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Operating Systems Software Supercomputing

Plan 9 Running on Blue Gene 190

gholmer writes "Eric Van Hensbergen reports that Plan 9 has been successfully booted on IBM's Blue Gene supercomputer. A live demo will be attempted during a poster session at this year's Usenix. There is also the obligatory Space Glenda picture."
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Plan 9 Running on Blue Gene

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  • Yeah but... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Aqua_boy17 ( 962670 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @08:46AM (#19563673)
    Can it run Vista?
  • Am I the only one that was wondering why Plan 9 Pulishing ( would need to be run on Blue Gene?
  • Is this a going concern? Do lots of people use this?
  • by NeoTerra ( 986979 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @09:00AM (#19563815)
    What happened to Plans 1-8? And could you make a module that corrupts the output, and call it Plan B? I think it may be a little too early to grasp exactly what the story is here. Where's my caffeine?
    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

    • by MyLongNickName ( 822545 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @09:30AM (#19564103) Journal
      You laugh about such things. But I was the beta tester for Preparation G. Stuff was awful. But boy could I whistle really well after that.
    • Re:About the plan (Score:4, Interesting)

      by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @09:41AM (#19564211) Homepage Journal
      They were called 'Unix'. ;)

      Seriously, Plan 9 is/was the planned successor to Unix. You can see the benefits of Plan 9's design today: just check out Inferno []. You want distributed computing? It's all in there!

      • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

        by jshriverWVU ( 810740 )
        Noticed that the Inferno environment can even run via a browser plugin. I can envision Google looking into this as an option for a Google OS. Browser plugin that enables a quasi-VM on the system for cross-platform applications.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          I can envision Google looking into this as an option for a Google OS. Browser plugin that enables a quasi-VM on the system for cross-platform applications.

          I'm not familiar with Inferno, so I have to ask: Why? There are already tons of VMs, quasi VMs and multi-platform toolkits readily available. What benefits would developing with Inferno have over using Java, .net/mono, Flash, XUL, Qt, GTK+, etc?

          • by jc42 ( 318812 )
            There are already tons of VMs, quasi VMs and multi-platform toolkits readily available. What benefits would developing with Inferno have over using Java, .net/mono, Flash, XUL, Qt, GTK+, etc?

            Actually, for years there have been rumors that people were working on merging various VMs. I've heard about a pending java+perl+python (and maybe +tcl) VM repeatedly. But there's precious little public evidence that this is happening.

            Possible it doesn't happen because it's just too difficult to organize. Thus, java
            • Your question:

              How do you get [Perl and Python] together for anything other than a flame war, since by both philosophies, the other is just wrong?
              is flawed.

              Since you assert that

              Perl's mantra is "There's more that one way to do it"
              it follows that Perl accepts that Python's way of doing things is perfectly acceptable whenever Python "does it".


      • by raddan ( 519638 )
        Eric Raymond commented in his book that Plan 9 was the perfect example of why better software doesn't always just sweep away the current stuff (UNIX, in this case). It can't just be better, it has to be lots better. Plan 9 is some cool stuff, but UNIX does continue to get the job done.
      • by misleb ( 129952 )
        Wait, I thought GNU/Hurd was the planned successor to Unix?
        • GNU/Hurd is yet another Unix kernel. It just happens to be the one developed by FSF and was originally intended as the primary kernel for GNU systems before Linux came along and got developed much faster. (Although, Hurd is still indevelopment.)

          On the other hand, Plan 9 [] is an entirely new OS design made by the original developers of Unix attempting to take the Unix "everything is a file" philosophy to the extreme.

        • GNU was supposed to be a drop in replacement for Unix. Plan9 was supposed to be the successor. But what would the FSF replacement for Plan9 be? GNP- Gnp's Not Plan9? But then we'd run into endless jokes about GNP being incomplete, and no-one would get the joke, because it would be incomplete. Or GNI - GNI's Not Inferno? At least you can pronounce sounds like Genie. And you could have a little magic deamon comming out of a bottle for a mascot.
    • by syousef ( 465911 )
      Plan B (hexadecimal) is actually plan 11 decimal. They've been stuck on plan 9 for ages now.
  • No sale (Score:5, Funny)

    by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @09:20AM (#19564011) Homepage Journal
    I'm not buying a Blue Gene until they port AmigaOS to it, like God intended.
  • Sorry but it's not really clear what it all implies. Could someone explain?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by spatialguy ( 951355 )
      The Blue Gene is a supercomputer designed by IBM, based on their research towards the chess computer Deep Blue that beated Kasparov at his own game. It is not a beowulff cluster (that would by definition consist of consumer hardware). I don't have time to look it all up again, but a few years ago I was involved in negotiations for the purchase of such a system...

