Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 8th Feb 2006 18:23 UTC
Oracle and SUN Sun's ambitions have grown another size larger. The server and software company launched its servers based on its own UltraSparc T1 'Niagara' chips in December, a major part of a drive to restore its lost luster and financial strength. But alongside the hardware launch came a more quiet software push: an attempt to make the Linux and BSD Unix open-source operating systems a serious option for buyers of Sparc-based computers. To promote the technology combination, Sun is trying to coax an accompanying software business into existence.
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OpenSolaris
by Matt Giacomini on Wed 8th Feb 2006 18:37 UTC
Matt Giacomini
Member since:
2005-07-06

Personally I think that sun should make sure they have a strong ecosystem for opensolaris, before they start trying to dip their fingers in every pot.

Reply Score: 1

I'd be interested
by smitty_one_each on Wed 8th Feb 2006 18:53 UTC
smitty_one_each
Member since:
2005-07-07

In any hardware platform for which all driver source code were available.
Sun should market itself as "hardware for people who care about transparency".
Of course, piddly little onesy-twosy sales is not their market, so figure the odds...

Reply Score: 1

v Wrong approach!
by stephanem on Wed 8th Feb 2006 18:58 UTC
RE: Wrong approach!
by thebluesgnr on Wed 8th Feb 2006 19:02 UTC in reply to "Wrong approach!"
thebluesgnr Member since:
2005-11-14

"Nobody wants open source - because what good is Fedora when it can't play MP3s or DVDs or open PDF docs or play Flash - OUT OF THE BOX? "

You mean just like Windows?

Your definition of "nobody" is also very interesting.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Wrong approach!
by stephanem on Wed 8th Feb 2006 19:15 UTC in reply to "RE: Wrong approach!"
stephanem Member since:
2006-01-11

You mean just like Windows?

Come on you're being stupid. NOBODY buys a bare windows installation. You buy a machine that comes with Windows.

Now tell me who sells machines with Fedora or any open source OS?

You can buy Linspire but Linspire might just as well be not open source - there's no source to anything - not even their kernel unless you go digging into their CNR website with a miner's hat.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Wrong approach!
by Maners on Wed 8th Feb 2006 19:09 UTC in reply to "Wrong approach!"
Maners Member since:
2005-07-26

Can Windows open PDFs, play DVDs or Flash OUT OF THE BOX??
Can it open and edit MS Word/Excel/Powerpoint docuemnts OUT OF THE BOX?
Can it update all the installed software with one click OUT OF THE BOX?
Can it do advanced photo editing OUT OF THE BOX?
Can it do advanced audio editing OUT OF THE BOX?
Can it do advanced video editing OUT OF THE BOX?

i could ask at least 100 more questions like this, but I doubt you'd like to spend you time reding this..

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Wrong approach!
by stephanem on Wed 8th Feb 2006 19:13 UTC in reply to "RE: Wrong approach!"
stephanem Member since:
2006-01-11

Yes if you buy a Dell!.

Dell comes pre-installed with Acrobat.
Dell comes pre-installed with Windows Media Player that can play DVDs and MP3s.
IE comes preinstalled with Flash
You have MSWorks preinstalled or Office preinstalled

NOBODY said anything about Advanced photo or audio or video editing - just do the basics first which Fedora can't do!

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: Wrong approach!
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 8th Feb 2006 19:15 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Wrong approach!"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

OK folks calm down, I don't want this to turn into a Linux flamefest. In other words, back on topic or I'll have to do some modding.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: Wrong approach!
by stephanem on Wed 8th Feb 2006 19:22 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Wrong approach!"
stephanem Member since:
2006-01-11

Sorry Thom.

I just wish Sun were more like Apple or Microsoft rather than getting bullied by IBM and Redhat into parting with their crown jewels.

