Monday, September 01, 2008

More Linux light

Linux has been for much of it's life a victim of it's own progress. How to develop an outcome that advances on all fronts and yet maintaining the backward compatibility. What brought this up, you ask? I was reading over the Dyne:bolic Linux web site and there is a blurb about turning your networked computers into a cluster. A cluster allows you to combine and share the computer power and resources of several networked machines, spread the work among them to get it done faster. Today we have so-called multi-core CPUs that are supposed to do the same in theory. But while operating systems might take advantage of this, the applications do not. You have the latest dual-core cpu's and you got single core applications. Anyway, further investigation reveals that Dyne:bolic Linux version 1.4.1 has openMosix. OpenMosix is a kernel extension that makes for turning separate PC's on the same network into a cluster. This means you could have more computer power and resources for said application and the application doesn't have to be specially designed for it to work. For doing web surfing this is meaningless, but for math intensive I've done rendering in Rhino3D a MS win software. A final rendering might take 1/2 hour or more to process. A cluster might take 5 or 10 minutes for the same rendering.

A hot topic for a while was building a Blender3D render farm with off the shelf hardware. Today that hardware is mostly used equipment and even cheaper. So, if you ask me, that technology can come off the cutting edge and make a way to the masses. All you geeks and geek artist can explore and extend that technology in practical ways without the complexities of the Beowulf cluster. If I am wrong, tell me.

As of March 2008 the openMosix project closed. They claim the advent of dual-core PC's obsoleted further development. Hey, how many of you folks have hardware made obsolete by MS Vista and is not that old? My main box and my spare are both single core, not that old and I could use the extra computer power on some projects. Dyne:bolic is at version 2.5.2 now and uses a newer kernel. Because openMosix is done for now it is not in the latest Dyne. You know, sometimes the price of progress is to set aside amazingly powerful and/or useful stuff and move on to something else. I think all the user request for wireless support, the dual-core cpu especially in the laptop market and possibilly the home server idea has overshadowed the openMosix folks.

I don't know, nothing left but to download Dyne:bolic 1.4.1 (still available) and see for myself. No big thing folks, I know some of you refused to give up Win95 when Win98/XP came along. And just think of the hassle if it weren't for live-CD's. I guess they should come up with a multi-core version of openMosix and make openMosix an extension to run on any distro. I see that Phantom of the Opera movie, he is at the keyboard, all the PC's lights are blinking and the house power goes dim.........(ooh the power!!) Come on guys, your work's not finished yet.

Just an addition, The Dyne:bolic 2.5.2, the latest does say in the lines that you can cluster with it also. The 1.4.1 version works fine, I have to look into the 2.5.2 version. This is a cool feature if you can find a use for it. Us common folk don't crunch many numbers, our thing is interactive computing. Does clustering speed up games or 3D graphics?

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