The Linux share of Supercomputers is ... overwhelming.

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ikosmos ikosmos's picture
The Linux share of Supercomputers is ... overwhelming.

Linux accounts for as much as 94.2% share as Supercomputer OS! This might come to you as a pleasant surprise, but indeed, Linux outshines anyother operating system when it comes to Linux. Investigation of the latest ranking released by Top500 (independent organization responsible for ranking supercomputers according to the LINPACK benchmark) yields some very interesting results.


radiorahim radiorahim's picture

If you're running a super computer, you really don't want blue screens of death all the time.

In any case the operating system that powers all of those super computers can be used to power your own computer(s) as it does all of mine.

Another thing to keep in mind, is that if you happen to be running Windows XP, it's "end of life" is the spring of 2014.

So, if your machine doesn't have the computing horsepower to run a current Windows operating system, you can either a) Chuck it or b) convert it to a GNU/Linux operating system.    Option b) is certainly the more environmentally responsbile idea IMHO.


I'm trying to teach myself some android app programming, and I'm told that development and debugging will be more cooperative in android's native environment, Linux. But, hey, I have to do things the hard way with everything running on top of Windoze.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Fidel wrote:

I'm trying to teach myself some android app programming, and I'm told that development and debugging will be more cooperative in android's native environment, Linux. But, hey, I have to do things the hard way with everything running on top of Windoze.

I don't get why you "have to".

I often see websites that say you "have to" view .pdf files with Adobe's proprietary Acrobat reader software.   You don't have to.   Lots of alternatives.


radiorahim wrote:


So, if your machine doesn't have the computing horsepower to run a current Windows operating system, you can either a) Chuck it or b) convert it to a GNU/Linux operating system.    Option b) is certainly the more environmentally responsbile idea IMHO.

So... let's pretend I was running XP on an IBM Thinkpad T42 (yeah I know, before most of y'all were born...) - and I wanted to switch. What should I install? Ubuntu? I know nothing about this stuff.



@ Unionist

I'd say radiorahim could probably give the best recommendation, but I would suggest downloading a live CD and seeing how that feels on your machine. If you like it you can also install the system from it. Bear in mind it will run a bit slower from your disc drive than it will from a hard drive.

Just make sure your machine is set to first boot from the disc drive, then all you should have to do is put the disc in and turn it on.

I have always liked Fedora, though I also run Debian, and if I want to use the CD I generally use knoppix or Slax Kill Bill edition.

I'd recommend finding yourself someone who you can turn for technical advice. Not that it is harder to run than windows (quite the opposite) but the architecture is sufficiently different that there can be a bit of a learning curve.There has to be a Linux users group in your city. And as well, I have found that any error message I have ever received is covered online.

Of course, I didn't come to it as a total newbie, so I might be needlessly overcomplicating things. I've heard that Ubuntu is really, really user friendly (and also has a live CD version). CDs are cheap, so that might be a good operating system to start with.


radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Hey, I've got an IBM Thinkpad a little older and a little less powerful than yours.

IBM Thinkpads are usually great candidates to convert over to a GNU/Linux operating system.    There are a gazillion Linux distros, but what I'd want to do as a newbie is to pick something fairly newbie friendly and since your machine is a little old...something that uses a lighter weight desktop environment like XFCE or LXDE.

I would avoid the main version of Ubuntu...particularly the newest version 12.10 (for some other reasons)  The main version of Ubuntu now uses the "Unity" desktop will certainly work on your machine...but it'll run a bit on the slow side.  

Probably my first choice for you would be the Linux Mint XFCE edition.   There are two versions of Linux Mint based on Ubuntu...and that's what I'd recommend that you use.   I use the other one...the one based on Debian...on my IBM T40...and I'd only recommend it for folks with a bit of GNU/Linux experience.

Another good choice would be Xubuntu which is pretty much the same as Ubuntu but uses the XFCE desktop instead of Unity.   Lubuntu would be another uses the even lighter weight LXDE desktop.   On both Xubuntu and Lubuntu, install 12.04 instead of 12.10   The 12.04 releases are "long term support" releases...meaning you'll have updates for the next three years.   12.10 was just released a few weeks ago and is a little bit on the experimental side and only has update support for 18 months.

I use Lubuntu on the computer that's attached to my TV set.   I don't want a fancy desktop environment on it...I want to use my computer's limited horsepower for playing video.    So I want the desktop to just get out of my way.

I'm using Voyager Linux on my desktop computer right now.   It's a variant of Xubuntu...a little prettier and ever so slightly geekier.