Look what happened to SGI and HP - they are hollowed out husks of once great UNIX companies!.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Wrong approach!
by biteydog on Wed 8th Feb 2006 19:35 UTC in reply to "Wrong approach!"
biteydog Member since:
2005-10-06

........or play Flash - OUT OF THE BOX?

On an UltraSparc Server? Wow - you got some _weird_ friends!

<EDIT> Oh look - I've been modded down for a joke! Maybe we'd all better be really serious and troll instead!

Edited 2006-02-08 19:53

Reply Score: 0

v RE: Wrong approach!
by Anonymous Penguin on Wed 8th Feb 2006 19:45 UTC in reply to "Wrong approach!"
RE: Wrong approach!
by cr8dle2grave on Wed 8th Feb 2006 20:04 UTC in reply to "Wrong approach!"
cr8dle2grave Member since:
2005-07-11

Nobody wants open source - because what good is Fedora when it can't play MP3s or DVDs or open PDF docs or play Flash - OUT OF THE BOX?

Which is relevant for a server why? Sun primarily sells server hardware, some workstation hardware, and some thin client hardware. They are not players in the desktop market, which is the only segment of the market where your complaints are relevant, nor is there any indication that they are interested in getting into the desktop market.

Sun wants to expand the software ecosystem which surrounds SPARC hardware, which is pretty much limited to servers and maybe a few workstations, in order to increase demand for SPARC hardware. The ability to work with MP3s, DVDs, PDFs, and Flash, whether out of the box or not, is wholly and entirely irrelevant to that goal.

And, by the way, PDF's work just fine out of the box on Linux.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Wrong approach!
by anda_skoa on Wed 8th Feb 2006 20:21 UTC in reply to "RE: Wrong approach!"
anda_skoa Member since:
2005-07-07

Sun wants to expand the software ecosystem which surrounds SPARC hardware, which is pretty much limited to servers and maybe a few workstations

Exactly! And even if it where for Sun hardware products in general, they only mention of Open Source are the operating systems, there is not word about wanting to create an Open Source ISV ecosystem.

It's about getting software developed for their platforms, independent of the software's licencing

Reply Score: 2

Bettter idea
by Smartpatrol on Wed 8th Feb 2006 19:28 UTC
Smartpatrol
Member since:
2005-07-06

How about Solaris on itanium? IBM Power? As an SA i am least likely to run Linux and BSD on my sun hardware then i am to run Solaris. However if i had the flexibility to run Solaris on other platforms in my environment..

Reply Score: 1

RE: Bettter idea
by derekmorr on Wed 8th Feb 2006 19:39 UTC in reply to "Bettter idea"
derekmorr Member since:
2005-09-25

There was some talk about a year ago concerning porting Solaris to POWER. I think it would be very interesting, but, frankly, I don't think it's likely without significant help from IBM.

I'm not sure why Sun should put the effort into porting Solaris to Itanium. The chip doesn't seem to be taking off. I suppose someone in the community could do it if they wanted, though.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Bettter idea
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 8th Feb 2006 19:51 UTC in reply to "RE: Bettter idea"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

There was some talk about a year ago concerning porting Solaris to POWER. I think it would be very interesting, but, frankly, I don't think it's likely without significant help from IBM.

http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=13222

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Bettter idea
by derekmorr on Wed 8th Feb 2006 22:19 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Bettter idea"
derekmorr Member since:
2005-09-25

That's PowerPC, not POWER. The two are different. Let me know when Solaris runs on a p615, an S80 or a p5 570.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Bettter idea
by rmcd on Fri 10th Feb 2006 23:02 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Bettter idea"
rmcd Member since:
2006-02-10
RE[2]: Bettter idea
by Fred on Thu 9th Feb 2006 14:38 UTC in reply to "RE: Bettter idea"
Fred Member since:
2005-07-06

It's called "Polaris" ;)

Now a port of OpenSolaris to Itanic would be quite interesting indeed.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Bettter idea
by rmcd on Fri 10th Feb 2006 23:01 UTC in reply to "RE: Bettter idea"
rmcd Member since:
2006-02-10
If this is true
by DevL on Wed 8th Feb 2006 19:50 UTC
DevL
Member since:
2005-07-06

Show me the docs for the UltraSPARCs beyond IIe/IIi!

