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Unix Services

Supported Operating Systems

Brookhaven National Lab has taken a relatively liberal approach to supporting a wide number of operating systems (OS), especially compared to other National Labs.  It requires much effort to vet mandatory software packages for all OS releases and architectures.  This does necessitate limiting number of OS.

Supported OS are limited to the list provided below and restricted to those releases which are still supported by the developer of that OS.

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)
    RHEL is "the world's leading open source application platform".  It is an open source operating system which has the added benefit of paid commercial support.  In combination with the Red Hat Network (RHN) service, RHEL provides a stable operating system for users.
  • Scientific Linux (SL)
    SL a RHEL derivative designed/maintained by Fermilab and CERN, and various other labs and universities around the world. Its primary purpose is to reduce duplicated effort of the labs, and to have a common install base for the various experimenters.
  • Fedora
    Fedora (formerly known as "Fedora Core") is the development platform of RHEL.  Fedora's benefits are a short development cycle and the available of cutting-edge software.  The major drawback is the short support lifespan.   Fedora's official support is for 13 months after release date.
  • Debian
    Debian is a freely available Linux based operating system with a wide assortment of available software packages.
  • Ubuntu
    Ubuntu is a Debian linux derivative designed for desktop and laptop environments.  The base operating system is built upon Debian, however, more development work has been put into the user interface.  It has a shorter development cycle which provides access to more cutting-edge software.
  • Sun Solaris
    Sun's Solaris operating system is still a major player in the BNL computing environment.  ITD carries a maintenance contract with Sun for security patches and updates.
  • AIX 5L for Power (releases 5.2 and 5.3 only)
    Support for IBM's AIX operating system is provided for legacy compatibility on the QCDOC network.
    For legacy SGI systems still in service in the lab, IRIX is the only operating system available.
  • HP-UX (B.11.11 through B.11.31)
    Some legacy systems still in production require support for uncommon OS.
  • Tru64
    Formerly a product of Compaq, now owned by HP, Tru64 is designed for DEC Alpha processors.

Top of PageLast Modified: February 14, 2011

To reach ITD Unix Services for any support issues, please contact the ITD Helpdesk via email ( or call x5522.  In any communications, please include the name of the machine(s) in question, as well as their operating system, software package and other relevant information which will allow ITD to help you more effectively.