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Sun Microsystems Businesses Linux Business SuSE

Sun Microsystems, SuSE Link Up To Sell Linux 272

Posted by timothy
from the left-hand-meet-right-hand dept.
ChilyWily writes "Reuters is reporting that Sun Microsystems Inc. has agreed to resell and support closely held German software firm SuSE's version of the Linux operating system, the leading variant in Europe, the companies said on Friday. This agreement follows a similar one in May between Sun and Red Hat Inc. While I'm happy to see Sun's finally beginning to warm up to Linux (aka if you can't beat 'em, join 'em strategy) I wonder if this is too late for Sun?"
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Sun Microsystems, SuSE Link Up To Sell Linux

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  • It's about time... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 03, 2003 @02:31PM (#6600869)
    ...that Sun capitalized on their immunity from whatever craziness that SCO comes up with next -- no matter what, Linux from Sun is free and clear from litigation.
    • by melete (640855) on Sunday August 03, 2003 @02:34PM (#6600891)
      no matter what, Linux from Sun is free and clear from litigation.

      Not neccesarily. In the unlikely event that SCO were to win their case, Sun would be distributing any tainted parts of Linux without a valid license from the original copyright holder of the tainted code. For SCO to win, the GPL has to be invalidated, at least in a limited sense, which will leave everyone, including SCO and Sun, scrambling for legal cover.
      • by vsprintf (579676) on Sunday August 03, 2003 @02:55PM (#6601005)

        Not neccesarily. In the unlikely event that SCO were to win their case, Sun would be distributing any tainted parts of Linux without a valid license from the original copyright holder of the tainted code.

        How so? Sun has been in bed with SCO for months [newsfactor.com]. They paid some portion of many millions of dollars for the right to the Unix code. To me it looks like Sun is playing both ends of the game, and in the middle is Solaris. I certainly wouldn't construe this as a friendly move -- just another move for Sun.

        • How so?

          I suppose if Sun distributed a Linux kernel that had code in it that IBM got from AIX or Dynix?
          • I suppose if Sun distributed a Linux kernel that had code in it that IBM got from AIX or Dynix?

            Sun was already free and clear. Then they secretly purchased an additional license from SCO, which they don't need but indemnifies them for using the so-called UNIX(C)(R)(TM) code. Now, the licensing deal has been made public. Sun will look like a legal Linux distributer to many. In the worst case of a brain-dead judge in the SCO/IBM case, Sun just drops Linux and laughs all the way to the bank, while helpf

          • by Marc2k (221814)
            Mmm....That's the point. A large part of SCO's case is that they claim that code put into any official, registered branch of UNIX (a'la AIX) is their intellectual property in accordance with the UNIX licensing terms. By paying the royalties to SCO now, Sun will be indemnified of all discrepencies (on SCO's part), in the event that the AIX code is, in fact, determined to be owned by SCO through that indirect and shady means.

            What I think is interesting is whether or not Sun can and/or will go after SCO to re
    • by Curtman (556920)
      "no matter what, Linux from Sun is free and clear from litigation"

      Thats fine as long as they are fee and clear to distribute it under the GPL, you and I are free and clear by proxy.
    • Linux NOT from Sun is also clear from litigation.
      They can't sue you unless there is a court decision saying they own what they claim they do.
  • it never too late (Score:5, Insightful)

    by McAddress (673660) on Sunday August 03, 2003 @02:33PM (#6600882)
    to go to linux. however, sun is making a big mistake. if they are not marketing solaris, they are losing their main product. why would you use a sun chip if you can get a 4 chip 64-bit x86 system running at speeds greater than 3.0 ghz? for much less. if linux takes off, it will not only destroy microsoft, but there will also be some friendly fire deaths involved as well.
    • Re:it never too late (Score:2, Interesting)

      by BFKrew (650321)
      I think the Sun vs Linux case is one in which the costs of going from Solaris to Linux in terms of hardware and training isn't that. Certainly I can see why spending a few thousand less by going for Linux over Sun.

      However, as for Linux "destroying" Microsoft, the case isn't as clear as you simplistically state. There is a far greater difference between a Red Hat/SuSE and 2000 server than Solaris.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      They market linux on their low-end machines, not on their high end machines (yes a 4 chip machine is low end in these waters). Their market is different than the one you're talking about.

      Sun already lost the low-end market. They're trying to buffer their high end market by saying "we too can interact with that other OS, no need to change your high-end just to get linux compatibility"

    • by epiphani (254981) <epiphani AT dal DOT net> on Sunday August 03, 2003 @02:47PM (#6600954)
      There will always be a market for Sun boxes - of all the higher-end server machines that have been out there, sun has outlived most. They're now the defacto non-intel platform in the server arena. From my experience, sun hardware is the first platform out there that you'll run into if you cut out apple and i386 hardware.

