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Debian has failed us

Greetings.  I am the senior system administrator at Vanderbilt
University's supercomputing center.  We operate a 1500 processor cluster
for researchers at Vanderbilt.

Our current cluster is divided between 840 Intel/AMD x86 processors, and
672 IBM PowerPC 970FX processors.  To date, we have required different
operating systems on each architecture because of poor OS support for
the PowerPC's.  SuSE has been our only option so far.

Etch supports PowerPC's running in 64-bit mode, so I was eager to try it
on our cluster several months ago.  I uncovered a small bug in the
installer (the AMD 74xx driver was not compiled in the debian-installer
kernel) which prevented me from installing Debian, and reported it to
the PowerPC list in September 2006.  I was promised that the driver
would be included shortly.

Unfortunately, some sort of personal issues between developers in the
PowerPC group and the debian-installer group has prevented this minor
fix from occuring.  I do not understand what that problem *is*, only
that personal problems are getting in the way of real-world results.

I had hoped to be able to install Debian on our cluster during our
refresh this spring in order to have a consistent OS across all
architectures.  Since I have not been able to get this minor bug
resolved in three months, we will be installing Centos 5 instead.

I have personally been using Debian since slink, and I would like to
believe that Debian can sort these issues out before it becomes a
permanent handicap to the organization.

Finally, I would like to extend thanks to Sven Luthor for tracking down
the bug and trying to get me some assistance.

Mathew Binkley





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