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“Free MPI downloads!”

April 13, 2010 - 0 Comments

Every once in a while, I do some kind of Google search for “MPI” (I know, hard to believe).

It amuses me how many “Free MPI download!” kinds of links show up.  All the open source MPI implementations are usually listed — Open MPI, MPICH and MPICH2, MVAPICH, etc.  These links are usually on “Software tracker” sites that purport to categorize and archive lots of free software in a convenient location from which users can download.

These links amuse me for (at least) three reasons.

  1. The MPI implementations are frequently mis-categorized.  I think my favorite was seeing Open MPI categorized under “Open source gardening tools.”
  2. The software versions offered are usually ancient.
  3. The download links for the software usually redirect back to the MPI implementation’s download page — but they don’t say that.  So the download you get is really from the MPI implementation’s actual web site, but it looks like you’re downloading it from the “free software archive!”.

My curiousity was piqued because I wondered if an “Open MPI” download from such archive sites might actually be re-packaged with malware or somesuch.  At least the sites that I checked, it wasn’t.  All the downloads I found actually came from Open MPI’s download page (behind the scenes).  The same was true for the other MPI implementation downloads.

But the fact that these archives exist at all amuses me. 

Does anyone download their MPI implementation from somewhere other than their MPI, operating system, network, or other hardware vendor?

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