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An Interesting Boot Log On Alpha 244

Here is an interesting Boot log on an Alpha. What is so interesting about this boot log? Nothing special, just that this Alpha's got 31 Processors, 256GB RAM -- looks VERY impressive. I wouldn't mind having one of those beasts at work *drooling all over*. Oh, and it compiles the kernel very fast :)
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An interesting boot log on alpha

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  • Here is the link [] to the system which you referred to. The CPlant is quite impressive, 1,600 alphas running on Linux.

    But its definately not the same system as the new 12,000 cpu 30 TeraOp ASCI EV68-based dream machine.

    Now what would be _cool_ is if during checkout someone were to try out 2.4.0-test103 and find out that it actually outperforms Tru64 for certain classes of problems.

    The reference to 2.4.0-test103 is based on the rate of test kernels, and the projected delivery time of this new machine. I hope that 2.4.0 final is available much sooner than that.

  • About 3 stories ago. I wish Compaq would commit to keeping the line running, at least for a few years. It'd make my 64 bit system purchasing decision a lot easier...
  • This article has many times more complaints about "why is this news" and "big deal" than any I've seen in a long time. This is a real shame. A Slashdot filled with 15 true-nerd-news articles like this would be so much better than the Slashdot filled with 15 intellectual-property-rights-based articles, and I always thought that a lot of other people deep down agreed with me.

    Oh, well.

  • And it so nice to see the Digital logo in this story. For all of us old VMS hackers - it'll never be Compaq.
  • Yes, Linux is cool and performs fairly well. But Tru64 UNIX is optimised for Alpha hardware and far more scaleable. Yes, Linux is more scaleable than ever before, but still not as scaleable as most UNIX systems. It seems like a waste to spend all this money on excellent hardware and then stick Linux on it, degrading the performance.
  • But I am drooling, dammit!

    I got the bootlog by email a three weeks ago and had to stay seated for half an hour.

    Of course geeks lust after cool hardware, just like car guys lust after cool cars.

    :-) My question is why aren't you drooling? Are you some sorta software nancy boy or something? :-)
  • /. really needs to start notifying sites when they print up a story about them, this one has already been slashdotted and the story has only been up for a little while. If we could tell them beforehand, perhaps they could brace for the onslaught.

    Enigma .sigless
  • yeah, you all shut up!...

    oh wait... that doesn't look right...
  • Well, before Thatcher, Britain's healthcare was one of the best in the world...

    Please, let's not draw irrelevant political comparisons; I think this one is, not because you fail to make a point with it, but because it simplifies the British political situation.

  • In a related story, it was recently discovered that it IS possible to run the Enlightenment window manager without annoying slowdowns...

  • 6) They needed to post something about the Alpha to quell the rants and flames over the Sun US3 story!

  • "3) Someone evil took controle of /. and decided to focus our attentions by confusing us with that headline while he's kidnaping CmdrTaco and Hemos. "

    Would we notice if they were kidnapped? Of course we would! The stories would get better!

  • You only make yourself look silly when you post comments without reading the link(s)... let me hit you with the cluebyfour...

    "The only caveats are that one of the CPUs was out of
    the system at the time (hence 31 CPUs, not 32)"

  • But check out that floppy, it's a 2.88MB! Even the floppy drive is better than what I've got in the beowulf cluster at work. I feel so inferior.

    I bet my keyboard is better than theirs, at least I have that.
  • I'd like to see it, if only for the laughs, but Microsoft wants $2.8 mil for a 32 CPU license on NT 4.0.
  • Despite the fact I'll probably get struck by lightning, I've always been a fan of "Sweet Zombie Jesus!"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @10:47AM (#749136)
    Das computermachine ist nicht fuer gefingerpoken und mittengrabben.
    Ist easy schnappen der springenwerk, blowenfusen und poppencorken mit spitzensparken.
    Ist nicht fuer gewerken bei das dumpkopfen.
    Das rubbernecken sichtseeren keepen das cotten-pickenen hans in das pockets muss; relaxen und watchen das blinkenlichten.

    Oh, wait, front panels went out in the 70's. nevermind.
  • "Linux pthreads" is really just a library implemented on top of the Linux kernel clone() system call. The clone API scales just fine. The pthreads library on the other hand has "issues."
  • A car that can do 200 can generally reach 70 mph a great deal faster than a car that can only do 70. I think the analogy holds for the 32 processor 256 GB RAM Linux box as well.
  • A quick search on Google revealed [] that an 8x Pentium III (Xeon) at 500 MHz, SMP would run at 3996.06 BogoMips. Compared to 46170.90 BogoMIPS. Or about 8% of the box. Of course, I wonder how the price comparison point would be. :)

    Ok, I finally tracked down [] the Alpha pricing. But I'll be danged if I can get it to work. Can someone else? yeeshk.
  • For applications developers, having one stable unix-like system to develop applications on is a huge win. Although you can say that with Posix all things are possible, it seldom works that way.