Reply Score: 1

RE: If this is true
by taos on Wed 8th Feb 2006 20:42 UTC in reply to "If this is true"
taos Member since:
2005-11-16
Couple nits...
by eric boutilier on Wed 8th Feb 2006 20:28 UTC
eric boutilier
Member since:
2005-12-14

FWIW, here's what I thought of the article:

http://tinyurl.com/7tljr

Overall, I thought it made some really good points.

-Eric

Reply Score: 1

I doubt it'll run well
by derekmorr on Wed 8th Feb 2006 22:40 UTC
derekmorr
Member since:
2005-09-25

I posted a similar comment a week or so ago (when this story first hit OSNews), and it got modded down as flamebait. Here goes again.

I believe that Linux will boot on the T1 chip, but I don't believe it will run well. I don't think it will be production quality for quite a while (if ever). The Linux community has historically taken little interest in supporting their sparc32 and sparc64 ports.

Consider that SILO was rather broken on USIII and newer chips until a few weeks ago (ironically, it wasn't 64-bit clean). strace was broken for several kernel revs in 2.6. I can't even get Debian to boot on my V240.

If the project is having this level of problems with current Sun hardware, what makes them think that they'll have any better luck with the T1, which is a very different chip. Consider:

* How will Linux handle the T1's small TLBs? Solaris 10 has automatic large page support (which was improved in U1), so that most things (mmap'ed files, heap, stack, SHM, the kernel, etc) use large pages automatically. On Linux, you have to set a boot-time argument to reserve memory for large pages, and they're only available for SHM (and then, only using Linux-specific flags hard-coded into your app).

* Can the Linux scheduler load-balance across cores and strands? Will it know to park a thread rather than schedule the idle loop on it?

* Has gcc's SPARC output improved recently? The last time I checked (which was around a year ago), gcc-produced binaries were considerably slower than Forte-built ones. Also, what is the status of GOMP (OpenMP for gcc)? That would seem to be an essential library for a T1-based distro.

This is in addition to the regular Linux/sparc problems, things like crashing the machine by setting the date or running X on newer 2.6 kernels, missing symbols in the tree, race conditions and broken drivers. The Linux/sparc ports, esp. sparc64, are expiremental. They are definitely not production-quality.

Reply Score: 3

Maybe Sun are playing a game...
by Phillip.Fayers on Wed 8th Feb 2006 23:26 UTC
Phillip.Fayers
Member since:
2005-12-14

Get Linux up and running on the T1, then run benchmarks which compare it to Solaris. Demonstrate that Solaris is faster (as they've been pointing out on various benchmarks on Opteron) and thus increase the interest in Solaris.

Reply Score: 1

Uhmmm...
by Shaman on Thu 9th Feb 2006 04:16 UTC
Shaman
Member since:
2005-11-15

> The Linux community has historically taken little
> interest in supporting their sparc32 and sparc64
> ports.

The kernel devs have. Do a grep for David Miller. Every kernel changelog I can remember looking at has had SPARC commits.

SILO is another story. It's been poorly maintained.

>On Linux, you have to set a boot-time argument to
>reserve memory for large pages, and they're only
>available for SHM (and then, only using
>Linux-specific flags hard-coded into your app).

Clearly, this is only an issue for a small number of applications. It's just not a big deal. If your app needs it, then chances are you can get what you need during the porting process. This argument is a red herring for most of us.

> * Can the Linux scheduler load-balance across cores
>and strands? Will it know to park a thread rather
>than schedule the idle loop on it?

