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Compaq Helps You "Test Drive" Linux and Unix 129

Ron Rangel writes " This website gives you quick, open, online access to simply run your applications on Linux. Or at least thats what they say." I tried it and it was kind of fun. You sign up (moderately intrusive questions), then Telnet (no ssh) into servers running several flavors of Unix and several Linux distros on different (Compaq) hardware platforms. Want to play with SuSE Linux on an Alpha (or whatever)? Here's your chance!
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Compaq Helps You "Test Drive" Linux and Unix

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  • Thank you for the info!

    I compiled kernel 2.2.10 on the Alpha RedHat box, and noticed it took 7 minutes, which I thought was a bit long. I was thinking NFS was slowing it down, but what you posted made perfect sense :)

  • So I've got my username and password, but none of the Test Drive systems recognize me. Does anyone know how long it takes for accounts to be activated after Compaq sends you a password?


  • Without disputing your overall assertion of security, I would like to take issue with your claim that "most of the cracker tools refused to compile/run properly due to its 64-bit architecture". To me, this sounds like "NT is secure because Unix cracking tools don't work". You're assuming that no one is capable of doing anything more than compiling sources that they don't understand. They can port the cracking tools, or write their own.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Why is it so hard to just type in the information? For reference, you can use my address if you like:

    38029 South Ranch Road 2938
    Lurkey TX 78696

    Go ahead. Mail never gets here anyway :)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    >I think they could do alot more to make Linux >more palatable for those people who have "wanted >to work with Linux, but never got arount to it." >For instance, instead of just allowing them >access to the command line, have screen shots and > help documentation pop up in the browser, have > an index, a tutorial, streaming video.

    Ehhh?..streaming video of someone typing?

  • Their SuSE box is somewhat more usefully set up than the others. The RedHat box seems to not allow outgoing network connections. Bah. The tru64 box doesn't have any kind of sane bash environment set up and has no X clients installed.
    The SuSE box allows outgoing network connections (I have an xterm open on it) and even has ssh installed!
    By the way, be careful typing those IP addresses... I got the wrong one by mistake and in place of a login I got something like "This is not a public machine. Your attempt to connect has been logged."
  • by JordanH ( 75307 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @05:02PM (#1660627) Homepage Journal
    Also here [] you can test drive an OpenVMS Galaxy system.

    This is the newest encarnation of the world-beating clustering technology that everybody is trying to copy. Shared everything, multiple OS instances in the same box, dynamically reassignable memory/CPU between instances, seemless clustering. Read the Galaxy overview here []. VMS has been doing clustering since 1985 better than any Unix does it today and it's improved a lot since then. Yet somehow, OpenVMS gets the rap as being outmoded.

    Disclosure statement: Yes, I am a Compaq employee. No, I'm not speaking for Compaq.

  • by F2F ( 11474 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @05:08PM (#1660628)
    I was playing along with a small encryption program I have written (Idea implementation) which takes suitable amount of time on my home machine.
    The results are fascinating:

    Encrypting a file named "data" without any compiler optimization switches took:

    [ph2ph@spe85 ~]$ ls -la data
    -rw-r--r-- 1 ph2ph nis 76592295 Sep 24 21:46 data
    [ph2ph@spe85 ~]$ time ./encrypt_cc
    72.125u 1.414s 4:31.80 27.0% 0+0k 0+0io 76pf+0w
    [ph2ph@spe85 ~]$ time ./encrypt_ccc
    26.203u 1.169s 0:42.64 64.1% 0+0k 0+0io 78pf+0w

    As you can see, things are pretty freaky.. 42 seconds with ccc (*their* compiler) versus 4.31 minutes with gcc. I could've compiled with -02 however that optimizes code about 2 times only...

    Anyone have a comment on that? Hmm.. btw this happened on the RedHat machine. I'm still to test on the Tru64 :)
  • When you sign up for this, you feed them your address and then you go to a URL to fill out a questionaire and supposedly get some nifty toys. (It told me I would get a t-shirt and a license plate (???)) ANYWAY, that has been a month or so ago and I still haven't recieved my slick toys! Anyone else been shafted by Compaq thus far?
  • -- offtopic response --

    Hey, its a small time operation. I have very little users, and virtually zero load. And I can take my dsl up to 2/3 the speed of a T1, which more than ample for a sizeable number of users. For the bots and small web pages on my box, its more than plenty at the moment.

    I have yet to recive a complaint from any user to date.

