back to article London Stock Exchange floored, again

The London Stock Exchange is currently closed thanks to the failure of its trading platform. Technically it's in a "halt phase" meaning orders can be cancelled but new orders cannot be made, nor can automatic trading happen. At 8.03 this morning the market was paused as technical problems became clear, by 8.33am trading was …


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  1. Anonymous South African Coward Bronze badge
    Jobs Horns

    OpenSuSE vs Red Hat

    Why haven't they tried the tried-and-trusted recipe with Red Hat?

    But noooo... they tried to be different - and went for OpenSuSE instead...

    Now Linux getting a black mark all because of that decision...

    Or is it something wrong they're doing?

    Ballmer - because by now he's probably smiling and chortling with glee...

    1. DrXym

      The OS is likely not the issue

      I don't know why people think this is an open source vs closed source thing. The transaction software running the new system is closed source. I'd be very surprised if the OS had anything to do with the outage unless it was a broken driver or similar. More likely it's the application software running on top which has keeled over.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      By the way, it's not openSUSE it's SLES: Different things.

      Evidence that you aren't really in possession of all the facts, really.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      "Why haven't they tried the tried-and-trusted recipe with Red Hat"

      Why the assumption it's an OS issue at all? Seeing as the move to Linux coincided with a move to a new trading system written by Millenium IT, why not blame them? Or the fact they moved from C# to C++ ?

      The fact LSE also had problems with their SOLA system, as well as the TradElect (Windows .Net system) they still use in Milan, would point to this not being an OS issue at all.

      I hope you don't work in IT with those analytical skills.

      1. Naughtyhorse

        Have they tried the tried and trusted..

        turning it off and on again?

  2. AndrueC Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Oh dear

    Kernel Panic. System halted.

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      <insert mandatory title here>

      I guess you still can't divide by 0, even on Linux systems...

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Found the problem...

    ... "recently moved to a new Linux-based system"

  4. Lionel Baden

    do I hear

    MS sniggering :D

  5. Mike Wood

    de ja vu

    Sounds like groundhog day allover again!

  6. MarmiteToast

    Not surprised

    Having sat in a data centre for 8 hours,ready to test, waiting for their operations team to figure out what they needed to do on the weekend before an exchange upgrade this comes as no surprise...

  7. nichomach

    Good thing people... the German Foreign Office hadn't moved to a Linux-based system too, eh....oh....wait...

    /dons ring of major fire resistance, ducks...

  8. James 47

    closing prices

    it's been giving bad closing prices for days. it almost gave me a heart attack

  9. Spongebob

    The Benefits Of Outsourcing Become Apparent

    .."it's all about beancounting, don't you know ?"

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's fine, it's fine

    Just turn it off and on again.

  11. g e

    lpt0 is on fire

    Two major banks and the LSE.

    Surely I'm not the first to spot a suspicious coincidence?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not the OS fault...

    Software apps in the stock/clearing industry are a crock of shit regardless of the OS they run on. Blame the developers of such software, not the poor suckers who have NO CHOICE but to use sub-standard products in a live environment.

    Maybe using something other than COBOL, Delphi or half-arsed college-kid attempts at Java for would be a good start. You only have to look at founders of such companies to get an idea of their professional merits...

    1. Hieronymus P. Organthruster
      Thumb Down

      A bad coder is a bad coder

      I see we've moved on from blaming the operating system to blaming the language in which the application was written.

      Good grief.

    2. Spongebob

      You Are Soo "in the know"

      I worked on a Stock-Exchange system and I can tell you well-qualified engineers took their time to do it correctly. It was done in C++ and Cobol on Solaris and VMS, but it could also have been done in Delphi by these people, because they would not fear hacking a kernel or using FPGAs, if really necessary.

      Not everybody is as incompetent as LSE.

      1. Hieronymus P. Organthruster
        IT Angle

        Probably an IT manager

        it does seem to be a fixation - usually of IT managers with a half dozen braincells - that something written in C++ really really badly is intrinsically superior to something written in COBOL really really well.

        Being written in Delphi doesn't seem to have dampened WinRAR or Skype or Partition Magic's success, now does it?