      Plus, Sun is much more than just a hardware/OS company. They're diversifying - thats good. They probably see the threat that linux/open source represents to their sun/solaris product lines, and are moving to embrace it, so they can have a peice of the linux pie when it starts eating into their solaris cashflow.

      • Sun was the de facto standard 3 years ago - HP and IBM now are taking big chunks out of this market.

        The big PA-RISC / Itanium boxes like superdome kick butt, and HP-UX has now matured into a serious industrial grade large server OS - NT, and (much as I love it for small boxes) Linux both have a way to go in this area.
        • Re:it never too late (Score:3, Interesting)

          by 1lus10n (586635)
          HP-UX is nowhere near as good or refined, or well known as solaris.

          and Itanium proc's suck, they aren't even as good as alpha proc's, let alone the newer ultrasparc's. take a look at real world benchmarks for that type of equipment, like database benchmarks. Sun/Solaris OWN high end benchmarks, and still constitute the majority of the enterprize field.

          and i wont get into the enterprise level of support that Sun offers, it beats everyone else hands down.

          And you know how linux is making leaps and
          • by __past__ (542467) on Sunday August 03, 2003 @06:25PM (#6601927)
            And you know how linux is making leaps and bounds ? take a look at some of the more recent code that has been put into the kernel, and in userland. Sun is a major contributor.
            Not only the Linux kernel. Sun is who came up with NFS and PAM, they are major contributors in the Gnome project, they open-sourced Star/OpenOffice, they are an important part of the DocBook community, they invented the Morphic GUI now used in Squeak for the Self language, employ several hacker legends like Richard Gabriel, Guy Steele or Bill Joy (well, if you want to call that employment) etc, etc.

            I mean, this is slashdot. We should not forget that, all objective topics aside, Sun is just one heck of a cool company! If only they would get rid of that annoying Scott McNealy...

      • So relating back to an earlier story about the new Solaris 9, does this mean Solaris on Intel will certainly be going away? As it sounds, it will be Linux on Intel and Solaris on SPARC.

        Since SUN will be reselling SuSe, does that mean that SUN won't actually be developing Linux using technologies from Solaris? It could be great if SUN were to put a hand into enhancing Linux.
    • by Curtman (556920)
      I think that with GNU/Linux being so portable, there is a chance we might be able to do away with manufacturers locking us in to an architecture. I for one would like to see hardware compete based on cost/efficiency, rather than the manufacturers operating system. It forces Sun to be more competitive if they are going to remain a hardware vendor, and the death of Solaris might free up a lot of resources that could be in hardware R&D. Having Linux as a supported platform also provides us the ability to
    • Re:it never too late (Score:5, Informative)

      by Kenja (541830) on Sunday August 03, 2003 @04:44PM (#6601485)
      Your right, why run on a platform that scales to 128+ CPUs with 16megs of cache per CPU when you can run on a consumer platform that cant scale higher then 4 CPUs and has poor IO?

      Have you ever realy used Sparc systems? The things are tanks, no matter what sort of work load I throw at them they just don't stop. On a single task a PC will be faster, however under heavy load the PC just falls apart.

      • They've got a few hundred Ultra 5's at uni. I don't know how old they are. 8 years? Something like that. They never quit. 8 months of the year they're in near constant use by idiots, and I've only seen a handful need attention in my time there. When they were built you couldn't get x86 hardware that solid. Now you can, but you won't be saving a lot of money, and the x86 systems don't scale nearly as well.

        The problem is that Sparc/Solaris is overkill for commodity tasks such as basic web servers. There's no
    • The way I view things, this is kind of how the computer market goes, from least capable hardware to most capable hardware:

      Intel PCs ...
      Sun ...
      IBM

      with IBM being the biggest, baddest, best thing you can get that's not a custom built supercomputer ala Cray. There's other things in the middle, I'd probably rank HP between Intel and Sun.. if HP/UX is still the steaming pile of poo it was ten years ago, then HPs at more of a disadvantage... but I haven't seen it in a long time.
  • nah (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thesadjester (87558) on Sunday August 03, 2003 @02:33PM (#6600883)
    It's never too late really when you dominate the high end unix market (with IBM). But really, when it comes to running large oracle databases that are mission critical, sun shines, and that is where their market is. They just want to expand more and keep some of the smaller market to help supplement their main focus. You may argue that the high end server market isn't their focus, but that is the area that they differ from all the other providers, which is an important thing.

    • Remember that Linux installs could keep people from buying MS...the enemy of my enemy type stuff...

      Suse desktops don't really take away from Sun's sales...MS already did that. Now if Sun would work for a decent Java GUI bindings they'd have someting..QT or GTK work on almost all major plaftorms...use 'um!

  • cheap? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by broeman (638571)
    smells like a cheap-scate version of their original plans, but then again it could let them to be more familiar with Linux and thereby be prepared to create their own distribution later on (and discard their own *nixes).
    • hardly. they signed contracts they came at a large financial gain for redhat and Suse. but the major thing for sun is that an open source version of java will be distributed with all redhat and suse systems.

