, I think you'd like it...!)

Anyhow, good to see you on H2G2 - have a lot of fun! smiley - smiley

Peet


Linux is the way to go!

Post 2

Azimuth



Hi there - I started messing around with Linux with Beowulf very much in mind; we started off with four overclocked Pentium Pro machines and we're now ticking over with a number of overclocked Celeron 300A boxes. Haven't tried parallelising POVray yet; they're used mostly for molecular mechanics calculations. As I played around with them, though, I realised that they make fantastic development boxes - which is why I'm using them to run the online database stuff I mentioned. My 'one piece of advice' would be to pick network cards that are well-supported by Linux; it's an absolute nightmare to be lumbered with a card that lies just outside Redhat's standard range, especially when none of the machines have CD-ROM drives and you're relying on the network card to allow you to install Redhat in the first place! We're using Netgear FA310TX cards, which work with the Tulip driver and can be tweaked to give almost the same performance as a 'real' DEC Tulip-based card.


Linux is the way to go!

Post 3

Peet (the Pedantic Punctuation Policeman, Muse of Lateral Programming Ideas, Eggcups-Spurtle-and-Spoonswinner, BBC Cheese Namer & Zaphodista)

I solved that by having a portable 6x CD-ROM plus secondary IDE interface - I had a lot of hassle trying to install over the network...


Linux is the way to go!

Post 4

Baron_Shatturday

Yah, but you'll never get Beowulf up if you don't have compatable network cards!

That's the only problem with linux- hardware vendors don't support it worth a DAMN! So be sure to check out http://www.linux.org to find hardware vendors which support linux. 3-com is good about providing linux support for their network cards, and others are mentioned as well.

However, all is NOT lost! I'm working on a port of the basic beowulf software to cygwin ( http://sourceware.cygnus.com )- an effort to port unix to NT- which one would most likely say "Why bother", unless one is already in possession of a lot of hardware which is UNSUPPORTED on linux, in which case you may now say "bravo" and install and compile to your heart's content!

They're also working on a port of X11 to winNT/9x (yes, it will run on both platforms), and a native FREE Xserver is not too far down the road on that front.

Thus, if you ARE stuck with a lot of linux-incompatable hardware, and either can't get at the IO specs of your particular device to attempt to write your own driver, or too lazy, or both, you may compile beowulf code under NT and use what you have.

I presume that the cygwin interface overcomes win9x's inability to handle threaded applications (as the latest snapshot of the cygwin.dll is thread-enhanced), so this is a MUST have for you who are stuck with 9x and need an ability to address threading issues across multiple CPU's.

smiley - fish da Baron
SLACKWARE RULEZ!


Linux is the way to go!

Post 5

Peet (the Pedantic Punctuation Policeman, Muse of Lateral Programming Ideas, Eggcups-Spurtle-and-Spoonswinner, BBC Cheese Namer & Zaphodista)

Wild, Baron! Thanks for that!

I have been collecting 10-base-T cards for some time now for this project, and as far as I can see about 50% of them are directly compatible with Red Hat 5 and above... Fortunately, I have more than twice as many cards as I need!! I have been buying mixed bags of "3 for £5" at computer fairs for the last year...

My Beowulf project is temporarily suspended while I turn my resources to one of these 1.2GHz dual-Celeron-overclocked machines that are so popular in the magazines at the moment... More news anon...


Linux is the way to go!

Post 6

Azimuth

A friend of mine has had great success with an Abit BP6 dual Socket370 Celeron motherboard - no idea what speed he's running it at, though smiley - winkeye Let us know how it goes... I'm just wondering whether to try out an Athlon here for our molecular simulations - anyone know how Athlons compare with Coppermine PIII processors for heavy-duty numbercrunching?

Azimuth


Linux is the way to go!

Post 7

Baron_Shatturday

There's been a bit of griping about the Athalon boards on the beowulf mailing list- I'm not sure on the specifics, (and lost my database of messages in the last windoze crash... grrrr). I don't know if it's over the board's stand-alone performance (which I've heard raves about in other quarters) or the way it integrates into a beowulf enviroment (more likely)- if you're interested in finding out about the latter case, I would suggest joining the beowulf list, and checking the opinions of people who have actually tried to integrate it into a cluster. If you're just interested in the stand-alone application, I've heard good things about it.

da Baron
smiley - fish wak wak!


Key: Complain about this post

More Conversations for Azimuth

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more