  • by Vrallis ( 33290 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @05:27PM (#1660631) Homepage
    I was there a few weeks ago, on the dual DS-20 Redhat machine, and even ended up in a talk session with the root user there for well over an hour (wish I could find his email so I could get his name...).

    When I first talked with him, I mentioned that I was surprised Slashdot hadn't caught wind of it, though Freshmeat had. I then got to read the root user begging me not to post it here, as he wasn't nearly prepared for it =) Due to the results I'll mention in following, I quickly lost interest in it.

    The machine was fairly impressive, but had obvious problems. Compiling was practically impossible as it crashed errors reminicent of a severely overheated CPU. Either that, or they had some major code problems. I only tried out gcc compiling kernels, and never did try out Compaq's compiler.

    For years now, the Alpha's have reigned supreme as the absolute best CPU around, despite it's age. If only Compaq or one of the licensee companies, such as Samsung (I believe Intel and a few others have rights to produce the chips as well) would just pump out the chips and eat the losses for a year or so, the x86 architecture would be obsolete in probably 2-4 years. According to the man I spoke to, Compaq was about to start doing exactly that with the less expensive DS-10 chips.

    Also, he said they would have a contest soon to win a free DS-10 based machine. I know Compaq has done some publicity on it, but basically it's a contest to write software to best demonstrate the abilities of an Alpha processor versus an x86. Or, at least, that was that I was told a few weeks ago.

    Still dreaming of having a quad-81364/2Ghz machine on my desk in a couple years.... [drool]...
  • "Compaq ... supporting the Linux open source community since 1994"

    Eh? How have they been serciving the open source community since 1994?

    At any rate... I think this is a rairly good thing. At the very least, it gives average folks at home who may thing that *nix is too complicated a chance to see it. And this may be the only chance for a whole bunch of people, who are afraid to commit to using it, and who don't have access to it anywhere else (work, school, etc.).
    Matt Singerman
  • I guess it would get really interesting, if they could provide even more operating systems from the *nix sector. How about comparing several Linux distributions to each other plus the free *BSDs and several commercial *nix variants?

  • something like cypherpunk/cypherpunk ? or equivalent ?
  • They're probably taking credit for Digital's help to the open source community.

    But, then, it seems like Digital has been helping out since sometime before 1994... Oh well.
  • by ryanr ( 30917 ) <> on Friday September 24, 1999 @03:24PM (#1660638) Homepage Journal
    New Linux cracking contest. Do I get to keep it if I win?
  • I talk'd with one of the Compaq techs who was online (he was logged in as root, I assume it was one of the techs :), and he said they will have "BSD" on Intel and Alpha "early next week." Which "BSD" they would have he didn't seem to know (I'm assuming FreeBSD, but who knows)

  • by Surak ( 18578 ) <surak AT mailblocks DOT com> on Friday September 24, 1999 @06:01PM (#1660641) Homepage Journal
    I just logged in 5 secs ago. I also talk'd with root.

    He mentioned that he had had a long day (he'd been in since 7 a.m.) and that once /. posted the story they had about 1 signup PER SECOND. :)

    Compiling was no problem, although admittedly, I only compiled a small program.

    Oh yeah, DON'T try to start X. I got majorly chewed out by root for it (thats the reason I got a chance to talk with root :)

  • They could setup a few clusters (if they decide to enter this niche), give telnet access with registration, and let people run their own benchmark programs. That would truly rock over benchmarketing.
  • Seeing how i cannot meta moderate, i guess i'll just post this here. This post is Funny, no doubt about it. But I certainly do NOT think it is worth 5 points! That's just me, take it as you will..
  • I've heard from reliable sources that Digital's (well now Compaq's) Alpha compiler is very, VERY well designed/optimized.
  • by Anonymous Coward
  • by Anonymous Coward
    spe85 is a nicer box, DS20 w/2G ram.
  • I tried to ftp a kernel from, and compile it. Suddenly,the root came out and ask me to stop the ftp. If I can't get my source code on it, why bother testing their servers?
  • If you want to compare the speed of the generated code, you better look at the times the programms spent in user mode instead of comparing the elapsed times, so it's 26s vs. 72s and not 42s vs. 4m31s.

    So ccc generates code about 2.7 times faster than gcc without optimizations. If the speedup with -O2 is really about 100% that you end up with a 40% overhead, which is not great but IMHO an acceptable price for portability.
  • I ran a homemade benchmark on the RH EV6 and on my Pentium Pro 200 and my Celeron 366.

