[Bioclusters] Re: Linux on Xserve, anyone?

Kay Diederichs kay.diederichs at uni-konstanz.de
Wed Aug 8 14:22:24 EDT 2007

Lee Watkins schrieb:
> 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.
> Cheers,
> Lee


sorry - cannot say anything about Xserve. I believe that the Xserve hardware is 
similar to that of the Mac Pro, but I may be wrong.

FWIW, I'm running three Mac Pros (2 2*Dualcore, 1 2*Quadcore) under CentOS-5.

Installation is completely straightforward: after unpacking the new box, I 
always update Mac OSX fully, and install the latest Bootcamp (don't know if this 
is necessary). After installation, there is only a single problem, namely that 
one of the USB ports (used for keyboard and/or mouse) interferes with the 
network card (I believe) - can be solved just by plugging into a different outlet.
I don't know about ELILO, but grub works perfectly.



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