In the GNU/Linux world, every "distro" is a variant of another distro...because folks have the freedom to modify and change things...and so they do.    Don't let that scare you because it's actually very cool once you get the hang of things.

Needless to say, before you install a new operating system you'll want to save all of your user files from the old machine on to some kind of external media.




Umm... could you guys please be a little more specific and detailed?


Thanks!! I'll report progress if and when any happens!

[Distro, Datro, everyone a tro tro]


radiorahim radiorahim's picture

@ Smith.

I'd stay away from the main Ubuntu distro unless your machine is not more than 3-4 years old.   I'd stick with 12.04 too.   In the recently released 12.10, Canonical (the company behind Ubuntu) has done some stupid things...although I understand they're just an experiment with this version.

Speaking of Fedora, like many folks I started out with Red Hat 5 or 6 many years ago.    When Red Hat went to a paid version...and before they launched the Fedora project, I migrated to Mandrake/Mandriva...and then gradually drifted over to Debian-based distros.

Fedora is nice, but not really for newbies.

I've used Knoppix in the past quite often to rescue people's Windows boxes.   I've also played with Slax.   It's a nice quick "live CD".

@ Unionist

Having a neighbourhood "guru" helps.    I didn't really have one and so figured out most things through web forums or trial (and lots of) error.

The best way IMHO is to use a spare machine.    That way if you mess up something, it doesn't really matter.


radiorahim radiorahim's picture

BTW Unionist, your IBM T42 is a machine that probably doesn't have the computing horsepower to run a Windows operating system past Windows XP.  So if you want to keep it running with a supported operating system past April, 2014 then you'll need to do the switch.

Two years from now, countless tons of computer hardware is going to end up in landfill sites or being "recycled" in third world sweatshops because of proprietary software.    In the free software world, this hardware can be kept running.


radiorahim radiorahim's picture

If there's interest, perhaps we can start a "GNU/Linux install help" thread...otherwise we can just carry on here.


Help radiorahim - not me, but a (union) brother who has a T60 running XP and heard about the gilt-edged advice I got here. What version would you advise for him?

I haven't started my project yet, other than downloading Linux Mint XFCE. It's a file called linuxmint-13-xfce-dvd-32bit.iso. I'm guessing this is a CD image which I have to burn, then use that as my installation disc?

Spectrum Spectrum's picture


radiorahim radiorahim's picture

It would be easier if I knew what the specs of his T60 are...RAM, video chip, processor.    It seems that the T60 came in a number of different configurations.    But it looks like it would support the "regular" Ubuntu 12.04 or Linux Mint 13 with the Cinammon desktop. 

Or...he could run the same thing as would just run faster on his machine and you could figure things out together.

Yes, what you downloaded is an .iso image file.   To create the DVD disk, you'll need a "real" CD/DVD burning programme capable of handling .iso image files.    So Nero or Roxio, or InfraRecorder (free as in freedom), or CDBurnerXP (proprietary, but freeware).

The other thing you can try, if your T42 can boot from USB (it probably can), is to use Unetbootin to create a bootable USB flashdrive.

I've got a little USB adapter device for SD cards, and so lately I've been re-using smaller spare camera cards and tuning them into bootable devices.

Unetbootin will either download the distro you want and create the bootable media, or you just point to the .iso image file you've already downloaded and it'll do the same thing.    It's quite a bit quicker to create a bootable media with Unetbootin...also I guess a little more environmentally friendly because you can re-use the USB flashdrive for something else later.

Needless to say, you'll want to dump any old files you might have on your USB flashdrive before you create the bootable USB media.


Whew - thank you! I'll see if I can get his specs, but I think we've both got plenty to work with here. How much do I owe you? Oh wait, almost forgot - free as in freedom!



Here's another resource that might help - the Montreal Linux Users Group:

And of course, every distribution has its own set of forums (fora?):

There are also plenty of online tutorials to help learn the basics - things like the difference in architecture, getting used to switching between user and administrator when you need to install (one of windows's greatest points of vulnerability), knowing where to go to get programs, and learning a bit of the language so you can use a command line in a terminal (the equivalent of working in DOS)..

Again, it is actually far simpler and user-friendly than windows, but if you're used to working in windows it may seem a bit daunting until you get used to it.


radiorahim radiorahim's picture


Since you're planning to try Linux Mint, if you can't find help on the Linux Mint forum, you can also look for solutions on the Ubuntu forums because the "mainstream" version of Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu.

Since GNU/Linux was developed by folks collaborating across the net, there's no shortage of help.