    The benchmark allocates a 1 MB array (256K x 32-bit unsigned int (no, I didn't use "long" on the alpha ;) ) and then uses a random number generator to select and increment the cells in a pattern that biases it heavily toward the front, creating a curve of memory activity much like many applications. Note that there is no floating point code in the benchmark. The results are below along with my celeron 366 and pentium pro 200 (256K cache): ;)

    ev6@500MHz: 7.23seconds cpu
    celeron366: 8.49seconds cpu
    pentiumpro: 13.67seconds cpu

    The ev6 beat my humble 366c but I'm afraid my friend's 500 MHz Celeron beats it soundly. I don't remember the numbers he told me yesterday, but I remember it beating my 366 by 25% or so.

  • by noop ( 72121 )
    I don't think these boxes are set up very well at all, considering that I can't change my shell or my password when I'm on the SuSe Alpha box, since the versions they're running don't seem to know about the NIS passwords
  • Same benchmark as above but using a 64megabyte array. BTW, there is also a fair amount of string copying in the benchmark. With the 64MB benchmark, memory access speed starts to dominate the results more. The Celeron 366 won this round, which doesn't say a lot for the memory architecture of the EV6 ( The Celeron, for those not familiar with it, has a full core speed 128K level 2 cache on the chip and accesses memory via a 66-MHz memory bus. (some people overclock the chip and use faster memory -- but not me ;)

    Celeron366: 17.3 seconds CPU
    EV6@500MHz: 19.3 seconds CPU
    PentiumPro: 27.0 seconds CPU (200MHz, 256Kcache)
  • That was the first thing I thought of when I read that headline. It was a pretty impressive machine for its time.

    Ah, for the days when was *the* place to find things...
  • I have knowen about this for quite a time and decided not to post it due to the /. effect. =(

    This is geared twards application developers to get things done, unfortunately its been posted to slashdot now, so I guess every script kiddie and there leet gr00p are hacking away at it right now.

    Crap. Now where am I going to compile new kernels at.

  • by Jerenk ( 10262 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @07:44PM (#1660658) Homepage
    What??? Obsolete compiler? Obsolete kernel? What are you talking about?

    While these are not the absolute latest version, they are fairly recent (RH6 uses 2.2.5 and egcs-1.1.2). Have you checked the uptime on these boxes? (I don't have access...). 2.2.11 and 2.2.12 came out only in the last couple of months or so. It is highly likely that the boxes haven't been restarted since then...(why should they be?)

    AFAIK, there are no distros that come with SMP compiled into it out of the box. So, someone HAD to compile this SMP kernel. This was not a corporate maintained computer! Someone took the time to install the kernel.

    The compiler is a fairly standard one (not the latest and great, but still it is within 3-4 months old). gcc-2.95 is out, but the differences are not groundbreaking. There are still tons of people using gcc 2.6 and lower out there. A lot of the changes have to do with Intel optimizations, not Alpha optimizations...

    This is not supposed to be a development box, but rather a test box to showcase the hardware and a guide to help port some of the code to run on these screamers.

    The X clients are disabled for security reasons. You do not need X in order to test compilation and porting. The X libraries have already been ported to Alpha and work rather well. This should not be the focus of any porting effort. The X libraries are just that - the provide a standard API to which to code.

    It goes without mention why they can not see any box outside of Duh. Security 101 will tell you why...

    BTW, a dual Celeron will die in comparison to a duel Alpha. This is of course assuming an optimized compiler and code on both sides. The Alpha is 64-bit with tons of cache. The Celeron is a 32-bit processor with hardly any cache. There isn't a chance in hell that the crippled Celeron can keep up.

    Crawl back from whence you came!


    P.S. I know this is pure flamebait, but this person is a complete yutz!
  • by Booker ( 6173 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @08:08PM (#1660660) Homepage
    Ok, moderator types... the top-ranked comment on just about every story I've read today has been pumped up on "funny." And most of it's not that funny.

    Let's exercise those "insightful" and "informative" buttons once in a while, eh? :)
  • You are right, it should be the user time spent that matters,
    My fault, I admit. However I tested the same compiled with -O2 and the results were no different.
    There was a difference, however not as big as the 100% I get on my home AMD.
    I tested it on the alpha too, however they have not provided a gcc there. The DEC C compiler
    they had was running just a hint faster than the ccc on x86.
    I wouldn't like to comment on whether GCC should be used implicitly (I'm not advertising for that ccc too), but IMHO the tools they have can only improve what we already have.
    Then again I am still sticking with gcc no matter what -- I simply don't want to *buy* a C compiler ;)

    Ragards: F2F
  • Hell, they don't even use shadow passwords.

