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Solaris vs Linux Continues 361

raffe writes "Solaris Kernel Developer Eric Schrock is bloging more about the Solaris vs. Linux issue and linux kernel moneky Greg is answering on his blog. Eric's first part is is also still up and Greg's answer " Another reader also submitted reviews of the Linux desktop vs. Solaris 9. User reviews are welcome; please note that ITMJ is part of OSTG like Slashdot.
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Solaris vs Linux Continues

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  • Not much longer (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2004 @11:03AM (#10362558)
    Solaris vs Linux Continues: =5y
  • Solaris 9? (Score:2, Insightful)

    Why are we not seeing Linux vs. Solaris X?
    • Linux versus X (Score:5, Informative)

      by Ruie ( 30480 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @11:26AM (#10362804) Homepage
      Just to cover various "Linux versus X" topics, here are some links, obtained by Googling, without RTFA: And, most importantly: Linux Versus Linux []. (No you can't actually read it..)

      Ok, this was the first page.. I got bored copy'n'pasting afterward.

    • Re:Solaris 9? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Gadzinka ( 256729 )
      Why are we not seeing Linux vs. Solaris X?

      For the same reason we don't see much Linux vs Longhorn articles?

    • Re:Solaris 9? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by smc13 ( 762065 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @12:02PM (#10363212)
      Why is this insightful? Solaris 10 isn't out yet so there is no comparison between it and Linux.
    • Say what you want about kernel functionality, but what other major UNIX distribution will give you the 1977 version of awk (granted that nawk is the '85 version)?

      I haven't looked in some time, but would Sun please:

      • Upgrade /bin/sh to ksh93
      • Turn on UFS journaling by default
      • Give us something better than patchchk
      • Overhaul the ancient packaging system

      Adding gnome and ssh to this old cruft is like putting a bandaid on a corpse.

      It is a real shame that Sun chose Linux for the Java Desktop System. Sun cou

      • I hate Sun's tools as well, which is why I spend tons of time replacing it from NetBSD's pkgsrc or elsewhere.

        But they have at least made UFS journaling the default in one of the later releases of Solaris 9.
    • Re:Solaris 9? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jrexilius ( 520067 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @12:54PM (#10363787) Homepage
      Actually, after reading the various posts, I would say that a version comparrison isn't worthwhile at all and as the Sun developer mentioned, Linux and Solaris have different philosophies and approaches. Where I dont agree with him is that they have different markets entirely.

      As an example, he talks about swapping hardrives and CPU boards in failure events. From Suns perspective of selling an E10K for $1mil to a customer to solve a database problem (as an example), this is a very neccessary feature. From a customers perspective, however, I can solve this problem with either an E10K or a Linux cluster. In the linux cluster I wouldn't care about swapping out a CPU while the machine was running as I would swap out the machine and the _system_ would still be running. Google is solving a traditional big-iron problem very differently then the way Sun would solve it for them.

      I disagree with the statement that since Sun solves problem X with solution Y and Linux uses solution Z that they are competing in different markets. Truly there are things that Sun can do that Linux isn't well suited for and vice versa, however, the majority of corporations out there do not fall in either of those two areas. Where Sun has an advantage is not in its technology to solve standard corporate problem X but in its unified marketing, training, support, and existing market base. Those are assets but they are not technical reasons why Solaris is better then Linux at solving the technical problems of a business.
    • Why are we not seeing Linux vs. Solaris X?

      Here [].

      Linux wins easily.

  • by emptybody ( 12341 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @11:05AM (#10362590) Homepage Journal
    Why do people feel compelled to do these things?

    Two excellent tools - hammer, screwdriver.
    Both can be used to install fasteners. (nail/screw)
    Each tool has its place. And sometimes you can use one tool and its parts in place of the other with no adverse results.

    It doesnt make them better than each other.
    Just different.
    • by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <{akaimbatman} {at} {}> on Monday September 27, 2004 @11:12AM (#10362670) Homepage Journal

      To summarize this article:

      So Solaris is designed around high availability, easy problem diagnosis, and fault recovery. In exchange it sacrifices speed and kernel size.

      Linux is built to be lean and fast, and sacrifices some high availability and problem diagnosis features to reach that goal. There are five gazillion patches if you want to make Linux something like Solaris, albeit not as integrated.

