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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 BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:00AM (#20462557)
    What's the point of an operating system when you've got Java running on top of whatever is there? The OS is just a bootloader for the Java VM.

    Sun's interest in pushing two separate platforms is baffling.
  • by setagllib (753300) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:08AM (#20462595)
    Sun has a lot more than just Java software, and has a lot to gain from having firster-than-first class support for Java in the operating system (e.g. kernel-level code caching, pushing code into kernel space, etc). Linux can technically have it all now too, with Java being GPLv2'd. But really, Sun has packages like StarOffice, which needs a lot more than just a JVM.

    I encourage more competition for Linux. A free market is built on competition. Now that Microsoft is becoming a competitor rather than an oppressive regime, it'll be naturally selected out and increasingly powerful Unix systems will dominate the market. A Linux monopoly is not a good thing either, and whether BSDs or Solaris share the market, we all stand to benefit.

    It'd be even better if we had some license consolidation, but hey, that's a pipe dream. I'd rather have license-incompatible code than no code at all because people refuse to use GPLvX.
  • Solaris (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Borongo (794885) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:08AM (#20462597)
    The kind of Solaris penetration sun really wants is at the corporate
    level. There are a lot of Sun Servers out there so they'd like to increase
    that further in companies who want cheaper hardware than the sparcs.
    From a TCO point of view, add Solaris X86 to your existing Sparcs isn't
    that big of a deal and Sun has made pretty good progress in making Solaris
    10 much more on equal footing with Sparc based Solaris so now you only
    need admins who are expert at one OS, you've got easier compatibility
    with your software etc. Then from there I see a push to companies who
    don't use Sparc hardware.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:10AM (#20462633) Journal
    What can Sun Micro Systems bring to the table that rest of the Linux could not? Its name, some kind of relationships with corporations and provide "not a bunch of amateurs in their spare time, this OS is backed by professionals" kind of sales talk. But that niche is already occupied by IBM. As for SUNW's vaunted professionalism, they fumbled the lead they had in unix and are struggling to keep up. As for their corporate vision, these guys never realized until it was too late, that Windows OS was the loss leader, in grocery store parlance, and the real deal is the vendor lock in office documents, email addresses and calender applicaions. MSFT might have fumbled many balls and lacked vision on the technical side of the market, but when it comes to business side, MSFT has been nothing less than visionary in gunning for monopoly and achieving it. Now SUNW is going to take on Linux? yawn. Nothing to see here, move along, folks.
  • by pomakis (323200) <pomakis@pobox.com> on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:12AM (#20462649) Homepage

    Isn't it all a bit late?

    No, I don't think it's too late at all. If it's a decent operating system and has certain advantages over Linux (regardless as to whether or not Linux in turn has certain other advantages over it), then it will eventually catch on. In the world of software, it's never too late to introduce competing technologies.

  • by ylikone (589264) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:16AM (#20462667) Homepage
    I remember when Solaris was going open source and everybody was saying how they would over take Linux... well, it hasn't happened... not even close. So why the optimism from Sun now?
  • by squiggleslash (241428) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:21AM (#20462711) Homepage Journal

    But would the people who would have used GNU/Linux have all used Ubuntu?

    Or would some of them have used Fedora, and some SuSE*, and some Slackware, and some...

    Really, you don't need Solaris to fragment the base. It's also worth mentioning that back when I used BSD, I had no problems with the fact GNU/Linux had the marketshare and all the binaries because pretty much everything only available in binary form, from RealPlayer to Netscape, "just worked" with COMPAT_LINUX. Unlike, say, Windows via WINE, it's extremely easy to provide the same APIs across multiple Unix clones as long as they support the same underlying architecture. I have no idea of Solaris already has Linux ABI and GNU/Linux API support, but if fragmentation poses a real problem I don't doubt it'll be added.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:28AM (#20462781)
    The concept of competition does not apply to free software because competition implies a winner and a loser. In OSS, there is no winner, nor is there a loser. OSS projects progress by the input and enthusiasm of the users. There is no reason that a single "monopoly" project would necessarily lead to lower innovation. Since the project itself is not in any competition to lure users away from a competitor, there is no incentive either way to innovate except for the "itch" to keep making the project better.

    A monopoly-style OSS project would lead to more innovation, in fact, because with more users wanting more features, the project will have both a larger pool of ideas to choose from as well as a larger pool of developers to implement and grow the project. Growth encourages growth, at least as far as OSS is concerned.