      Sun doesnt have any real reason to go back to offering their own Linux distro. this is a better idea. And sun is sure as fuck not dumping solaris.
  • How does Sun handle Solaris development costs? Will they sell me an SMP sytem with Linux rather than Solaris?

    (I know they have a free download of Solaris 9, but it doesn't run on SMP systems.)
    • Re:Sun tax? (Score:2, Informative)

      by nemaispuke (624303)
      I don't know where you get your information on Solaris, but the downloaded version of Solaris 9 4/03 runs quite well on my dual processor Ultra 2! And mpstat shows 2 CPU's! To be "legal" with Sun you need to purchase a license based on the function of the machine you intend to run Solaris on (either Intel or Sparc). Prior to Solaris 9, Solaris 8 Intel could handle up to 8 CPU's out of the box. I am sure that is probably still the case, you just have to pay for the licenses if you use Solaris Volume Manager
  • For what? (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by Unregistered (584479)
    Is this still going to be only for low-end x86 servers/workstations, or is Sun gonna make linux an option for big iron that traditionally runs Solaris?
  • will Sun buy SuSE? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by wfmcwalter (124904)
    It's pretty common to enter into some kind of partnership between two companies as a prelude to a merger or buyout. Sun knows it's behind the times in the Linux front, and building that compitency up by itself is a daunting task. Buying SuSE would radically redress the balance for Sun.

    Perhaps the question should be - is there any reason Sun _shouldn't_ buy SusE?

    • Well, I'd rather have SuSE owned by a German company these days than be owned by a U.S. company that could then be influenced by the U.S. courts, and/or U.S. Congress.
    • If anyone will buy SuSE, it'll be IBM. They're already giving SuSE Advanced Server away with some of their pSeries line of servers, and they push people to use SuSE over redhat. When you throw in that Munich deal, where SuSE and IBM worked together, you seem to have a very cozy relationshipo between IBM and SuSE.

    • Perhaps the question should be - is there any reason Sun _shouldn't_ buy SusE?

      Perhaps the question should be - is there any story in which 2 companies anounce working together where a slashdotter _doesn't_ think the one will buy the other?

      Please, use your brain, owning SuSE has no stratigic advantage to Sun under current circumstances.
  • Too late for Sun? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by antarctican (301636) on Sunday August 03, 2003 @02:42PM (#6600924) Homepage
    No, I don't think so. They've been fantastic in the setup of the cluster we bought from them, full of these new Sun V60x machines. They even threw in 13 extra nodes at no extra cost for a total of 43 nodes.

    What will kill them is their supply chain however. We've been waiting a few weeks for mounting rails for the V60x machines.... however this isn't Sun's fault, they aparently OEM these machines straight from Intel. It's Intel who is now able to supply the part, it's actually effected another server we bought straight from Intel. It seems with their linux initiative they're simply relying on the services of others.... Intel for the x86 machines, RH and SuSe for the linux support. They're becoming a reseller when it comes to linux rather then a producer/supplier.

    Then there's the NAS system which has been held up in QA for the past 3 months.

    They have some great products coming out and good linux knowledge and service, however until they streamline their supply chain they might be in trouble. The rep told me they're putting quality as the top priority, however it seems to have created more problems then good. This new 3310 NAS system was suppose to begin shipping in May.... it's now August....

    That will be there downfall, not meeting ship dates. They have the knowledge and inovation to survive, they just need to ride their hardware guys' asses a little harder.
    • by Biolo (25082) on Sunday August 03, 2003 @06:39PM (#6601987)
      I really wish I could say more about this, but contracts kind of restrict me. What I can say is that Sun really are putting their money where their mouth is when they say quality is their number one priority. You saw it with the Broadcom chip incident, where they did the right thing and stopped shipments, even though it hurt the bottom line. That is just one incident that got widespread attention. Right now, more so than ever before, they are taking no risks that a customer will get a product that doesn't work just right when it gets installed in their server room. You've got to admire that sort of attitude, especially in this financial climate.

      Bombproof computing, they are really making it their goal -although having just come back from watching Terminator 3 I'm no longer sure thats a good thing! :-) . You have to wonder how many other vendors, when faced with something like the Broadcom thing, either 1) don't notice it, 2) notice it but pretended they didn't, or 3) did the right thing even though it hurt them.