    They've got some auditing going on, but if some doofus wanted to crack them it wouldn't be hard.

    *I* wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole, but there are lots of folks who would.
  • by choo ( 14599 )
    "At the very least, it gives average folks at home who may thing that *nix is too complicated a chance to see it"

    Having the average person who knows nothing about unix telnet into one of those unix boxes and presenting him or her with an obscure command prompt will only reconfirm the perception that unix is too difficult to use. As a means of selling unix to a new user, it's difficult to think of a worse way of presenting unix.

  • Yeah, that thing kicks major ass. The error messages are complete, full, proper english sentences -- and they even make sense. (This assumes you turn on enough options.)

    I was in awe of the Tru64 compiler. Of course, it's got a preprocessor macro expansion bug. (I guess I should report that :-))
  • Compaq bought Digital. Digital = Compaq = Digital = Compaq.

    I know it might seem strange but that is the way it is. Think of it this way, there are more Digital "Heritage" people at Compaq than non Digital "Heritage" people. So, I wouldn't call it taking credit for Dec's work.
  • According to the HBS Press 1996 book " The Internet Strategy Handbook [] ", DEC (now owned by Compaq) was doing something similar already in late 1992 with their Alpha "Test Drive" program.

    I'm not sure if they had anything similar after that, but it is nice to see them feature Linux this way.



  • My new Caldera OpenLinux 2.3 installs a SMP kernel by default. It makes sense, it will work fine with one CPU, if you have more than one CPU you don't have to recompile.
  • s/Compaq/Digital/

    It was Digital who sent Linus an alpha some years ago to port linux to it. They even shipped to him on vacation in Australia of all places. (or so the story goes.)
  • I remember back when VMS on Alpha was farely new, DEC had a couple of boxes that they gave away accounts on, you could just telnet in (or connect over X), there were no quotas, full suite of compilers etc. It was pretty interesting to play with (I was working on VAX/VMS at the time) but then we got our own cluster of AXPs running OpenVMS 6 and all was right with the world!
  • Don't waste your time... RC5 on an alpha bites bigtime. DES, on the other hand, is a totally different story.

    FWIW, sparc processors (ultra's esp.) are the same way. Makes me wonder why everyone is so quick to throw Sun enterprise servers out as web servers (esp. https:// servers.)

    Now, if we can get Oracle to push out an Alpha/Linux database server, we'd be cookin' with nitro!
  • I applies and am allowed to logon to 6 diff boxes and none of them are freebsd.
  • Gook me about 1 minute.
  • by / ( 33804 )
    They let you run ypchsh and they do let you run passwd. In fact, that's what they tell you to do once you get your temporary password.
  • Like the subject says.
  • I read the post, while it had a score of 1, considered spplying one of my few points to it as "funny", decided to reply instead (giving up moderator access to the whole article/comment collection), and returned to it to find a score of 4. All in a matter of a couple minutes.

    Probably none of the 3 who did moderate it up in that time knew they would be raising it above 2 either.
  • "time make -j 30" for linux 2.2.10 on one of the EV-6 boxes (the SuSE one):

    228.208u 71.400s 3:52.57 128.8% 0+0k 0+0io 280784pf+0w

    - A.P.


    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • The Intel boxes are even faster, for some reason:

    206.880u 15.570s 1:57.35 189.5% 0+0k 0+0io -1562994900pf+0w

    - A.P.

    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • by Wakko Warner ( 324 ) on Saturday September 25, 1999 @02:01AM (#1660679) Homepage Journal
    The only incoming ports that are available are ftp and telnet. There are absolutely no outgoing ports available that I've found. You can telnet nowhere. You can't connect to any web servers, IRC servers, FTP servers -- nothing. There's no way to use these machines as springboards to hack other sites. Compaq thought this out well.

    - A.P.

    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • BTW, there is also a fair amount of string copying in the benchmark.

    Byte-manipulation isn't one of Alpha's strong points, especially if you're compiling with GCC. (One reason why using an Alpha as a web server is probably a waste of money.)

    If you want a real idea of memory bandwidth, use a benchmark designed for the purpose, like STREAM []. Or, even better, benchmark using the applications and data that are important to you.

    In any case, it's irresponsible to post benchmark results without making the benchmark available. Show us the code! I strongly suspect that what you are measuring isn't memory bandwidth at all.

