Education means several disparate things. Education re Linux could mean using Linux in the classroom to teach subject matter unrelated to computing or operating systems. It might mean using Linux to teach Linux. It might mean teaching about Linux.
For over a decade, Silicon Graphics has built the highest-quality graphics machines, running Irix (a BSD derivative) on MIPS chips. A few years ago, they began a line of Intel architecture boxes. Now you can get one of those boxes running Linux. (I know there are ports of Linux to the MIPS architecture, too; but SGI isn't supporting them at this time.)
A very large number of potential users see SGI as an Irix company. The result is SGI's Linux University, a traveling roadshow that made many stops this past autumn. Beginning in Washington, DC and ending up weeks later in Los Alamos, NM, Linux University brought information on Linux, about SGI's policy concerning Linux and on SGI's commitment to open source to several thousand users.
While I found much of the content of the talks truly interesting and valuable, the most important revelation may well have been the fact that SGI has contributed its proprietary XFS journaling file system to the community under the GPL. Giving away one of the crown jewels is a true sign of commitment. As Kurt Akeley, CTO at SGI, put it: “In a bacon and eggs breakfast, the chicken is involved, but the pig is committed.” SGI is committed.
What the university tour did was two things: provide a context for SGI's commitment, and supply education about Linux itself—the values, tools and future. At five of the sites (Huntsville, AL; Dayton, OH; Denver; Albuquerque; and Los Alamos), I supplied context by talking about the origins of UNIX, Linux and Open Source.
The tutorial sessions were very impressive. While they varied from site to site, they comprised XFS and CXFS, Networking and Clustering on Linux, Interoperability in a Heterogeneous Environment (Samba), Security in Linux, Web Serving in a Linux Environment and OpenGL in Linux.
Also impressive was the number of attendees. Most sites had over 200 folks present, with over 900 in Washington, DC. Many of the attendees were knowledgeable about computing, and simply not Linux users. The queries and comments I heard during breaks were at an extremely high level. They might be Linux newbies, but not Irix or BSD newbies.
Perhaps yet more significant, in Huntsville (NASA), Dayton (Wright-Paterson AFB) and Los Alamos (LANL), a large proportion of the attendees were from the U.S. federal government. Linux infiltrating the shops of the feds is a terrific toehold.
Don't forget that Linux was first put on the Net in October 1991. As recently as January 1996, USENIX was offering a single Linux tutorial. The next year, there was a USELINUX track, concerning Linux Application Development and Deployment. Since then, there have been Freenix tracks in both 1998 and 1999. This is important, for it shows exactly why something like SGI's Linux University can have great influence. The first Linux Expo was held in North Carolina in 1996; the first Atlanta Linux Showcase in 1997; and the first Linux Business Expo at Comdex in 1999.
Readers of this magazine may know Linux. But there are many, many programmers and system administrators who know that Linux exists, but have little or no notion of what it can do.
We could sneer at companies like SGI and say they just want to latch onto the business that supporting Linux will bring them. I'm convinced that's not the full story. I've now seen Linux applications running on several different pieces of SGI hardware: a 1400L server, a 540NT workstation, an Irix02 workstation. They all demonstrated to me that high-quality, robust software was running on first-class hardware.
If the Linux University is coming to your area, register for it. I think SGI is doing a lot for the Linux community, and it's teaching thousands of people about the Linux system. Knowledge is power.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide