Product Picks

A distro for mad scientists, books on clusters, and something top-secret.

Perfect for the Mad Scientist: Quantian Linux

Have to crunch planetary orbits or design the next space shuttle? Then Quantian Linux might be the perfect package for you.

Quantian Linux is a self-configuring, bootable Linux distribution designed for scientific and engineering power users. Based on Knoppix and just as easy to configure, Quantian bundles an entire suite of science tools, such as math libraries, programming environments and compilers, and Octave and R, two programming languages specifically designed for numerical analysis.

To publish papers based on all of your research, Quantian bundles OpenOffice and several text formatting tools. The newest release also includes all of the standard networking utilities and openMosix, so you can combine all of your lab’s idle workstations into a moonlighting supercomputer. Muwahahaha!

For more information about Quantian Linux, see http://dirk.eddelbuettel.com/quantian.html.

Fast, Secret, and Sexy: O’Reilly Media’s Latest

Linux ├╝ber publisher O’Reilly Media has just released a trio of interesting books that are perfect companions for those long winter nights spent hovering over the keyboard.

The first book, High Performance Linux Clusters, focuses on clustering solutions for high-performance computing and high-availability machines. The book looks at several ways to install new cluster nodes, greatly reducing the time required to set up a new cluster.

Next, venture into the covert world of the National Security Agency with SELinux: NSA’s Open Source Security Enhanced Linux. Released a few years ago by the NSA, several popular distributions now incorporate SELinux technology, which is based on the principles of least privilege. The new book explains the concepts of SELinux, such as role based access controls, fine-grained transitions and privilege escalation. A must read for the trench-coat and fake mustache set.

Finally, check out Smart Home Hacks, the perfect playbook for hibernating couch potatoes. Whether you want to monitor your home security system via the web or turn off your lights via email or telephone, the newest addition to the popular Hacks line of books outlines how to cheaply build and deploy home security and automation devices.

For more information or to order these books, head over http://www.ora.com.

Switch Blade: Appro XtremeBlade Servers

If you’re in the business of crunching numbers — be they complex equations or this week’s payroll — check out Appro’s new XtremeBlade blade servers. Besides being the first AMD Opteron- based blade server, the novel XtremeBlade offers integrated Infiniband and Gigabit Ethernet in each blade, and is the only blade system that allows heterogeneous 2-way, 4-way, and 8-way blades to be mixed in the same rack. The Appro XtremeBlade features six sub-racks housing up to twelve blade servers in each sub-rack, yielding a maximum capacity of 576 processors.

To make maintenance a snap, all blades are hot-swappable, and the system is constructed with redundant power supplies and cooling fans, as well as tight integration of key components such as network switches and centralized management. Appro XtremeBlade solution also offers a variety of configuration options including Appro DAS/NAS/SAN based storage solutions.

Appro is now accepting pre-orders and first shipments are expected nearly immediately. Break out our check book and head over to http://www.appro.com/.

Open Source Access Points

D-Link, has released a new wireless access point that combines an 802.11g router with an ADSL modem. The DSL-G604T, which is available now, also provides four LAN ports to connect traditional, Ethernet-capable devices. Its suggested retail price is$ 179.99.

Better yet, the software running the DSL-G604T has been released under the GNU Public License. You know what that means: scores of code monkeys pushing the limits of what the device can do. MontaVista Linux 2.4.17 lies at the heart of the unit, with iptables, netfilter, thttpd, and other open source programs providing security and other features for the embedded device.

Hardware and Linux hackers are go! Visit http://www.dlink.com for more information.

Got a product pick? Send email to class="emailaddress">tanase@qaddisin.com.

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