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End-User Info for CentOS 6 to CentOS 7/Ubuntu 18.04 upgrades


Support ends for CentOS 6 at the end of November 2020.  All ECN-supported machines running CentOS 6 must be upgraded to either CentOS 7 or Ubuntu 18.04, which are the other two linux distributions supported by ECN.

This document has been provided to assist faculty, students, and staff in making the choice between the two distributions of linux.

General Remarks

The following statements should give you a general, high-level understanding of the main differences between CentOS 7 and Ubuntu 18.04:

  • CentOS 7 has more commercial packages.  ANSYS & Abaqus, for example, are only available on CentOS.
  • Ubuntu has newer versions of the kernel and development software.
  • Ubuntu has better support for GPU/CUDA computing.  It is still possible to use CUDA on CentOS 7, it just seems that updates are more frequent and more reliable with Ubuntu.


As of the writing this document (June 18, 2020), here are the available versions of commonly used development software, and kernel revisions for the respective platforms:

CentOS 7:

  • python: 2.7.5, 3.6.8
  • gcc: 4.8.5
  • make: 3.82
  • cmake:
  • perl: v5.16.3
  • kernel version: 3.10
Ubuntu 18.04:
  • python: 2.7.17, 3.6.9
  • gcc: 7.5.0
  • make: 4.1
  • cmake: 3.10.2
  • perl: 5.26.1
  • kernel: 4.15

Other software, and the modules system

In the past, ECN has traditionally created different directories for applications for which multiple versions were supported.  Matlab, for example., could be found in /usr/opt/bin (current version), in /usr/new/bin (new version), and /usr/old/bin (older version).  This worked for a time, but became difficult to manage, for both users and ECN staff.
CentOS 7 and Ubuntu 18.04, as implemented by ECN, make use of the modules (lmod) system, to manage multiple versions of application software.  lmod provides a convenient way to configure shell variables, including paths, etc.., at the same time a version of a package is selected.  More information about lmod, can be found in this Knowledgebase article:
Here are the current (June 18, 2020) packages available for each respective system:
Ubuntu 18.04:
--------------------------------------- /package/modulefiles/ecn/common ---------------------------------------
comsol/4.3b gams/27.2.0 mathematica/12.0 rocky/4.3.2
comsol/5.2a gams/31.1.1 (D) mathematica/12.1.0 (D) tecplot/2018R1.1
comsol/5.3a gurobi/8.0.1 matlab/R2015a tecplot/2019R1 (D)
comsol/5.3 intel/16.0.3 matlab/R2017a thermocalc/2018b
comsol/5.4 intel/18.0.1 (D) matlab/R2018b totalview/2020.0.25
comsol/5.5 (D) link3d/1.1.1 matlab/R2019b
cplex/12.9 link3d/1.2.0 (D) matlab/R2020a (D)
gams/24.8.3 maple/2019 pointwise/18.3R1

CentOS 7: Includes the same packages as Ubuntu above plus the following:

-------------------------------------------- /etc/modulefiles/pkg ---------------------------------------------
clang/9.0.0 ffmpeg/4.2.2 gdb/8.1 llvm/9.0.0 ngspice/27 python3/3.7.4 thinlinc/4.10.0
--------------------------------------- /package/modulefiles/ecn/centos ---------------------------------------
abaqus/2016 anaconda/5.2.0 ansys/2019R3 ansysedt/2019R3 gcc/7.1.0
abaqus/2018 ansys/15.0.7 ansys/2020R1 ansysedt/2020R1 gcc/8.3.0 (D)
abaqus/2019 ansys/19.0 ansysedt/19.0 gcc/5.3.0 texlive/2019
abaqus/2020 (D) ansys/2019R2 (D) ansysedt/2019R2 (D) gcc/6.3.0

Where: D: Default Module

Job scheduling

Under CentOS 6, Torque is currently being used for job scheduling.  CentOS 7 and Ubuntu 18, both use Slurm.  Here is a handy guide for translating Torque commands to slurm commands:

Questions and further info

If you have specific questions concerning the software listed above, or packages not listed, please, please do not hesitate to contact ECN with your concerns.  Send an e-mail to, and we will be happy to discuss it with you.

Last Modified: Jul 24, 2020 8:04 am America/New_York
Created: Jun 18, 2020 11:01 am GMT-4 by admin