      As for the holding onto Solaris thing, you can understand that. Solaris is and was a really great product. Having used AIX in a production environment I can understand why IBM aren't so bothered about loosing it to Linux. Given a choice I'd certainly pick Linux. When it comes to Solaris though, it's still not so clear cut, I'd go for Linux on the desktop because that's what everyone is targetting, but I would be sorely tempted for Solaris on the server, and it's a shoe in on the SPARC platform. If you truly believe in your product, like Sun does, it's much more difficult to accept that there may be a real alternative. Part of the problem is that Linux isn't (yet) a real alternative across Suns product range. SGI's Altix scales Linux to 64 processors, but that's the high end limit for now, until Linux gets to being capable of running on the top of the line Sun kit they can't fully commit to it, and by this I mean 128 CPU's, and be capable of handling 256 cores (coming soon(tm)). You've got to look at Suns selling point ever since it was started, Solaris from the lowliest workstation to the highest end servers. Your developers build and compile and test on the low end and deploy straight onto the highest end. Binary compatibility, surprisingly compelling, and Solaris still does this better than Linux, especially across OS/kernel versions.

      That said if it was me who made those decisions I'd be sponsoring a major push to get Linux running on the SPARC platform, after all Solaris doesn't really make much money for Sun by itself but its SPARC hardware certainly does, and who cares if the customer runs Linux on Sparc or Solaris on Sparc, as long as they chose Sparc.

      Disclaimer: I work for Sun, so obviously I'm biased, and none of the above statements are sanctioned by Sun in any way.
  • by reporter (666905) on Sunday August 03, 2003 @02:45PM (#6600944) Homepage
    The revenue of Sun Microsystems in the quarter ended June 2003 fell sharply from the revenue in the same quarter of 2002. Please read "Sun Earnings Trail Expectations [com.com]". The revenue fell far short of Wall Street expectations, and the stock promptly crashed.

    Linux brings no value to Sun and actually destroys Sun's profits. Why? For years, Sun has hidden its performance-poor servers behind its Solaris operating system. Sun focused its marketing message on "the whole system" and said that performance is only one part of the system value. Most of that system value outside of simple performance came from Solaris.

    Now, with Linux, the Sun salesperson can no longer argue that the operating system has some intrinsic value over the operation system of, say, an IBM machine. The IBM machine and the Sun machine are running the same operating system, Linux. Then, the comparison of the two machines comes down to performance. In other words, the customers will be forced to look at the quality of the basic hardware. In this area, Sun falls woefully short. Look at the results for the ""SPEC benchmark [spec.org]" or the "TPC-C benchmark [tpc.org]".

    • by n3rd (111397) on Sunday August 03, 2003 @03:24PM (#6601146)
      The revenue of Sun Microsystems in the quarter ended June 2003 fell sharply from the revenue in the same quarter of 2002

      There is no mention of this in the article you posted.

      The revenue fell far short of Wall Street expectations, and the stock promptly crashed.

      "Crashed"? Come on, quit with the exaggerations. Look at this graph [yahoo.com]. Thus far they have sunk $1 per share or ~20%. When your stock value is that low it's easy to lose a large percentage over a small amount.

      I find it strange that Red Hat's stock is higher than Sun's and yet Sun brings in billions every quarter and has 6.6 billion in the bank. I think it says a lot about the relavance of using stock prices as a note for discussion.

      For years, Sun has hidden its performance-poor servers behind its Solaris operating system.

      Please, tell us about your experience with Sun. Have you administered it and if so for how long? Are you a user and if so for how long?

      They have one of the most stable OSes out there, superb hardware and some of the best support which I'm sure amounts to nothing.

      The IBM machine and the Sun machine are running the same operating system, Linux. Then, the comparison of the two machines comes down to performance

      Once again, you seem ill informed. The Linux offerings are on x86 servers, not SPARCs. With x86 hardware there aren't many ways to differentiate one box from another at a hardware level.

      In other words, the customers will be forced to look at the quality of the basic hardware.

      You forgot cost and what's most important to companies, support.

      or the "TPC-C benchmark"

      Sun hasn't submitted a TPC-C benchmark since late 2001, and it was on old hardware. This may or may not be a good thing, but you cannot tell.

      Before you keep bashing Sun I would seriously consider doing two things: Getting out into the real world to see how many people trust and use Sun/Solaris and do some research.

      Until Sun is unseated as #1 in the UNIX server market [sun.com] (as reported by Gartner) and has less than it's 6.6 billion in the bank [yahoo.com] along with 13 billion in total assets I don't think Sun is too concerned.

      Your post is nothing more than the often repeated "Sun is dying" chant that is not backed up by any relavant facts.
      • I find it strange that Red Hat's stock is higher than Sun's and yet Sun brings in billions every quarter and has 6.6 billion in the bank. I think it says a lot about the relavance of using stock prices as a note for discussion.

        No offense, but from this I'd assume that you're not an expert at the Stock Market. Stock price is not comparable between companies unless both companies have the same number of outstanding shares. A theoretical company worth only $1 million would have a stock price of $333,333 if

      • "Crashed"? Come on, quit with the exaggerations. Look at this graph. Thus far they have sunk $1 per share or ~20%. When your stock value is that low it's easy to lose a large percentage over a small amount.