    I'm working on an open source project, and porting to anything beyond *Linux (i.e. AlphaLinux, IntelLinux, etc.) is a pain in the ass. Header files aren't where you think they are, they don't necessarily do what you think they do, standard library routines don't do what you think they do (try getcwd(NULL, 0) on a solaris) or what they're supposed to do, etc.

    When companies like Oracle employ teams of porting engineers and have to substantially modify their coding practices (last time I read them, the Oracle coding standards were over 100 pages) to support the plethora of operating systems they have to support, you start to see the advantage of having one unified platform. One of the reasons why corporate developers have flocked to Java in droves was the original goal of Write Once, Run Everywhere.

    While there are specific hardware differences between platforms that porters should be aware of (Alignment is the most significant and obvious), being able to have the same operating system on many different platforms gives developers more of an advantage to writing to that platform. And it makes more esoteric hardware more attractive (becuase they get to exploit all the different applications ported to that platform).

    Overall, the more things that Linux runs (and runs well) on, the better it is for applications developers to support the Linux development model and encourage customers to run it.

    The solution isn't to just say "Tru64 is better, run it" but to say "Linux needs work, here's the help," which appears to be what Compaq/DEC is doing here.

  • by AJWM ( 19027 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @11:53AM (#749141) Homepage
    Well... the S/390 port runs on a VM, so Linux doesn't know the kind of power that is actually down there..

    Nope, the S/390 port runs either in a VM or natively. You can boot up a 390 with Linux as your only OS, and then it definitely knows about the whole machine.

    It's just that far more people are likely to have access to a VM running on a 390 than there are that have a whole 390 to play with.

    No, no, no. It ain't ME babe,
    It ain't ME you're looking for.
  • by OrenWolf ( 140914 ) <> on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @11:53AM (#749142) Homepage
    Can anyone comment on the SMP performance linearity of the current Linux kernel on more than 4 CPUs?

    As taken from yet another Kernel Traffic [] Post:

    "the 2.4 kernel's scalability of the most common workloads is limited by hardware (ie. the kernel lets those workloads scale 'down to the metal'). The 2.4 kernel scales quite decently on 8 CPUs. I would be surprised if we had any serious problem at 32 or 64 CPUs. (Linux right now is architecturally limited to 32 CPUs on 32-bit systems and 64 CPUs on 64-bit systems - because we have some per-CPU data structures put into word-size bitfields.)"
  • Linux is king-of-the-hill in SpecWeb99 tests on One, Two, Four, and *8-way* systems. :-)
  • by Rand Race ( 110288 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @10:50AM (#749144) Homepage
    Now that you mention it, one of my hyper-intelegent... well formerly hyper-intelegent.... monkeys does drool over the ferrite core memory. I was having them try a new scheme for creating 200Mhz double data rate ferrite core memory when one of the iron doughnuts escaped containment at just under escape velocity blowing a neat hole through said monkey's head. Now he drools over the memory... hell over anything near him... and has some strange tendancys to violent outbreaks of pure simian angst. I changed his name to Phineas since it's apropo and he doesn't respond to Lucullus anymore. Pompey, Cato, and Cornelius were loathe to return to work after the accident so I had to apply more chunky voltage to their testicles (this is why I use male hyper-intelegent monkeys), Lucullus too since it seems to, eventualy, calm him down some.

  • cant be afforded? two words my man: drug dealing

    we do not condone the actions being condoned by the condoners condoning the condoned actions.

    "sex on tv is bad, you might fall off..."
  • You'll still benefit from sneaky writes (I confess I don't know, does Linux do them?) to swap, so should have TotalPeakMemoryNeeded swap.
  • The sundown machines are behind a firewall, so pinging them would be futile. In addition to that, this test occured about two weeks ago, so you couldn't do anything with it. Compaq (seeing as Digital is owned by them, not on their own) doesn't let their machines that are as big as three refridgerators (sp?) sit running all the time (something about power consumption comes to mind...). An intresting thing about these machines is that they are prototypes. They are for sale (they model type), but they cost somewhere in the 2 Million Dollar range. As far as the Linux Scalability issue, here is a really intresting report [] from a UofM alumni, now a worker for Compaq on their zk3 campus (practically Hemos's back yard, it's in New Hampsire I belive). Yes it is only a coincidence.

