My Workstation OS: Scientific Linux

If you guessed that many of the world’s leading scientists use Linux, then you would be right? But to use Scientific Linux as a desktop OS? It can be done and it can be done with much joy, too!

Scientific Linux (SL) might seem a strange choice as a desktop operating system for someone who is retired, disabled, and elderly, and who has relatively little scientific or programming knowledge, but I get great excitement from exploring the art of Linux distributions, and with Scientific Linux, that excitement is amplified by knowing I’m using the same operating system that is being used by many of the world’s leading scientists.

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Scientific Linux has been around for quite some time, but has made no effort to publicize itself in other than the scientific community. An announcement of upgrade on DistroWatch gained the attention of a wider community.

Scientific Linux began as Fermi Linux, at the famous Fermilab, whose mission is to explore high-energy physics, the science of matter, and space and time. Scientific Linux is a vendor-cleansed version of the latest Red Hat Enterprise Linux, completely recompiled from source. Stable versions include the 3x and 4x vendor tree and are called Scientific Linux, though they still bear the earmarks of the Fermilab craftsmanship that is a major part of it. It is completely open source, free, and available to anyone.

An exciting aspect of this distribution is that the CERN lab in Switzerland is now directly involved with its development and maintenance. Both Fermilab and CERN use SL as their primary operating system, as do a number of leading U.S. and European physics research laboratories and universities throughout the world. [Read the rest]