Linked by Eugenia Loli on Wed 11th Jan 2006 18:03 UTC, submitted by Vautnavette
Linux NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab is using Linux extensively... on the desktop! "At the JPL, it is common to see Red Hat Inc., SuSE or Mandriva Linux running on users' desktops alongside Windows.". On a side note, they don't trust Linux on the server: "Our personal view is that Linux, period, is only for the desktop. We don't run our main servers on Linux, because there are too many flaws in main Linux kernel," he said.
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Of course
by snowflake on Wed 11th Jan 2006 18:14 UTC
snowflake
Member since:
2005-07-20

Of course they're going to be using Linux at JPL, the place is full of geeks! Compare JPL with somewhere like a Bank or other commerical entity and things will be different on the desktop.

Reply Score: 0

Interesting to note
by DigitalAxis on Wed 11th Jan 2006 18:44 UTC
DigitalAxis
Member since:
2005-08-28

This is indeed not a big deal for JPL- the article SAYS they're a Solaris 8 shop. They probably (and apparently do, given those quotes) consider Linux a dumbed down version of UNIX...

I do find it funny that they use it on the desktop because it's 'not ready for the server'. It's ironic, unless you're a BSD or Solaris partisan...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Interesting to note
by neocephas on Wed 11th Jan 2006 19:23 UTC in reply to "Interesting to note"
neocephas Member since:
2006-01-11

I wouldn't call them a Solaris 8 shop. It highly depends on the divisions. When I interned in the HPC division at JPL, I was mostly around large clusters (1024+ nodes) and it was all linux (RH I think). I also saw some Suse desktops. The guy I worked with used Windows 98 and I used FreeBSD and NetBSD.

The nice thing about JPL was that you could use whatever OS you wanted, and a lot of them used some sort of Unix (90%). Likewise, I noticed a lot of Macs and a few people have told me that a lot of people have begun switching over, including the business administration people who normally use Windows.

Additionally, no one thinks Linux is a dumbed down version of UNIX, at least no one that I've met at JPL. They really aren't into the flame wars that people here tend to get into. I think the main reason for the bias to traditional UNIXes is that the average age of a JPL employee is over 45 which is very strange for a technological organization if you think about it.

Edited 2006-01-11 19:24

Reply Score: 2

Flawed is right
by linuxh8r on Wed 11th Jan 2006 18:57 UTC
linuxh8r
Member since:
2006-01-09

Linux is terribly flawed, even on the desktop (which is why no one in my company trusts it). JPL has a heavy investment in Unix, so it makes sense that they would use a unix-based OS on their desktops. It's easy to run Linux and X windows on a cheap PC and just do all the real work on a Solaris box. Solaris is much more robust and secure than Linux.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Flawed is right
by Mathman on Wed 11th Jan 2006 15:05 UTC in reply to "Flawed is right"
Mathman Member since:
2005-07-08

Linux is terribly flawed, even on the desktop.

Just curious, how so?

Solaris is much more robust and secure than Linux.
More robust? Perhaps. Or perhaps it's just the quality of the hardware Solaris runs on. I do like Sun hardware, and SGI hardware even more so. But I will say this, Solaris has been anything but robust on x86 hardware, at least by my experience.

More secure though? Seems to me that it's more a matter of who's taking care of the machines. I'd take a Linux machine secured by an experienced sys admin over a Solaris machine looked after by some newbie any day of the week.

By the way, perhaps you're aware that there are demonstration Linux machines out there on the net which are so locked down that they'll let just any old person log in, even as root?

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Flawed is right
by Tuishimi on Wed 11th Jan 2006 20:26 UTC in reply to "RE: Flawed is right"
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

"More secure though? Seems to me that it's more a matter of who's taking care of the machines. I'd take a Linux machine secured by an experienced sys admin over a Solaris machine looked after by some newbie any day of the week."

Wha?! Of course you would. I'd say the same for any and every system/system manager.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Flawed is right
by Dark_Knight on Wed 11th Jan 2006 20:11 UTC in reply to "Flawed is right"
Dark_Knight Member since:
2005-07-10

LinuxH8r,

Re: "Linux is terribly flawed, even on the desktop (which is why no one in my company trusts it)."

Care to clarify your comment with facts instead of throwing FUD around? Even though your username list you as "LinuxH8r" which sounds out "Linux hater" I'm hoping you'll be able to provide a professional response.

