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Indepth History

The history behind Scientific Linux.

Scientific Linux's History

Scientific Linux 3.0.1

Scientific Linux was first thought of when computer admins from a couple of high energy physics labs contacted Fermilab computer scientists and mentioned a joint Linux collaboration.

Connie Sieh had been working on the newest version of anaconda (the S.L. installation program) at the time, and saw the potential it had. She soon had a working prototype made based on Fermi Linux LTS 3.0.1. This first prototype was called HEPL, standing for High Energy Physics Linux.

From the beginning Scientific Linux was designed to be a community project. We solicited input from the labs and Universities that originally contacted us, as well as other interested parties. We also designed the sites area to make it easy for sites to create their own distribution, as well as add to the mirrors without disturbing the main core distribution.

After showing it to various labs, many people liked it, but they didn't like the name because their labs weren't all dealing with high energy physics. It also became apparent that if Universities started using it, that some of them might not have anything to do with physics at all. There was also the problem that there is actually a lab with the initials HEPL. And so the name eventually came to be Scientific Linux.

Scientific Linux 3.0.1 was released on May 10, 2004.

Scientific Linux 3.0.2

Scientific Linux 3.0.1 was created in time for Connie Sieh to show it at the semi-annual HEPIX conference. It was met with a lot of support. Many of the labs represented at the conference said that they were either going to use Scientific Linux, or try it out.

At the Hepix conference CERN volunteered to collaborate with Fermilab in the producing of Scientific Linux. Both labs were excited to work with one another. Here we have a picture of this wonderful collaboration coming forth.

The release of Scientific Linux 3.0.2 was a lot of work for both labs. Collaborating with people on different continents can be difficult at times. They also had to decide on the division of work, and how to transfer files back and forth. There was several times when scripts or files would be overwritten by one group or another, thus a good backup was important.

The other large amount of work that went into Scientific Linux 3.0.2 involved supporting new architectures. CERN needed to have Scientific Linux built for the Itanium. Since Fermilab didn't have any Itanium machine's this fell to CERN. The new x86_64 architecture was also coming out, and it was decided we should provide a release for it.

The x86_64 architecture was probably the most debated and problematic release. It needed to have both 64 and 32 bit libraries and programs. But just how do you name these things. How do you install them, and keep them straight. It seemed that not even the The Upstream Vendor had gotten everything straightened out. In the end, for release 3.0.2, we put very few 32 bit libraries in, only enough to make sure that openoffice would work. We just ran out of time, and figured we'd figure it all out for the next release.

Scientific Linux 3.0.2 was released on June 28, 2004.

Created by dawson
Last modified 2011-08-15 09:33 AM

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