      Soooo.... what is the problem here? The two systems attempt two different goals. That doesn't make them better or worse, it only makes them different. Let the consumers decide what it is they want from a system.
      • by liquidpele ( 663430 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @11:46AM (#10363015) Journal
        The problem is that people don't like Sun acting like it's playing nice when they think It'll try to stab linux in the back later.

        Granted both are good systems, but it's the "Sun's going to turn into SCO" fear that this is about I think.
        • by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <{akaimbatman} {at} {}> on Monday September 27, 2004 @11:53AM (#10363098) Homepage Journal
          My problem is that people always assume that's what Sun is going to do when they have ZERO history of pulling that sort of crap. In fact, things get very frustrating because Slashdotters first say "We want company XYZ to support Linux!" then bitch, "Did you see how company XYZ is making money off of Linux?! Evil! Death to them!"

          The only loophole in this screwed up logic is if Slashdotters feel that someone is playing defender for them in their favorite spectator sport: court proceedings.

          "Wow, IBM is defending themselves against a baseless lawsuit! They're protecting Linux and all that is good, true, and just!"

          • by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @12:20PM (#10363400) Journal
            My problem is that people always assume that's what Sun is going to do when they have ZERO history of pulling that sort of crap.

            I think some people would argue that Sun's recent relicensing of Unix from SCO *COULD* be viewed as supporting this type of crap. I would grant that the jury is still out, but their actions during the SCO affair *DO* justify looking at them with a skeptical, but open, mind.

            Mix that with Sun's "on again, off again" love/hate relationship with Linux, and its easy to question their motives. Not enough to draw a definitive opinion perhaps, but enough to ask questions. Their previous actions with OSS in general also raises more questions than answers.

            They have done some very cool things, like Open Office, but before I start praising or cursing them, I need more information. I don't fully trust them, and I think many people feel the exact same way, sleeping with one ear to the ground, just in case.
            • Also compare SUN as of yesterday and Caldera before the name change.

              Both had sued Microsoft over antitrust issues and won huge settlements.

              Both had distributed Linux distributions as a whole under relatively proprietary terms.

              Neither one had any other history of pulling this sort of crap.

              Finally although Sun showed a profit last quarter, I think, it wasn't much. They are still seemingly bleeding money and their business model is very much threatened by freely redistributable Linux. Same could have bee
      • by Freedom Bug ( 86180 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @11:53AM (#10363094) Homepage
        You're missing a crucial point in your summary.

        A lot of the argument comes down to "Sun hardware is more reliable and has really cool reliabilty features that PC hardware doesn't."

        Nobody's going to argue with that.

        The other big contender for bullet proof software, (IBM's big iron) runs Linux inside a VM. The VM has the neato bullet-proof stuff, so IBM didn't need to add it to Linux.

        • by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <{akaimbatman} {at} {}> on Monday September 27, 2004 @12:00PM (#10363191) Homepage Journal
          Actually, he was arguing the software in his blog. i.e. Kernel debugging tools, software fault recovery features, maintenance logging, etc.

          Not that Sun hardware isn't part of why the machines are usually stable. I can only wish that PC hardware was designed so well. The ability for the hardware and software to specifically complement each other is something that the consumer market has never known in anything other than game consoles and (to a limited degree) Macs. Most consumer hardware consists of off-the-shelf components which make very few special allowances for the software. Thus systems that are part of the Sun hardware design must be emulated in software.

          With computer components being as cheap as they are, this could change. All that's needed is a decent replacement to the PC BIOS infrastructure. Something like OpenFirmware would significantly improve the ability for the software to interface with the hardware.
          • If you read the reply you'll see the argument that Linux suns on some hardware that does not provide diagnostics/recovery capabilities. When it's possible, Linux tries to implement it (that also depends on the spec availability in a GPL-compatible form). It's probably true that Sun does a better job at it, as they control what hardware goes into their boxes and thus all the details about error recovery information available. Also, consumer PCs don't really need a high-availability server's degree of soft er
          • by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @12:12PM (#10363317) Journal
            I think part of it is also because Linux runs on off the shelf hardware which is by design, not as reliable as Sun hardware. A PC will never be as reliable as a Sparc server, because the average user doesn't want to pay three to four times more for the hardware. Even a really good PC.

