Lahey Licensing of Fortran compiler for Linux - in detail ;-)

John Burton j.c.burton at
Tue Jan 21 08:06:36 PST 2003

Jim Lux wrote:
> I suspect that it is just Lahey's approach to pricing their product in a 
> way to maximize revenue in a reasonably fair way that sort of approaches 
> a "ability to pay sliding scale" kind of basis.
> Nobody has ever claimed that products (in general, and software in 
> particular) are priced at their intrinsic value to the buyer.  It's 
> always an approximation of some sort, driven by desires to make enough 
> money to stay in business, to keep it reasonably simple, and so forth..
> It seems to me that Lahey is pricing bigger clusters higher based on the 
> reasonable assumption that someone who can afford to build and operate a 
> 200 processor cluster probably has more "means to pay" than someone 
> operating a 4 processor cluster.  Furthermore, the price differential 
> isn't all that extreme considering the radically different budgets that 
> probably exist... It's a roughly 2:1 price difference for a 16:1 cluster 
> size (and presumably, ability to pay) difference.

But the question remains. In a world where other vendors are charging 
for the product (fortran compiler) Lahey is charging for running the 
programs produced by that product. I wrote the FORTRAN source code. I 
bought the hardware and software for the cluster. I'm paying for the 
cooling and power to run the cluster. I'm paying for the systems 
administration. Why should I pay someone else to *run* my code on my 
cluster? What is the value they add?

> Considering that the monthly electric bill alone for a 256 processor 
> cluster is on the order of $3000 (150W/CPU*256 CPU * 720 hr/month = 
> 27,658 kWh/month, 0.11/kWh) (not even worrying about facilities costs 
> (AC, etc.), the extra $1500 in license fees is pretty small compared to 
> $36K/yr in direct operating costs (especially, since the direct cost is 
> probably more like $100K/yr.. rent, etc.).

$1500 buys me another node. What value does the Lahey runtime add to the 
system over and above what an Intel or Portland or even a GNU compiler 
suite / runtime provides?


More information about the Beowulf mailing list