So if you argue that system libraries and kernels don't matter to HPC performance, then why are HPC administrators so reluctant to change something so irrelevant?
Because, like any IT administrator queried about a big configuration change, they are afraid of breaking things. It doesn't matter how fast that kernel is; an inoperative cluster is still infinitely slower. I assure you, that they would reply with "can I install gentoo?!" with the same horror.
Hell, even if they were running gentoo, they would probably refuse to do upgrade. At least they would if I were paying them.
Leave the distro wars for the kiddies. Real clusters need to be doing real work, and futzing with the installed software doesn't qualify.
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