      So, from memory:
      Each processor (powerpc/cell technology, I think also used in the PS3, but maybe another expert can enlighten me on that one) i
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by xcjohn ( 64581 )
        Each of the 1024 2-way nodes on a single rack (2048 procs) is a powerpc440d (a cut down 440 w/ an extra FPU, the unfortunately named 'double-hummer'. Nodes are loaded onto a node board (16 nodes per board + 1 or 2 IO nodes, 16 node boards per midplane) that slides into the mid-plane (2 midplanes per rack). There are 3 networks, a mesh network (like noted by spatialguy) where you have a connection to each "nearest neighbor" node surrounding you, a 3d torus network (don't ask me, i just know you specify the
    • Plan 9 was designed at Bell Labs as the successor to Unix. Its primary characteristic is that EVERYTHING is managed as a file, down to devices. So if you have a CD in your drive, and you only wanted the data track of the CD mounted, you'd delete the subdirectory containing the audio track and it'd be unmounted. It never really caught on outside of research environments.
  • by Critical Facilities ( 850111 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @09:34AM (#19564149)
    From TFA

    The graphical programs displayed are: the mail announcer faces(1), the system statistics watcher stats(8), the text editor acme(1), the sky catalog scat(1), the image viewer

    I'm not sure I'm ready to check out any "graphical" items called scat.
    • by iabervon ( 1971 )
      You'd never make it as a weather forecaster, then. They have to work with graphical "products" from QuikSCAT [] all the time.
  • That is, if you look at the source. Man, for such a simple page [] they sure use an enormous amount of tage. If this is what the future looks like, I want the past back !
  • Considering some of the low power hardware that NetBSD has been ported to, I am sure that a top of the line IBM super computer should have no trouble handling it :)
  • ...turn it into a Sinclair ZX81 to prove that it can be done?

    What's next? ReactOS on a Cray?

  • by andrewzx1 ( 832134 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @10:27AM (#19564723) Homepage Journal
    Plan 9 is a radically distributed OS. It was written from conception as a distributed kernel, and all aspects of the OS are distributed in ways that Linux/Unix/Windows are not. It may be older, but it embraces many distributed paradigms that few OS's in production can handle. Because it is so distributed, the many common utils are simply not compatible with the kernel without a ground-up rewrite. Emacs Emacs, X, KDE, Gnome are not ported and probably won't be. Here's a naive review: g-the-Plan-9-Operating-System []
    • by jrumney ( 197329 )

      Emacs Emacs, X, KDE, Gnome are not ported and probably won't be.

      The reason they never will be has more to do with lack of demand than incompatibility. Windows is also fundamentally incompatible with the posix systems they were originally written to target, but Emacs, X and many important Gnome and KDE apps have all been ported.

    • by jd ( 1658 )
      I've heard from various sources that some of the internals are iffy, which is a damn shame. Although I believe it is now Open Source, it doesn't seem to have anything like the developer base it deserves and it has a release cycle that is so slow that it needs WD40 to prevent it rusting up.

      Having said that, you are absolutely right. Plan 9 is radical, it is highly distributed and in many ways it is decades ahead of where rival operating systems are today. It needs work, but so do all Operating Systems. Tha

  • by nacturation ( 646836 ) <> on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @11:17AM (#19565359) Journal
    Okay, with a name like that I definitely clicked on the link... and I feel *so* cheated.
  • It's one of the best distributed research OSs there is. We'll have to see, now, if it is as useful a research tool as hoped with so many processors.
  • like Ab Initio's Co>Operating System. It uses distributed file systems as well for distributed Extraction Transaction & Loading of data warehouse type applications. But it's as expensive as hell, like $5-10k per processor licensing fee. Be interesting if something like that was built on top of this.

BLISS is ignorance.