    Competition, OTOH, draws finite resources away from the developer pool. While ideas may be freely shared, developer time cannot be, so a project that gets X number of hours of work will have monopolized that time for that project. Sometimes this work can be easily shared among other projects, but most of the time it cannot be shared without significant porting and adaptation. Competition fragments the development effort of all OSS projects.

    The only competition that truly exists in OSS is the competition of ideas. The actual implementation of code is where this is fought. If idea A has more support than idea B, it will be idea A that gets implemented. In this way, in democratic fashion, the best ideas (alternatively, the most popular ideas) get turned into reality. When the small group of idea B supporters break away from the main project to proceed with implementing their idea, only time will be able to tell whether idea A or idea B was the right way to go. But it is an unnecessary competition and draws resources away from the improvement of the platform.

    Competition against Microsoft or Sun is not the reason Linux improves over time. Rather, it is because users who want to use Linux implement the features that they want so that the platform grows to fit them. As it grows to fit them, it also grows to fit everyone. The additive nature of OSS sees to it that the best ideas stick around and the lousy ones get tossed away. That's not to say that Linux isn't stuck in the Unix rut, because it is. It's that if there were no Linux, there would be something else.
  • by Starker_Kull (896770) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:30AM (#20462801)

    I encourage more competition for Linux. A free market is built on competition. Now that Microsoft is becoming a competitor rather than an oppressive regime, it'll be naturally selected out and increasingly powerful Unix systems will dominate the market. A Linux monopoly is not a good thing either, and whether BSDs or Solaris share the market, we all stand to benefit.

    Your faith in Microsoft being 'naturally selected out' is.... amusing. Considering, after years of barely adequate products, they still have 90% plus marketshare of desktops, and last I checked, they were still oppressing various standards bodies, hardware manufacturers, small software houses, etc., I think the corpse is still walking around, talking FUD, and otherwise making a nuisance of itself. The Linux Monopoly you fear is... a bit far-fetched just yet, IMHO. When I start seeing KDE desktops in some of the small offices I walk into, then I'll believe it.

    Of course, this move by Sun is to try and make that happen; many non-computer people like 'simplicity', in the sense of getting everything from one computer vendor with minimum fuss on their part, assuming that things will work together more smoothly then. So, Sun offers a machine running OpenSolaris, with StarOffice preinstalled, as well as a really fast JVM. Worth a shot...

  • fine (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SolusSD (680489) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:32AM (#20462807) Homepage
    as long as Linux distros and Solaris play nice together. An open source solaris can only be good for the OSS community as a whole and will hopefully guarentee compatibility
  • by supersnail (106701) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:34AM (#20462827)
    At the moment but there is a technicaly superior and easier to use and more reliable platform available:- .NET

    And big business is taking it seriously. Lots of feasibility studies and pilot projects at the
    moment but thats how java started off.

    Plus java on the mainframe has been tried and found wanting, big iron developers are returning to COBOL
    and good old C.

    Java is tomorows legacy language.
  • by TooTechy (191509) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:35AM (#20462835)
    Solaris has known stability in certain supportable configurations. Linux supposedly does too. I know that statement will get a lot of hackles raised but just hold on. I am a continuous Linux user since 0.99pl8 and I love it. But, as time moves on I see some instabilities creeping in as complexity rises and hardware moves on.

    One of my boxes downstairs, a recent machine (less than 6 months old) running stock Debian (amd64) without a mod to the sources.lst has a slight instability (almost certainly in a driver) and crashes every week or so.

    Now, one could say that I should replace the hardware which has the suspect driver (always seems to be on a disk access). Or I should get on the Debian lists and report it. If it was a Sun Solaris box I would know that the hardware I had was (or was not) supported. The word 'Supported' in the Linux world really (I am sorry) does not mean as much as it does to Sun.

    Now I have other Linux boxen, (a little older) which have uptimes of over a year. No problems. But on odd occasions as this I would like to have stability and I can't find it. (Read, maybe don't have the time at the moment). And I need the box UP. I can't rebuild it AGAIN! I am on the 6th distro in an attempt to gain stability. That's an aside.

    In Sun's world. You pay a little more for your hardware and 'Know' it is going to work.
  • by E-Lad (1262) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:36AM (#20462847) Homepage
    So what you're saying that you expected it to happen overnight?

    I recall people saying similar things, only about Linux, back in the 90s. "Linux is the next big thing", Pundits and advocates trumpeted "Corporations will move to Linux as their preferred server/service platform", and so on. That pretty much did happen, but it took the better part of a decade to realize it. It took the one thing that a not even the most talented coders can't create during an all-night coding binge: Time.

    OpenSolaris is a hair over 2 years old now. If you think about it, most decently sized shops change out comodity infrastructure every 3-4 years, a time frame pimarily goverened by hardware warranties. If an organization says "Let's try another OS the next time around... lets try Solaris" then the proper time to do that would be consumate with normal upgrade cycles. In other words, no one can reasonably expect one thing (Solaris in this case) to massively gain meaningful, measurable share instantly. It takes time. Just like it did with Linux.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:38AM (#20462871)
    I dont see Solaris having much of an impact, and here is why. Sun Micro makes most of their money by selling hardware, whereas their services market is quite low and I do not see this changing. If they are to push OpenSolaris onto average low cost machines and were successful, it would no doubt hurt their bottom line. Because of this, they will be forced to play both sides by saying that there is "Solaris" and then "OpenSolaris" essentually implying to the end user that one is inferior to the other. In the early days they probably will try to say that they are the same, but eventually it would seem that they would be forced to seperate them to create the perception of added value.

    This to me seems obvious, but am I missing something here??
  • by LarsWestergren (9033) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:39AM (#20462895) Homepage Journal
    If SUN wanted acceptance instead of l33t, GPL(v3) would have been the order of the day.

    How could they have chosen this as the license already when it was finalized just a few months ago?
  • Re:Sure, XFS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eivind Eklund (5161) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @08:58AM (#20463067) Journal

    In the end, ZFS is the single point that tempts me in general about Solaris, but I'm not about to jump platforms when I know enough 'tricks' to get 'good enough' out of my existing platform.
    I hear and understand you.

    So does everybody that use Windows.

    Eivind.
  • by setagllib (753300) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @09:00AM (#20463091)
    Why do you think Microsoft is scrambling for OOXML standardization? Because the document format lockin is a huge, huge part of Microsoft's monopoly strategy. If they're forced to be an equal player in the office suite space, making Office largely replaceable, then Windows is largely replaceable too. When Linux + KDE + Firefox + OpenOffice.org can replace a Windows + Office + IE setup with lower costs, minimal training and solid vendor support (Canonical, Red Hat, ...), how much incentive is there to run Windows any more?

    Gradually the government switches, corporations switch, and finally users switch. The numbers indicate it's happening anyway, and the format war is just going to nail the coffin on Microsoft's monopoly. They never even had a monopoly on servers, gaming technology, etc. so the office is their last stand, and in a matter of days it will be confirmed that they have lost that too.

    And of course, as the demand for Linux installations grows, and more vendors sell pre-packaged Linux, then hardware contracts will also require useful drivers or even documentation, and the hardware situation will be largely solved too. Sit back and relax, freedom has won and the liberation continues as planned.
  • by Eivind Eklund (5161) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @09:01AM (#20463093) Journal
    No, the GPL has the problem of co-existing in the same app as CDDL.

    Place blame where it belongs - GPL is the one bringing the heavy restrictions creating license incompatibility with EVERYTHING that cannot be converted directly to the GPL (including all BSD style licenses, if you do an exact reading of the GPL and BSD licenses.)

    Eivind.

  • by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @09:15AM (#20463209) Journal
    ZFS is irrelevant to the desktop user, though. (How many desktop users care what filesystem they have?)

    However, a stable kernel ABI - which Linux doesn't have - is FAR more important, as it means hardware manufacturers are far more likely to release drivers for your platform that can just be installed with the hardware. If Solaris on the desktop started outnumbering Linux on the desktop, my bets would be it would have everything to do with hardware manufacturers being able to ship a driver for $random_hardware, and little to do with ZFS.
  • by Karellen (104380) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @09:28AM (#20463335) Homepage
    "[a stable abi] means hardware manufacturers are far more likely to release drivers for your platform"

    No it doesn't. I run Linux/PPC and I *never* see hardware manufacturers releasing drivers for their hardware on it. Heck, it's hard enough to get decent drivers for Linux/x86-64 from them. I don't see them doing decent drivers for a other chipsets that run on systems that use standard hardware interfaces (PCI, etc...) either. They're just not interested.

