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Re: Binary packages for scientific research on RHEL/CentOS

On 17.05.2017 01:09, Jason Bacon wrote:
> Binary packages aimed at research computing and HPC are now available
> for RHEL/CentOS 6 and 7:
> These are more or less static package sets with a different prefix for
> each quarterly build, e.g. /sharedapps/pkg-2017Q1. This layout allows
> researchers to use the same package versions for the duration of
> long-term studies (this is critical in many research projects) while
> newer packages can be deployed alongside them on the same system.
> I also posted instructions for our pbulk setup, which uses a pristine OS
> installation image in a chroot env.  Many thanks to everyone who offered
> advice as I was experimenting with pbulk.

Thank you for your involvement, this looks great!

> I'm hoping the availability of these packages will spur a new level of
> interest in pkgsrc within the research computing community.  I know for
> a fact that pkgsrc has enormous potential here, as I've watched many
> researchers struggle with software installations for the past 17 years,
> especially on enterprise Linux, which has a virtual monopoly in HPC.

As far as I researched my local city HPC top500 cluster uses mainline
Linux kernel and the userland distribution... is built from scratch with
tuned configure options. This sounds like massive waste of manpower,
better to add options in pkgsrc packages, tune mk.conf and just generate
binary prebuilt packages quarterly.

A blog post - with successful stories - would help to convince them and
others to research the pkgsrc option.

Another market for similar setups is a corporate market with long-term
application support, people keep deploying setups on CentOS|RHEL servers
that are 2-3 major versions behind.. developing and installing software
on decade old Linux distributions is usually done manually.

> With this infrastructure in place, the work of creating many new
> scientific packages will now become our primary focus.
> Comments and contributions are always welcome!

It is worth preparing a post on TNF blog, about pkgsrc on HPC computers
/ CentOS|RHEL setups. There are already few users out there, I'm aware
about NASA and Joyent.

> Regards,
>     Jason

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