In the article the group leader Gary Brack, for the JPL not all of NASA commented on his department that primarily uses Mandriva Linux because that is what they are used to. Also, from what I understood his main issues were related to Mandriva Linux auto-installer during hardware upgrades, not RHEL or SUSE Linux which is used in other areas of NASA. Mr. Brack, also commented Windows has the exact same hardware issues. Though the difference with Linux distributions is that the source code is available for NASA to resolve such issues as device compatibility. Where as with Windows which is closed source they are less likely to resolve such issues in a timely manner.

As for Mr. Brack's comment regarding Linux not being used for JPL servers as in his opinion the kernel is flawed is a broad generalization since he did not provide any factual evidence supporting his opinion. It's surprizing that someone would allow to use Linux distrutions on desktops for work related tasks but not for their department servers. Especially considering many businesses, including government agencies prefer to use Linux over Microsoft due to issues with stability, security, etc. Possibly Mr. Brack's comment was taken out of context considering NASA has one of the largest supercomputer running Linux (see http://www.linuxinsider.com/story/41685.html ).

Edited 2006-01-11 20:14

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Flawed is right
by Haicube on Wed 11th Jan 2006 20:18 UTC in reply to "RE: Flawed is right"
Haicube Member since:
2005-08-06

Ehrm... in case you read the article, or even the short version posted here you'd know why he mentions it's flawed.

This Linux Zealotry is really sad, just accept the mans opinion and get on with it..

I for one agree... why bother with Linux when Solaris is there? Sure, if you obscure hardware, well fine for you.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Flawed is right
by dylansmrjones on Wed 11th Jan 2006 20:25 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Flawed is right"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Stay out of this, Haicube.

Stick your own system ;)

Reply Score: 1

If it works for them ...
by moleskine on Wed 11th Jan 2006 19:24 UTC
moleskine
Member since:
2005-11-05

We'll know if/when Linux has a firm hold when articles like this cease to be newsworthy at all. So NASA's JPL runs Linux out front and Solaris out back. It's what works for them, and as they are the folks doing the working in this case they should know. Sounds like a great combo.

I really can't see why running Linux should be considered controverial in any way. I guess we've all done a great job on ourselves by buying the line that in some way it is.

Reply Score: 2

woah...servers?
by bnolsen on Wed 11th Jan 2006 19:31 UTC
bnolsen
Member since:
2006-01-06

I don't know where people are getting this "linux is flawed" bit. Fanboys piling on I guess.

We're at about 120TB spinning here at work, running primarily athlon64s, opterons, athlonmps, some athlonxps as both data and application servers with IDE arrays, both hardware & software raid. Most of them running anywhere from redhat 7.3 for the old ones to Fedora core 2/3/4 both x86 & amd64.

These machines are not only data servers for windows & linux, but also run both batch and interractive image processing applications.

Machines that only live as data storage for both linux/windows apps usually make it for a year or so uptime (cluster storage machines). Ones that actively house projects for processing are generally good for about 60-90 days or so. Those machines run at about 6+ load constantly during that time. The usual culprit is a failed or hiccupped hard drive & IDE doesn't exactly excel at hot swapping. NFS's quirks with getting stuck will hit us a couple of times a year also, although that hasn't happened since we junked all of the antec power supplies we had on the peripheral servers.

Haven't had SATA/PCIe based server systems up and running long enough to comment on those, but they should be somewhat easier to manage & hot swap.

I worked for a company that supported real time operations for several years and our uptime seems about comparable with what we had there. But there was more about real time transactions than about mass data storage and throughput. I'd estimate our hardware costs here are about 1/20th of what the costs were there.

Reply Score: 1

Re: Flawed is Right...
by Bobmeister on Wed 11th Jan 2006 19:56 UTC
Bobmeister
Member since:
2005-07-06

But Windows is terribly flawed, even on the desktop...that's why I use Linux....

Sorry..couldn't help it!

Reply Score: 1

Nice
by Smartpatrol on Wed 11th Jan 2006 20:15 UTC
Smartpatrol
Member since:
2005-07-06

"Our personal view is that Linux, period, is only for the desktop. We don't run our main servers on Linux, because there are too many flaws in main Linux kernel," he said.

Brack's team instead runs Sun Solaris 8 for its main servers. He cited the OS's more stable, reliable, and longer lifecycle as one of the key reasons for this deployment.


Beautiful! What myself and others have been saying for along time. Just nice to see the truth confirmed.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Nice
by segedunum on Fri 13th Jan 2006 12:44 UTC in reply to "Nice"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

Beautiful! What myself and others have been saying for along time. Just nice to see the truth confirmed.