  • How have they been serciving the open source community since 1994?

    By not sueing anyone involved with Linux or Open Source.
  • They probably have chsh and passwd disabled for security reasons. (they have to be setuid root)
  • The ev6 beat my humble 366c but I'm afraid my friend's 500 MHz Celeron beats it soundly. I don't remember the numbers he told me yesterday, but I remember it beating my 366 by 25% or so.

    This proves nothing until you profile the code. It could be that your random number generator eats more CPU time on alpha for whatever reason... You also neglected to mention what compiler you were using -- gcc on alpha is not terribly efficient.

  • "Byte-manipulation isn't one of Alpha's strong points..."

    Sorry... I should have said "memory copying" since I use memcpy(). As for Byte-manipulation not being a strong point of Alpha, well, isn't the point of a general-purpose CPU/memory subsystem benchmark to uncover these kind of things? ;)

    "If you want a real idea of memory bandwidth... use...Stream..."

    Nope, I wasn't trying to assess memory bandwidth. By "memory access speed" I was referring to memory latency, a critical variable to system performance.

    "...benchmark using the applications and data that are important to you."

    heheh. Yeah, sure. The reason synthetic benchmarks and "application conglomeration" benchmarks exist is largely because of: 1) It's frequently damned hard to benchmark systems using the real application, complete with users, data, and all that. 2) Some computers are used in a very general purpose way. I do all manner of work on my little linux boxes, for example, and that pales in comparison to the wide-ranging use of some of the larger systems where I work.

    "'s irresponsible to post benchmark results without making the benchmark available...".

    Dang. You've got me there. I wonder if we can get the Imark benchmarks from Intel, btw, to see how they've been biasing them toward the newer instructions as they introduce extended instruction sets... ;)

    Anyway, my page [] contains a link to the code [] for the 1 megabyte version of the benchmark in question.
  • anyone else notice that their dual alpha running redhat is not running an smp kernel?

    gee, that shows off their server real well!
  • Well that would be to everyones disadvantage. The machines are left open within the private net to allow all to testdrive apps and services. A rooted system will simple be rebuilt! Any accounts found doing intrusive builds or other activites will be terminated. We have a zero fault tolerance for children playing.
  • Of course it's not geard towards newbies. Compaq is trying to show nerds how fast their systems are, not newbies how easy Linux is. They sell boxes, not OSes; their target is technical people who already know UNIX but want to be amazed by the power of the Alpha. [And I must admit, it's pretty fast, though I haven't really tried too hard yet.]
  • Its all about the applications. If I don't have anything to run on the cluster, it is useless.

    It's ironic to hear an opinion like this on Slashdot. If the application is Open Source or Java, it runs on OpenVMS just fine.

    There is often some porting effort required with Open Sources onto OpenVMS, but it's not bad and it's getting better all the time. DEC/Compaq have greatly improved the C compiler and libraries such that most Unix C sources just compile and run. Configuration scripts in sh or bash can be a problem, but someone has ported bash to run on OpenVMS now, so maybe that will be less of a problem in the future.

    Perl builds out-of-the-box (latest.tar.gz) on OpenVMS, so there's the ever-increasing catalog of Perl applications available.

    Apache was recently ported. There are also a number of excellent 'native' web servers to choose from on OpenVMS. The most popular is the OSU (Ohio State University) HTTPD. It's been running multi-threaded (Posix Threads) since 1994. At one time, it was probably the most popular multi-threaded web server in the world, although that honor probably goes to multi-threaded Apache or IIS now.

    There's a Python port that I believe is pretty up-to-date, but I don't know much about this.

    Compaq has the first (and only today?) 64-bit implementations of Java, for Tru64 Unix and OpenVMS. See here [] for information. So, the Java catalog of apps will be available with world-beating Alpha performance.

    There's a team forming now to port the server part of Star Office to OpenVMS. So, OpenVMS may be a fine platform for Office apps soon.

    Oracle runs on OpenVMS. So, if you need that world-beating clustering for a DB Server, you can run Oracle.

    I apologize to Slashdot readers for filling up this discussion with what seems like OpenVMS marketing. Although I do work for Compaq, I'm far from holding any marketing position. I'm just a happy user and consultant on OpenVMS systems.

    I suspect that this 'Anonymous Coward' is someone who works for one of the Unix vendors that seem to want to spread FUD about OpenVMS in good Holloween Document style.

