Scientific Linux and its features
- Category: Linux
- Author: Admin
- March 24,2017
Purpose of Scientific Linux and the features it offers
Scientific Linux is another free and open source distribution of Linux. Although scientific Linux is based on the RedHat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). The term “scientific” was coined for this distribution as it was initially built to provide a common Linux platform for various scientific laboratories and universities across the globe. Over the years, many scientific sites choose Linux but different distributions. This led to sharing of data among sites a very tedious job. Hence, they needed to come up with a solution that could help the scientific communities all over the world to work in tandem. RedHat Inc. came up with the solution of building a free and open source operating system for the scientific community with no obligation to maintain or operate it. Scientific Linux is now being maintained by a conglomerate of scientific community. It is a very versatile distribution of Linux and is compatible on laptops, desktops and servers. The latest version of scientific Linux is 7.3 and was released on 26th January, 2017. Derived from the Redhat Enterprise Linux version 7.3 it includes many additional features and customizations.
You may download the latest version from following link: http://ftp.scientificlinux.org/linux/scientific/7x/x86_64/iso/
Here are some key features of scientific Linux.
Scientific Linux allows you to choose your own software environment right at the time of installation. A list of base environment is provided which lets you choose from a variety of options like
1. General purpose system
2. Minimal install
3. Infrastructure server
4. File and Print server
5. Basic Web server
6. Virtualisation Host
7. Server with GUI
8. Compute node
9. GNOME desktop
10. KDE plasma workspaces
11. Development and creative workstation
It also lets you choose the add-ons for the selected environment. Some of the options are:
1. MariaDB database server
2. network file system client
3. PHP support
4. Perl for web
5. Platform development
7. Technical Writing
8. Virtualisation Hypervisor
9. Security tools
10. Smart Card Support
RPM (Redhat Package Management)
Scientific Linux makes use of the Redhat Package Management. It implies that you are provided with a repository of uninstalled or un-updated packages from which you can choose and install or uninstall according to your requirement. You can use the “yum” command to do so. The packages that are not installed in the yum repository have to be added before you can install it.
Emacs is a text editor that comes with scientific Linux. It is a very useful tool for editing documents and files. The keyboard shortcuts are completely different from the conventional ones that we use but once you get the hang of it you will find it very useful. With over 2000 built-in commands it supplies you with a wide range of operations. You can also combine these commands to build a macro which can be used to automate your work.
Desktop environment refers to the environment in which all the applications in an operating system are bundled up and easily accessible on a GUI (Graphical User Interface). Scientific Linux presents the option of selecting from a variety of desktop environments form GNOME desktop to KDE to iceWM.
Gnome is a free and open source desktop environment and is widely used all over the world. It has a very practical Graphical User Interface (GUI). The GUI of Gnome features are discussed briefly:
1) Top bar: The bar at the top the screen consists of activities icon, status menu and an application menu
2) Application menu: It contains the name of all the running applications and some related options such as terminating the applications etc.
3) Status Menu: It displays the status of various applications, system status, services etc.
There’s more to like about the additional tools provided for Scientific Linux.
1) Key among them is SL Spin Creation, a toolset designed to let you make easy custom spins with apps like Revisor and Live USB Creator.
2) Also quite nice are SL tweaks packages which add tools like a terminal icon to the desktop, and let you require a root password when you’re in single user mode – something inexplicably missing from RedHat.
These were some of the key features in Scientific Linux. Although scientific Linux was designed for the scientific community to possess a uniform platform on which they could conceive their work but over the years scientific Linux has evolved into being one of the favourite distributions of RedHat among all groups of people.