I can say anything is more reliable and stable, but that doesn't mean that it's true nor have a mentioned anything specifically. The statement in the article is merely one that I've seen many Sun and Solaris enthusiasts come out with as a reason for continuing to run Solaris, and especially spend the money they do. Those reasons have dwindled to nothing over the years. If they could run Solaris on desktops they would, but Solaris isn't good enough there and doesn't have the broad hardware support, especially on laptops. Not that Linux does per se, but it's miles ahead of where Solaris is.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Nice
by Smartpatrol on Fri 13th Jan 2006 17:36 UTC in reply to "RE: Nice"
Smartpatrol Member since:
2005-07-06

I can say anything is more reliable and stable, but that doesn't mean that it's true nor have a mentioned anything specifically. The statement in the article is merely one that I've seen many Sun and Solaris enthusiasts come out with as a reason for continuing to run Solaris, and especially spend the money they do. Those reasons have dwindled to nothing over the years. If they could run Solaris on desktops they would, but Solaris isn't good enough there and doesn't have the broad hardware support, especially on laptops. Not that Linux does per se, but it's miles ahead of where Solaris is.

it is true with those of us that work with Solaris and Linux everyday. Solaris has never been strong on the Desktop it was never intended to be in that market space. Linux doesn't even come close to SUN hardware running Solaris in the server arena.

Reply Score: 1

...
by dylansmrjones on Wed 11th Jan 2006 20:29 UTC
dylansmrjones
Member since:
2005-10-02

Please remember that that statements about linux being flawed are coming from geeks around 50 years old or older.

They are sticking to what they know.

Reply Score: 1

RE: ...
by Tuishimi on Wed 11th Jan 2006 20:32 UTC in reply to "..."
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

Which is, no doubt, a hell of a lot more than 90% of the people on OS News, more than half of which I have no doubt are teenagers who think they know more than anybody else ever will. That is until they grow up and have kids of their own, etc...

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: ...
by Tom K on Wed 11th Jan 2006 20:59 UTC in reply to "RE: ..."
Tom K Member since:
2005-07-06

I would agree. Comparison: educated people who have been using computers for real, important tasks vs. a bunch of teenagers who think they're hax0rs and cool because they're running an alternative operating system.

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: ...
by chemical_scum on Thu 12th Jan 2006 00:50 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ..."
chemical_scum Member since:
2005-11-02

I would agree. Comparison: educated people who have been using computers for real, important tasks vs. a bunch of teenagers who think they're hax0rs and cool because they're running an alternative operating system.

Come of Poo we all kow you're a "teenager who think he's hax0rs and cool"

Were I work is a mostly a Windows shop, but the most mission critical application we have is the Oracle database that is the back end to our Laboratory Information System which is running on RHEL. The company's Oracle support people in Noth America told us that Windows was just not reliable enough and they wouldn't support it - we had to use a *nix if we wanted support. So now our mission critical apps are all dependant on Linux servers. I was just talking to the IT manager (I work in R&D not IT) responsible for them - no problem just running sweetly without requiring any attention.

Just get over your irrational hatred of Linux, Poo it is here to stay in a server room near you.

BTW - I am a geek over 50 who started with Unix (Sunos and AIX) before Linux was even invented.

Edited 2006-01-12 01:01

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: ...
by Tom K on Thu 12th Jan 2006 01:17 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: ..."
Tom K Member since:
2005-07-06

Here to stay? Perhaps. Grow? Doubtful.

The hype will subside sooner or later.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: ...
by chemical_scum on Thu 12th Jan 2006 13:59 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: ..."
chemical_scum Member since:
2005-11-02

Here to stay? Perhaps. Grow? Doubtful.

The hype will subside sooner or later.


You will never learn will you Poo. Linux is the fastest growing OS for servers. The only server OS to have shown a consistent growth rate, of of over twice that of the market growth, for the past three years. There is a lot to be learned from Linus's approach to software develoment being analogous to biological evolution.

Linux is growing faster than any other operating system. This is a facts. Live with it Poo.

Edited 2006-01-12 14:05

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: ...
by Tom K on Thu 12th Jan 2006 19:25 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: ..."
Tom K Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't doubt that it's growing.

So were sales of Tamagotchis, Pokemon, and Pogs. It's called hype. It *will* subside once people realize they've been wasting their time with an amateur, patchwork-quilt operating system.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: ...
by microshag on Thu 12th Jan 2006 22:44 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: ..."
microshag Member since:
2005-11-30

"amateur, patchwork-quilt operating system"

You mean Windows? People already know they're wasting their time with it, just most of them think they don't have much choice in the matter.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: First name basis maybe?
by glarepate on Thu 12th Jan 2006 21:36 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: ..."
glarepate Member since:
2006-01-04

You will never learn will you Poo.

