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Novell SuSE United Kingdom Linux News

London Stock Exchange Finishes Switch To Linux 106

Posted by Soulskill
from the takes-a-while-to-put-on-a-good-tux dept.
DMandPenfold writes "The London Stock Exchange has successfully set into live trading a new matching engine based on Novell SUSE Linux technology, following successful last-step setup procedures on Saturday. The move has been billed as one of the LSE's most significant technological developments since the increasing prevalence of electronic trading led to the closure of the traditional exchange floor in 1986. LSE chief executive Xavier Rolet has insisted that the exchange, once a monopoly, will deliver record speed and stable trading in order to fight back against the fast erosion of its dominant marketshare by specialist electronic rivals."
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London Stock Exchange Finishes Switch To Linux

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  • by c0lo (1497653) on Tuesday February 15, 2011 @03:12AM (#35207218)

    based on Novell SUSE Linux technology

    Should it be Attachmate (err... Microsoft [computerworld.com]...?) Linux Technology already?

    • First of all, the link you provided leads to an opinion article. 'Nuff said.

      Even if Microsoft bought some rights from Novell via the Attachmate deal, the current stack is *not* Microsoft tech. The Accenture/MS solution (TradElec) was binned as it was problematic, it crashed for a whole day [practical-tech.com] and it never reached its performance targets (using Server 2003 and SQL 2000 [computerworld.com]). The CEO who had brought it in was apparently fired [computerworld.com].
  • by RooftopActivity (1991792) on Tuesday February 15, 2011 @03:12AM (#35207222)
    Does this mean the prompt will be a GBP (£) sign instead of a dollar ($) ?
  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Tuesday February 15, 2011 @03:27AM (#35207270)

    the exchange, once a monopoly, will deliver record speed and stable trading in order to fight back against the fast erosion of its dominant marketshare by specialist electronic rivals

    The issue facing markets isn't that. It's algorithmic trading:

    https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Algorithmic_trading#Issues_and_developments

    https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/2010_Flash_Crash

    • by beelsebob (529313) on Tuesday February 15, 2011 @03:33AM (#35207292)

      What makes you think there needs to be exactly 1 problem?

    • by Mithur (945610)
      Even so... Really someone thinks that changing to linux in LSE will make a fairest world.. c'mon! Now we can say that linux also helps to starve the world and concentrate wealth with the commodities bubble...
    • by dintech (998802)

      The issue facing markets isn't that. It's algorithmic trading

      You couldn't be more wrong. The absolutely opposite is true. Algorithmic trading is exactly what the exchanges want and here's why:

      Increased trading means increased fees. Exchanges charge a fee for each and every order. MTFs such as Chi-X and Turquoise grabbed market share by having a clever pricing structure based on whether your order is sitting on the order book and filled (passive) or your order is immediately filled against something already

  • Impending Merger (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 15, 2011 @03:46AM (#35207324)

    This likely means that the Toronto Stock exchange will soon be using Linux as well [www.cbc.ca], if they aren't already.

  • I know it's not my most sophisticated comment, but I like open source so I am happy :)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Who said it will be open source? It can be based on Linux, and use proprietary software.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I can promise you what's installed there is far from open source.

    • by DrXym (126579)

      I know it's not my most sophisticated comment, but I like open source so I am happy :)

      The OS sitting at the bottom of the software stack is open source. The rest isn't. I imagine Linux is attractive because it supports a wider array of hardware than Windows would especially for a system which must guarantee low latency, high throughput.

      • by jimicus (737525)

        Doubt it. It's not like you're going to cobble together the systems running a stock exchange from whatever you could find leftover in the warehouse.

        Infinitely more likely that there's only a handful of software development houses with the expertise to develop stock exchange systems of this sort of size. (Which makes sense, as there's only a handful of big stock exchanges). Which means there's only a handful of companies that are going to be taken seriously if they bid for the contract.

        Assuming there's on

        • Re:YES!!!! :) (Score:5, Insightful)

          by DrXym (126579) on Tuesday February 15, 2011 @07:53AM (#35208110)
          I didn't say cobble together. What I meant is Linux runs on big iron, it runs on PC architectures, it runs on racks. Multiple architectures, multiple roles, same OS. It makes it easier to put the system together when everything is running the same OS. I imagine that a system like a stock exchange would have embedded systems with honking amounts of memory for low latency streaming / quotes and large mainframe backends for recording trades. All tied together with the fastest network / backbone you could lay your hands on.