        1. RightPaddock

          Chalk & Cheese

          The WinRAR, Skype (client) and Partition Magic software are built using the technologies and disciplines appropriate to a single user desktop environment.

          I would hope that LSE's MillenniumIT system is built using the technologies and disciplines appropriate to a high volume, mission critical, transaction processing environment - if it isn't then that's the problem

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    All new systems have bugs to work out. If not for the .NET fiasco, perhaps the Exchange would have put this Linux-based system in place a few years earlier and gotten it working smoothly by now. Hard to say; Linux ain't perfect, it just sucks somewhat less than the alternatives, IMHO.

  14. Thomas Duffin 2


    ...not fit for the purpose they are trying to use it for. What a shock!

    1. HighlightAll

      It could be the kernel

      I believe the reason they went to Linux is because it can be a general purpose real time low latency kernel. Which is unique. It the fastest trading floor in the world and others are adopting.

      It could be the OS, in conjunction with interrupt driven hardware, that's at fault but the combination is a difficult one. Real time in Linux is a only few years mature. The LSE trading system is much newer than that.

      Software is never finished.

      I hope this Linux platform goes from strength to strength.

      1. Spongebob

        It could be - British Management

        Where is the code written ? Sri Lanka ? Do I have to say more ? It has nothing do with Linux, I am quite sure about that. I has to do with the current state of the "British Elite".

      2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Meltdown Guaranteed ...... Get out while you still can. It's gonna get Real Ugly, Real Quick

        "I believe the reason they went to Linux is because it can be a general purpose real time low latency kernel. Which is unique. It the fastest trading floor in the world and others are adopting.

        It could be the OS, in conjunction with interrupt driven hardware, that's at fault but the combination is a difficult one. Real time in Linux is a only few years mature. The LSE trading system is much newer than that.

        Software is never finished.

        I hope this Linux platform goes from strength to strength."...... HighlightAll Posted Friday 25th February 2011 15:32 GMT

        It seems as if Uncle Sam's markets and trading software needs to be finished/erased and replaced with a honest to goodness one, for the increasing suspicions/realisations are that it supports and drivers a Ponzi System ........

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Millenium IT?

    There's a rather rotund female wearing a viking helmet at the door who says she has a telegram for you...

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Please let it be the OS

    Then maybe people will be less smug about Linux being so stable when in reality it is no such thing.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Except for the small fact that it is.

      5 years without an unplanned downtime and counting.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      What reality do you live in?

      I've got 5 years without an unplanned linux downtime. Suck it.

  17. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Shhh .... Mum's the word

    It is not that the LSE system is faulty, but rather more that other systems are rigged, which is causing odd ........ conflicts, which do not tally with what has been reconciled and displayed in other bourses/exchanges?

  18. Tom Wood

    You can't possibly know...

    what the problem is. Blaming the OS (or even the programming language!) because you happen to know what that is would be a bit like blaming the ball manufacturer for England's failure to win the world cup.

    Yes, it *could* be the problem, but the chances are it's something more complicated than that.

  19. Turtle

    Uh-huh. . .

    Very enjoyable article. I am looking forward to reading *many* more like it in the future.

    : )

  20. MinionZero

    @"London Stock Exchange floored, again"

    But on a brighter note, the pubs around the London Stock Exchange are doing a roaring trade today, as they are filling up with Stock Exchange staff who can't do much with their computers down, so they went to the pub early. ;)

    ... And its Friday! :)

    1. Shane Orahilly


      System down = Beer O'Clock?

      What a strange coincidence it happened on a Friday- OR WAS IT?

  21. Stevie


    This is what happens when you put *important* stuff on toy computers running software written in an inappropriately complex language on a hobby OS.

    Unisys Clearpath Mainframe.

    OS 2200 with step recovery.

    Cobol/DMS 1100/UDS.

    Job done.

    Sleep easy.


    1. Spongebob

      Realliez ??

      The current generation of "management talent" would certainly manage to deliver a steaming pile of crap on any hardware/operating system.

      They managed to nearly destroy the world's economic system and you question their ability to properly sabotage the work of engineers ?

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Everyone will laugh at Linux

    When they should probably be laughing at some toss-pot suits called "consultants" who designed and built (but didn't test?) the system. How about an article about the people who built it?