You just need to establish a closer relationship with this person in order to get past the social barriers preventing learning. My suggestion is that you switch from last name to first name basis in conversation.

What do you think Linux?

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: ...
by dylansmrjones on Thu 12th Jan 2006 07:34 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ..."
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

I can agree to that as well. And hasn't implied otherwise, despite certain persons deliberate misinterpretions ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE: ...
by Finalzone on Wed 11th Jan 2006 21:55 UTC in reply to "..."
Finalzone Member since:
2005-07-06

Careful about ages. For example on Fedora Forum, some "Geeks" who are more than 60 years-old are way smarter and still able to learn new features.

Edited 2006-01-11 21:56

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: ...
by dylansmrjones on Thu 12th Jan 2006 07:35 UTC in reply to "RE: ..."
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Of course they are. And some younger people can sometimes be incapable of learning new tricks.

Reply Score: 1

RE: ...
by Lumbergh on Thu 12th Jan 2006 05:31 UTC in reply to "..."
Lumbergh Member since:
2005-06-29

These 50 year old geeks at JPL know more about computation and operating systems then you or anybody that will post on this thread will ever know.

Dylansmrjones, please stop embarrassing yourself by going into zealot mode. I know your bitter that they don't find Linux a worthy server OS, but you just degrade yourself everytime with your crazy theories.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: ...
by dylansmrjones on Thu 12th Jan 2006 07:40 UTC in reply to "RE: ..."
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Huh?

I'm not the least bit bitter. I know you want to stamp me as a linux zealot. That's why I have Windows 2003, Gentoo Linux and SkyOS Beta 9 on my system. Yup, surely.

That's probably also why I don't consider the GPL a perfect license. Yup, sure.

I was merely relaying statements from the article.

Personally, I cannot see why they should switch to linux. They already have a system they can rely on, and you don't fix it if it works. And no doubt they know more than me. Have not implied otherwise.

However, I've noticed many times you prefer to attack me on a personal level, whenever you can. Especially when you don't have any arguments, or cannot read.

I repeat: I was merely relaying statements from the article.

And you would have known, had you read it.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: ...
by microshag on Thu 12th Jan 2006 22:50 UTC in reply to "RE: ..."
microshag Member since:
2005-11-30

Dude, it's just one guy's opinion. That's all. If it were really that cut and dried, everybody would be using Solaris and nobody would be using Linux. Morever, if they're traditionally a Solaris shop, why don't they use Solaris on the desktop too?

Reply Score: 1

More to this than your average company
by Freebasen on Wed 11th Jan 2006 20:51 UTC
Freebasen
Member since:
2006-01-11

I think its important to remember that many servers at NASA are not just serving webpages and holding customer info. If these servers fail there are multi-billion dollar projects and possibly human lives at stake. Of course they are going to go with government certified systems with proven reliabilty. They will stick with what they know (above age 45 reference) because they know it works. They don't want WIFI and USB support, they want a rock solid system with built in redundancy.

Reply Score: 2

Flawed kernel comment
by Nex6 on Wed 11th Jan 2006 20:53 UTC
Nex6
Member since:
2005-07-06

i am sure his comment about "Linux's flawed kernel"
was either taken out of context or was not flushed out enough.

i am sure there are tons of apps they are using that work much better on solaris, and that in part may be
what he was refering to.



-Nex6

Reply Score: 1

RE: Flawed kernel comment
by Finalzone on Wed 11th Jan 2006 21:58 UTC in reply to "Flawed kernel comment"
Finalzone Member since:
2005-07-06

Agreed. It looks like reporters missed the point.

Reply Score: 1

More Info is Needed For the Claims
by hraq on Wed 11th Jan 2006 21:17 UTC
hraq
Member since:
2005-07-06

I respect this branch of NASA because they are dealing with a zero tolerance technologies, especially zero point energy and antigravity, but I really need more info why solaris being more solid and stable than any linux distribution out there! What are the flaws that plauge linux kernel; maybe their version comparision of both linux and solaris are old and you know how much linux kernel 2.6 improved since 2.4. Really more info is needed, such info will improve linux if they are true and will remove the myth of flaw if not true.

