An interesting type of cluster computing

Last Updated on September 30, 2010 by Dave Farquhar

Now here’s something that seems interesting and useful. The two times I want to cluster are when I’m rendering video (ick) or compiling something massive like KDE or Mozilla (quadruple ick).
Enter distcc, which lets you spread your C/C++ compiling out over a network.

The most obvious use for this would be source-based Linux distros like Gentoo, since those compiles take forever and most people who are interested in compiling Gentoo already have an army of existing Linux boxes.

If they succeed in getting distcc and Gentoo working together, I’ll give Gentoo a serious look. None of my machines are quick enough to build everything I’d want in a reasonable length of time, especially considering GCC 3.1’s slower speed. And what’s the point of using Gentoo if you’re not the first on the block with the compiler that generates the fastest code? But if I can distribute the load across my Duron-700, my dual Celeron-500, and whatever else I can scrounge up (which ranges from my work-owned P3-700 laptop down to a 66 MHz 486–I’ll probably keep the 486 on the bench), I’m willing to look at it.

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3 thoughts on “An interesting type of cluster computing

  • August 8, 2002 at 3:51 pm

    I know one person who has tried Gentoo and he says the compile time is worth it, no matter the hardware. He is very impressed. This person has also tried all Distros known to man. I have been playing around a bit with Debian but I am considering giving that up and jumping to Gentoo instead.

    Keep us posted on your progress and ideas if you do decide on using Gentoo!

    /Dave T.

  • August 8, 2002 at 8:24 pm

    What’s wrong with Mozilla? (re: “The two times I want to cluster are when I’m rendering video (ick) or compiling something massive like KDE or Mozilla (quadruple ick).”)

  • August 9, 2002 at 5:54 pm

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Mozilla, other than the time it takes to compile it. It’s my main browser. When I was running Sorcerer Linux, I seem to recall I started a Mozilla compile on a Saturday morning, went out for the day, returned late that night and it was still cranking away. This was on a dual Celeron-500 with 320 megs of RAM and a nice SCSI drive. Not a barn burner but hardly a slouch.

    Mozilla was a big reason why I switched from Sorcerer to Debian, so I wouldn’t have to compile it when new releases came out. 🙂

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