          My understanding is the previous system was .NET over windows which raises large question marks over performance (e.g. unexpected garbage collections) and the sort of hardware that it could be run on.

          • My understanding is the previous system was .NET over windows which raises large question marks over performance (e.g. unexpected garbage collections)

            It seems that the new system is running on Java, though, which is hardly an improvement in hard real-time department.

            • by DrXym (126579)
              It seems that the new system is running on Java, though, which is hardly an improvement in hard real-time department.

              Well there are JVMs implemented in hardware and JVMs with real time RTSJ support (e.g. Websphere Realtime [ibm.com]. I suppose it's also possible that some parts of the system are Java and some aren't and I wouldn't really know what the LSE does without looking.

              I know when I worked for a financial house that it was a mix of code. C++ / .NET represented the thick client code. Java represented the we

        • by orlanz (882574)

          Actually, these types of things are usually in house. If there ever was a case for non-off-the-shelf software, a SE booking & matching engine is it. Most of the developers will be inhouse. The reason to use Linux is most likely that you can strip out all non-essentials. A path that an order takes from external interface to execution can be seriously streamlined with little intereferance from the OS. Imagine having fat kernels like Windows in the interfaces/perimeters and slim kernels almost akin to

  • ACN FTW (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 15, 2011 @03:54AM (#35207358)

    And so ends one more of an increasingly long line of Accenture / MSFT snafus.

    • by mangu (126918)

      And so ends one more of an increasingly long line of Accenture / MSFT snafus.

      At $40 million / snafu they couldn't care less. Now let's see the people at LSE who proposed the Accenture / MSFT solution. Will they be fired? Will the $40 million be discounted from their bonuses? I doubt it. Because they are probably working at another victim by now. Where will the next snafu be? Stay tuned.

      • Re:ACN FTW (Score:4, Informative)

        by nicholas22 (1945330) on Tuesday February 15, 2011 @12:56PM (#35211376)
        The CEO who brought in the TradElec joint Accenture / Microsoft solution has been fired. As for the TradElec platform itself, it was binned. The main rival of TradElec was selected. I'd call this a major SNAFU [zdnet.com]. Where are the self-indulgent comments from MCSEs that 'choosing Microsoft never got anyone fired' now?
    • Back in the old days when Pud ran FuckedCompany.com, he would love to post stories about Accenture. He'd always say: Accenture (pronounced ass-enter).

  • Because clearly, ever more HFT is exactly what everyone needs!

    • by JanneM (7445) on Tuesday February 15, 2011 @05:30AM (#35207626) Homepage

      Because clearly, ever more HFT is exactly what everyone needs!

      If you are an automated trader then you do need any speed you can get. If you aren't - well, you probably don't have any business being on the stock exchange any more. A bit more or less speed is not going to make any difference; you're hopelessly outgunned either way.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Maybe I'm not cynical enough, but all the low-latency trading and algorithmic competition in the world isn't really going to change the fact that I can sit here with delayed stock quotes, look at a company's financial statements, look at the company's P/E ratio and potential for growth and put a bid in at a price of my choosing.

        • by Nursie (632944) on Tuesday February 15, 2011 @06:17AM (#35207756)

          It sucks money out of the stock market.

          Fans of it will say it provides 'increased liquidity'.

          Me, I say, it sucks monkey out of the stock market. If it didn't the HFT people wouldn't bother doing it. The money comes from somewhere, and that somewhere is other investors. If it *doesn't* come from somewhere then creating it means there's more money and it comes from everyone via inflation.

          That's my take. May be wrong, may be dense, but that's my take. Me, I'd scale back the whole thing massively because I still haven't had anyone explain adequately to me how, after they've gone public, the company's stock market valuation matters (to the company) for anything at all, except for perhaps their ability to rack up debt.

          • by micheas (231635) on Tuesday February 15, 2011 @07:16AM (#35207980) Homepage Journal

            "increased liquidity" has a cost.

            If you want to buy now, or sell now, instead of spending a few days shopping for a willing partner on the other side of the trade you won't get as good of a price. But you also have the reduced risk of not spending a few days trying to unload your stock.

