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Referring to this BBC Article: Supercomputing superpowers

Almost all the supercomputers are using Linux as operating system. Why is Linux so popular?

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closed as not a real question by Izzy, Ward, EEAA, John Gardeniers, Jarrod Dixon Jun 1 '10 at 4:56

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I think this is a valid/real question:… – Unreason Jun 1 '10 at 9:29

Scalability, for one. Also, the fact that it is open source is important, since super computers exist almost solely for research and researchers love the flexibility of open-source software. They can hack and slash the OS to be ultra-tuned to fit their very specific need at the small cost of the source code and some bandwidth for anyone that's curious about what they did.

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+1, the ability to "hack and slash the OS" is 99% of it. The cost is most of the other 1%. – Chris S Jun 1 '10 at 2:25
I think cost plays a much bigger factor. It's no coincidence that most of the top players in the above link are free. Hardware compatibility plays a big part too, and Linux has arguably the best. – churnd Jun 1 '10 at 2:39
@churnd - For someone spending millions on a supercomputer, AIX or Windows licenses are not an issue. – MDMarra Jun 1 '10 at 3:00
@churnd, Windows HPC server is about $100/server for a larger cluster. That's a very minor cost compared to the hardware and custom software. – Chris S Jun 1 '10 at 3:06
@churnd, @Chris S, list it at $475/node. Cray XT5 (Jaguar) has ~25,000 computing nodes. Assuming your price ($100/node) this would bring the OS licence to 2.5M USD. Please do correct me if I am wrong in calculating the license. – Unreason Jun 1 '10 at 9:42