Where Linux crushes Windows like a bug: Supercomputers

Where Linux crushes Windows like a bug: Supercomputers

Summary: Linux is tiny on desktops, powerful on servers, mighty on Web servers, and rules over all on supercomputers.

SHARE:

The fastest computer in the world, Japan's K-Supercomputer, runs Linux.

The fastest computer in the world, Japan's K Computer, runs Linux

The faster a computer goes, the more likely is to have Linux at its heart. The most recent Top500 list of supercomputers shows that, if anything, Linux is becoming even more popular at computing's high end.

In the latest Top500 Supercomputer list, you'll find when you dig into the supercomputer statistics that Linux runs 457 of the world's fastest computers. That's 91.4%. Linux is followed by Unix, with 30 or 6%; mixed operating systems with 11 supercomputers, 2.2%. In the back of the line, you'll find OpenSolaris and BSD with 1 computer and--oh me, oh my--Windows also with just 1 supercomputer to its credit. That's a drop from 4 in the last supercomputer round up in June.

Digging deeper, we find that various customized Linux distributions account for 414 of the supercomputers. AIX, IBM's house brand of Unix, takes a distant second place in individual operating system distributions. It's followed by various versions of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) and a variety of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) variants including the RHEL clone CentOS. Compute Node Linux is the last significant solo Linux distribution on the list.

Other operating systems that just make the list includes Oracle's all but dead OpenSolaris with one entry. The sole Windows entry, Windows HPC 2008, placed 58th.

So, while Linux has only a minute share of the desktop, a big chunk of the server market, is the platform for most Web servers, when it comes to one arena: the fastest of the fast, supercomputers, Linux absolutely rules.

Related Stories:

Top 10 supercomputers hold position: Intel, IBM, Nvidia shine

Gallery: Inside Japan's K Computer - world's top supercomputer

The Best & Fastest Computers are Linux Computers

China steps up its semiconductor game with homegrown supercomputer effort

Nvidia nets key supercomputer trophy for Tesla business

Topics: Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

252 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Where Linux crushes Windows likes a bug: Supercomputers

    One Windows cluster can 'crush' 440+ other supercomputers running Linux, was all I got from this :)
    dtdono0
    • RE: Where Linux crushes Windows likes a bug: Supercomputers

      @dtdono0 - you need to go back and read the article this time with your glasses on...
      smashandgrab
      • RE: Where Linux crushes Windows likes a bug: Supercomputers

        @smashandgrab <br><br>How is he wrong? If the windows cluster placed 58th then there are only 57 on the list that are faster than it. All the rest are slower.<br><br>I wouldn't call it a triumph of any sort for Microsoft, but his statement is correct.

        I can't claim to be too impressed that 457 more computers are now running linux anyway; none of them will fit on anyone's desk or in anyone's pocket.
        hungryjoe
      • Linux is ruling the pocket as well...

        @hungryjoe
        The Android OS is a Linux derivative. Most handheld and mounted GPS systems are Linux based. Outside of the desktop market, there quite franky aren't a lot of technology verticals where Linux isn't a major player.
        jasonp@...
      • RE: Where Linux crushes Windows likes a bug: Supercomputers

        @hungryjoe<br><br>So you aren't "impressed". You're so important, I guess they better shut them all down then. Get a life.
        businessandpolitics
      • RE: Where Linux crushes Windows likes a bug: Supercomputers

        @smashandgrab,
        #58 Shanghai Supercomputer Center China Dawning 5000A, QC Opteron 1.9 Ghz, Infiniband, Windows HPC 2008 / 2008 Dawning
        Cores = 30720 Rmax = 180.60 Rpeak = 233.47 (rmax & rpeak are in tflops)

        #1 RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS) Japan K computer, SPARC64 VIIIfx 2.0GHz, Tofu interconnect / 2011
        Fujitsu Cores = 705024 rmax = 10510.00 rpeak = 11280.38 power = 12659.9

        Now I know that is the best but please look at any of the others above HPC2008, the ones placed lower has six thousand cores less and is still in touching distance.

        Windows is not a good OS when it comes to servers, super computers or for that matter small form factor devices. Linux is the king in waiting for desktops (a long time waiting but all good things come to those who wait). Linux has been for a long time, just remember what happened when the great old US Navy swapped their OS from Linux to Windows. Look up the USS Yorktown, the software engineer in charge of tech support complained about windows being used as it has very little security or power user structure (locked root never helps).

        Yes it's good to see one Windows SC but I have to say we would not be using the internet without Linux. Linux is the work horse and windows is for the masses and Apple for the sheeple. A real shame when you come to know Linux in all it's forms is faster and more reliable, secure and user friendly (once installed properly) than any windows experience.