    -Mr. Macx

  • Great, now I'm not going to be able to sleep at night. It makes my Dual Pentium II machine look bad.
  • yeah... same here, ever since upgrading to 2.4.0-test5 I've been having that problem. couldn't even create the file. best suggestion? ignore it :) i think ip_always_defrag is just used by servers?
    dd if=/dev/random of=~/.ssh/authorized_keys bs=1 count=1024
  • Starting system logger: Warning: /boot/ has an incorrect kernel version.
    /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_always_defrag is missing -- cannot control IP defragmentation

    Now which processor is doing that? Is it the RAM strips? Oh wait.... it's the modules...
    Ok, I don't mean to troll, but if I want to show-off my machine, I'd like to fix those little warnings first before sending the dmesg.
    dd if=/dev/random of=~/.ssh/authorized_keys bs=1 count=1024
  • I miss the days of being able to read every single post on slashdot every day and still have plenty of time to get all my work done.

    I'm glad I'm not the only one. :)

  • Bite my shiny metal ass.
  • Just because the West Edmonton Mall has more submarines than the Canadian navy doesn't give you the right to laugh at our miliary.

  • Anyone that doesn't believe that Linux scales, is mistaken. Anyone that professes the same is either ignorant of what's been going down for the past two years or is FUDing.

    While I'll admit that the S/390 port is some proof of scalability- every little drop helps dispell myths.
  • w00t, i can run 15 copies of quake and frag myself as various players!
    I personally find the memory cooler. Why not start up the OS, mount / to a 10-100gb ramdisk, copy the harddisk to the ramdisk, and then finish loading up. *that* would be true speed.
  • "Alpha is not going away."

    I keep seeing Hitler's revenges driving around town (erm, VW Beetles, for those not in the know).
    So "not going away" doesn't mean anything.

    If I thought Alphas were any good I'd have bought one. Oh, I did. And it was. And it still is.

    For mathematical computing it is the easiest to program in efficient C of any architecture I know. My C code trounces hand-optimised assembly on an equal speed Athlon, despite the fact that my instruction latencies are, on paper, longer.

  • drooling over what kind of key rate this would get on Distributed!!

  • Can't be bothered to reaad the log for myself, but the impression I get from the quote posted is that 31 refers to the secondaries, and so it actually got all 32?

  • Effectively!

    I'd sooner run Solaris or Digital Unix on their native hardware - at least that way, all that power will be put to use! Linux just doesn't scale well beyond the workstation market yet.

    While this is cool, I'm sorry - Linux isn't quite "up there" yet. Show me some hardcore applications that use this (nevermind Linux itself) under Linux...

  • get a life
  • ... (You can get a new Alpha for under $3k)

    On top of that, you can get a not-so-completely-new Alpha for a LOT cheaper.

    About 2 years ago there were AlphaStation 200 4/233 carcases going on one of the online auctions for under US$400. Go to a computer trade show and pick up a 6.4GB HD (the max an AS200 would support), 64MB additional RAM, 24X CD-ROM, Keyboard, mouse, 21" monitor, 56K/v.90 modem, and you're still under US$1000.

    Code commentary is like sex.
    If it's good, it's VERY good.

  • Holy cow. My first kernel took about 8 hours as I recall, on a 386-16 with 4MB. I was struggling with signal 11s the whole time, too -- the motherboard was fine in DOS, but flaky in 32-bit mode. I'd have to restart the whole process every half-hour or so.

    Damn, what a difference. 8 hours (or 10 in your case) versus 20 seconds. Shit, you wouldn't even have time to go get a cup of coffee anymnre. Used to be you had time for a beach trip.

    Down with enhanced productivity! :)

    Oh, just occurred to me -- the kernel I was compiling was in the .90 series. I think Linux has grown just a wee bit since then. I bet it would take 15+ hours for a modern kernel on that old machine. No way to know, though -- I gave that machine away long ago.
  • by matija ( 27014 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @09:54AM (#749185) Homepage
    It can play an hour's worth of MP3s in 78 seconds.

    (and execute an infinite loop in less than 3.5 minutes)
  • by Mignon ( 34109 ) <> on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @09:57AM (#749191)
    It does my heart good to see, among all the messages for high-tech stuff,

    ttyS00 at 0x03f8 (irq = 4) is a 16550A

    All I need is another 255.8725 GB, another 29 processors, another 7 LAN cards, and I'm right there!