    The only way to get a decent driver for Linux (Not Linux/x86-32, but Linux) is for it to be in the main kernel tree [kroah.com].
  • Re:OpenSolaris (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @10:33AM (#20463955)
    Agreed. It's somewhat complex but that's unavoidable, and it would be more readily understandable as a bunch of C++ classes but I imagine this C is very well tested and optimised. Comment density is about right and they make sense.
  • Re:OpenSolaris (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hjf (703092) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @10:48AM (#20464109) Homepage

    It is quite entertaining to see Murdock making such claims. He actually forgets that the greatest strength of Linux is that most of its codebase is understandable. While it may be missing some high end enterprise bells and whistles a relative newbe can sit down and understand most of the code straight away. Granted, his attempts at coding anything for it may end up being futile, but he will like it none the less.
    I wonder how many Linux users are actually programmers? Like 1%, I guess? Sure, in 1991 when it was released, every user was a programmer. But now it's the opposite. Few users will do so much as recompiling a kernel, and even so, you don't need to be a programmer to do that.

    On top of it he has the greatest possible documentation - the code and it is readable.
    What? Are you on crack? Code is NOT documentation. You HAVE to add a manual somewhere, else it's "just a program". And that's the biggest problem with Linux. Documentation. There's a million things you can do and very few of them are documented. So you have to google everything. You'll have to end up at some obscure list server (which WILL be offline when you click on it, so pray that web.archive.org has a copy).

    The other day I had this situation: A SCSI drive failed and md was degraded (raid-1). The drive was unaccessible, I didn't know that. So I went ahead and installed a new kernel. LILO was bitching about not being able to find /dev/sdb. So I go an run LILO again and forget to add the "-t" switch. WRONG - bootloader is fucked now.
    I had to boot Debian Rescue, mount my drive (it's a LVM on MD). I figured, what I had to do was just very simple:

    boot
    mount the partition
    lilo and read the config file from the partition... that didn't work, the files weren't there

    ok, so I chroot into the directory. lilo. didn't work either, something about /proc
    ls /proc. empty. what the hell? mount /proc. ls /proc. all there. lilo. bingo!

    I would love to see a newbie doing all that guesswork just to recover a fucked MBR.

    Regarding to the "high end enterprise bells and whistles": ZFS alone made me switch my Linux server to Solaris. I lost, completely lost, 320GB of data due to the piece of shit Truecrypt for Linux, supposedly "stable". Now I have a zpool with iscsi-exported zvols, that took like 2 minutes to make.

    The great about solaris is that it WORKS. Right there and then: it just works. If it doesn't work, that's it. They don't pretend that it works only to have it hang at the worst moment (or worse: fuck 320GB of your data). I think that's another problem with Linux: version numbers. Serious programmers put 0.0.1-pre-alpha on their versions, so you kind of know what you can expect. Others just go and version 1.0 (and when you try to run that program, you realize that this isn't a 1.0 version). I don't think corporate folks like beta software, and that's what keeps Linux off the enterprise too.

    Linux makes a great LAMP server, Asterisk server, etc. But that's because of the support behind those products. Asterisk, PHP, etc are backed by serious companies.

    And don't let me get started on the stupid fights about the scheduler, while this isn't an issue on Solaris (http://blogs.sun.com/darren/entry/new_linux_sched uler_old_solaris), because that's what really makes me doubt about the Bazaar way of software development. Don't get me wrong, I think that's great, but when shit starts to fly around, I start looking for alternatives.
  • by trifish (826353) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:19AM (#20464547)
    In OSS, there is no winner, nor is there a loser.

    If 90% of people used a particular open-source program, I'd dare to call that program a winner. And if nobody used a particular open-source program, I'd dare to call that program a loser. The rest is idealistic crap.
  • by multipartmixed (163409) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:26AM (#20464637) Homepage
    ...I'd give him a raise!

    I see absolutely nothing wrong with that code, other than you have to be a decent programmer to hack on it...and understand many details about TCP implementation.

    Which is totally reasonable, considering what it does! It's a not a recipe database, it's a freakin' protocol stack!

  • Re:OpenSolaris (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 00lmz (733976) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:27AM (#20464645)

    Regarding to the "high end enterprise bells and whistles": ZFS alone made me switch my Linux server to Solaris. I lost, completely lost, 320GB of data due to the piece of shit Truecrypt for Linux, supposedly "stable". Now I have a zpool with iscsi-exported zvols, that took like 2 minutes to make.

    ZFS sounds great, but I don't think it's fair to compare TrueCrypt (which is not included with the kernel, and doesn't have too many users testing it) with ZFS (which is one of Solaris 10's most valuable features). Why would you put 320 GB of data at the mercy of TrueCrypt? A few hundred megabytes of sensitive files, sure... but 320 GB?