        Just to put this in context I use windows all the time, I have my penguin and I can tell you, production wise Linux is far more 'Balls of steel' than Windows in every way possible (except if you are a gamer).
        Horus418
      • maybe you need read more

        @smashandgrab
        Windows servers are far and away the leader in share as measured by of percentage of revenue,

        Microsoft Windows server demand was positively impacted by the x86 server market refresh as hardware revenue increased 16.8% year over year. Quarterly revenue of $6.3 billion for Windows servers represented 42.1% of overall quarterly factory revenue. The 1.5 million server shipments are the highest quarterly total ever reported for Windows servers.
        http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110228007267/en/Worldwide-Server-Market-Accelerates-Sharply-Fourth-Quarter
        ZenithY
      • RE: Where Linux crushes Windows likes a bug: Supercomputers

        @jasonp - My original post is perhaps, a bit unclear. The point I was trying to make is that 457 monster computers running linux isn't all that significant compared to the millions people carry around with them every day. Google activates over 500,000 devices a day in a market that Microsoft is trying to compete in. Beating Microsoft 457 to 1 in a game they're not even trying to play just isn't relevant in comparison.
        hungryjoe
    • RE: Where Linux crushes Windows likes a bug: Supercomputers

      @dtdono0
      I'd like to know what the various slower computers were using for hardware, compared to the ones above them, before i made an Windows/Linux judgments.

      I mean, a drag racing car with a thousand-horsepower engine and a stock automatic transmission could probably beat one with a good transmission but only 25 HP.
      fairportfan
    • RE: Where Linux crushes Windows likes a bug: Supercomputers

      @dtdono0 Wow, read it again, this post is NOT about ranking, but rather quantity. Out of 500 Supercomputers, there's only 1 Windows supercomputer and the rest a mix of Linux, Solaris, Unix, & BSD.
      Maarek
    • RE: Where Linux crushes Windows likes a bug: Supercomputers

      @dtdono0

      Stock market all over the world is using Linux and avoiding Microsoft. You surely know the reason?
      Napoleon XIV
    • If you look at their website

      You will see that this solo "Windows Supercomputer" is running the SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 version of Windows. I don't remember that version. It must be new.

      http://www.ssc.net.cn/en/resources_1.aspx
      symbolset
  • RE: Where Linux crushes Windows likes a bug: Supercomputers

    After his previous article was reasonable towards both Windows and Linux, he just couldn't help but stroke his Linux-e-peen once again :P
    Martijn2
    • Yeah, well he is desperate to paint Linux as a success

      @Martijn2 And of course Linux is a success in some areas. But the big desktop revolution he and the FSF loons predicted never came true.

      Being "free and open" isnt enough.
      otaddy
      • proffesionals against consumers

        @otaddy
        In professional markets people have of course more knowledge and choice. While in consumer markets you must mostly pay for Windows anyway, if you want it or not.
        That is an explanation that monopoly fanboys often forget when it comes to the small presence of Linux on the desktop market.
        somereader
      • RE: Where Linux crushes Windows likes a bug: Supercomputers

        @otaddy Depends on how one views revolution. Today, Windows desktop is largely irrelevant to the tasks most people perform most of the time. By that measure they won a few years ago. Windows desktop has a few niches where native applications still rule. Windows Server has a shot at staying relevant because it is a good product. Over a long enough time frame Windows Desktop has no chance of survival. Linux, or something like it, isn't going away for a very long time.
        cabdriverjim
      • RE: Where Linux crushes Windows likes a bug: Supercomputers

        @otaddy Never is a long time. We're only 20 years into Linux now. Being free and open has been enough for me for more than 15 of those years now.
        paulfx1
      • RE: Where Linux crushes Windows likes a bug: Supercomputers

        @otaddy of course it didn't come true. Most people I've met fear technology at least in part, so when the TV tells them the Windows OS PC will solve all their problems and be safe(not knowing or at least fearing handling software on their own) they buy into a new Windows OS PC. Your ridicule is simply a testament to the power of preying on the ignorance and fear of the populace at large.
        PCLinuxOS(user)
    • RE: Where Linux crushes Windows likes a bug: Supercomputers

      @Martijn2 : but you know his silliness is really fun to read.
      ItsTheBottomLine
      • RE: Where Linux crushes Windows likes a bug: Supercomputers

        @ItsTheBottomLine Fun, but not in the way he intends. It's the same thing as laughing at someone, not with them.
        goombawa