  • It depends upon the task being performed of course. Some tasks can never be parallelized at all, regardless of how many CPUs you have and what operating system you are running.

    Sure, but assume a task that is 100% parallelized for the purpose of the question. What is the OS overhead as you increase processors?


  • by Pete Bevin ( 291 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @03:39PM (#749195) Homepage
    1985: You could easily read all the posts on Usenet.

    1990: You could easily read everything in comp.*. You bitched about all the weenies clogging up the alt hierarchy.

    1995: You could easily read everything in comp.lang.perl. You bitched about all the weenies clogging up the comp.* hierarchy.

    1998: You could easily read everything on slashdot. You bitched about all the weenies clogging up Usenet.

    July 2000: You could easily read everything on kuro5hin []. You bitched about all the weenies clogging up slashdot.

    September 2000: Bloody weenies clog up kuro5hin. End of universe as we know it. Film at eleven.

  • aboot: Linux/Alpha SRM bootloader version 0.7
    aboot: switching to OSF/1 PALcode version 1.75
    aboot: booting from device 'SCSI 3 6 0 1 100 0 0'

    This joke was aboot as funny as Canada's military presence, eh?

  • How much software actually scales well to that many processors? I suspect quake would top out long before 31.
  • In addition to the scalability of the kernel, I'm interested in the hardware that implements this on the motherboard. How big is the address bus? Data bus? What sort of bus is used to mux/demux all of this???


  • Actually, to be more accurate, this computer was purchased by the DOE for the Sandia National Laboratories to simulate nuclear explosions. What the truth is is that if you read the entire article the computer will actually be running a modified version of RedHat Linux and their proprietary, but soon to be open source software, called CPlant. The article has all the links and it an interesting read. Check it out. More great Linux headlines that should have probably been their own post on Slashdot.

  • by SoupIsGood Food ( 1179 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @12:22PM (#749219)
    At one of my jobs, I was in the computer room of a Vast Fianancial Company That Shall Remain Nameless. They had an IBM RS/6000 SP-2 supercomputer that filled most of one wall, 32 POWER3 processors and untold terrabytes of storage.

    I was left alone to work my mojo on a much smaller Sun server, but once I was good and certain i was alone, and that there were no cameras monitoring me, I wandered over to the supercomputer. I looked at the gray and blue tower that held the processors and RAM. It was worth $20, easy.

    I touched it, caressed the cool metal of the mesh grid over the airvents with my fingertips, feeling the warm air and the low buzz. I'd pay $100 to do that again.

    Then I licked it.


    SoupIsGood Food

  • How're you supposed to implement an atomic test-and-set if the kernel can pre-empt you in the middle of it?

    This is a hardware, not an OS issue. And sure enough, Alpha (like Pentia) has an atomic test-and-set instruction! Good thing, too -- you need this sort of instruction to implement mutexes and other locks both in kernel and user space. There is no efficient software workaround for the lack of such an instruction.

  • by Drakino ( 10965 ) <> on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @12:27PM (#749228) Journal
    According to [] the high end Alpha servers don't support Linux yet. I'm sure Compaq Research has done it many times, but if it's not supported at this point, it means Compaq dosen't feel that a client needs to pay possibly millions for a server that won't perform at it's maximum capibilities when loaded with Linux. Compaq is pushing Linux big time, and it will definitly be a technical reason for it not running on a server, not a marketing decision.

  • Um, dude, Microsoft doesn't run on alpha any more.

    Oh yeah, just another way that Microsoft products suck.

  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @10:02AM (#749237) Homepage Journal
    Powerful, yes, but not as powerful as THIS []

    Chief Frog Inspector
  • I have talked previously with them about their stories posted on slashdot.

    They said that their machines could handle it easily...
  • You mean that selling hundred, if not thousands, of Alpha's to the national labs for supercomputer work, and investing $500million last year with Samsung on new technology and $100 million this week to fund VC's in the biotech world that LOVE Alpha (like Celera) isn't enough of a commitment to you?

    What WOULD be a commitment then?

    FWIW, I work at API and we make Alpha's too and I have to say that it's getting damned frustrating listening to the FUD from IA-64 lovers, none of which have even touched an IA-64, no mind can AFFORD an IA-64. (You can get a new Alpha for under $3k)

  • Due to them being largely meaningless, I tend to ignore them any time other than the first time I boot a given system; is 1489 fairly high? Or not?

    I would find it unremarkable if there was some Intel chip that had an outrageously higher BogoMIPS rating that would disappear from the "running" as soon as you tossed POVRay onto it...

