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Microsoft Has Just 1% in Top500 (HPC), Novell Would Like to Help Microsoft



Summary: Novell continues to serve as Microsoft's ramp into the GNU/Linux world, this time with HPC and PlateSpin

AS FAR as supercomputing is concerned, Microsoft is almost nowhere to be seen, especially at the higher tier. It's not because Microsoft is new in this area. It was several years ago that Bill Gates expressed his ambitions to take over supercomputing. Now he's mostly gone along with those ambitions.



This post will have to begin with another rant about CSIRO, which decided to turn from somewhat of a national pride into an agitator and more of a patent bully [1, 2]. CSIRO is still up to no good, looking to extort using patents. CSIRO has been widely criticised for that and one must wonder if the Australian population endorses this strategy.

CSIRO to reap 'lazy billion' from world's biggest tech companies



Australia's peak science body stands to reap more than $1 billion from its lucrative Wi-Fi patent after already netting about $250 million from the world's biggest technology companies, an intellectual property lawyer says.


It may not surprise to discover that CSIRO -- just like almost any science institute around the globe -- chooses GNU/Linux for its supercomputing needs. From the news:

Australia's fastest Linux computer makes CSIRO a leader



Hot on the heels of yesterday's Top500 supercomputer announcement comes a reminder that Australia is a significant player in the field with the only NVidia CUDA research centre in the southern hemisphere.


CSIRO scores in the HPC department, but need anyone remind CSIRO that GNU/Linux exists and thrives thanks to lack of patent aggression (until recent years when Apple and Microsoft decided to attack)? CSIRO would make the world a more advanced place by putting its weapons (lawyers) down and collaborating with the international community. You know, kind of like GNU/Linux and Free software in general.

Regarding the subject of HPC, we have already shared many articles so far this week (in the daily links). Our reader Wayne Borean expands on it and so does Glyn Moody who puts things in context.

As everyone knows, GNU/Linux grew up as a project to create a completely free alternative to Unix. Key parts were written by Richard Stallman while living the archetypal hacker's life at and around MIT, and by Linus Torvalds – in his bedroom. Against that background, it's no wonder that one of Microsoft's approaches to attacking GNU/Linux has been to dismiss it on technical grounds: after all, such a rag-bag of code written by long-haired hippies and near-teenagers could hardly be compared with the product of decades of serious, top-down planning by some of best coding professionals money can buy, could it?

And thus was born the “Linux does not scale” meme – the idea that, yes, this stuff is free, but you get what you pay for: code that no enterprise could take seriously. Unfortunately for that narrative, GNU/Linux is not only able to scale rather well, but able to do it in perhaps the most demanding of environments – that of supercomputing.

Ten years ago, GNU/Linux had 10% of that market, according to the Top500 Supercomputers site, with Unix holding a pretty solid 85%. Five years ago, those numbers had nearly switched, with GNU/Linux holding 63%, and Unix 31%, and Windows running in splendid isolation on just one machine. A year ago, Windows had managed to crank that up by a massive 400% - to five machines; meanwhile, GNU/Linux was on 88% and Unix down to 4%.


HPC is probably the one area where GNU/Linux extracts the most success stories and pride from. Well, guess who spoils the broth?

Earlier this morning we found out that Novell had formally re-announced its ambitions of bringing Windows to HPC (the information goes back a couple of years). It was only earlier today that wrote about how Novell is just being used by Microsoft to a certain extent. So there we have a good new example (MeeGo poisoning with .NET and Android poisoning with .NET is another type of example we'll come to in later posts).

Here is Novell's announcement: (it's a joint press release, indicating that the two companies sometimes "work as one", as Novell's new slogan suggests)

High-performance computing (HPC) continues to gain in popularity as businesses face increasing pressure to process data faster and with greater precision. Microsoft Corp. and Novell Inc., working in concert with third parties, are now making it easier for IT executives to take advantage of the benefits of supercomputing with a technology initiative developed in their joint Interoperability Lab based in Cambridge, Mass. The initiative brings value to the HPC market by helping customers realize greater IT infrastructure efficiency and subsequent cost savings. Today, Microsoft and Novell reported strong demand for their high-performance computing interoperability solution with 33 shared customers now deploying sophisticated server workload management across SUSE€® Linux Enterprise Server and Windows HPC Server.


SoftPedia wrote about this Trojan-type plan back in 2008 (more than 2 years ago) and it continues to materialise. It's almost as though Novell participates in HPC (at Red Hat's expense) only to rent some space to Microsoft. Here is new coverage that we found so far:



This was also covered by Microsoft Nick and other Microsoft boosters. They must be so excited. Novell helps Microsoft's façade of "we come in peace" and also helps Microsoft gain market share. Isn't that just wonderful? And until Novell just permanently goes out of business it will still help Microsoft gain in other areas, such as computer/programming languages.

Microsoft's boosters put it like this: "Windows and Linux Hybrid Offering for Supercomputers in High Demand - Microsoft and Novell interoperability for high-performance computing"

That's the same "hybrid" as in the following Novell announcement of Windows support for a Windows product from Novell, namely PlateSpin. Here is the press release [1, 2, 3] and some initial coverage that we found [1, 2, 3, 4]. At least it's no longer Windows only.

In addition, PlateSpin Forge and PlateSpin Protect now offer the industry's only consolidated disaster recovery solution for both Windows and Linux, including SUSE€® Linux Enterprise from Novell.


This latter announcement is less damaging than the former, which is another fine new example of how Novell increases Microsoft market share in several areas.

"Now [Novell is] little better than a branch of Microsoft"

--LinuxToday Managing Editor

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