In the early days of supercomputing, Unix was the operating system of choice. Remember Unix? Well, it’s been pretty much supplanted in the 500 largest supercomputers, according to the Linux Foundation, admittedly a non-neutral observer which tracks Linux traction in the bi-annual Top500 supercomputer list.
According to Foundation analysis of 20-year’s worth of Top500 lists, to be released Tuesday:
“At last count, all of the top 10 computers and 476 of the total list ran the Linux operating system. After first appearing on the list in 1998, Linux has consistently dominated the top 10 over the past decade and has comprised more than 90 percent of the list since June 2010.”
In terms of RMax, the metric used to show how fast a supercomputer can finish the Linpack benchmark calculations used to tabulate the supercomputer performance, Linux leads the pack as well.
In 2004, the sixth year of the list, Linux machines accounted for half of total RMax and ten years in, Linux and Unix share flip-flopped from 96 percent of machines running Unix to 96 percent running Linux.
I should note that there’s a movement afoot to displace the Linchpack benchmark for something that’s a more accurate measure of supercomputing power but that shouldn’t detract from the traction Linux has seen in supercomputing and I would bet that the next Top500 list, to be released in November, will continue to show Linux as top dog.