  • Call me an old fart, but I remember when 75% of slashdot posts were things like this.

    Is this a breakthrough technology? No. Is this an earth-shaking legal or political development? No. Is it something that geeks the world over will have wet dreams about tonight? You bet your ass.

  • by Speare ( 84249 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @10:24AM (#749247) Homepage Journal

    All the posts about "I need a towel" and "they should sell tickets just to touch it" are gonna look funny when this is just another slag heap of unusable parts.

    "Why, when I was yer age, miboy, we had to put up with using a computer. That's a complicated physically connected brick of processing components. We thought a mere 2^5 processors was worth drooling over. Yes, miboy, I know your cochlear implant has more than that. You're missing the point. This thing was tremendous! It took up a whole rack: four times the size of a grown man! And all of its memory circuits were in the same cabinet, requiring massive cooling apparatus, unlike the distributed memory crystals that people embed in their jewelry."

    Anyone still drooling over 2^5 address space on ferrite core memory? Anyone still drooling over 2^5 address lines? Or data lines?

  • If the instruction code were compatible with the x86 set, how fast do you guys think this would run Windows 2000? 2 second boot time?
  • Hey coward!

    Read some news! IBM, Compaq, Dell and the other guys are WORKING on making 16 processors and 32 processors based server - it's still vaporware!

    Also, do you mind showing me a X86 machine which supports 256GB RAM? huh?

    Thought so!
  • by mihalis ( 28146 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @11:14AM (#749258) Homepage

    It would be nice to do a rebel linux install on our Sun Enterprise 10ks (we have quite a few). Only trouble would be disguising what was going on :

    You don't need to see my bootlog (waves hand).

    These aren't the cpus you're looking for (waves hand)

    You can go about your business (waves hand)

    Move along.

  • I wish Compaq would commit to keeping the line running, at least for a few years.

    • What kind of commitment do you want? They haven't exactlly announced its cancellation (like they did for NT). Compaq has plans for EV7 and EV8, at least. If they had any intention to pull the plug they would've quit engineering these by now.
    • Compaq isn't the only player... there's Samsung, API (who would cease to exist without Alpha, it's their sole business).
    • Compaq has a comparatively small but fiercely loyal VMS customer base. The VAX is EOL and they have no hardware option but (you guessed it) Alpha.

    And so on. I don't know how these things start, but folks, Alpha is not going away. Sheesh.

  • by semaj ( 172655 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @10:24AM (#749270) Journal
    People seem to be complaining that "this isn't news".. no, it's not the kind of thing that you'd see on your local TV news, but it's "News for Nerds". Which is, as I'm sure you're aware, what this is all about. Why should I care that you don't like this story? I didn't like the last one, do you care?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @10:10AM (#749271)
    > Can anyone comment on the SMP performance linearity of the current Linux kernel on more than 4 CPUs?

    It depends upon the task being performed of course. Some tasks can never be parallelized at all, regardless of how many CPUs you have and what operating system you are running.

    > Did they every sort out the issues that prevented kernel socket (or was it I/O?) APIs
    > being called concurrently by processes on multiple CPUs?

    Yes, Linux TCP/IP is fully threaded and will run concurrently on all CPUs, assuming that there is work to be done on all of them. (a single socket will not run on 100 CPUs at the same time, for instance)
  • This means nothing. Being scalable means that performance with 30 processors is about the double of performance with 15 processors, and so forth. If this 31 processors machine, running Linux, can deliver more juice than a machine with 8 processors, I'd be surprised.
  • by d.valued ( 150022 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @09:33AM (#749276) Journal
    Processors 1 to 15 would work on

    Numbers 16 to 20 would do Seti.

    Numbers 21-29 would run Quake3, Civ:CTP, and XWS.

    Numbers 30 and 31 would run the realtime disk encryption/decryption series :)
  • Actually I thought it was kind of cool. Big iron is interesting. Running Linux on big iron is very interesting. :-)

    I wonder how long kernel compiles actually take?

