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General Questions about Scientific Linux

Q. What is Scientific Linux?

A. Scientific Linux is in essence, a commercial enterprise linux distribution, recompiled.
What we have done is taken the source code from Enterprise (in srpm form) and recompiled them. The resulting binaries (now in rpm form) are then ours to do with as we desire as long as we follow the license from that original source code, which we are doing.
We then bundle all these binaries into a linux distribution that is as close to the commercial enterprise distribution as we can get it. The goal is to ensure that if a program runs and is certified on the commercial enterprise linux distribution, then it will run on the corresponding Scientific release.

Q. What is a Scientific Linux "site"?

A. A "site" is a customized version of Scientific Linux.
Scientific Linux is designed so that a lab/university/whoever can easily add/remove/change the packages and installer of Scientific Linux. This was done because lab's and universities often need to customize their version of linux to fit into their enviroment.
As an example, at Fermilab, we create our own site that has our "Fermi Kerberos" packages, as well as local settings like our timezone, ntp server settings, and local printing program.
These customized versions are called "Sites" because the most common users are at a specific place, such as at a lab or a univerisity, and they are designed to be used at that specific place, or site.
A site does NOT have to be done just by universities and lab's. A person could do a multi-media 'site' or an astronomy 'site'. We would still call those 'sites' although they wouldn't refer to a specific location.

Q. Where are all the 'science' programs?
Q. Is Scientific Linux better for scientific applications?

A. This linux distribution is called Scientific Linux because it is made by scientific labs, for scientific labs and universities. It is not named Scientific Linux because it has the largest collection of scientific programs. It was named back when it was small, and only the scientific labs were using it.

Q. Why won't you say the name of the commercial enterprise distribution S.L. is built from?

A. That name is trademarked. The easiest way to keep away from all trademark problems, is to completely avoid the name.
We believe that most readers are able to figure out which commercial enterprise linux distribution we are talking about.

Q. Why did you pick to build Scientific Linux off of the commercial enterprise linux distribution you did? Why didn't you pick distribution X?

A. Speaking for Fermilab.
We had several criteria when we debated about what we should make Scientific Linux out of. Some of the biggest ones were support for at least 3 years, ease of installation, security upkeep.

Q. How do I know this distribution isn't going to just disappear next week?

A. The main developers of Scientific Linux are the same ones that created Fermi Linux. If you look at the history of Fermi Linux you will see that we've been doing this for several years. (6 years at the time this was written) Because Fermi Linux is now based on Scientific Linux, these developers don't want Scientific Linux to dissapear.
At this point I must put in a disclaimer, the same disclaimer in the future of Scientific Linux. This is just a plan. We do not, and cannot, guarantee our plan. There are too many factors for us to guarantee it. One of the possibilities is that the source rpm's from the Enterprise release will become unavailable. There are other factors that also may affect our plans.

Created by dawson
Last modified 2006-07-19 10:02 AM

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