        A 20% decline in the valuation of a company is a pretty big fall. The price of a single share is not really relevant, and should not make it any easier or harder to lose or gain a given percentage of value, unless the price-per-share is in really crazy territory (sub-dollar, or multiple hundreds of dol

  • Although this sort of thing has happened at Sun before, it's an astonishing admission of defeat, in my books.

    Their entire company is based on big iron using Solaris. Given that the prevailing trend is to run Linux on lots of small Intel boxes, how can this not shatter their most basic business model?

    Given the way Java is going nowadays, I agree, how can Sun not be doomed?

    • Who says the ENTIRE company is based on ONLY selling big-iron? Just like IBM, Sun sells big-iron, and smaller-iron, and software. Sun also sells this stuff through partners.

      So now Sun re-sells two flavors of Linux for its X-86 servers: RedHat and, now, Suse.
      Sun is simply giving their customers a new choice.

      Running an increasing number of small Intel boxen requires increasing support costs. As needs increase, switching to fewer more powerful big-iron boxen can help to flatten support costs. Seems like Sun
    • Re:Astonishing (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Decaff (42676)
      "Given the way Java is going nowadays"...
      Java is the most widely used programming language and is still growing at an amazing rate. Sun sell licences for enterprise java and make a lot of money doing it.

      Sun have always used an interesting strategy to open up markets for their products and services. They promote open standards, and even donate technologies to the IT community (such as NFS). Sun virtually invented the idea of the desktop Workstation. The idea being that the bigger the market for open sta
  • Safe move (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MC68040 (462186)
    This was most likely the safest move for SUN's linux solution and idea, if they team up with someone else they more or less just sell an already existing product with modifications, thus legal responsibilities change and they got more behind their back with a old and stable Linux distribution.

    And SuSE is most likely 'closed' enough already for SUN to consider it as a safe solution compared to the dangerous ;) open source world. (Pointer: you have to pay for suse).

    • Personally, I *pay* for SuSE. It's good enough that I feel it's worth it.

      However, there are tons of people who use the SuSE ftp install. They're getting SuSE, and they're not paying for it.

      The only thing you can consider closed about SuSE is some of the software they ship (realplayer, mainactor, flash, etc). But then again, I suspect a lot of people go out and install those applications on whatever distro they use anyhow.
  • by Crashmarik (635988) on Sunday August 03, 2003 @02:48PM (#6600956)
    The reuter story highlights the difference between information and knowledge.

    The reporter completely misssed pricing issues, platforms that sun would be selling it for, the support that would be entailed with the license, ETC.

    What is truly missing is there is no comment on the SUN-REDHAT, SUN-SUSE licensing vis a vis the SCO suit and licensing. We know, to the extent that SCO's statements may be believed that sun pretty much has a license to do whatever they want with unix. The question is if they sell/distribute a linux under the GPL does that spill over ? Is it protected ? If I buy redhat from sun is it covered by SUNS rights, if it is how does that affect the GPL that comes with the distribution ?

    IT would have been wonderfull if the article instead of just being a parrot had of addressed the questions.
  • What's the point? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trurl's Machine (651488) on Sunday August 03, 2003 @02:49PM (#6600967) Journal
    OK guys - I know that questions like this most often are modded down as "flamebait" or "troll", but I HONESTLY want to know, what is the point now of buying a non-x86 and non-PowerPC workstation. Mod me down if you please, but also mod up an answer that would provide an insightful, informative and interesting explanation. I mean, I understand it for the early 1990's. When "Jurassic Park" was a big hit at the movies, the sitiuation was pretty obvious - you had these single-user, single-tasking OS'es like Windows 3.11 or MacOS 7 on one hand, and those powerful Unix boxen on the other hand. It was obvious, that you need a special dedicated machine to run high-end graphics tasks and another machine just to read the MS Office documents or play Doom. But now - what is the freakin' point, if you can run MS Office and all the latest games on a high-end personal computer (be it the PowerMac G5 or some x86 machine) and ALSO have your favorite Unix flavor running on it like charm? Where is the market niche for a workstation incompatible with the majority of commercial software?
    • by bobintetley (643462) on Sunday August 03, 2003 @03:05PM (#6601047)
      One word: Quality Would you trust your mission critical application to some cheap Intel chip with bog standard non-parity DDRAM and low quality components? Alright, you can swap it out for another if it fails, but how much time will that take and to business, time is money. x86 might be cheap, but if you want hardware you can really rely on that's going to operate without problems for years, you buy a Sun box.
      • Re:What's the point? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by niko9 (315647) on Sunday August 03, 2003 @03:26PM (#6601154)
        I honestly don't understand your reply. I'm not trolling but you said "cheap Intel chip"

        Is that how Intel's CPU's are thought of in the computing indusrty?

        I just purchased an Intel Pentium 4 3.0Ghz and specifically chose an Intel 875PBZ board for it's stability and reliabilty. With The P4's heat spreader and inergrated heat protection, I consider it a high quality product.

        After nearly 3 years of worry free opertaion with a dual Pentium box running almost 24 hours a day without so much as a hiccup on Debian Linux, I thought I made a wise choise with buying Intel.