  • Alpha chips were a dead technology? Keep saying that, it'll drive the price down! OK, an Ask /. question here: What MPI tools are available for Linux, like LAM? IOW, how does this clever guy do useful things with his Moonbase Alpha?
  • by orabidoo ( 9806 ) on Thursday September 28, 2000 @12:05AM (#749284) Homepage
    that *still* depends on the workload. if it's CPU-bound, it just works. if it's I/O bound, it depends on global system recourses (bus speed and bandwith), and on how well smp-threaded that particular subsystem is on the OS. one of the big improvements of the linux 2.4 kernel is precisely a major overhaul of the tcp/ip stack to smp-thread it completely. OTOH, heavy filesystem work (lots of rename(), unlink(), open(O_CREAT), etc) is not likely to scale super-well, because of filesystem locking constraints, and that's under all OSes too, which is why you generally avoid writing your big programs in such a way that they have to be messing around with lots of little files all the time (e.g that's why you use a database backend, or some kind of db format, rather than flat files, if you want a news server that scales). beyond that, in the real high end (32 procs and more), the SMP model itself starts showing its limits, which is why NUMA (non-uniform memory access, i.e. not all memory is equally fast from each processor) was invented. Linux 2.4 has some preliminary support for NUMA, but it's still in the beginning stages.
  • that's one side of the story. the other side is that clone() doesn't support the exact POSIX threads API, and the linuxthreads library has to bend over backward (and be slow, in the process) to add this support. the situation is slowly fixing itself, but there are some human communication problems in the middle, and it takes a lot of time for a new version of linuxthreads to make it all the way to the distributions.
  • If you scroll down and pause at certain intervals you can pretend its your computer booting
  • by British ( 51765 )
    So is this the Jugs magazine centerfold for kernel hackers? "Look at the processors on THAT!"
  • I'm tweaking my personal copy of the Linux source code right now to give me even more powerful-looking text when it starts up. Whatever impresses the chicks...

    Computing speed is relative. You can buy a faster computer, or make your mind go slower. Bring out the beer!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The TCP/IP code is fully SMP threaded. It runs on multiple processors in parallel. The same is true for the VFS layer. Linux already holds the world-record SPECweb99 score on a 4-way box, which would not have been possible without good SMP scalability.
  • by sprag ( 38460 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @10:30AM (#749299)
    "Feh" is right. Who needs an alpha when I can get 0.0033 Bogomips on my c64. Read it and weep!
    Imagine a beowulf cluster of C64s! Think of the power!
  • Here is what might have just happened :
    1) This is one heck of a boring day with nothing happening at all.
    2) HeUnique just received the rights to post and wanted to post something, anything quickly before those rights faded away.
    3) Someone evil took controle of /. and decided to focus our attentions by confusing us with that headline while he's kidnaping CmdrTaco and Hemos.
    4) I was really bored at work and decided to reply to that headline even if it didn't hold much interests.

    "When I was a little kid my mother told me not to stare into the sun...

  • Quoted from article:

    Oh, and it compiles the kernel VERY fast :)

    Good. Maybe it'll be fast enough to start up Windows 2000 in a reasonable time frame.

    <grin> Think of how much *ass* you could kick running SETI@home on that!

  • by Flower ( 31351 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @10:38AM (#749306) Homepage
    Now what I want to know is how it performs. With 31 cpus, 8 nics and a boatload of I/O, this is a great opprotunity to get some hard data on a variety of issues and figure out how to make the kernel better.

    imo, what it can do well is less important than what it can't. To paraphrase Limp Bizkit, "Let's break some sh**."

  • Tru64 Unix may be solid and scalable, but it's not perfect either. I wouldn't be surprised if both Linux and FreeBSD had better tcp/ip these days.
  • by -=Izzy=- ( 80039 ) <> on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @09:38AM (#749309) Homepage
    its porn for geeks! if you will excuse me... i think i need a towel now.
  • I wonder how long kernel compiles actually take?

    At a guess, not very long at all. On a 24 CPU Sun Starfire machine, a kernel compile takes a shade over 20 seconds. See for details. I'd guess this Alpha will be comparable to that, if not faster. As an interesting datapoint, my first kernel compile took over 10 hours (that was 0.99pl8+ on a 386). []

  • I can't resist saying this.... it'd be cool to have a beowolf cluster of these babies!!
  • by sql*kitten ( 1359 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @09:39AM (#749313)
    from the Who-says-Linux-is-not-scalable? dept.

    Can anyone comment on the SMP performance linearity of the current Linux kernel on more than 4 CPUs? Did they every sort out the issues that prevented kernel socket (or was it I/O?) APIs being called concurrently by processes on multiple CPUs?

  • IBM, Compaq, Dell and the other guys are WORKING on making 16 processors and 32 processors based server - it's still vaporware!

