Debian, distributed computing, and bioinformatics

This paper presents a development from the Debian Linux Free Software community that offers solutions to the prior mentioned problems. The basic idea is to automate updates, to share maintenance load under governance of a peer controlled strict policy and to use asymmetric cryptography for the packages' integrity and authenticity. The underlying technology may be applied to any program and be run independently from Debian. The technology has been ported to 11 different platforms, hence providing a considerable freedom in the selection of hardware.

A subproject of Debian is Debian-Med[23], a Custom Debian Distribution[24], supporting users with a special interest in medical and biological problems. The common goal of all CDDs is to make installation and administration of computers for their target users as easy as possible, and to serve in the role as the missing link between software developers and users well. The importance of this technology for computational grids and information agents has not been presented before.

Andreas Tille 2005-05-13