        Can anybody shed some light?
        • ...running almost 24 hours a day...

          You proved his point right there. *Almost* is something that someone buying Sun does not want to consider. Almost is not good enough.

          • ...running almost 24 hours a day...

            My mistake, I really should have clarified this point. The only time the machine went down is because my girfriend would not stay over if she had to sleep in the same room with the box running. She couldn't sleeep even with the low RPM fan I installed. So offline she(the box, that is ;) ) went 'till the next morning.

            Other than that, the machine has been problem free.
        • These servers aren't run "almost 24 hours a day". They're expected to run non-stop for decades, and they're expected to do that without any downtime at all. You need to be able to replace memory and processors without a reboot.

          They cost a fortune because downtime costs a fortune.
      • Re:What's the point? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cartman (18204)
        One word: Quality Would you trust your mission critical application to some cheap Intel chip with bog standard non-parity DDRAM and low quality components?.. x86 might be cheap, but if you want hardware you can really rely on that's going to operate without problems for years, you buy a Sun box.

        I've had sun boxes on my desk for years, and from what I've seen, this hasn't been true for quite some time. If you opened up a Sun Ultra5 you'd find that it was made almost entirely out of low-end commodity compon

      • Alright, you can swap it out for another if it fails, but how much time will that take and to business, time is money.

        You're correct. If I had to bet my life support machine on a single piece of hardware and software, I'd pick Solaris on SPARC over Linux on x86, mainly because of the extra hardware reliability from Sun.

        But with the way that clustering technology is developing, it's getting to be a reasonable cost-effective alternative to pickup 2 or 3 Lintel boxes.

        If your Lintel box has 99.99% uptime a

      • Re:What's the point? (Score:3, Informative)

        by mihalis (28146)

        This is ridiculous. Parity is cheap now, any decent PC vendor can sell you a machine using ECC SDRAM.

        Meanwhile, of the three Sun machines I've had from new at work in my current job, the Ultra 10 blew a disk, the Blade 1000 had a fp bug (US-III 750Mhz) and blew a disk, and my v240 has both an ethernet bug in all four NICs, and had to have the power supply replaced before it would boot for the first time as a brand new machine.

        I don't buy the hardware quality theory for Sun any more. Sure, the metalwork on

    • I HONESTLY want to know, what is the point now of buying a non-x86 and non-PowerPC workstation.

      There's still a large body of software for engineering and scientific disciplines that runs only on Sparc/Solaris. This software and userbase are left over from the days when RISC machines were far faster than x86 machines.

      Everyone is moving away from Sun workstations, but these migrations take time. Notice that Sun's hardware sales are down 20% year-on-year. Sun already realizes that its workstation business

    • Re:What's the point? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by xlark (689369)

      There are quite a few niches in which any x86 or Mac machine wouldn't be enough.

      Very, Very Big CAD projects need a 64-Bit processor and the extra address space that comes with them. The G5 (or 970) is 64-Bit, but OS X isn't yet 32-bit clean. x86 is out of the question.

      A lot of specific applications are also better run on Workstations. I've been told that Molecular Analysis simulations are faster on a MIPS R1k/195 than on a 2 GHz Intel.

      Thanks to a lot of open source stuff, lots of applications ar

  • Is this new? (Score:2, Informative)

    by edunbar93 (141167)
    While I'm happy to see Sun's finally beginning to warm up to Linux (aka if you can't beat 'em, join 'em strategy) I wonder if this is too late for Sun?

    What do you mean, "finally warming up to Linux?" They've been selling it in their Cobalt products [cobalt.com] for years.
    • Re:Is this new? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Biolo (25082)
      Exactly, and of course there is their membership and adoption of Gnome, involvement with Apache, etc. Not to mention that they were the most open of the Unix companies, they effectively open sourced SPARC right at the beginning. Fujitsu make and sell their own line of SPARC chips and servers [fujitsu.com], because of this, and www.sparc.org [sparc.org] is still a real entity because Sun continues to support it. NFS, NIS, Java, and a whole host of core unix things we take for granted today all came about because Sun invented them an
  • I am currently running SuSE 7.3 on a Sun Ultra Enterprise 2. While it works fine there are some problems with the sound server locking up when system sounds are played. Also the power management is something to be desired. Hopefully with this alliance,linux will just get better :)
    • I'm guessing, but try killing "artsd" to fix your sound server problem, or asking xmms to use artsd instead of OSS or ALSA. SuSE is now at 8.2 so the power mgt is 9-12 months improved.
  • Bright sun (Score:3, Insightful)

    by G3ckoG33k (647276) on Sunday August 03, 2003 @02:56PM (#6601009)
    "I wonder if this is too late for Sun"

    Waddya mean?