    Read the Holloween Documents. One of Microsoft's concerns is that they can't attack Linux with FUD regarding the future of it as a platform, as they can any other vendor's products. Standard FUD from Microsoft is to make people believe that only MS products will survive in the long term and have good application support. I've seen a number of examples of people who work for a certain Unix vendor who have been trying to spread the same kind of FUD against OpenVMS lately. This particular FUD is just not true and in the Open Source or thin-client world of the future, it's largely irrelevant anyway.

    Disclaimer: Yes, I work for Compaq. No, I don't speak for Compaq.

  • "...gcc on alpha is not terribly efficient."

    Yes, you're right on this one. I compiled with the Compaq compiler with -O and got much better results: 2.2 seconds CPU time.

    Looks like the lowly Celeron is soundly beaten, after all. ;)

    BTW, the code is posted on my web page, listed in a comment above.
  • Same code, same options on the RH Intel box, results: 5.47 seconds CPU, less than half as fast as the EV6 500 at 2.2 (using Compaq's compiler).

    Code link is on page listed in above comment.
  • by Zurk ( 37028 )
    if they could, they wouldnt be called script kiddies. they'd be called crackers. in any event, crackers have no reason to crack a box that compaq is going to pull the plug from and reformat in 30 days...and one that is closely monitored as well.
  • [....] hopefully if they are experienced enough to have software to run on it, they've passwd the newbie stage.

    passwd? As in "You have to be at least this experienced or we won't let you log in"?


  • Talked to root too and got some additional info:

    1. They don't allow ssh in because of its ability to forward ports (they don't want 30 people to run X from one machine at time). I told him what this feature can be disabled by compile-time option (maybe in config file too). So maybe there will be ssh access soon.
    2. The accounts have to be deleted after 30 days to clean up id space. Linux uid_t is only unsigned short (on nis server). But if I drop him an email, he will be able to restore my account.
    3. They are considering letting X out.
  • Looks to me like somebody's trying to get their hands on another nifty T-Shirt and License plate, no? HeHe

  • Although I think this site is a really great idea, I think they could do alot more to make Linux more palatable for those people who have "wanted to work with Linux, but never got arount to it." For instance, instead of just allowing them access to the command line, have screen shots and help documentation pop up in the browser, have an index, a tutorial, streaming video. Many people shy away from Linux due to the amount of time and resources (i.e. lost computer if unsuccessfully installed), this seems to me like the first step towards a pain-free linux trial.
  • 8:1 odds on having atleast one of those boxes rooted within the next hour.

    Seriously - I hope they firewalled those boxes so they can't be used as springboards to attack other sites. This could quickly turn into a publicity-stunt-gone-bad.


  • [me@spe82 /]$ cat /proc/cpuinfo
    cpu : Alpha
    cpu model : EV56
    cpu variation : 7
    cpu revision : 0
    cpu serial number :
    system type : Rawhide
    system variation : Tincup
    system revision : 0
    system serial number : NI82904549
    cycle frequency [Hz] : 531914893
    timer frequency [Hz] : 1200.00
    page size [bytes] : 8192
    phys. address bits : 40
    max. addr. space # : 127
    BogoMIPS : 671.08
    kernel unaligned acc : 0 (pc=0,va=0)
    user unaligned acc : 75 (pc=120002aa0,va=120106134)
    platform string : AlphaServer 1200 5/533 4MB
    CPUs probed 2 active 2 map 0x3 IPIs 3509024

  • by Zurk ( 37028 )
    they wont be rooted if Digital engineers set em up properly. i used to admin a OSF/1 box ..forerunner of Tru64...virtually impossible to root, and most of the cracker tools refused to compile/run properly due to its 64-bit architecture.
  • I've been using this little cluster for a while to port appliations to the various flavors they offer.

    They get to show off their hardware, which is rather nice, and I get ported apps.

    These aren't very loaded machines tho, If you want to do anything more then porting or benchmarking, on them look elsewhere.