            Google runs thousands of off the shelf servers in a way that makes failure a non issue, by having so damn many PCs that you can't tell if a few hundred fail. Its a different type of redundancy that is more cost effective in that particular application.

            OpenFirmware may help in some ways, but it will not automatically allow you to hotswap memory, hard drives and even CPUs the way Sun servers can. These features will probably NEVER be included on any x86 type box because if you need those features, then x86 is the wrong architecture for the job. Instead, multiple PPC or Sparc would be the right tool.

            I read the article and found nothing that I really didn't already know. Different tools, different jobs. I will continue to use Linux for my servers, but if we ever got to a point where we needed better than 99% uptime and availability then I would be looking at Sun or more likely, Big Iron. Interesting, probably will start a flamewar, but still obvious information. Even the comments on GPL were right on.
            • OpenFirmware may help in some ways, but it will not automatically allow you to hotswap memory, hard drives and even CPUs the way Sun servers can. These features will probably NEVER be included on any x86 type box because if you need those features, then x86 is the wrong architecture for the job. Instead, multiple PPC or Sparc would be the right tool.

              Which then begs the question, "Is Sun's recent adoption of the AMD Opteron platform for servers beneficial for enterprise customers who require 7x24 uptime?"
    • They aren't completely mutually exclusive as your analogy indicates. A basic example might have both running web servers. The questions then become:

      Which is best for the jobs that they both can accomplish?

      In what areas are they mutually exclusive so that this arguement can be held moot for those points?

    • Actually, why the argument at all ?

      Why not just say "who actually cares about the OS anymore?" Sure X is quicker, or Y is more-reliable. But when Sun are pushing blades, and loads of systems run on standard pizza boxes does it matter as you are designing the hardware to fail so often than the OS is irrelevant.

      Lob on an App Server, and the OS doesn't matter.

    • Why do people feel compelled to do these things?

      Sun feels compelled to do these things because their survival is at stake: Sun has to convince people to shell out money for Solaris or else they go out of business. And once Sun's marketing machinery kicks into high gear, bad-mouthing their open-source competition, it's natural for people to want to respond.

      If Sun didn't make silly claims about Solaris, Linux developers wouldn't give Solaris a second thought anymore.
    • because they essentially come in an identically looking box on the shelf.

      and sometimes the other is not that much different, just better.
  • Cameras (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Feminist-Mom ( 816033 ) < a i l . com> on Monday September 27, 2004 @11:06AM (#10362599)
    I'd like to hear from people what their experience is with camera and video drivers for Solaris.
  • by VAXGeek ( 3443 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @11:07AM (#10362617) Homepage
    raffe writes "Solaris Kernel Developer Eric Schrock is bloging more about the Solaris vs. Linux issue and linux kernel moneky Greg is answering on his blog. Eric's first part is is also still up and Greg's answer " Another reader also submitted reviews of the Linux desktop vs. Solaris 9. User reviews are welcome; please note that ITMJ is part of OSTG like Slashdot.

    New words of the day:


    Moneky bloging!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2004 @11:07AM (#10362622)

    Solaris on x86 is a joke and nobody would use it unless they have a very special need. So, on x86 (and opteron) Linux and BSD are the way to go. Now, we all know that Solaris scales very well and you'd be crazy if you replaced Solaris with Linux on your shiny new E15k. And, really, that's it, run Solaris on your Sun-branded big iron. If you buy from SGI and IBM you might be running Linux on high end hardware. I don't see why people waste time discussing this. The $25,000 RISC workstation is dead, even more so since the AMD64 was announced, get over it.