    * They have StarOffice, based on the GPL'd OpenOffice; they have a great future.
    *Java (that pesky little language) was doomed too but still hangs around, much like Basic, Pascal and Visual Basic
    *Solaris still has an unbeaten reputation for carrier grade quality in telecom compared to Linux, yet...
    *They have their own hardware too, even if Opterons...

    SUN is better than its reputation here, I believe.
    • SUn makes a shitload more money from there $20-100k sun servers. They are losing to wintel and lintel.

      Sun keeps laying off and laying off and hiring Indians just to stay alive. Solaris on intel is considered dead thanks to premature killing of it earlier and Java is free so they tet no money from it.

      Sun is in trouble.

  • by Santabutthead (675941) on Sunday August 03, 2003 @03:15PM (#6601094) Homepage
    ..be giving legal guarantees because I'm sure they wouldn't want to go against the CEO's [infoconomy.com] words.
  • by FatAssBastard (530195) <fatassbastard AT email DOT com> on Sunday August 03, 2003 @03:17PM (#6601102) Homepage
    ...right below the article for Linux being sold by Sun. "Microsoft Windows 2003 Server: Do more with less". That's rich (is it ironic? I can never tell...)

    I think Sun is just hedging their bets here. Plus, they can offer 'immunity' since they have the license from SCO. I know, I know, it's all crap (the SCO issue), but they can trumpet the fact that they have a proper license to all the code no matter what. None of us gives a shiat, but some PHB's might find it puts them at ease.
    • No, unfortunatly any such "license" immediatly makes it illegal to sell (or give away) a copy of Linux containing the code covered by the license. This is because it violates the GPL that covers the rest of Linux.

      The only way for this license to have some value is for SCO to identify what part of Linux it covers, and for that part to be a module or a user-level program or library (such licensed properties are allowed to be added to a Linux distributionj). SCO is definately claiming the exact opposite.

  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Sunday August 03, 2003 @03:19PM (#6601116) Journal
    First off the versions of Linux provided are for some amd blade servers. Sun is experimenting at this stage to see where the market is.

    The sparcIII was years late and already obsolete when it hit the market. SparcIV has been delayed which also gets in the way of the upcomming sparcV which supposed to come out late next year.

    The sparcIV supposed to be just as fast as a pIV and a sparcV is going to be even faster. However by the time the sparcIV comes next year it will already be obsolete as well.

    Also sparcs are expensive.

    My solution would be to switch to AMD64. They are cheap, really fast, and Solaris has already been ported. They can keep their expensive bus technology and only use the cpu's in exchange from sparc's. Or even better just use hypertransport and reduce the costs.

    They should also look at the powerpc970 and 980'd. Unfortunately no version of solaris exist for those platforms. AMD64 would probably be a better bet.

    Sun's are expensive and underpowered. Commidity hardware makes sense.

  • Sun (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rihock (680776)
    To be honest, I think partnering with SuSe and RH is a good thing. The Sun version of Linux never really took off, so why not partner? Sun makes great hardware, and they are now making great software as well (email, directory, calendar, identity, portal, app server) that run great. I don't think the press gives them enough credit for the effort.
  • It is the Citrix lock that they are after, with Munich going Suse alot of small town and city hall ma and pa people are taking notice. Hey why the hell should we spend 4 or 5 million on Win servers when we can get the same hardware and support at less cost with Linux. It is happening all over Europe and it will happen all over North America. The target of Suse and Sun is the MS small intranet market which in reality is bigger than the internet. Boy /. readers can sure be blind to anything other than the ser
  • by EoRaptor (4083) on Sunday August 03, 2003 @03:33PM (#6601200)
    1. Sun offers 'big name' support contract for Linux.

    2. Fortune 1000 companies require this type of backing on any new 'deployment'.

    3. Sun now has an 'in' for their sales and support team.

    4. Eventually, the solution to further growth will be something linux is 'unable' to do.

    5. Experience with Sun, means Solaris is a natural upgrade choice.

    6. Profit!

    Sun doesn't care at all, they'd support windows if they could figure out some way to convince people that Solaris was the natural upgrade path from that. Linux will always have the 'hobby' stigma attached (mainly becuase Sun will always be whispering in the right ears. After all, they have access.) and thus Solaris is an easy sell, along with the dedicated, lock in hardware for it. Sun can't lose, even if they cna't upsell the client, they have still made a truckload of money on the support contract.

    Grow up everyone, Sun isn't run by technologists, and doesn't give alick about Linux (or Solaris for that matter). What they want is money, and this is a means to that end. It may align with some peoples goals to promote Linux, but don't get confused about what Sun is really doing.
    • a corporation acting in the interests of profit. Isn't this what they are supposed to be doing?

      Now what I really want to know is how this fits in with the whole SCO debacle and the special golden child status that Sun apparently has with SCO.
  • Yay! (Score:2, Informative)

    by stevey (64018)

    I'm glad of this - I run several Oracle installations on Solaris and a couple of small ones on SuSE.

