[Bioclusters] Linux on Xserve, anyone?

Lee Watkins lwatkins at cidr.jhmi.edu
Mon Aug 6 17:52:30 EDT 2007

Not much traffic here lately, must be meetings and summer doldrums...

So here's a question to which I can't seem to find an answer:  Has 
anyone successfully installed any version of Linux on the latest 
Intel-based quad-core (2 x dual-core "Woodcrest") Xserve boxes from 
Apple?  I keep hearing/reading that people (somebody, somewhere) have 
done so but can't track down an actual person who has (our Apple 
engineer says the same thing - lots of people who know a friend who's 
done it or heard of somebody who's done it but nobody who can provide 
details).  Not a MacBook or a Mac Pro, but an Xserve. We have a stack of 
these and the programmers around here would just as soon stick with the 
Linux they know and love regardless of how swell OS X is.

People claim that it should be straightforward using elilo (linux boot 
loader) but I have yet to see anyone say "this is exactly how I did it 
and it works on Xserve."  The good folks at Ubuntu say they'd be happy 
to have their engineers help us try make it work - for a price, of 
course.  These Xserves are pretty nice, compact and fairly inexpensive 
servers that could make a decent linux cluster.  More people might buy 
them if they had the flexibility to run linux in addition to OS X, so it 
doesn't seem like Apple's opposed to it, just not doing anything 
actively to help (since they want to push OS X Leopard). 

Any leads or actual experiences would be much appreciated. In the 
meantime we've downloaded the beta version of VMWare Fusion to try it 
(since we already use VMWare in various places anyway) and pre-ordered a 
couple copies. At $39, what's not to like, esp. since it claims to 
support the dual-core architecture.



Lee Watkins, Jr.
Director of Bioinformatics
Center for Inherited Disease Research (CIDR)
Institute of Genetic Medicine
Johns Hopkins Bayview Research Campus
333 Cassell Drive, Triad Bldg. Suite 2000
Baltimore, MD 21224

lwatkins at jhu.edu | www.cidr.jhmi.edu
410-550-7042 ofc | 410-903-2989 urgent_only

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