    Indeed, but other (more competent :-) companies are already there, even with Intel CPUs. The Data General AV25000 [], for example, supports up to 64 PIII Xeon CPUs, and runs either DG/UX or Windows (or both). Of course, the if you go the Windows route, you'll have to run multiple copies simultaneously, because Windows can only scale to 4 CPUs on that machine. If you go the more sensible DG/UX route, of course, it can use all 64 CPUs from a single system image :-)

  • by OlympicSponsor ( 236309 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @09:42AM (#749319)
    I did a search for "Bogo" to find the BogoMIPS and found this:

    Calibrating delay loop... 1488.98 BogoMIPS

    Feh, I thought, either Alpha's REALLY suck or (more likely) there's a bug there. Then I took a closer look:

    SMP starting up secondaries.
    Calibrating delay loop... 1493.17 BogoMIPS
    Calibrating delay loop... 1493.17 BogoMIPS
    Calibrating delay loop... 1493.17 BogoMIPS
    Calibrating delay loop... 1488.98 BogoMIPS
    Calibrating delay loop... 1488.98 BogoMIPS
    Calibrating delay loop... 1488.98 BogoMIPS
    Calibrating delay loop... 1488.98 BogoMIPS
    Calibrating delay loop... 1488.98 BogoMIPS
    Calibrating delay loop... 1488.98 BogoMIPS
    Calibrating delay loop... 1488.98 BogoMIPS
    Calibrating delay loop... 1488.98 BogoMIPS
    Calibrating delay loop... 1488.98 BogoMIPS
    Calibrating delay loop... 1488.98 BogoMIPS
    Calibrating delay loop... 1488.98 BogoMIPS
    Calibrating delay loop... 1488.98 BogoMIPS
    Calibrating delay loop... 1488.98 BogoMIPS
    Calibrating delay loop... 1488.98 BogoMIPS
    Calibrating delay loop... 1488.98 BogoMIPS
    Calibrating delay loop... 1488.98 BogoMIPS
    Calibrating delay loop... 1488.98 BogoMIPS
    Calibrating delay loop... 1488.98 BogoMIPS
    Calibrating delay loop... 1488.98 BogoMIPS
    Calibrating delay loop... 1488.98 BogoMIPS
    Calibrating delay loop... 1488.98 BogoMIPS
    Calibrating delay loop... 1488.98 BogoMIPS
    Calibrating delay loop... 1488.98 BogoMIPS
    Calibrating delay loop... 1488.98 BogoMIPS
    Calibrating delay loop... 1488.98 BogoMIPS
    Calibrating delay loop... 1488.98 BogoMIPS
    Calibrating delay loop... 1488.98 BogoMIPS
    SMP: Total of 31 processors activated (46170.90 BogoMIPS).

  • by Chyeburashka ( 122715 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @09:42AM (#749322) Homepage
    Here is the link []. The building to house this monster is under construction and ahead of schedule. At 16.5 KW apiece, thats over 6 MW just to power the boxes.

  • Is it fairly hight? You have to compare it to the same platform, period.

    I bet one could design a chip that was 100 times slower than your PII-450, but had a bogomips rating of 10,000.

    It's a calibrated delay.. that's all.. how fast the computer can do nothing, basically. Rather meaningless as far as speed goes.
  • by ichimunki ( 194887 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @11:34AM (#749329)
    I'm glad you almost guarantee it, because I'd almost like a different opinion. I mean, if it's a "good" salary, I damn well better be able to afford 32 CPUs in a single machine!

    For the record, I don't think the linked page is a brag. I think it's notes to interested parties who are working on porting the Linux kernel to large multi-processor machines. The reason it got on /. is that machines like that make geeks drool. The fact that it compiled and booted is exciting in the same way that people who live in an area get excited when the local ball teams win games. It's not really rational, it's tribal bonding. Reports like this confirm the Slashdot tribal belief that while Linux may never be Grandma's desktop OS, it will continue to make inroads and eventually dominate the real computers of the world. This makes the Linux enthusiasts very happy, especially since financial rewards are secondary to the more important free-software geek reward of enhanced reputation (so saith ESR at least), and this is like reputation enhancement by mere association. "Sure I only run Red Hat on my aging P/75, but if I had 32 CPUs and a computer the size of an elephant, I could still run Linux. Let's see you do that with Windows 2000. Nyeah!"
  • Look at the "active CPU mask" in the log. CPU 7 is offline.
  • With all due respect, the fact that it boots on a 31 CPU machine doesn't tell us a damn thing about how well it performs as a 31 CPU machine. What does the graph of performance vs number of CPUs look like? If you get the same level of performance at 16 and 31 CPUS, for example, it shows that Linux won't scale.

    Until you can show a real-world benchmark for each step along the way from 1 -> 31 processors, I won't believe it will scale well. Something simple like building kernel would likely be graphable and show how well things scale. I'd build it once to preload the cache and then build it 10 times in a row, take the average, add a cpu and repeat.