  • by theendlessnow (516149) * on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:50AM (#20465007)
    If you've ever worked with the brilliant engineers at Sun you know that some of them are top notch. Some very brilliant people there.

    However, we also know that Sun likes to sit on their hands. They like to bask in their past accomplishments, sometimes for a VERY, very long time. Also, historically, Sun tends to drop things like a hot potato. Some example of these kinds of things are Solaris, which until 10, was pretty stagnant.... showing no signs of real functional growth, definitely NOT pursuing the desktop in any way. Also consider their Opteron workstations. For example, the w2100z, which is only a few years old, yet over a year ago, Sun pretty much dropped total support for the platform. Also, remember Sun's track record of support x86. 3rd time's a charm?? We'll see.

    Sun is brilliant, inconsistent, unreliable, cocky, idle... there are a lot of bad qualities within the Sun culture. Unlike people in the Linux community, Sun engineers are more likely to live inside of a box. Yes, they develop some really neat things inside of that box... BUT because they can NEVER look outside of the box, they are totally unaware of what is happening around them. Up until a year or two ago, I'd say that >90% of all Sun engineers experience with Linux was with Red Hat 5.0. With that said, Sun seems to be interested in their platform again, and they SEEM to moving in the right direction. Will it last? History says no.

    Internally, a lot of the brilliant engineers at Sun are very tied to the long standing Sun goal of global domination. If you remember the late eighties when Sun made their bid to capture all of Unix (and fortunately failed), then you know that this is a company that believes they are the ONLY player. This hinders Sun somewhat in that their platform isn't the best one for integrating with a whole lot of disparate technologies and platforms. Again, Sun is pretty clueless about systems outside of their realm. Sun's best friend is Sun. Their best partner is Sun. All is Sun at Sun. Very similar to another company located in the NW of the USA.

    Sun likes to TALK. They will SAY just about anything at anytime... often contradicting what they said only a few months earlier. So... beware. Sun is a company of promises, but not highly valued promises.... cheap promises that aren't worth much.

    Will OpenSolaris compete against Linux. Certainly. Do they have the technical know-how to pull it off? Certainly. Are they more technically savvy than Linux developers? I'd say yes. Are they lazy? Yes. Are the unreliable? Yes. Are they untrustworthy? Yes.

    This is how I see Sun. I love them... but I love some of the Microsoft engineers as well (and IMHO, there's more to fear from Sun than from Microsoft... fear Microsoft's money, but fear Sun's tactics).

  • by ChrisA90278 (905188) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:14PM (#20465345)
    "Isn't it all a bit late?"

    So you assume the wold is closer to it's end than it's beginning? No, there are thousands of years still to go. we are only just beginning with computers. It is hardly "late".

    Most end users could not tell the difference between Solaris and Linux. Users interact with the graphical desktops system, web browsers and text editors. Most sys admins deal with the server software, like Apache or the shell. All of this is exactly the same on both Linux and Solaris. The differences are closer to the kernel and how each handles virtualization and the file systems. Thinks most users don't know much about.

    Today I think your hardware drives the choice between Linuux and Solaris. If you need high end SPARC hardware Solaris is the way to go but Linux runs better on commodity PC hardware. And Linux has been ported to embedded processors and I doubt Solaris ever will reach for the low end
  • by KidSock (150684) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @01:01PM (#20466025)
    ... on big servers but not on just about anything else. Solaris is the flat-bed 18 wheeler of OSs. It scales well are machines with a lot of processors, it has good supported drivers for "big" hardware like fiber drive arrays, there's good support from Sun and third party providers and, most importantly from a Linux prespecitive, it will be easy to GNU-ize the system to get "GNU/Solaris". But it will be very hard to supplant Linux on Pee-Cees. If you think you have problems with wireless and suspending on your laptop you can forget running Solaris on it. With Solaris you have to buy the hardware to fit the OS whereas Linux is the best *nix for commodity hardware.
  • On kernel talk (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Vexorian (959249) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @01:46PM (#20466781)

    Let me go kinda off-topic, I find it odd that when people talk of the wonders of Linux they are rarely talking about the kernle itself.

    Take ubuntu for example, all what makes it "Linux for human beings" are actually things outside the kernel.

    More and more the user experiences less of the kernel and more of other things like X or a DE

    Everybody (In the linux world) seems to have an inclination about gnome or KDE or another de over windows' and name the advantage

    Another big group prefers it for open source in general and not really for the Linux kernel itself.

