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Re: [Axiom-developer] Sage on Scientific Linux?

From: M. Edward (Ed) Borasky
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] Sage on Scientific Linux?
Date: Wed, 07 May 2008 19:30:43 -0700
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20080421)

root wrote:

There is a cross-fertilization that might be very useful for both
the Scientific Linux world and the Sage world.

For those who don't know, Scientific Linux is a linux distribution
that is a "common platform" for scientific users. It was recently
described as:

Sage is an open source effort to create a free and open alternative
to Mathematica, Maple, Magma, and Matlab.

It seems to me that the development of a standardized open source
platform for science and scientific computation have quite common
goals. Indeed, it could be argued quite strongly that this kind of
a platform effort is a strong target for NSF, INRIA, or other major
government funding.

I can answer some trivial questions about both projects but I am
not a "contact person" for either project.
Tim Daly

Axiom-developer mailing list

IIRC Scientific Linux is funded/supported by Fermilab, and is essentially a rebuild from source of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. There are other such rebuilds, the most popular of which is CentOS. IIRC Scientific Linux has a few more scientific packages, such as Linpack and R, than RHEL or CentOS, but for all practical purposes Scientific Linux is RHEL.

I personally think that RHEL and its rebuilds are great *server* distributions, but that there are *much* better distros out there for a scientific workstation. I personally run Gentoo, but if Gentoo disappeared off the face of the Earth, I'd switch to Debian (testing or even unstable) or Fedora before I'd go to Scientific Linux.

The main issue for me is having the latest kernels and compilers. I'm running the 2.6.25 kernel and GCC 4.2.3 on my workstations. I haven't checked the compiler on Fedora yet, but I know the upcoming Fedora 9 release is carrying the 2.6.25 kernel. By comparison, the Ubuntu that just came out and the Gentoo that will be released in the near future are both at 2.6.24, and RHEL/CentOS/Scientific Linux are at 2.6.18, IIRC.

A server is about stability, but I think a scientific workstation is about raw speed on large problems.

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