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Sun Microsystems Operating Systems Software Linux

Sun Says OpenSolaris Will Challenge Linux 405

Posted by kdawson
from the color-us-skeptical dept.
E5Rebel writes "Sun Microsystems has ambitious plans for the commercial and open source versions of its Solaris operating system. The company hopes to achieve for Solaris the kind of widespread uptake already enjoyed by Java. This means challenging Linux. 'There's an enormous momentum building behind Solaris,' according to Ian Murdock, chief operating platforms officer at Sun, who was chief technology officer of the Linux Foundation and creator of the Debian Linux distribution. Isn't it all a bit late?"
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Sun Says OpenSolaris Will Challenge Linux

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  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:28AM (#20462779)

    Java? Wide uptake? Surely, you jest.
    Most server based business development is done in Java these days. It's replacing COBOL as the business language.

     
  • by LarsWestergren (9033) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:36AM (#20462853) Homepage Journal
    Java? Wide uptake? Surely, you jest.

    No [tiobe.com], hardly.

    It's quite rare now to see any client programs written in Java;

    Not in the business world, where Swing clients are probably second only after Visual Basic. Sun is also currently putting a lot of effort into improving the JVM desktop experience [java.net].
  • Re:How can we lose? (Score:3, Informative)

    by mdhoover (856288) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:45AM (#20462953) Homepage Journal

    I have no idea of Solaris already has Linux ABI and GNU/Linux API support
    BrandZ (or whatever it has been rebadged as) lets you run RH linux userspace in a solaris zone on x86...
  • Not convinced... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Junta (36770) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:56AM (#20463053)
    Sun has done an excellent job of astroturfing. I know a lot of technical people who have tried it once again, and got the 'neat' factor of ZFS, was not that impressed with DTrace (we know how to do most of this sort of stuff in linux already), and containers, well, are nothing unique to the platform. So ZFS remains the cool thing that, while Linux has facilities to kinda-sorta get there, can't get there as smoothly and flexibly. Meanwhile, they were bitten by a distinct lack of drivers, and their random whitebox platform they used to evaluate was being strangely flaky in the face of Solaris when it seemed solid with Linux.

    So on the technical front, there remain kinks to work out. In the meantime, Linux has incredible momentum, incredible talent in the market, and from a business standpoint, is in an advantageous position. Linux has more corporate backing (you want serious software support for Solaris, you have only Sun to choose really, while in Linux, well, at least Novell and RedHat are serious software support contenders, and more hardware vendors embrace Linux than Solaris).

    The other sad thing was the Solaris platform package management. Nexenta was a refreshing thing to evaluate, but looking at the community at large it seems Nexenta gets the shaft. It's all up to Indiana to see if they can pull off a well-accepted, decent package/repository system. I have to admit, this is by *far* the biggest thing Linux platforms have going for it (apt/yum) and very much outweighs the benefits of ZFS (it's like apples and oranges, true, but when you have to pick one or the other...). Of course, the Nexenta situation points to them not pursuing the other thing they need to be a Linux contender, they'd have to allow other companies to have control and be able to provide software support on their own without any help or money exchange with Sun themselves. The question is if they did that, would Sun's share of the Solaris market still be more than the current Solaris market in the face of a dominant Linux market, and I really have no idea. They might just have to lose out on Solaris to make it have a chance, and that really gets them nowhere. It's a fine line to walk and it wil be interesting to see what they do to try to pull it off.
  • by ballmerfud (1031602) * on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @09:29AM (#20463355) Journal

    It's been two years and still there is no self-hosting OpenSolaris distribution. Again, there is no self-hosting OpenSolaris distribution. Again, there is yet to be ANY self-hosting OpenSolaris distribution. Not Nexenta, not Belenix, not Schillix, and sorry but Solaris Express is not open nor freely redistributable.

