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Scientific Linux > Announcements > Welcome to the Scientific Linux Forum

Posted by: redman Apr 8 2011, 06:39 PM
Welcome to the Scientific Linux Forum, a place where all users of Scientific Linux can get together and share ideas, knowledge and problems. We aim to help all users, no matter how little or how much experience someone has. It is a forum by users for users.

The Scientific Linux Forum is not owned, controlled or operated by people officially related to Scientific Linux.
Having said that, they do endorse us. We are listed at their website as their "official unofficial" forum cool.gif

This forum doesn't focus on scientific use (like powering the, nor on business users (powering webservers), nor on laptop users or desktop users. No matter where you use Scientific Linux, we welcome you cool.gif

Please feel free to roam the board and join our community!

Don't forget to introduce yourself in smile.gif

The Crew

Posted by: redman May 10 2011, 08:06 PM
It has become clear that many that have discovered Scientific Linux (SL) have different ideas on what SL is or what they can expected from SL.
There are also users that think that the Scientific Linux Forum belongs to the developers of SL. That is why we have gathered the following information.

What is Scientific Linux?
Scientific Linux or SL is a Linux release put together by developers from Fermilab and CERN. Its primary purpose is to reduce duplicated effort of the labs, and to have a common install base for the various experimenters. The base SL distribution is basically Enterprise Linux, recompiled from sources from Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

Are there more/other versions of SL?
Yes , there are two other versions based on SL:
SL = Scientific Linux (created by CERN and Fermilab for general use),
SLC = Scientific Linux CERN (optimised for their network) -
SLF = Scientific Linux Fermilab (optimised for their network) -
Of course anyone can download/use SLC or SLF at home or at work without being connected to the CERN or Fermilab network. But there are specific settings you might want to check/change. In general you should go for SL.

What are the goals from SL?
If you check out the SL website, you will read that "the main goal for the base distribution is to have everything compatible with Enterprise, with only a few minor additions or changes. An example of of items that were added are Alpine, and OpenAFS. Our secondary goal is to allow easy customization for a site, without disturbing the Scientific Linux base. The various labs are able to add their own modifications to their own site areas. By the magic of scripts, and the anaconda installer, each site is to be able to create their own distributions with minimal effort. Or, if a users wishes, they can simply install the base SL release". Just like RHEL, SL offers support for several years. More details on long term support can be found

What is the Scientific Linux Forum?
The Scientific Linux Forum is not owned, controlled or operated by people related to Scientific Linux, Fermilab or CERN. This forum is operated by several volunteers who keep this forum up and running in their free time. They come from different countries around the world with different kind of Linux experience. More details about the crew can be found

What can users expect from SL?
Scientific Linux is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. That means that SL offers the same as RHEL: stability and security. The software included may not be the latest or greatest but it is stable and garuanteed to work. Opposite to RHEL there is Fedora. Fedora's main objective is to offer the latest and greatest that is available (also known as "bleeding edge technology"). Scientific Linux is intended to be used in environments where long term stability is required (servers, production areas etc.) and because of this doesn't offer "bleeding edge" software. The Scientific Linux project has no commercial agenda. It is not designed to be a platform to promote Linux, nor is it designed to compete with other Linux distributions. It is produced solely to fulfil a particular need within Fermilab and CERN. In other words, they didn't create SL for us on the outside. Simply said: you are free to use it, but if it breaks or doesn't do what you would like, you can't complain to the project developers, nor to the volunteers on this forum. Fortunately the developers will try to be helpful on the SL mailinglist.

What can be expected from the Scientific Linux Forum?
Everybody who is active on this forum does this in their free time. Because everybody comes from different locations, everybody is online on different moments. The growing community on this forum will also try to help you if they can. But please be patient. Not everybody is 24/7 online. The same goes for the crew, they moderate and make sure things are going fine here. But they too have work and real lives. Nobody gets paid here so do not "demand" things from anyone on the forum.

Will SL be suitable for me?
That depends on what you expect from it. If you need or want the newest software than you might want to reconsider using SL. You might be better of with distributions like Fedora or Ubuntu. Of course it is possible to rebuild SL to suit your needs, but depending how much you change it might lead to unpredicted problems. On the other hand, if you are looking for a solid and stable Linux distribution that works without all the fireworks for several years, SL might be just the thing for you. SL can be used in all kinds of environments ranging from at home to datacenters and scientific labs. It can be used on desktop computers, laptops and tablets.

Are there problems I should know about?
Yes, there is one big problem that you could be facing. This problem is related to dependencies if you want to install software that was not created by the SL developers. If you want to use software from "other sources", you might have to enable 3rd party repositories in order to solve dependencies. It is possible to use 3rd party repositories to update or add software to Scientific Linux. Please remember that the use of any non-SL repos (and especially if you mix several 3rd party repos) is entirely up to you. Many 3rd party repositories are mutually incompatible and will cause dependency issues and conflicts, as well as stability issues, if used together. If something as a result breaks, you get to keep the pieces. You do this at your own risk. So please make sure you know what you do. More details on the 3rd party repos can be found

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