SL6 64 bit

As announced a couple of months back, we shall shortly be upgrading DICE desktops to Scientific Linux 6 (SL6), starting with the teaching labs. We propose to take this opportunity to switch the default architecture from 32bit to 64bit. SL6 is fully supported on 64bit and we believe all of our local environment also works on 64bit. The vast majority of course specific teaching software also works; however we know of some that do not. We are currently in the process of auditing this to establish whether any of this software is still needed. If it is then we should have the option of installing it under 32bit compatibility mode. If any course is using specific software we are not aware of then it will have to be rebuilt for 64bit by the lecturer(s) concerned (although we may be able to provide advice if necessary). We are behind the curve in not having switched to 64bit already and it offers both performance (CPU and large memory access) and some small energy saving advantages. Individual users’ machines can, of course, be installed with 32bit SL6.

Teaching Committee have agreed that we make this switch. Please let me know if you think this is likely to cause a problem, particularly for software used for teaching.

The DICE desktops in the visitor areas on levels 2, 3 and 4 of the Forum are in the process of being upgraded to SL6 64bit for users to test. Two machines have been upgraded so far – soyinka (IF-2.19) and locatelli (IF-3.19). A multi-user server will be available shortly.

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