  • by smartin ( 942 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @03:36PM (#1660702)
    After you play with it a while. (actually i think the idea is that you are suppose to upload, build/port and run your own software). Anyway when you are done, fill out the questionare and they will send you a Linux license plate (way cool), a redhat cap (red), and a little toy compaq car (gave to my kid :)).
  • by Icepick_ ( 25751 ) <> on Friday September 24, 1999 @03:45PM (#1660703) Homepage
    login: icepick
    Welcome to RedHat Alpha Linux 6.0 Land!
    This is a Dual AlphaServer 1200
    Please do not run any "RC5/SETI type" processes
    If you do I will dis-user your account

    That's too bad. ;)
  • It's about time compaq does something for linux. I'm pretty tired of them simply resting on the laurels of digital engineers. I think this can have a very positive effect for fence-sitting would be linux users. Its even less work than vmware for people who want to try out linux. Of course compaq has a long way to go if they want to be able to claim they are supporting linux to the degree that sgi and ibm have been. of course if digital were still alive, they'd have the crown. long live dec.
  • I recently built a dual celeron box(abit bp6, 366 clerons, etc.) and When I installed RedHat 6.0, it installed a SMP kernel by default.

    Sometime during the installation, it sees if you have more then one CPU or not, and installs what kernel it needs to.

    I just assumed that other distos had SMP default kernels too. Or is Red Hat 6.0 the only one?
  • What the h*** is wrong with you idiots?! Compaq very graciously put's a few dozen machines out so people can test their software on an Alpha instead of making them buy a $5k - $10k machine and associated OS -- and how much does Tru64 cost?

    I applaude Compaq/Digital for doing this. As for the would be jack***es that will ruin this for everyone, do the world a favor and commit suicide.

    Maybe some of you will remember Years ago, digital had two Alphas set aside for people to test their software -- completely unrestricted (those testdrive boxes are very closed) -- with accounts that didn't expire in 30 days. As long as you kept using it, digital would leave the account active.

    Would you go out and buy a top-of-the-line VAX if you had no experience with one -- and zero experience with VMS?

    To answer your question... NO. Compaq will simply put the machine(s) back in their internal testing group and never again offer free access to their hardware to the general public.

    For the record, I do own an Alpha Server. It runs Linux (or tries to :-)) I'd like to have a copy of Digital UNIX (Tru64) But that's a large chunk of cash for a "toy".
  • Actually, there were quotas, just not OS enforced.

    If you ate too much drive space for too long, you'd get a nasty-gram from an admin :-) I may still have one or two of those in my e-mail from college. (I was building Motif apps on one of them.)
  • Seems like their registration form uses JavaScript or something like that. Anyway, there are several (important) selections that I can't make in Lynx.

    This is a very nice gest from Compaq, but I'd prefer if they supported Lynx (which is pretty common on Linux/Unix) as well :-)

    /* Steinar */
  • What the hell is wrong with you?

    I don't think anybody was seriously suggesting hacking these boxes ought to be done.

    I, for one, was intending to complain about the lack of security (which isn't a total lack, but they're leaving out some elementary precautions) precisely BECAUSE I don't want to see some pack of script kiddies screw up a cool deal like this.
  • Please remember your home dir is on an NFS array. move that file to /tmp (local disk) and try again. Also, run it more than once. A sample of 1 is not statistically valid.
  • Let me guess; you typed "startx" or something similar and accidently fired up X on their local console?

    I used to have to lock boxes down to avoid that in the ISP biz; ticked me off that I had to waste the time. Then the customers would bitch when "startx" wasn't available, like that was a bad thing.

    Export your freakin' display and run xterm, guys; you're not at the console.
  • I just applied for accounts on their machine and got this e-mail

    FreeBSD 3.2 on Intel Coming soon telnet to
    FreeBSD 3.2 on Alpha Coming soon telnet to

    (which means they would setup freebsd boxes for us to check) Ayway I see this as a great thing. Enjoy.
  • My distro came with SMP default too.. and thats a good thing, means I didn't have to recompile to use vmware.
  • the moderators got a bit funny with this one :) it wasn't a funny commment, but after reading the moderation, I can't stop laughing
  • There's nothing wrong with buying a compiler. If your business is making software (which you package and sell), buying a compiler is a very good investment.

    GCC is designed to be portable more than optimal. I've never seen a commercial compiler that did not do a measurablly better job than a GNU compiler. This is because the compiler is designed specifically for that hardware and OS by people who get paid large sums of money to do things correctly, intellegently, and optimially.