            The one thing that you will notice is that with the high frequency traders the spread is now very small, but the volitility is much higher, so in some ways this is a reaction to discount brokerages and the decimalization of stock prices, as the fees are not in the spread but in the volatility. I don't know which is more profitable to the house, but the reduced spread and the greatly reduced commissions had to be made up for someway. Banks are more profitable now, but there are many fewer banks, so direct comparisons with thirty years ago are not possible without correcting for industry consolidation.

            An example of the cost of liquidity is that, while exchanges are liquid, someone selling five to ten percent of a company in the open market in a few minutes can easily erase more than half of the companies market capitalization. But the stock is sold and the books are closed.

            One difference between specialists and high frequency traders is that specialists have to be the buyer and seller of last resort, while HFT's have no obligation to make a losing trade.

            I have not looked at the math behind technical trading recently, but in the nineties there were several papers published that suggested that technical trends could only see about 15 minutes into the future, and the predictive value more than five minutes into the future was murky, but not useless.

            As far as your question of how a companies market capitalization matters to the company, it depends on the company. Some companies carry a large number of authorized shares on the balance sheet, but do have not issued them. The company can give bonuses as stock options which if the options are deep in the money, the investors are essentially paying a substantial percentage of employee compensation, instead of the company paying it. A high market capitalization does not guarantee that people will loan you money, but it does tend to lower your interest rate, and allow you to issue really long term debt. (Disney and Coke issued 100 year bonds, Canadian Pacific issued 1000 year bonds.) One other thing that companies can do with an over inflated market cap is buy things with the stock, see aol buying time warner as a famous example of that. I am sure that there are uses that I am forgetting at the moment. But I hope that is somewhat illuminating.

          • by mangu (126918)

            I still haven't had anyone explain adequately to me how, after they've gone public, the company's stock market valuation matters (to the company) for anything at all, except for perhaps their ability to rack up debt.

            If the company's stock is highly valued they can finance growth by selling shares. Otherwise they would have to "rack up debt" in order to grow.

          • by m50d (797211)

            Me, I say, it sucks monkey out of the stock market. If it didn't the HFT people wouldn't bother doing it. The money comes from somewhere, and that somewhere is other investors. If it *doesn't* come from somewhere then creating it means there's more money and it comes from everyone via inflation.

            The whole point of the stock market is it's not a zero-sum game - the companies you invest in are creating wealth (by building a better mousetrap, from materials and labour that are worth less than the finished product), which goes to their owners, i.e. the stockholders.

            Now, you're right in that the money that HFT guys make comes in the immediate from other investors. So flip it around: if all they're doing is creaming off profit, why would anyone ever buy from them or sell to them. Answer: they give you th

        • by JanneM (7445)

          You can. And as long as you treat the stock market as a longer-term investment - a place to park your money - the HFT activity isn't going to matter to you. Buy a portfolio or shares in a couple of index funds, then revisit your holdings oh, once a year or so. No problem. In a ten or twenty year time-frame you'll have done much better than the mattress or a bank account, and likely be ahead of bondholders.

          But trying to play the stock market - to trade your way to wealth - is a losers game today if you're an

          • by jimicus (737525)

            If it's in an index-linked fund there's a good chance you'll wind up beating automated traders. 80% of the things that try to beat the market average fail, sometimes spectacularly.

          • by Nursie (632944)

            LOL. over the last decade or so, funds have (in general) been a great way to make next to no money at all. The dot-com burst and then the "crisis" we're apparently still recovering from.

            • by Americano (920576)

              Looks like somebody doesn't know about dollar cost averaging and long term investment in a diversified portfolio.

              • by Nursie (632944)

                Actually, no, but then the dollar is meaningless to me as I don't live in the US.

                And you can diversify as much as you like, roughly every ten years (it seems) everything takes a major dive for a year or two.

                • by Americano (920576)

                  Pound cost averaging? Unit cost averaging? Cost average effect? Any of those ring a bell? They all (along with Dollar cost averaging) describe the same thing.

                  And "things taking a dive" is exactly *why* you diversify - across sectors, across regions, and across instruments, and across company sizes. In laymen's terms, this avoids "putting all your eggs in one basket." Some sectors of the economy hold up better in downturns than others; Some instruments hold up better than others; some regions hold up

              • by tehcyder (746570)

                Looks like somebody doesn't know about dollar cost averaging and long term investment in a diversified portfolio.

