I’ve been meaning to make this posting “for a while”. Some months ago, folks made some generous donations that let me “move on” from this particular bit of hardware. Thanks to you all.
I had “fished it out” of the garage over a year ago to do the initial “port” of GIStemp to Linux. I had it. It had Linux on it already. It was likely to be “fast enough” for the compilation and development work. And most importantly (though I didn’t say much about it) it was a single node of a “half dozen or so” node Beowulf Cluster. If I needed more “ooomph” I could just add more nodes.
I expected to get the code ported, then find out that a single node was way too underpowered, and put a little time into making it run on a Beowulf Cluster as an interesting project in distributed computing. I was very surprised when I found that GIStemp did so little that it ran to completion in a few minutes on this single old node.
The box started life as a “386 White Box” some decades ago. (Keen observers will notice the 5 1/4 inch floppy drive in the front bay… yes, a REAL floppy drive where the diskettes did “flop”! And yes, it still works! Though getting media is becoming harder 8-) About a decade and a half ago ( or maybe two…) I “upgraded it” to a new AT style motherboard and added a 400 MHz AMD chip. Along with making the memory a very large 128 MB. Red Hat 7.2 Linux runs in that hardware just fine, and this box has done many good things for me.
Vectra and Compaq Evo and iMac
So now I’ve gone and moved the GIStemp port onto an HP Vectra running Linux, most of my work is done from a Compaq Evo, and I’ve got an iMac box that does Open Office along with some of the interface and visual stuff that Macs do best. They are all “well loved” and come from a “prior life” as some personal computer for various folks. Never imagining that “late in life” they would be employed in Climate Science Research. (Something to which I can relate… )
So now the old workhorse Beowulf node is going back to the garage. There to wait for the next time it can be of service. (No, I’m not going to toss it out. It is “period correct” for GIStemp ;-) and is serving as a backup copy even as it sits. I’ve erased nothing from it, so in the event of a catastrophic destruction of everything else, it will remain, ready to “step up to the plate” again, if needed. It has a fine steel skin (off of the photo, but soon to be put back on) so is more immune to various insults that the current crop of plastic things. It may not be as fast, but it can take a punch and keep on running.
Thanks, and Until Next Time, Old Friend
So to all of you who have been involved, a thank you. And may you lift a small beverage in salute to Old Friends and new roles in life. And remember that though you may be slowing down and becoming obsolescent, you are not obsolete as long as you are alive.