Why don't you ask the kernel developers rather than posit that it doesn't. Linux SMP certainly does its best to balance the load across cores - what modern operating system doesn't... presumably the strands will be seen as cores with modified scheduling, much like SMT scheduling for HT.

Linux has pluggable schedulers. I don't see why this very announcement from Sun wouldn't factor into adding a scheduler specifically for the T1 and descendants.

> * Has gcc's SPARC output improved recently?

Greatly, check into GCC 4.1 to be released in a few days. But lucky for us all, Sun has (finally, FCS) released its compiler suite for SPARC.

GOMP is dead AFAIK. I wouldn't consider especially essential, but you may. All depends on your requirement and what apps you are porting (if any).

> This is in addition to the regular Linux/sparc
> problems, things like crashing the machine by
> setting the date

Since when... I run NTP on a SPARC/Linux system.

> running X on newer 2.6 kernels

I run X on that same system.

Linux orion 2.6.15-gentoo-r4 #1 Tue Feb 7 14:55:21 EST 2006 sparc64 GNU/Linux

> missing symbols in the tree, race conditions and
> broken drivers

Dunno. Haven't had too many issues except when I was on an Ultra 250. That thing will see but not detect the partioning information of any drives on the second USCSI controller in 2.4 or 2.6 after a reboot. This, I grant you, needs work. Then again, it was two years ago that I attempted the experiment. And it isn't like Sun has done anything to help the developers to date.

Reply Score: 1

Linux this, Linux that...
by Haicube on Thu 9th Feb 2006 06:52 UTC
Haicube
Member since:
2005-08-06

You have Solaris, develop it, innovate around it and please sell it. STOP fooling in the media every week talking about Linux this and Linux that, that is hardly why you call Sun in the first place.

Your offers are good, now start realizing that yourselves instead of trying to have some "make up" for it tactic

Reply Score: 1

BSDs
by siska on Thu 9th Feb 2006 13:22 UTC
siska
Member since:
2006-02-01

> President Jonathan Schwartz said in an e-mail
> interview. "I'm personally talking to leaders in the
> community. BSD, too."
Well, what about letting BSDs to distribuite a jdk packages and not force users to install it by ports with ``make install" and force them to go to several websites and downloads some bins ?

FreeBSD could run on sparc but if you won't let them to have a jwm package, due to java license limitations, on that platform well it's weird enough...

Edited 2006-02-09 13:25

Reply Score: 2

openchips
by Bonus on Thu 9th Feb 2006 15:01 UTC
Bonus
Member since:
2005-12-23

If you can see the chip design then you can write better software for it. It's only the beginning. So opening up the chip will most likely lead to other openchips.

Reply Score: 1

Cheap PR
by jamesd on Thu 9th Feb 2006 18:20 UTC
jamesd
Member since:
2006-01-17

While IBM and HP throw 100's of millions to get on the linux bandwagon, Sun hands out a couple $10,000 servers to the community, draws up a press release, it gets advertised on OSNews, loads of free press and interest is generated.

Perhaps 6 months down the road, the port is finished, people try it out and say this is cool and uses it and sun sells a few 100 more servers. Or they try it running Solaris and perhaps an entire datacenter moves to Solaris to escape Redhat's "free" $400 license.

If any of you think Sun's idea is bad here are some things to think about. Sun better understands the open source community than IBM or HP. "Developers" don't buy things, they join things. So Sun has started to give things away to get interest. If you are part of an open source community, which would you prefer 500 IBM press releases and 50 marketing tweebs holding a lunch meeting for CIO and CTO's about what its doing, or free development tools, free hardware dropped in your lap. Yes it happens, and far more than people relize. Check out the little rumors about how project "insert random project or developer" got a new sun server or workstation. No mention of how they got it. Just it was donated or they love it. Yes Sun has work to do to clean up its image. But they are doing it, and the right way, just not releasing press releases while most of there code base remains closed source like IBM and HP.

Reply Score: 2