About Scientific Linux 4 at DESY, Zeuthen

SL4 is no longer supported, nor available. The few remaining systems accessible to end users were shut down March 1st, 2012.

General Points

AFS Sysname List

The AFS sysname list (the output of the fs sysname command) in Zeuthen 1 is:


Sysname List

32bit (i686)





64bit (x86_64)







It is not clear at all that amd64_rhel30 i386_linux26 is the order that makes most sense for the 64bit platform. Opinions on whether or not i386_linux26 amd64_rhel30 would be better are welcome, and this may be changed early on during SL4 lifetime.

Login Shells

We made a serious effort to make bash a supported login shell, but it's impossible.

There is no way to reliably give bash users a working environment identical to that of zsh and tcsh users, due to bash's limited functionality w.r.t. startup files processing.

We recommend using zsh, zsh or zsh as the login shell. Tcsh is available for those who insist. Bash is not, sorry.

Notice this does not prevent users from writing or using bash scripts in any way.

Language Support, UTF8

It was initially planned to introduce use of UTF8 as the default with SL4. Alas, it was found that it's causing too much trouble, and makes things too incompatible to the rest of our environment.

Hence the default for the LANG environment variable on SL4 systems is C, as on SL3 and DL5 before. Early SL4 systems had a default of en_US, because it makes certain GNOME applications behave more sensible (in particular gnome-terminal), but it was found to cause other problems (among them, changes in the date format and sorting order).

Any user may change the personal default by creating a file ~/.i18n:

# recommended and default:

# alternative:

# I want to suffer

We do not install language support packages for other languages than US-english, with the sole exception of dictionaries for spellchecking. Languages other than english for the user interface are not supported.

Removable Media and Hotplug Storage Devices


Backward Compatibility


SL4 should be binary backward compatible with SL3. This means that executables built on and for SL3 should work on SL4. It does not mean that any executable that works on SL3 will work on SL4 as well: If it worked only due to legacy support before, it may no longer work on SL4. In particular, starting with SL4, a.out executables are no longer supported.

As on SL3 already, no libc5 is available.

Desktop/User Environment



Known Problems

Hardware Requirements

(In)Compatibility List



Unknown yet:

Installation Times


  1. Scientific Linux DESY 4, as provided by - IT - in Hamburg, has very different lists, featuring the default sysname as defined by the AFS elders a the very end, a newly invented one at the very beginning, and sysnames that were never in use anywhere in between. We stubbornly refuse to be compatible with this. (1)

SL4_User_Information (last edited 2012-02-29 21:59:25 by StephanWiesand)