Reply Score: 1

Not Specific Enough
by PLan on Wed 11th Jan 2006 22:03 UTC
PLan
Member since:
2006-01-10

There are plenty of people relying on Linux for important work, so a comment like -

"...We don't run our main servers on Linux, because there are too many flaws in main Linux kernel,"

Really needs to be fleshed out with specific examples. The lack of detail has brought out the usual OSNews trolls.

P.S. Mandrake would not have been my first choice Linux distro "years ago".

Reply Score: 1

Rocket Science
by visconde_de_sabugosa on Wed 11th Jan 2006 22:06 UTC
visconde_de_sabugosa
Member since:
2005-11-14

Windows zealots are right !! Linux looks like Rocket Science ! :-)

I am kidding... Linux on desktops is a reality and only game-addicted and close-minded windows zealots think it is not ready.

Yes, there are no linux programs in some niches but there are sufficient and good programs to business and scientific desktops.

I use exclusively linux on both home and work desktops for years.

Reply Score: 0

truth
by happycamper on Thu 12th Jan 2006 06:36 UTC
happycamper
Member since:
2006-01-01

Now I do believe what Theo de Raadt said when forbes asked him about linux. That linux was garbage and needed to be fix.

Reply Score: 1

oh well
by happycamper on Thu 12th Jan 2006 09:33 UTC
happycamper
Member since:
2006-01-01

I don't understand why nasa does not use openbsd or any of the BSDs on their servers. Openbsd is more secure, robust and less bloated and flawed then linux.

Reply Score: 1

I can understand their position
by MattK on Thu 12th Jan 2006 16:56 UTC
MattK
Member since:
2005-11-14

Sure the kernel might have flaws (what large piece of C code doesn't) but is really stable in comparison to all the other flawed systems out there. However, linux tends to get a lot of bleeding edge software that may or may not be stable. LVM, sold as the solution to spanning multiple harddrives, is a neat but flawed concept that will leave you with a broken array if any one of the drives go bad. LVM should be used by noone.

Solaris as a whole has more mature helper utilities that are less likely to leave you in a very bad state. Someone mentioned sun hardware being higher quality. Doesn't Sun also sell linux systems. What about an IBM linux system--should be pretty heavy duty hardware.

Reply Score: 1

Flaws?
by Disruptor on Thu 12th Jan 2006 17:44 UTC
Disruptor
Member since:
2005-11-06

"We don't run our main servers on Linux, because there are too many flaws in main Linux kernel,"

Yes there might be some flaws in Linux. Ok - opinion respected. But the way you say it my friend it sounds like `linux has *far* more flaws than the OS we are currently using' and it's statements like these that are dangerous cause they are only *partially* true (Linux has flaws -true- that are far more than the OS we using instead -probably false-). Ok, linux may have more flaws than Solaris let's say, but *NONE* that an exprerienced admin can not seal down, be aware of it and be careful about it. There are problems on linux but they are well known from exprerienced admins and *snap* (for them) to fix. On the upside Linux has it's own advantages over let's say Solaris (on x86 let's say).

In all the server rooms I've seen each *nix OS used has proved it's own merits. The only bad performer is *constantly* that wonderfull O$ from Redmond.

An experienced sys admin with an OS that respects itself (may it be linux, openbsd, solaris - well keep windows away pls) should suffice to secure it and keep it up and running 24/7. The weight when it comes to the server room always falls on the sys admin. And this is the variable that this the stand-alone statement `linux has far too many flaws' strikes out for no reason.

Reply Score: 1

Just to point something out...
by DontEatAnAnimal on Thu 12th Jan 2006 22:16 UTC
DontEatAnAnimal
Member since:
2006-01-11

I can understand as to why they arn't using linux. You stay with a boat you know is safe, not jump into a boat that your not too sure of when there is billions of dollars of tax payers money and many lives at stake. I absolutly love linux. I'm not a pro of Linux by any means but I do like if for the stuff i have used it for. Ive used both MSwin and Suse and perfer linux any day for server and workstaitions. Linux is not a hype. People have been using it for years not too mention UNIX that has been used longer then I've been alive and has proven to be somethning great. Use whatever works for you and the company. Whether it be Linux, BSD, Windows *Cringe* or Unix. If it works without flaws, why change if you dont have too when there is so much at cost...

Reply Score: 1

Just a question?
by monkeyhead on Fri 13th Jan 2006 02:00 UTC
monkeyhead
Member since:
2005-07-11

So if you dorks only like your one and only pet OS, then why do you come to a sight called OSNews that reports on lots of OS's?

Go read your respective linux/mac/windows hype boards if it aggravates you so much to think that someone else may find some value in an operating system you don't use/like.

Reply Score: 1