Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 30th Apr 2007 23:08 UTC, submitted by irbis
Oracle and SUN "Amid falling sales of its bread-and-butter servers and mounting pressure on Schwartz to cut more jobs and boost a stock price that's dropped more than 22%, to USD 5.26, since early February, Sun is considering its most radical open-source move yet: releasing Solaris under the love-it-or-hate-it GPL. The move could reinvigorate Sun by putting one of its crown jewels into the thick of the open-source movement - or it could diminish the worth of one of Sun's most valuable pieces of intellectual property."
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RE: Sun is in a bad place
by ormandj on Mon 30th Apr 2007 23:57 UTC in reply to "Sun is in a bad place"
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This is all too little too late

I agree about it being "late" but disagree about it being too late. More later.

Linux has reached critical mass in the desktop world and is poised to be competitive with Windows by 2010.

This kind of commentary has been made for years, replacing 2010 with X where X == random_date_in_future(). Also, Solaris isn't exactly the desktop OS of choice, regardless of license. It's a workstation/primarily server OS.

This is the helium flash before Sun goes nova.

Wow, quite the pessimist, are we? While I think Sun should have gone forward with open-source plans at an earlier point in time, I don't think it's over/done with. They still have a lot of traction in the government, and with major enterprise companies. You might be correct about the desktop - I personally don't feel UNIX (or clones) fit well as "normal people" desktop OSs - but this applies equally to Linux. I don't know where these dates keep coming from, but they are nothing more than conjecture.

If any UNIX/clone OS has a chance at being "competitive" with Windows in the future, it's OSX. The whole "has to be free" deal isn't earning Linux any friends at the moment - even if the fault lies with HW manufacturers/software manufacturers.

The one thing Solaris has going for it that Linux doesn't is relatively rigorous testing and QC. I've yet to have Solaris N+1 break on me because of bugs introduced between RC and gold releases. Can't say the same for Linux.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Sun is in a bad place
by Vlad on Tue 1st May 2007 00:44 in reply to "RE: Sun is in a bad place"
Vlad Member since:

Wow, quite the pessimist, are we? While I think Sun should have gone forward with open-source plans at an earlier point in time, I don't think it's over/done with. They still have a lot of traction in the government, and with major enterprise companies.

I agree with you, ormandj, and you're right about the date being more or less random (at least I'm not spouting that "2007 is the year of desktop linux!" rhetoric.) I work at an educational institution and we use a mixed Solaris/Linux (RHEL4) environment on our servers. What Sun has going for it is hardware support, quality control, and enterprise features. I don't expect Solaris to just up and die anytime soon (thus helium flash), but all their licensing shakeups over the last few years seem to be a desperate "HEY, LOOK OVER HERE!" cry for attention. They'll be competitive in the HPC, SAN, etc arena, certainly, but not as much as they could have; and GPL'ing Solaris isn't going to make inroads into the desktop arena. Solaris is powerful but the learning curve compared to linux is steeper and unless that's resolved we'll see LAMP and not SAMP servers. I may be narrow-minded here, but as far as taking over the current linux marketshare goes, this is too little too late.

I say meh to OSX as a chance for competition. Apple isn't showing any real interest in offering it on non-apple hardware and they seem to enjoy their "hot and sexy alternative lifestyle" image. The notion that everything Linux related should be GPL and FOSS is a falacy of idealists who don't live in the real world.

Every year I hear this prediction, and every year I see the Linux world fall flat on its face. It will be several years before Linux becomes a viable mainstream desktop. Until game companies and manufacturers widely support it, it will remain a niche platform.

Because every year people (fanboys) seem to think Linux will explode like a stripper from a cake and that the entire world will be on it like frat boys on a keg. Linux of course wont be mainstream for years. I said competitive - if major manufacturers are offering it as an alternative to Windows, I'd call that competitive. If more companies make a move like Dell (might) towards Linux, more hardware companies are likely to consider Linux support. Linux based desktops are already widely used in education and eye candy via Beryl/Compiz/XGL/etc are getting Linux much needed press. I fully agree that without the gaming industry linux will never 'hit it big', but I wouldn't call it a niche platform: it's extensively used as a desktop, server, and embedded OS in a variety of areas.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Sun is in a bad place
by butters on Tue 1st May 2007 06:18 in reply to "RE: Sun is in a bad place"
butters Member since:

It's not too late for Sun. A new battle is emerging between Linux and Solaris, and it's going to fun to watch. Let's forget about the desktop for a moment. Desktop readiness has more to do with buy-in from hardware vendors that anything else.

Linux has made incredible headway in the entry-level server market. But in more demanding environments, Linux has three main problems: binary compatibility, enterprise storage, and RAS. Solaris is losing traction in the high-end space and needs to seek refuge in the midrange. But in emerging markets, Solaris has a problem with limited mindshare.

Sun sees these strengths and weaknesses as complementary, and therefore all signs point to a near-term marriage of a Solaris foundation with a Linux-style userland. It will be Debian-based, similar to the promising community project NexentaOS. The result will look and feel like Linux, with APT package management, a GNU toolchain, and a Linux syscall layer. But it will also support Solaris packages, Sun's toolchain, and a Solaris kernel. Although it might only support Solaris drivers initially, it will provide a stable driver ABI. It will also feature ZFS, DTrace, and Zones.

Still think it's too late for Sun? Linux might have a short-term advantage on the desktop due to driver support, but Sun can quickly gain marketshare in the bottom half of the server market with a free software platform that combines the best of the Solaris and Linux in one product. The relationship will help Linux nearly as much as it helps Solaris, as the work that Sun puts into the Debian-based userland will easily translate into Linux-based Debian distributions. If you want a bleeding-edge desktop, go with Linux. If you want long-term stability and enterprise features, go with Linux. Neither route has much in the way of lock-in, and migrating requires minimal retraining of IT staff.

The ensuing war between Sun and IBM at the kernel level will be the most interesting part, and we'll all benefit. Sun will start in the lead, but IBM has enormous resources to throw around when the doing gets tough. Intel and HP will be caught in the middle. I'm not sure which way they'll fall, and they might play an important role in this next generation of the great UNIX wars.

Reply Parent Score: 4