                Fuck me, Oscar Wilde is alive and well and posting on slashdot.

                • by Americano (920576)

                  I'll assume you're aware that dollar cost averaging and diversifying a portfolio for long term gains are accepted (and proven) methods for investing that greatly eliminate the volatility of your portfolio in what is, essentially, a cyclical market. Investments over the last decade have absolutely made money if you spent a few days learning how to invest, and then a few hours each quarter balancing your portfolio to match your plan.

                  The stock market is not a "this week, this month, this quarter" endeavor. I

      • One social benefit of HFT is putting day traders back to real work.

  • get the fact (Score:5, Informative)

    by DUdsen (545226) on Tuesday February 15, 2011 @06:56AM (#35207904)
    Wasn't this the MS get the fact showcase as to how much better ms.net and sql server were compared to linux? Before the system came crashing down and latency became an issue?
    • Re:get the fact (Score:5, Informative)

      by David Off (101038) on Tuesday February 15, 2011 @08:43AM (#35208356) Homepage

      Yes, it was one of them. I worked on another Reuters Intelligent Advisor which ran like a 3 legged dog, a very expensive dog, until someone did the decent thing and shot it through the head.

      I don't think RIA's expensive failure can be wholly blamed on .net. I think the technical team deceived management and probably themselves about what they could do. They had drunk the SOA/Web Services kool aid and the architecture was basically wrong. I suspect a number of devs saw the project as resume keyword fodder.

      • Re:get the fact (Score:4, Interesting)

        by miffo.swe (547642) <daniel,hedblom&gmail,com> on Tuesday February 15, 2011 @09:06AM (#35208468) Homepage Journal

        Still, Microsoft was heavily involved on every levels of the project. If Microsoft cant make .net / MSSQL work and design it right, who can?

        • by jo_ham (604554)

          Jimmy Hoffa.

        • Who from Microsoft? Are you talking about the intern that graduated college 6 months ago and got assigned the project, or are we talking about someone who actually knows what they are doing? You talk as if suddenly Microsoft turned the entire company and made making that project work their #1 priority, which isn't nearly the case.

          I can have a team write a similar version on linux and (pick your language) that does the same thing, only worse with more bugs and slower, as well. It's really not that hard.

          • by Viol8 (599362)

            I think its safe to assume that MS are NOT going to put a trainee on a project that involves one of the worlds major stock exchanges that would be a major showcase for their technology.

        • by tokul (682258)

          If Microsoft cant make .net / MSSQL work and design it right, who can?

          There is one person, but God does not code in C#. She prefers Assembler.

  • I know of a newspaper that won't be publishing this story...

  • >>LSE chief executive Xavier Rolet has insisted that the exchange, once a monopoly, will deliver record speed and stable trading
    I'm not sure, even if a senior manager insists on stability, that it is guaranteed to happen. What he could do is to insist that, if any instability occurs in the new system, the workforce positions will also become unstable.
  • I hear a lot of fanfare about the OS, but what is the danged trading app written in? You can't "write something in linux"... is it C, Java, COBOL what?

  • > At 8am today, the exchange’s main venue went into live trading with the Millennium IT matching engine, developed in C++ programming language and running on SUSE Linux ..

    Why did they choose SuSE and how does Microsofts intellectual property patent covenant with Novell impact on the decision. Is part of what the LSE paying to Novell being funneled back to Redmond. Is this the future of Microsoft innovation ?

  • by DMandPenfold (1108673) on Tuesday February 15, 2011 @01:06PM (#35211512)
    London Stock Exchange investigating potential system problem on closing auction http://www.computerworlduk.com/news/it-business/3261177/london-stock-exchange-investigating-potential-system-problem-on-closing-auction/ [computerworlduk.com] The London Stock Exchange has said it is investigating an issue on its main cash market, which yesterday implemented a new matching engine based on Linux technology. The LSE declined to give details on what had happened until the investigation was complete, and it is not known whether the new system was responsible. The system, written in C++ language on Novell SUSE Linux-based datacentres, replaced a Microsoft .Net-based system that ran on Windows Server and SQL Server.... http://www.computerworlduk.com/news/it-business/3261177/london-stock-exchange-investigating-potential-system-problem-on-closing-auction/ [computerworlduk.com]
  • the next thing they install is WINE.

It is better to give than to lend, and it costs about the same.

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