    Major world trading system crashing. Ridiculous.

    Here's a study for someone: How much does bullshit actually cost the world?

  23. Spongebob

    Linus Torvalds Is Not a Brit

    ..and that says all. Volvos work, as long as not too many GM beancounters mess with them.

  24. Sean Kennedy

    This just drives home what I've always said...

    People like to carp on the reliability of MS server software, but in fact it's usually vendor software which breaks.

    Honestly, I'd say both linux and Windows are equally stable.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Why are there so many uninformed posts on the register?

    Not just here, but every day in almost every article. What kind of readership do we have these days?

    I don't know anything about this problem, but from what I know of linux and software in general, it's most likely to be an issue with the custom trading system software that's been put in place. People use linux as a server because it's stable and highly customisable, and one less thing to worry about in a complex system. It's highly unlikely that it would be an OS issue to have brought about this issue, specially given the redundancy you have in place in distributed software systems.

  26. Rambo 1

    Admin guys?

    How's you like to be one of the admins overseeing this system?? They've gotta be on the hot seat, huh? Or the guy chairing the technology committee that recommended this system? Ouch! Can't look good on the old resume.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    The technology is only half of the story.

    Companies really need to come to grips with the fact that you can't just surgically remove the beating-heart technology of an organisation, replace it with a new one and expect everything to work as normal. There needs to be buy in from the multitude of non-technical teams that need to help deliver it and most importantly the poor buggers that will need to use it.

    The LSE got this really really wrong. There was outcry from all of the major trading vendors and most of the members who connected directly at the aggressive timescales and the fact that the upgrade would cost them each upwards of £1m to implement.

    The initial tests were an absolute joke. Nothing worked and internal support was non-existent. Several very large vendors forced the LSE to push the delivery back and schedule more tests.

    The business analysts and delivery teams within the LSE remained and carried on with the same mentality as when they were working with the Accenture-built TradElect system - that of an arse-covering bloated bureaucracy. The result of this was a massive disconnect between the developers and users and impossible timescales (it was initially touted that the new exchange be up and running in September 2010) being publicized by teams of pissed off analysts determined to ensure that Millennium took the blame when it all went tits up.

    It is a testament to the paranoia within the LSE management that the Turquoise failure was initially blamed on sabotage (turned out to be a contractor screwing up a patch release). Even now, the thing is riddled with bugs and the LSE's reputation amongst it's members is shot to hell.

    I hope that others take heed from this rather public failure as a result of not following the basics when running a project to replace a system that is relied upon by many.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    From C# to C++ SMART

    God damn MS for constantly changing .NET, they've made so much work worthless.

    And all the pro MS folk, how that freaking sharepoint working out. Seems like every time I want to download a government PDF regarding financial records the sharepoint is down cause either it's new or has some new bug. You can say whatever you want, but FTP works better than sharepoint and all the tards running it! Or maybe they are adept and purposely screwing things up?

  29. Ian Underhill

    @Linus Torvalds Is Not a Brit

    And GM never had any control at Volvo.

    Now since Volvo were owned by Ford, the Ford bean counters may have had some influence.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Google: LSE is infested with Malware

    Just tried to access the LSE site using Firefox...

    I'm told the LSE site is infested with malware.

    That's going to be fun on Monday morning...

    "Diagnostic page for

    Of the 1064 pages we tested on the site over the past 90 days, 363 page(s) resulted in malicious software being downloaded and installed without user consent. The last time Google visited this site was on 2011-02-27, and the last time suspicious content was found on this site was on 2011-02-27."

  31. jphb

    Well what was the problem?

    To quote from elsewhere on the Register a "real time data dissemination issue". Of course it isn't easy to know exactly what this piece of gobbledegook means but it sounds like either a low

    level driver problem, a protocol problem or possibly a clock synchronisation problem unless anybody has any further insights. These are not easy things to detect during testing especially if the testing was as badly conducted as some of the posts seem to indicate.

    At Uni I used to tell students that "if two people can interpret a (communications) protocol differently, they will" and practical work quickly confirmed this.

    As an aside a previous poster referred to the LSE web site, according to Netcraft this runs Linux and is hosted in Italy.

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