I have often wondered why Ubuntu is the most popular distribution. I applaud the efforts of Mark Shuttlesworth, and find it much more than acceptable as an operating system. It is, for many, the only face of Linux they know.

As someone who has tried several Linux distributions, for more than a week at a time ( I’ve read studies that say most Windows users try a Linux, and are back using Windows, for the majority of the time, after about a week ), I have always preferred the SuSE look and feel – yes, I know that it is possible to make changes to get the L&F exactly as wanted, but also feel that when something starts out feeling right, everything from that point proceeds with less effort.

It appears that the operators of supercomputers prefer the look and feel  of SuSE as well, as about 40% of the TOP500 listing use it. It is always comforting to be in good company!

from itwire

In the latest TOP500 listing, to be released in the next day or so, we will find that nearly half of the top supercomputers in the world are running Novell’s SUSE Linux.

Already announced, the new winner is IBM’s RoadRunner – the first supercomputer to break the ‘mythical’ 1 TFop/s barrier.  At a recent benchmark, it achieved 1.026 TFop/s on the Linpack benchmark.  The OS is yet to be confirmed, but pretty-much every other IBM computer in the list is running a version of SUSE.  I’ll be guessing much the same as you!

Assuming the remainder of the list looks a lot like the previous list (November 2007), running second and third, we find a couple of IBM Blue Gene systems, then SGI and Hewlett Packard get a look in.

Twice a year, the website TOP500 announces the 500 fastest performing super-computers in the world.  In the next day or so, in conjunction with the International Supercomputing Conference in Dresden (Germany), we will see the 31st list.

For those of us with various dual-core Intel-based PCs, it’s time to be very, very envious.  The IBM eServer Blue Gene Solution system installed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories (you know, the guys that worry about things that go [very very big] bang in the night!), which in the 30th list was ranked number 1, contains 212,992 processors.

Getting back to SUSE Linux, looking at the list, we find that 20 of the top 50 run SUSE Linux.  This ratio extends to the entire Top500 – around 40% run SUSE.  Remarkably, most of the rest are running an unspecified version of Linux.  Very few are running anything else.  AIX is probably the most dominant with around 20 entries; and (interestingly) there were six entries running Windows Compute Cluster Server in the list.

Expect an update in a few days.

I was not happy when Novell ‘made peace’ with Microsoft, and thought it was truly a sellout of the open source community. It seems that the agreement hasn’t caused the world to explode just yet, so I suppose it’s alright to keep using SuSE. I have always thought that for the dyed-in-the-wool Windows user, SuSE is a natural fit. For children and adults that have little experience, Ubuntu may be best. I have not read any opinions in agreement with mine, but know people I’ve spoken to tend to agree. Perhaps this is simply another case of the press not getting all facets of the story out.

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