About Scibian

The Scibian project: who, what, where, when, how, how much, why?

Who?

Potential actors of the Scibian project belong to the typical categories in any free software community–from expert developer to novice end-user, passing through computing executive in any type of organization. EDF is starting up the Scibian project with the original spirit that moves Free Software forward, more particularly Linux distributions like Debian.

EDF is already recognized as a key contributor of scientific computing, Free software projects. Let us mention Code Aster in structure mechanic, Code Saturn in fluid mechanic, or Salome Platform in pre/post treatments (sites code-aster.org, code-saturne.org, salome-platform.org). EDF also contributes to other major Free Software projects. Let us mention Debian again, as Scibian is derived from that distro.

The Scibian project targets different types of partner organization’s: energy utilities, Innovative solution developers, service providers, computer manufacturers, without exclusives and under a well-balanced policy scheme. EDF”s position is as initiator, no less no more.

What?

Scibian is an intensive computing-oriented Linux distribution, initially dedicated to scientific computing and potentially extendable to Big Data. Scibian is integrated on top of Debian, with a collection of complementary Free Software tools of various origins, Including the Scibian Community itself (EDF to begin with).

Scibian may be introduced as a Linux distro for optimally operating intensive computing applications on a wide range of hardware infrastructures, including mobile and desktop personal computers, applicative servers, up to world Top 500-classified clusters. In adopting Scibian, you have the same Linux on the whole platform rang, from Personal Computer to High-Performance Clusters–from PC to HPC.

Scibian may not be seen as a Debian fork. It is a derivative, obtained by adding functionalities and components.

Where ?

Several years before starting up the Scibian project, EDF had already generalized the equivalent In-house technical solution (then called Calibre) on all the Company’s intensive computers, including the most powerful clusters. EDF wishes to amplify scale benefits by the mean of the Scibian project, by sharing the solution more openly and widely with the intensive computing community, in France and in the rest of the world.

We invite you to visit Scibian.org, where you can freely download the complete solution, and contribute to the project…

When?

Starting up the Scibian project at the end of 2016, EDF brings a 12-year positive experience using the internal equivalent solution of Scibian, called Calibre. In launching the Scibian project, EDF wishes to perpetuate the solution by sharing its development with the intensive computing community.

Let us tell briefly the origin and evolution of the Scibian project. The operating system of EDF’s Intensive computing-dedicated infrastructures has been known under the name Calibre (contraction of calculateur libre), for more than a decade and until starting up the Scibian project. EDF’s IT Department (EDF/DSP-IT) has been developing Calibre for internal customers with heavy intensive computing needs: Research and Development (EDF/R&D), Nuclear Engineering (EDF/DIPNN), Energy optimization and Trading (EDF/DOAAT). Publishing Calibre is not quite a new idea, as this proposal was prized at the 2013 EDF Innov-IT Trophy. The new project trademark could not be Calibre, as that name was already attributed. Then it will be Scibian (contraction of scientific Debian). Calibre has died; long life to Scibian! We believe that the Scibian usage domain could easily extend to Big Data in a near future…

How?

With pragmatism!

Starting up the Scibian project, EDF publishes the technical solution developed in-house under the name Calibre, now called Scibian. But not only that, as EDF also brings up the necessary resources for the newly-born community: an expert mandated as Community Manager and supported by the Company’s expertise teams:; the Scibian registered trademark, associated with the Internet ––––––domains Scibian.org and Scibian.com; a server installed with the necessary software for diffusing and developing the Scibian distro.

When a critical mass will be reached, hopefully, the Scibian community will have the freedom to found a new association of which EDF would be an ordinary member. Community Management, trademark, Internet domains and server responsibilities could then be transferred from EDF to the new association.

How much?

Calibre At EDF, in 2016: 2000 end-users 200 qualified scientific software tools 80 computing nodes In corporate applications 1300 portable and desktop scientific workstations 3000 HPC cluster nodes 1 Peta-flops of available power

WHY?

The EDF’s proven benefits with Calibre are potentially replicable elsewhere with Scibian.

By design, just like its precursor Calibre at EDF, Scibian offers binary compatibility to pieces of software migrating from PC to servers and clusters. Hence his Linux distro suits well to the successive phases in the lifecycle of any intensive computing application, from R&D to industrial operation. Scibian platforms may also interoperate with corporate (often proprietary) applications, as in the example of energy management at EDF.

Such level of standardization has allowed EDF to design and apply the technical road-map that fulfils real needs. The non-productive costs of porting and requalifying apps that migrate between different platforms has been reduced to the strict minimum. What has been obtained a EDF may be replicated in other organizations. And does not union make force?

Summary

Scibian, the Linux distro for the whole range of intensive computing platforms–from PC to HPC.

Derived from Debian and armed for intensive computing apps–from science toward Big Data.

A Free Software community initiated by EDF, opened to all contributors within a well-balanced policy scheme.

A 12-year proven technical solution, with easy to amplify benefits.