    I'm not saying that Linux doesn't scale. I'm also not saying that it does. I'm saying the mere fact that it booted on a 31 CPU machine means that it booted on a 31 processor machine and nothing more until more data is provided.

  • by SEE ( 7681 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @11:42AM (#749336) Homepage
    Hey, welcome to Retro-Slashdot! Back before there was all this legal coverage, back before "grits" were ever mentioned, back before moderation reached the masses, back before user customization of displayed stories, even back before the coming of the Evil One (Jon Katz) . . . THIS is an example of what Slashdot regularly did.

    Steven E. Ehrbar
  • How do I get ROOT?

    The same way that script kiddies do :-)

  • by Froid ( 235187 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @11:44AM (#749342)
    You used the equivalent of a megaphone on slashdot (the +1 bonus) to tell us that you like it and think it's a good thing, in only slightly more words? Did you think this was actually insightful or worthy of everyone's attention, or did you just think "I want everyone to know what I think, and though I'm not more sophisticated about my thoughts than everyone else without a +1 bonus, I'm going to go ahead and say it, because I can"?

    There is an aristocracy on slashdot; make no mistake about it. When people like drendite [] (userid=#3) speak [], people bow down in worship [], simply because of his low userid. It doesn't matter whether one actually makes a true contribution to society; what matters is the aristocratic entitlement conferred by longstanding existence (not participation).

    Take the British Parliament, for example. Though Britain still hasn't come close to providing universal healthcare or proper dentistry they sorely need, they have finally seen the folly of maintaining a ruling aristocracy, and have eliminated the hereditary seats in the House of Lords. Slashdot should follow their lead.

    The solution is not to take away the voice of people with low userids. Nor is the solution to eliminate the +1 bonus, because it serves a legitimate purpose and is democratically attainable by all, from the oldest poster to the neophyte with a five-figure userid. The solution is to eliminate the tagging of comments with the userid of their posters.

    The userid tag does nothing to help the community, and does much to harm it, by encouraging wishywashy moderators to inflate the karma of oldtimers and penalize the newguys who express controversial opinions. (When moderators waver between slamming a post or modding it up, they usually defer to the userid in addressing its seriousness and authority. This is unacceptable.)

    If you're worried about fraud and impersonation, then you already have an effective means of distinguishing between posts: the signature. The .sig is not generated by each user when he posts a comment, where he's free to forge it. It's appended by slashdot's servers. It's an effective deterrent to impersonation, and it must again receive its prominence within the social jurisprudencial realm of slashdot.

    Effective policing (moderating) can only go so far. We must correct these social ills by striking at their sources -- their causes -- not merely at their symptoms. Join with me in tearing down the illegitimate reign of the slashdot aristocracy and their petty notions of insight and imformativeness, and lift up a glorious new tomorrow, where everyone, democratically, no matter what the tld of his email address or the number of his userid, shares in the same promise of opportunity for reasoned argument and receptive audience.

    Thank you for your time.

  • 5) They needed to post something, ANYTHING, to use the DIGITAL logo before people forgot what it stood for.

  • The fastest machine on report appears to be a 144-way SMP PentiumII system (if I'm reading that right): Parnass2 144x PII/400 Myrinet 57684.96

    And I'm quite aware that BogoMIPS are an even more Meaningless Indicator of Processing Speed than the indicators that people try to take seriously... It is of practical value, but only in predicting the performance of timing loops...

  • by the COW OF DOOM (tm) ( 1531 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @02:16PM (#749355) Homepage

    I work at DEC^H^H^HCompaq. We have one of these bad-boys in a lab, and I have to walk by it a lot. It's this fairly massive thing, the size of 3 or 4 fridges all in a row. They're bluish, and the heart of the beast is identifiable by the LED display that sits at about eye height, saying things like:
    AlphaServer GS320
    16 processors configured
    And so on. I adore it. And every once in a while, when nobody's looking..

    I give it a hug.

    Once, I was talking to a co-worker about it.
    "You know the Wildfire in the lab?" I asked.
    "The what now?" he replied. So I told him about the Wildfire. Later that day, we were walking through the lab, past it.

    He gave it a hug.

    If anyone else wants to send the wildfire a hug, let me know.

  • by Kernel Monkey ( 28336 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @09:47AM (#749363)
    I think we should hold a fund-raiser in which people would pay $20 to be able to see this thing in the flesh. $100 if you want to actually touch it.

    I'd be first in line :)

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. -- Thomas Alva Edison