    Turbo Smorgreff []

  • What do we all think of this? "Sun's primary focus continues to be on Unix -- the Unix product portfolio," says IDC research director Al Gillen. But that may be a risky strategy. "As Linux grows, if Sun's not riding that wave fully, they leave themselves open to losing part of the market."
  • Wow... (Score:3, Funny)

    by solive1 ( 799249 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @11:17AM (#10362720)
    It's tough for me to believe that people can argue on the internet without it turning into a flame war. Apparently, according to this article, it can happen.
  • by The Lost Supertone ( 754279 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @11:17AM (#10362726) Journal
    Sun needs to seriously stop trying to piss people off and simply be a company. The hating Microsoft thing was fun and quite funny. This new Anti-linux thing is just dumb. Make your money off your freaking Hardware, if AMD, IBM and Intel are beating your procs, USE their's I'm sure they'd sell to you.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2004 @11:33AM (#10362877)
      Sun is not anti-Linux. Sun sells Linux too. They claim that Solaris is better and cheper than Red Hat. You can custom make a Linux distro that is better than Red Hat and approaches Solaris. Sun does not address that. I'd say it's good competition. Linux has a lot going for it. Red Hat though has to learn to live with competition and behave more maturely. They were eating the Sun accounts quietly but when Sun turned around ready to compete, Red Hat started behaving like a teenage winer.
  • by cthrall ( 19889 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @11:20AM (#10362749) Homepage
    * "Reliability is more than just "we're more stable than Windows." - anybody else remember the eCache problems? At a former employer, we applied every patch and none of them fixed the issue. The machines were still spontaneously rebooting when I left six months ago. Sun's response was "upgrade to new hardware at full price."

    * "we need to be able to solve the problem in as little time as possible with the lowest cost to the customer and Sun." - a co-worker spent a month corresponding with Sun to get them to admit there's a bug in SunOne AppServer (it compiles JSP pages even if they existed on the server in jar files).

    Again, it took him a month to enter a bug into the system. They're not going to fix it, but they've admitted it's a bug.
    • by tfb ( 49770 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @12:32PM (#10363521)
      I think many of these cases happen because people are very bad at driving support contracts. I remember the ecache issues too, and in fact we had machines break because of this. I rang them up and told tem that they were going to replace the relevant bits, because it was clearly a HW issue, and no, we weren't about to install some workaround thank you. The main problem was working out whether we wanted the engineer overnight or next morning. OK, this was on a gold contract, but the only difference is response time: if the machine has a HW issue *tell them to replace it* don't piss around with workarounds. If they argue (they won't, nowadays, but they used to 10-15 years ago) point out how much your paying them and that you might just stop and/or mail someone senior (they do read their mail, even very senior people).

      I suppose it may be that you didn't *have* a support contract. Well, sorry, I have about the same sympathy for you as I would if your house burnt down and you hadn't bothered insuring it.
    • Sun's response was "upgrade to new hardware at full price."

      They're not going to fix it, but they've admitted it's a bug.

      Therein, ladies and gentlemen lies the beauty of closed source.

  • Good Eric (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hkb ( 777908 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @11:30AM (#10362846)
    I like Eric's blog. It's probably the first Sun person's blog I've read that isn't filled with debate-class drivel. He actually lays down the facts in a technical, but concise manner which significantly eases getting his point across. Many of the other Sun-sters should take note.
  • by reporter ( 666905 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @11:32AM (#10362866) Homepage
    Greg's rebuttal to Eric Shrock is airtight and rock solid except for the following statement.

    Tell us why we really need to add this new feature to the kernel, and ensure us that you will stick around to maintain it over time.

    There really is no way to "ensure" the support of the developer. She has not signed a legally binding contract and could jump ship to the evil empire: Micro$oft.

    Therein lies the only potential risk with open source software without the backing of a stable commercial company. The software relies on the goodwill of the developers. How do you ensure "goodwill"?

    Therein also lies the reason for Linux exploding in popularity after IBM publically backed it with $1 billion. If any developer were to jump ship and abandon a Linux feature that she developed, allowing it to flounder like a beached whale, IBM would step into the picture and "own" the feature. Under no circumstances would IBM allow its own customers to suffer anything "worse" than 6 sigma reliability.

    • If people use it, and the company that used to maintain it stops, either users will maintain it, or they will find something else in its place. If no one cares enough to maintain it when orphaned, then it wasn't very good or very popular to start with. This has happened quite a few times with kernel features that lost maintainers and were eventuallt dropped.
    • They just pick the features that least number of people use to drop support for. Pity the customers left in the cold.

