Linked by Rahul on Thu 23rd Oct 2008 14:25 UTC
Linux ServerWatch writes about the slow but sure death of UNIX by the onslaught of Linux and customers moving from older proprietary UNIX systems to commercially supported open source enterprise Linux distributions. "Linux does have one killer feature that is driving the switch: lower cost. Many companies are discovering Linux to be extremely attractive from a cost perspective. Take the experience of Sabre, a travel company that replaced Solaris with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) running on x86 machines, resulting in lowering costs 90 percent (with a three-fold speed gain to boot). These potential cost savings, which include hardware maintenance costs savings, are not to sniffed at."
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Business as usual
by irbis on Thu 23rd Oct 2008 21:56 UTC
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UNIX still has a huge presence in the data center, and this is likely to be the case in five or even 10 years time.

Companies and projects have their ups and downs, it is just business as usual. Things can change a lot in ten years. It is all too early to claim that UNIX would be fighting for its survival, not to mention because of Linux, especially as the challenges UNIX flavors have had are often not related to Linux nor to UNIX quality but to other things.

Big changes in the computer hardware business have caused many challenges: mainframes and many old UNIX platforms have gone out of fashion causing troubles to UNIX. There are also huge amounts of new MS Windows servers that have been eating UNIX market share maybe more than Linux has.

Linux is, of course, growing fast, but if you view Linux only as a new flavor of UNIX, this isn't anything new. Also in the old UNIX days there were many ups and downs and much competition between the various Unix flavors and companies.

UNIX - in its many flavors - has still a very strong hold especially of the high end server rooms, and that is also where the big money often is. For example, many university server rooms still happily run Solaris and that is not likely going to change any time soon.

Linux has gained lots of popularity, new users and developers by strongly emphasizing the open source development model and desktop usage besides of servers. But if you consider Mac OS X a UNIX too, and remember popular new desktop Unix flavors like PC-BSD, there is a lot going in the desktop UNIX front too. OpenSolaris is an example of a traditional UNIX trying to reap the benefits from the open source movement. Time will tell how they will succeed but the first early steps they are taking now is not the time to say the final word about it yet.

The often more centralized and unified development model of UNIX can have its benefits. "Bazaars" (like what the Linux developer community is often said to be like) can be innovative and lively places but tend to be a bit chaotic too and do not necessarily provide the best solutions to everything (especially if it happens to be a "cathedral" that you want to build instead of a "bazaar"). Both "bazaars" and "cathedrals" have their own benefits, pros and cons - there's room for both. Mac OS X, by the way, is an example of a tightly controlled "cathedral" type of OS project and development model.

I also agree that Linux is very much like UNIX itself. UNIX and Linux can coexist, and they could also cooperate much more for the benefit of both - if only there was enough mutual will for it to happen in the both camps.

In the old UNIX days, UNIX lost many good chances it had in order to become the dominant operating system both on desktops and on servers because of too much competition and too little cooperation between various UNIX flavors. I hope that people learn something from history and that a similar attitude in the Linux & UNIX world now won't ruin many good new chances of both Linux and UNIX again.

Edited 2008-10-23 22:16 UTC

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