PathScale EKO Path 5 not for FreeBSD anymore?

O. Hartmann ohartman at
Wed Feb 20 11:18:49 UTC 2013

Am 02/20/13 10:09, schrieb Anton Shterenlikht:
> Oliver
> I try to use FreeBSD for day-to-day numerical
> work, as far as possible. I have to complement
> it with linux cluster systems, largely due to
> a range of compilers available there.
> Anyway, keep me posted if you get anywhere with this.
> Anton

Hello Anton.

The good German wine was talking yesterday, I guess. On PathScales
EKOPath 4 website, FreeBSD and OpenSOLARIS are still mentioned and its
HMPP, not OpenACC, that is used inline code. I have first to
apologize for the depressive mood I spread around.

It is EKOPath 5 BETA (webpage) that doesn't mention FreeBSD as supported
platform - as one can easily see and watch at the intro page right
bottom corner.

The "community" of FreeBSD systems is decreasing from year to year and
as David Chisnall reported in a reply on my posting, it seems to be a
"mindshare" thing. Too many people are talking about "business" -
business isn't the motivator, science is and this may be a special view
of my country. BSD was developed at Berkeley in a very scientific manner
and therefore it is a very strong "logical" system - apart from the crap
Lnux started with.

I think it is unwise to talk about philosphy at this moment. The fact
is, that I'm the only one in my department that is using FreeBSD on two
remaining servers (one is a small storage server) and my personal lab
workstation - my private systems are all FreeBSD, but that is not the
matter here.

The equipment I bought when we had to spend money on the project's
funding is quite "impressive" for a under the desk workstation - I
guess. We also had the chance to purchase a Dell Precision 7500
workstation with a TESLA 2075 board and two 6-core Westmere CPUs at 2,6
GHz with 96 GB RAM - for modelling and rendering purposes (sometimes our
scientific work in the planetology field requires to do PR for funding,
so we render also ...). Having FreeBSD in the first place on that box
everything worked quite well, since the drivers were applicable to the
provided hardware, even the TESLA card was accepted by the nVidia BLOB.
But that's it. We swapped to Suse Linux since the developer working on
that system required OpenCL thriving the GPU for large DTM rendering.

Our cluster system (Rocks) is pure Linux. We have a lot of Dell stuff
around here, equipted with expensive iDRAC modules. They're supposed to
get accessed via JAVA. From FreeBSD/Firefox, I can not start the console
due to a JAVA error. Dell rejects support, since FreeBSD isn't
supported. Yes, and this is the meaning of platform indepenedency ... It
is also a political thing.

Another thing, that seems unlogical is the MIT/BSD/CDDL versus GPLv3
licensing issue.
FreeBSD, as the other *BSDs, are supposed to have the most "advanced"
licensing model in terms of academic freedom and even for companies
benefit from such a free licensing model. GPLv3 is curcified as the evil
license and even companies which have an interest protecting their code
should look at the BSD systems - but the fact is: Linux all over the
place. What is wrong with this picture? The opinion shared within THIS
community or a real blindness?

Funding companies or professional developers for developing KMS, GEM and
other stuff is one thing. Why is there no effort to fund students
working on their Diploma Thesis or Dissertation with regards to develop
methods, code or functionality to FreeBSD in a "wide and open manner",
so that it can be used platform independend? It is just an idea and it
is a question that the FreeBSD Foundation has to answer and to decide on.

The other very bad thing is the information I have to gather. Somehow I
feel lost when looking for software for my work, even it is very
popular. Gathering informations from many places - as it is with "WHICH
PERFORMANCE MATH LIBS" is horrible and time consuming. try it on Google
with the tag "Linux" makes you happy within seconds.

And back to our case. For instance, meshalb is a very powerful tool used
by many people working with point cloud data. Since more than half a
year that port is broken on FreeBSD and that drove to scientists away
from my FreeBSD installation to Linux - where is works perfectly -

Well, we have now devel/freeocl in the ports to provide a bit OpenCL
stuff on FreeBSD - but on the CPU, not the GPU. My next attempt is to
provide a port of devel/pocl, which isn't fit for FreeBSD in version 0.7
as there is a typo regarding amd64 and the x86_64 terminology, but those
guys from Finnlandia are very, very nice and also PRO(!) freeBSd, so
they told me that there is alsready a patch in the GIT. I haven't had
the time to look at this since I'm consumed due to writing my thesis at
the moment, but THERE IS STUFF of interest, but if it is a
lonely-hunter-work only and the interest of the community is so low on
such stuff even of the professional people hired to code for FreeBSD,
then ... well, I lack in the necessary words.

I'm too young to talk with the old guys from the great time of X11
(Leffler) or BSD (McKusick) and all the pioneer work done in that time,
but the great spirit seems to be lost due to "companies" and this
golden-valve-people attitude of money, money, money.

Sorry about the last sentence, as i said, philosphie in a depressive
mood can be devastating.

Well ...



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