      The solution there will be the same no matter which OS you based it on; you hire a consulting firm to implement an emulation layer or stop-gap measure.
    • That is no different than a salaried corporate programmer. There are a number of scenarios that could result in any given kernel developer no longer working on any given feature. These include the team being outsourced, the programmer moving on to a different job (inside or outside the company) and the programmer retiring. And for all their talk about process, the feature will not be completely documented, will have clever programming and the programmer picking it up will not be as capable at finding and fi
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I was glad to see that Eric took the time to address my previous rebuttal to his previous comments. I welcome good technical discussions like this, in the open, without rude flames by anyone. It's fun, and lots of people get to understand things a bit better about the topic

    That being said, I'd first like to address his closing comment, which was regarding my comment about Linux not going anywhere:

    For some reason, all Linux advocates have an "us or them" philosophy. In the end, we have exactly what

  • section (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NoInfo ( 247461 ) *
    Why is this sectioned on Slashdot in 'Linux' and not 'Sun'?
  • by leereyno ( 32197 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @11:53AM (#10363095) Homepage Journal
    "They're already dead, they're just not broke yet..."

    Sun is already dead, or at least their current product line is.

    They'll still be able to sell extreme high end servers and mainframes to a relative handful of corporate and government clients, but everything below this level is already all but lost to them.

    They're caught in quite a predicament. Their architecture is getting its clock cleaned by competitors and their OS is spartan and obtuse compared to Linux. They don't have an advantage anywhere that triple 9 availability isn't crucial, assuming of course that their stuff really is stable, robust and ages well. I can't say that it does. It may be stable, but lets see you get Veritas 3.4 running on Solaris 8 with ALL of the latest recommended patches. You can't because two of the patches BREAK Veritas and there is no fix other than backing out the patches, which leaves the system vulnerable. Sun's solution? Spend $15 to $25 thousand dollars to upgrade to the latest version of Veritas. That is just for software mind you. My solution? Replace the damned thing with a Linux server running BRU-Pro for $4 thousand that includes new hardware and software.

    I work for the college of engineering at Arizona State University where I support Unix systems for the computer science department. The sun systems here are withering on the vine. Every time one is in need of replacement a Linux system is bought to take its place. I expect that within 5 or 6 years sun systems will be all but gone at ASU. Our central IT organization is going through a similar migration.

    This isn't because of some edict from on high either. This is happening because every single time, Linux on commodity hardware makes more sense from multiple angles than Solaris on proprietary and extremely expensive hardware. This will not change, if anything it is going to become more and more true as time goes by.

    This is why Sun is doomed if they don't find a new product to sell. Stick a fork in them, they're done.

    • You do know that you can buy an x86 server from Sun with Solaris and support for less than an equivalent server from Dell with RedHat AS don't you? Sun is no longer about overinflated prices on SPARC only.
  • by EnronHaliburton2004 ( 815366 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @12:06PM (#10363242) Homepage Journal
    Today is Monday. Does that mean Sun loves Linux or hates Linux? I forget.

    More then anything, Sun's demise has to do with the fact that Sun can't figure out what they are doing, and won't stick to their decision for more then a year.

    - Is Solaris supported on Intel86 architecture or not?
    - Does Sun sell Cobalt appliances or not?
    - Does Sun resell Linux or not? Today, is it RedHat or Suse?
    - Is Java a programming language or is it a more General Product? What does "Sun Java Desktop" have to do with Java?
    - Can I redistrute the JDK with my own applications or not? Wait, just javac?
    - Is Java called 'Java', 'Java Two', 'Java one-point-two-and-above' or 'Java Five-point-oh'?
    - Where is Java installed today? /usr/j2se ? /usr/jre1.4.1_05b1? /usr/java? /usr/java1.3? C:\jdk1.4.1_03? C:\Program Files\jdk1.4.1_03??? C:\Program Files\Java\j2re1.4.2_04 ? (The last three all exist on my Windows box).
    • - Does Sun resell Linux or not? Today, is it RedHat or Suse?

      Everyday it is Sun Java Desktop, which is based on UnitedLinux, which is basically Suse 8.2

      But yeah, Java is all over everything for no reason. My fiance's father gave me his old Ultra 5 and the box has a great big Java logo on it, and for the life of my I can't figure out what Java has to do with anything. And I don't understand their love of weird jumping version numbers. They do it with Solaris too. Solaris 9 is actually SunOS 5.9, but I thin
  • In the long term, it might not matter. Much of the tech in the *open source* version of Solaris will possibly move to Linux and visa-versa. *BSD might even benifit. The gotcha is the licence(s) Sun will choose and are they compatable with the mostly GPLed Linux kernel code.

