Microsoft encourages us to think of Linux, when we think of it as all, as an also-ran operating systems for nerds. The last thing Microsoft wants us to think about is that there are some spaces where Microsoft is a distant number two and Linux is on top. Too bad Microsoft, there are several such places. One such is HPC (High Performance Computing).
At HPC’s very highest end, supercomputers, Linux rules. The first computer to bust the petaflop, 1.0 quadrillion calculations per second, barrier? IBM’s Roadrunner supercomputer running Linux. Out of the Top 500 supercomputers in the world, over 80% of them are running Linux.
Better still, Linux manages to pull this off by largely using off-the-shelf components unlike the supercomputers of years gone by. Instead of specialized hardware, the Roadrunner uses AMD Opteron and Sony, Toshiba and IBM’s Cell processors. Yes, that’s the same Cell CPU that’s inside your Sony PlayStation 3.