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Re: mission critical Debian

On Tue, May 13, 2003 at 03:34:08PM -0600, Rob Savoye wrote:
>   General impressions are, what a great platform! Debian installed like a
> champ, and each machine came up pretty efficiently. The only big problem I
> had is GCC 2.96 sucks, and 3.0.4 isn't much better (We were running stable
> woody). I finally had to go with a recent build I had done of GCC "3.4" from
> a few weeks old CVS tree. The other versions kept having weird problems with
> C++ and systems headers, which just "went away" using a more recent GCC. I had
> to give up on our one XView based application (thanks to this list, now I
> know why...) , but managed to get the new Java version up instead using
> Sun's java for Redhat 7.3.

We have an rx2600 here running Debian, which is being used for grid
computing research.  We've had some moderate success using Intel's
compiler rather than gcc/g++.  The resulting code is *much* faster (of
the order of double the performance).

We've had some issues though - in particular, the Intel compiler does
not like the C library headers for the glibc shipped with Debian 3.0 or
Red Hat 8.0.  However, we have hacked around this by installing a set of
headers for an earlier glibc - the resulting binaries still seem to run
fine with the newer glibc, and this will do as a hack-around until Intel
support the newer C libraries.  This is not an Itanium specific problem
- the same thing happens on Debian-i386 systems.

I've been a Debian fanatic for some time (if you look at the changelog
for the Exim MTA in Debian, you'll see it was me who originally
debianized it, several years ago) and I am slowly converting other
people at my place of work.  Like you, we are generally finding that it
"just works", and this is especially refreshing on non-x86
architectures.  We have Debian systems here based on Alpha, Itanium2 and


[ OT:  We see the same order of improvement in performance using the
Intel compilers on x86 too, so for performance-dependent code we are now
almost exclusively using Intel's compilers ]

Dr Tim Cutts
Informatics Systems Group
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge, CB10 1SA, UK

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