NEC SX-4B on Ebay

Ethan Dicks ethan.dicks at
Fri Oct 10 08:38:10 CDT 2008

On Fri, Oct 10, 2008 at 01:40:39AM -0400, Dave McGuire wrote:
> On Oct 9, 2008, at 6:37 PM, Chris M wrote:
> >OI I know what supercomputers are used for.
>   Ahh.  That's surprising, given your question. ;)
> >The essence of my question is are these things at all user friendly?
>   It's a UNIX box, man.  The most (programmer-)friendly OS in  
> existence.  At least for even moderately technical people.

There are UNIX-compatible people and non-UNIX-compatible people
(cf Unix Hater's Handbook).

Personally, I fell in love with UNIX from the first day I
ran across it in 1984, but the 36-bit crowd was, um,
> >What familiar apps COULD be run if I was disposed to want to?
>   Familiar apps?  Well, pretty much anything that runs under UNIX,  
> possibly given some porting effort.  Hell, my friend James Sharp  
> ported Apache httpd to my Cray J90 and ran a web server on it.

>   As far as "familiar apps",'s not exactly the type of  
> equipment you'd want to run Firefox on.  But surely you have a modern  
> computer (or even a not-so-modern one, if you're still running  
> Windows) for stuff like that.

If I had a Cray at my disposal, I'd probably give LCDproc
<> a try, but that's strictly out of
of the same perverse sense that makes someone want to run
a webserver on a platform that isn't exactly built for "mudane"
sorts of apps.  I really don't know what I'd do to "open up the
throttle" on a Cray.


Ethan Dicks, A-333-S     Current South Pole Weather at 10-Oct-2008 at 13:30 Z
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Ethan.Dicks at  

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