    Source or no source, if that damn thing can't even be made to be self-hosting, and the resulting product freely-redistributable, then it can't even be compared with Linux, much less overtake it. Enough with the smoke and mirrors already

    I fell for this hype two years ago when all the rage about Solaris 10 came out. Here's the deal: ZFS - great. DTrace - amazing. The Solaris kernel - truly exceptional. The userland, installer, package system, and general feel of the OS - horrendously bad ... so awful that it sent all of us who tried it screaming back to Linux and BSD. And they are still going to stick with that awful package system -- even after Nexenta has done all the work to get Apt working, even after hiring Ian Murdock. And that's the amazing thing: Nexenta is a shining example of a budding community that has filled in almost every glaring gap that Solaris was lacking and rather than gobble it up, Sun has basically patted it on the head like a good little wannabe and marched right on by drunk in its typical, massive, NIH syndrome.

    Not a chance. Keep the press releases coming, hire all the Linux people you want, but at the end of the day, I have at least two choices for a self-hosting, community-driven operating system with package systems, installers, and userlands that work now, not in years to come.

    And Sun, please stop with the "we're gonna beat Linux" crap. Haven't you learned by now that that doesn't help you. The whole "us verses them" mentality has no place in the community, and just makes you look like an ass. Linux earned its place. Earn yours, with action, not press releases.

  • Re:OpenSolaris (Score:5, Informative)

    by jlarocco (851450) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @09:42AM (#20463481) Homepage

    I recently had to try to read the spagetty which is the OpenSolaris TCP implementation and frankly it felt exactly like this "--". Great documentation--; for very line, through the entire monolythic single multimegabyte .c file.

    What? [opensolaris.org] I'm not exactly sure what you mean, but it seems pretty good code to me. It's big, and there are some gotos, but it's all well explained. It definitely doesn't seem as bad as you make out.

  • by mihalis (28146) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @10:21AM (#20463833) Homepage

    The OS is just a bootloader for the Java VM.

    Not even close. the JVM does not implement a filesystem, or a network stack, or virtual memory management system, or any device drivers, or threading, or low-level graphics operations, or ...

    Java is fine, but don't confuse it with an entire modern operating system.

  • by kimvette (919543) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:31AM (#20464711) Homepage Journal
    Yes. Look at Xfree86 as an example. For a long time they were pretty much the only player in town, and that effective monopoly resulted in lots of innov--- wait a second, I see a problem here. X.org anyone? Xfree86 was stagnated and falling way, way behind OS X and even Windows and it took forking the project to move things forward.

    Monopolies are rarely a good thing - either closed/proprietary or free/open.
  • Re:OpenSolaris (Score:3, Informative)

    by PygmySurfer (442860) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:57AM (#20465113)
    Ask and ye shall receive [gnusolaris.org].
  • Re:OpenSolaris (Score:3, Informative)

    by rossifer (581396) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @01:10PM (#20466211) Journal
    Funny that you mention the TCP code. In my experience, the TCP stack is one of the places where Solaris (and presumably OpenSolaris) does things right and Linux has some significant problems.

    We have some servers with multiple NIC's in the same subnet due to limitations of our hosting provider. On Linux, if a request comes in on NIC 1, the response may go out on NIC 1, 2, or 3. This causes no end of havoc as the server claims the response went fine, but any firewalls between the client and server will fail to correctly route the response from a different host. The client will usually barf as well.

    On Solaris, the response always goes back out on NIC 1. It just works.

    There are other issues with the Linux TCP stack as well, that just one of the ones that we've found most frustrating over the past three years which differentiates Solaris from Linux.
  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @03:39PM (#20468509)
    Personally, I don't want an opensource kernel and then plug into it propietary crap. Drivers are not "programs" which you run into a kernel, they're plugins (which is pretty much the reason why linux doesn't have a stable driver API/ABI - it only has a stable kernel ABI/API, aka the syscall interface, the rest is subject to change). I do run propietary programs, but not propietary kernel plugins.

    Exactly.

    Windows fans, and Microsoft themselves, always blame any instability that Windows has on the device drivers, and probably for good reason. Why would Linux or Solaris users want Windows-level reliability? You plug in a webcam and your machine randomly crashes? No thanks.

    Solaris and the other Unixes never had to deal with this before because they only worked on proprietary hardware; users didn't just get Solaris from Sun, they also got their machine and all their peripherals from Sun too. All the drivers were provided by Sun. If there was a problem, Sun fixed it. This approach won't work if OpenSolaris is meant to work on a wide range of hardware from different vendors.

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