    A few links here. []

    Audio interview here. []

  • It's really typical how this Greg guy doesn't actually address the points that the Solaris guy makes. Let's paraphrase:

    Eric: "The core Linux developers don't see the value of features X, Y and Z, so the Linux kernel won't get those features integrated to the main tree."
    Greg: "Hey, Linux has X, Y and Z! You just need to get a third-party patch to the kernel!"

    'Nuff said.

    • Re:It's typical (Score:3, Informative)

      by slipstick ( 579587 )
      Wow. Funny but I read the two blogs totally opposite.

      The Sun guy says "Linux developers don't see the value of features X,Y, and Z..."

      And the Linux guy says, "Sure we see the value, we just haven't had anybody provide a good enough implementation to make the pain worth the value. But for those that feel the possible pain is worth it, the features are supported by A,B and C".

      The Sun guy than goes in to how Suns implementation is so much better etc. But of goes this wasn't the premise of his first blog, wh
  • by Serveert ( 102805 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @12:23PM (#10363424)
    I have used Linux for years but I've also used Solaris. Solaris is simply more reliable and more fault tolerant hardware-wise. It's a fact and as Solaris is opened up and more people become aware of it, it will be obvious. Linux is a great OS and works wonders but it's not up to Solaris standards in many ways. Likewise, Solaris isn't as widely used as linux and doesn't support nearly as many peripherals and isn't as good on the desktop.

    That said, Sun's cash cow or former cash cow was its hardware not software. Solaris was a nice OS that was icing on the cake. Now that their cash cow is gone, their emphasis will be on Solaris but there's less revenue here. I hope they go bankrupt and GPL solaris personally. :)

    The rebuttal wasn't a rebuttal either. It didn't mention kgdb which allows you to debug kernels using source code.. it can also work with UML kernels. Also the rebuttal didn't address the points raised:

    Reliability - Reliability is more than just "we're more stable than Windows." We need to be reliable in the face of hardware failure and service failure. If I get an uncorrectable error on a user process page, predictive self healing can re-start the service without rebooting the machine and without risking memory corruption. Fault Management Architecture can offline CPUs in reponse to hardware errors and retire pages based on the frequency of correctable errors. ZFS provides complete end-to-end checksums, capable of detecting phantom writes and firmware bugs, and automatically repair bad data without affecting the application. The service management facility can ensure that transient application failures do not result in a loss of availability.

    Serviceability - When things go wrong (and trust me, they will go wrong), we need to be able to solve the problem in as little time as possible with the lowest cost to the customer and Sun. If the kernel crashes, we get a concise file that customers can send to support without having to reproduce the problem on an instrumented kernel or instruct support how to recreate my production environment. With the fault management architecture, an administrator can walk up to any Solaris machine, type a single command, and see a history of all faulty components in the system, when and how they were repaired, and the severity of the problems. All hardware failures are linked to an online knowledge base with recommended repair procedures and best practices. With ZFS, disks exhibiting questionable data integrity can automatically be removed from storage pools without interruption of normal service to prevent outright failure. Dynamic reconfiguration allows entire CPU boards can be removed from the system without rebooting.

    Observability - DTrace allows real-world administrators (not kernel developers) to see exactly what is happening on their system, tracing arbitrary data from user applications and the kernel, aggregating it and coordinating with disjoint events. With kmdb, developers can examine the static state of the kernel, step through kernel functions, and modify kernel memory. Commands like trapstat provide hardware trap statistics, and CPU event counters can be used to gather hardware-assisted profiling data via libcpc.

    Resource management - With Solaris resource management, users can control memory and CPU shares, IPC tunables, and a variety of other constraints on a per-process basis. Processes can be grouped into tasks to allow easy management of a class of applications. Zones allow a system to be partitioned and administrated from a central location, dividing the same physical resources amongst OS-like instances. With process rights management, users can be given individual privileges to manage privileged resources without having to have full root access.