    If you're talking C++, then the GNU compiler is out of the question. If you write C++, buy a real [expletive] compiler.
  • Check ouot the lastest Benchmarks..... nt.html and p.html See anything interesting there???
  • Yes, I can comment. The GNU compiler never was very optimal for the Alpha architeture. The ccc complier is a close brother to the Tru64 compiler that has had years of time invested on making sure it produces outstanding results on the Alpha processor. There numerous switches to optimize with.
  • We have had numerous University Professors looking over our systems and none have noticed any "OVERHEATING" issues that I know of. The GUN compiler does not produce optimium code for Alpha. Try the Compaq C and Fortran compilers out. They have been know to produce executables 4X faster than the GNU compiler.
  • Well I hope that comment is in the minority. Compaq (Compaq/Digital/Tandem) Has some of the top engineers and programs in the world employed. Many of them have openly supported and add to the Open Source community as individuals and have supported Linux/FreeBSD for years. Where do you think Linux on Alpha came from? The driver support? Many people make up the open Source community. Some of them also have kids to feed. "Work to Live, Don't Live to work"
  • hrm. not sure why the above was moderated to any rate, it looks like there will be freebsd 3.2 on x86 and on alpha up shortly.
  • by Daniel ( 1678 ) < minus threevowels> on Friday September 24, 1999 @03:56PM (#1660727)
    By selling cheap hardware of course! :P

  • Only if you're good enough to keep them from ever finding out.
  • Stuff like this totaly rocks. Its not every day you can get something for free. Puts compaq one up in my book.

  • I suppose this is great for advanced users of linux/unix/etc, but who is it geared to? Most people who can use this already have linux, so is it just a distro testing site, or what?

    When I first checked this out it was my feeling that this was intended for corporations who are evaluating possibilities to port their software to a different platform.

    Say they've got an awesome app on Unixware. But they heard that a 64bit platform will greatly enhance performance? How do they know how hard it will be to port the app, and then whether there'll be any benefit? They'd have to buy the hardware and tools, and everything just for a chance to evaluate what the platform will do for them. A lot of people are obviously turned away by the inherent risks. This takes that risk away by providing the tools for free, and even providing "contracts" to get your app ported.

    I don't think their intent was for 50,000 /.'ers to get a free account to "mess" around in :-) I surely doubt this was for newbies either, hopefully if they are experienced enough to have software to run on it, they've passwd the newbie stage.

  • Well, if typos rule the world, then I guess they are encouraging it on the Tru64 Machine ... either that or the Tru64 sysadmin has seen too many movies.. "go ahead, run RC5/SETI"...hmm, loses something in the translation.


    Digital UNIX ( (ttyp3)


    Digital UNIX V4.0D (Rev. 878); Mon Dec 29 20:10:32 EST 1997
    Welcome to the Java Testdrive Tru64 system
    This is an ALphaServer 1200 dual cpu
    Please do run any "RC5/SETI type" processes
    If you do, I will dis-user your account

  • Compile time is a very poor indicator of speed
    between different architectures. It's only a good
    indicator within the same OS, architecture, and
    compiler version.

    An Alpha is a RISC CPU, and requires a lot more
    intelligence from the compiler, especially in
    areas like instruction reordering, than a CISC
    CPU such as the ia32 family (i.e. your K6).

    Also, GCC has been running much longer on ia32
    than it has on Alpha, and therefore the speed
    of the compiler itself has been better optimized.

    The degree of optimization, simplification,
    instruction analysis, and instruction reordering
    needed on Alpha (versus x86) explains the long
    compilation times.
  • by pb ( 1020 )
    If more vendors did this, there would be no legitimate reason to crack anymore. All of us hackers could make sure our stuff works cross-platform, and explore and learn about different systems, and law enforcement can stop bugging us, and hunt down the crackers and the script kiddies. :)
  • they wont be rooted if Digital engineers set em up properly. i used to admin a OSF/1 box

    I used to have a few OSF/1 accounts back in school when I was going for a CS and remember those to be some mighty good accounts. I would find out that hacking away would ring bells on the operator's console along with a printout of my userid. My experience was that those who used DEC (now Compaq) computers took security *very* seriously.
  • Please read the web page. Accounts are renewable indefiantly in 30 incr.
  • Your Test-drive account will remain active for 30 days from your registration date.

    That's just super, the idea is there, and a really good idea it is, but only allowing 30 days to use this kind of defeats the purpose. I don't have anything I want to test right this minute, but I know in the future I might, deffinetly would be a plus if this was some form of permanent account.

    Even if they were to say, "accounts that are inactive for 30 days are deleted" that would be fine, but to provide only a 30 day usability period is not exactly the greatest.
  • This is exactly what I was thinking. It's perfect for getting your code 64-bit clean, not to mention you get to squash all warnings on yet *another* compiler :-)

    Can you re-register after the 30 days, however? It'd sure be nice to keep those Alpha binaries up to date....

If you suspect a man, don't employ him.