Pre-built binaries vs. performance

Ludovic Courtès — January 31, 2018

Guix follows a transparent source/binary deployment model: it will download pre-built binaries when they’re available—like apt-get or yum—and otherwise falls back to building from source. Most of the time the project’s build farm provides binaries so that users don’t have to spend resources building from source. Pre-built binaries may be missing when you’re installing a custom package, or when the build farm hasn’t caught up yet. However, deployment of binaries is often seen as incompatible with high-performance requirements—binaries are “generic”, so how can they take advantage of cutting-edge HPC hardware? In this post, we explore the issue and solutions.

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Ludovic Courtès — January 29, 2018

GNU Guix will be present at FOSDEM, the main yearly free software developer conference in Europe, and in particular in the HPC track.

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HPC goodies in Guix 0.14.0

Ludovic Courtès — December 8, 2017

Version 0.14.0 of Guix was announced yesterday. In this post we look at the many goodies that made it into Guix during this release cycle.

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Installing Guix on a cluster

Ludovic Courtès — November 23, 2017

Previously we discussed ways to use Guix-produced packages on a cluster where Guix is not installed. In this post we look at how a cluster sysadmin can install Guix for system-wide use, and discuss the various tradeoffs.

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Using Guix Without Being root

Ludovic Courtès — October 2, 2017

In the previous post, we saw that Guix’s build daemon needs to run as root, and for a good reason: that’s currently the only way to create isolated build environments for packages on GNU/Linux. This requirement means that you cannot use Guix on a cluster where the sysadmins have not already installed it. In this article, we discuss how to take advantage of Guix on clusters that lack a proper Guix installation.

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Reproducibility vs. root privileges

Ludovic Courtès — September 22, 2017

Guix is a good fit for multi-user environments such as clusters: it allows non-root users to install packages at will without interfering with each other. However, a common complaint is that installing Guix requires administrator privileges. More precisely, guix-daemon, the system-wide daemon that spawns package builds and downloads on behalf of users, must be running as root. This is not much of a problem on one's laptop but it surely makes it harder to adopt Guix on an HPC cluster.

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Guix-HPC debut!

Ludovic Courtès, Roel Janssen, Pjotr Prins, Ricardo Wurmus — September 5, 2017

This post marks the debut of Guix-HPC, an effort to optimize GNU Guix for reproducible scientific workflows in high-performance computing (HPC). Guix-HPC is a joint effort between Inria, the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC), and the Utrecht Bioinformatics Center (UBC). Ludovic Courtès, Ricardo Wurmus, Roel Janssen, and Pjotr Prins are driving the effort in each of these institutes, each one focusing specific areas of interest within this overall Guix-HPC effort. Our institutes have in common that they are users of HPC, and that, as scientific research institutes, they have an interest in using reproducible methodologies to carry out their research.

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  • MDC
  • Inria
  • UBC