    SuSE and Redhat are the two platforms that are certified by Sun, and I had been worried that they'd drop the SuSE support when they got into bed with RedHat more.

    Happily it looks like that's not going to happen which is good for me.

    (Now if we could only get somebody to pay for Sun to certify Debian ;)

  • Solaris 10 (Score:5, Informative)

    by dodell (83471) <dodellNO@SPAMsitetronics.com> on Sunday August 03, 2003 @03:59PM (#6601320) Homepage
    Well, I've got Solaris 10 alpha test CDs. Solaris 10 is coming out and has some killer features. I don't think this is an "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" situation at all. Sun has spent years developing and marketing Solaris/SunOS, and I don't think they'll stop here. It's very profitable for them to sell a true UNIX OS.

    I imagine it's also just as profitable for them to do support/development for Linux. And I think that they're expanding, not downsizing or rethinking an entire business model.

    • Well, I've got Solaris 10 alpha test CDs. Solaris 10 is coming out and has some killer features.
      Care to mention some? Or are you under NDA?
      • I googled around a bit. Some of what I saw includes making it easier to remotely upgrade a computer.

        What really caught my eye was the improvements in how you can designate resources for a particular task. I believe these features are present to a certain extent in Solaris 9, but I don't think it was so finely grained and optimized. I don't know Solaris that well though so don't take my word for it.

        Another thing that caught my eye was the security improvements. I'm always happy to see those in any OS.
    • heh Care to elaborate?
  • by tvm662 (232083)
    Sun boss, Scott McNealy has been hitting the new quite a bit lately. Sun might have struck a deal with SuSE, but Scott has recently warned companies "Don't touch linux without legal guarantees" [infoconomy.com] He's had lot more things to say including calling Gates and Ballmer dropouts,
  • by panurge (573432) on Sunday August 03, 2003 @04:29PM (#6601423)
    The garbled Reuters (close company) I think is trying to say that SuSE is not public. It's an AG. It's German. It doesn't have to be bought by anyone. It may well be a sales benefit in the German speaking world for a US company to have a local business partner. Patriotism is not limited to Americans, you know.

    Sun has also always had a strong Indian connection and it is unsurprising that it should leverage that.

    The "Sun is doomed" crowd closely resemble the "Apple is doomed" crowd. They seem to think being a mere $12G player in a huge industry is somehow a guarantee of failure. Depends. Spreading your alliances, being perceived as more rest-of-world friendly than Microsoft, being good at big tin that has to run with low outage, these could be good strategic positioning.

    And the short-term opinion of the NYSE on this counts for precisely zilch. (as does the instant opinion of the typical /. reader, me included.) Stock exchanges are not able to make rapid long term evaluation of strategic decisions by enterprises. If they were, they would be economic analysts, not traders.

  • Throughput Computing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thanasakis (225405) on Sunday August 03, 2003 @05:46PM (#6601770)
    Have a look at that [sun.com](3rd time I post this link in /.)

    Sorry guys, but Sun is a great company. They have supported open standards before anyone had a clue about it and they have already given a lot to the community. Java gains groud where microsoft still tries to enter the market (mobile phones etc), solaris is a mature product (solaris 10 is being used/tested inside sun for almost a year) and their hardware may soon fill the performance gap.
    I do not see why it may be too late for them.
    • by mihalis (28146)

      heir hardware may soon fill the performance gap

      Perhaps the throughput computing stuff will be great, but until then, Sun has a bit of a problem in their traditional markets, because their cpus don't deliver competitive bang for the buck in the workstation and small server markets any more. This is where they grew all the mindshare which got them a lot of success. Since they announced US-IIIi at 1GHz, Apple/IBM came back with 2GHz G5. I am fairly confident a dual 2GHZ G5 Powermac is a better unix workstat

  • Solaris anschluss of Linux. McNealy proclaims "Peace in our time."

    Film at 11

  • by antis0c (133550) on Monday August 04, 2003 @12:00AM (#6603524)
    What?? I don't know what corner of the world you live in but Sun Microsystems software is in use quite a lot still, and still beats Linux when it comes to server market share.

    I work for a large data hosting company which shall remain unnamed so I don't get a memo with a copy of the NDA and privacy policies I signed, that has somewhere around 15,000 - 20,000 servers. We primarily offer 3 basic managed systems. Windows 2000, Sun Solaris, and RedHat Linux.

    Of the servers about 55% of them are Compaq servers running Windows 2000, 40% of them are Sun Solaris servers, and a whopping 5% of them Compaq servers running RedHat Linux.

    Who's beatin' who huh?

    * Of course I believe Linux will eventually surpass just about anything, that or a fork of Linux or another open source project. But as it stands now, Sun Solaris is still one of the major UNIX operating systems in the market, and will remain so for years to come.

I tell them to turn to the study of mathematics, for it is only there that they might escape the lusts of the flesh. -- Thomas Mann, "The Magic Mountain"

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