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Re: Getting Started

	I'm having trouble with the character set used in your messages,
somehow it messes up my pine mail reader, though latin1 is not normally
any problem. Any chance you could use a standard ascii charset?

> Thank you very much for your advice,
> I think step no. 1 is done very well. But the problem may be second step.
> I have running the SuSE 7.1 without problems on Pentium(PC1). But I don't
> know how to configure it as a server for the diskless 486(PC2). The bootpd
> and netherboot howtos (i tried them to read) are little confusing, i can't
> practice it.

Well, the more structured is an installation system, such as SuSE, the
more it shields you from the inner workings of the system and, although it
may be helping you momentarily, it is in fact denying you the opportunity
to learn about those inner workings. On the long run that is detrimental
to you, specially if you want to get involved in doing leading-edge things
(bleeding-edge things, sometimes) like building parallel clusters.

> Configuring network may be the part of both step 2 and step 3. Network
> is running well, but I don't know how to start and test NFS.

Many of the basic things involved in cluster building are not different
from what goes on in the building of a normal academic, school or business
network. For example, NFS is quite a basic tool. Others like NIS, network
daemons, routing, etc are too. The few more specific things are PVM, MPI
and specialized administration arrangements. But that is not normally the
main problem you face in order to make things work.

Just to mention an example, we have two clusters here at our Department,
the number crunching one and another one consisting of 32 machines working
as X11 terminals. They are very similar in the overall architecture. If
point of fact the terminal one is considerable harder to manage, the PMC
is easy by comparison, because the hardware is homogeneous and the purpose
of the machine well focused. But the technical problems are all the same.

> The other one steps will be probably the music of universe for me in the
> next time.

So, I think the best thing to do is first to practice and get cracking at
installing not only one machine but a couple of machines in a network,
with all the network services. The ideal way to learn this is on a lab,
hands-on, doing the thing, breaking and rebuilding things, doing first the
easy things and later more and more complex and difficult things. You
cannot accept the system as a black box, you have to take it apart, see
how each piece fits with the rest and learn to put it back together.

I would recommend you try out Debian on one of your machines for starters.
Is accomplishes an ideal balance between ease of installation and a real
opportunity for looking under the hood to see how things really work. It
is amply documented, in many different languages, including Czech for the
installation instructions, have a look at


Technically, I think it is far better than any of the others. I once was
given the task of building a remote boot cluster with RedHat and almost
went crazy. Then I switched the site to Debian and bingo, everything was
possible, there was always a solution. Maybe not easy sometimes, but it
was there if you looked hard enough.

Good luck and have fun with this thing. You will have dominated this
complex technology when you start to dream of the crazy things you could
do if given the means... |:-)

        Jorge L. deLyra,  Associate Professor of Physics
            The University of Sao Paulo,  IFUSP-DFMA
       For more information: finger delyra@latt.if.usp.br

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