The top 500 list of supercomputers is published every six
months. The last publication was in November 2003, the next will be
later this month.
I decided to investigate how many of the very fastest of these
machines use Linux or another Open Source operating system. Is Open
Source really leading innovation in this area? Unfortunately, it's
the one bit of information that's not included on the top500 web pages themselves.
However, a bit of digging quickly reveals the results. Here's
the results of my investigation. Please note that most of this
information is from the list itself, I have
just added information about the operating system and a reference
In summary, 3 of the top 5 use an open source OS, 5 of the top
10, and 7 of the top 20. Almost all open source OS used are Linux,
with the brief exception of 1 Mac OS X. It's interesting how IBM
and HP, for all their promotion of open source, prefer to sell
their proprietary operating systems with the high-end hardware.
Will that change? Apparently, Linux can run on the pSeries 690,
which has 3 of the top 20 slots.
Soon, this table will need updating, based on the June top500
list. If recent press releases are to be believed, Linux will take
even more of the top slots.