    I like "Linux" for most of these reasons, open source, gnome being customizable in a way I like, the unix file system structure and symlinks. None of this is specific to the kernel itself.

    And solaris got symlinks, and is unix like, and can run gnome. This said if it gets a GPL license it will get more attention from the world and if it gets a GPLv3 license I might even consider switching.

  • Re:OpenSolaris (Score:3, Insightful)

    by heelrod (124784) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @03:52PM (#20468677) Homepage
    I'm gonna have to agree with this.

    back in the day, the people using this stuff were programmers, so the code made for good docs ( kinda ) because it was new, untested, and really just a toy. Today, it is a big player in real world applications and systems. Most people just hang on to what we said over 10 years ago. It's starting to sound like a broken record. The Linux zealots keep yelling the same thing. I write drivers, port drivers and all that crap, and I'm sorry to say Linux needs to come up with a better documentation scheme just for the simple fact that it is becoming bloatware.

    There I said it! Flame me if you must, but as for me, I think a new free OS would be great. Linux is getting boring anyway.
  • by Arethan (223197) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:47PM (#20474243) Journal
    I see two conflicting ideas in your post:

    5.) GPL Solaris and remove the distinction between Solaris and OpenSolaris.

    and

    Solaris has the prime advantage of not having an image torn to tiny bits and pieces by a thousand distributions

    These two concepts are mutually exclusive. GPL'ing Solaris will undoubtedly create a thousand distributions. I believe the biggest problem people have in understanding the situation is that Solaris is an OS, not just a kernel (like Linux). Sun doesn't have to beat Linux as a whole to complete their stated objective. They just need to surpass the top Linux distribution (probably Ubuntu or RedHat).

    The rest of your post is a mixed bag as well.

    There are quite a few useful CLI tools that have no GNU replacement. For example: dtrace is insanely useful, and I challenge you to show me some level of equivalence from the GNU tools. The only CLI tools I can see as good candidates for replacement are the non-OS specifics. Things like grep, sed, awk, less, more, etc.

    zshell as the default shell, I'll bite. Why not. If I hate it, I can always run back to tcsh.

    I also see no reason to join Solaris and OpenSolaris at the hip under a single name. It is more advantageous for them to remain separate entities so that companies know that moving to OpenSolaris means that their custom scripts and etc will not necessarily work exactly as written for their previous Solaris environment. Give them another Solaris version, 10 years of support, and then start to kill it off. OpenSolaris should be the new direction, but there needs to be a distinct line that identifies them as separate operating systems.

    APT as a distribution system: that or YUM, I don't care. Just oh please god, for fuck's sake, kill off pkgadd. That thing is about 10 miles away from being anything more than a nightmare designed to give the sys admins bulletproof job security. The one and only bitch that I will continue to maintain about Unix style package systems is the idea that software is managed by the same database as the OS patches. I shouldn't need to dig through 900 pkgs/RPMs/debs/whatever just to uninstall Open Office. Use the same package system if you must, but please start doing a better job of application separation. The OS needs to come with a finite set of tools, and after that all additional dependencies just plain need to be packaged with the application that requires them, and nicely installed into a separate directory tree (*cough* /opt). Use symlinks if you want to make some CLI stuff available to the users, and GUI apps just plain don't need it. (Hey wait, that sounds like a Mac! (no shit...))

    Unifing GTK and QT with the same, one and only default theme that looks good: not a priority. I have a better solution. Pick one. Yes, pick one. QT or GTK, not both. Why? Because the separate GUI camps are doing just as much damage as they are helping. Sure, we end up with all sorts of nifty advances in GUI methodology, but at the end of the day, they never look the same even when the themes are designed to match, and they all try to fix duplicate problems by providing their own sounds systems, clipboards, etc, which seem to never want to work together correctly. (In my opinion, Qt should have been a system stacked on to of GTK, but too late now.) Just pick one and use it exclusively. ISV developers enjoy some level of scarceness in options, especially when it comes to something that should be as elementary as which GUI library their app is supposed to be written upon.

    Marketing army: One word. YES! If they manage to take the x86 Unix as a desktop concept and unfuck it, you bet your ass they should jump up and down and throw chairs and all sorts of Ballmerisms. I believe they would have earned the right to be excited about something as monumental as that. Mac did a great job at their endeavor, but they control all the hardware, so it wasn't much different than making the current Solaris look p

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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