    And of course windows is but a Play Thing.
  • by isdnip ( 49656 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @12:35PM (#10363551)
    I'm not a developer, but I deal with different types of systems, and appreciate both Linux and Solaris for their respective strengths. In the telecom space, for instance, Solaris is well respected for building embedded applications. While AT&T invented Unix, they never meant it for critcal "five nines" real-time telephone call processing. Yet the dial tone on my desk comes from a Solaris-driven central office switch. (Not Lucent!) While the switch vendor's own code has crashed, the Solaris layer beneath takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'.

    I think the big fallacy in Linux is the driver ABI. Linus likes to change it, as a way of forcing hardware developers to have open-source drivers. Nice Stallmanesque politics, but impractical in the real world, for at least two different reasons.

    1) Not all drivers can expose the source. This is often because complex devices hide proprietary details in the code. nVidia does that with its "compile in the stub" 3D drivers. Even more limiting are the wireless-card drivers, wherein regulatory approval is dependent on limiting user access to some of the chip registers which, in an open-source driver, could be used to create out-of-band or over-power emission. Life ain't all Ethernet cards nowadays. I had No Fun trying to make a PCI wireless card work with Linux, partially because of the (older) version dependency of the vendor's binary-only driver. Solaris and indeed most (not all) Microsoft OS versions have been better about that.

    2) There's a lot of custom hardware out there. Sure, Linux users generally think about "computers" that are either "desktop" or "server" systems. But embedded systems are even more common. Solaris works in a lot of big ones, like aforementioned telephone switch. Some of those systems use different makers' boards; said phone switch, for instance, is made by a company that buys critical boards from other companies. Changes in the ABI would make a difficult revision process even harder. And even if you make your own peripherals, having to recompile or, gag, rewrite the drivers to meet Linux' latest idea of an ABI is, well, a serious pain in the kiester. Very unprofessional!

    So while most mainstream dekstops do get better support in Linux, in part because of the better volume of applications, the Solaris approach still wins for those big systems where an hour of downtime is worth tens of thousands of dollars.
    • I'm not a developer, but I deal with different types of systems, and appreciate both Linux and Solaris for their respective strengths. In the telecom space, for instance, Solaris is well respected for building embedded applications.

      Actually, many of the telecom switchs had historically used SCO rather than Solaris. That is all changing over to Linux these days.

      Linux is winning over not just due to costs, but do to ease of use. Getting full source and being able to switch over to YOUR choice of hardware r

  • System managers want to observe what's going on inside their kernel about as much as they want to see what's going on inside their bowels. That stuff just has to work, and it has to work automatically and without being noticed. If people ever have to muck around with dtrace or tuning kernel parameters, there is something seriously wrong with Solaris.

    As for reliability, even if (and that's a big if, given Sun's historically lousy record) the Solaris kernel actually manages to have a more reliable file sys
  • by tiger99 ( 725715 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @12:44PM (#10363678)
    What a stupid debate. Two decent, useable operating systems, but each optimised for different situations. You could bring in al least three BSD variants, AIX, HP/UX and I don't know how many more, and it would still be a pointless argument.

    But one big factor is that the Solaris OS is based on hardware that is largely controlled by Sun, which gives them a big lead, potentially, on reliability and stability. It certainly helps to avoid over-complexity in the handling of hardware issues. Linux has to run on hardware that is often badly documented, if at all. Many of the reliability features of any OS need specific hardware provisions, which are simply not there in a PC.

    So it is like comparing apples and oranges, or pears and bananas, or Saddam and Dubya. Actually on that last point I may be wrong, because neither was properly elected.....

  • by The Pim ( 140414 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @12:53PM (#10363776)
    I honestly thing Greg missed his point. Eric is talking about the motivating development philosophies of the two systems. The Solaris philosophy is reliability, serviceability, observability, etc. The Linux philosophy is scratch your itch, and keep it simple. Of course nobody in Linux is against reliability (duh!), but it wasn't designed with reliability as foundational principle. Eric captures the difference in this zinger:
    Perhaps you're thinking that because some customer really wants something, we just integrate whatever junk we can come up with in a months time. If this were true, don't you think you'd see Kprobes in Solaris instead of DTrace?
    The Solaris guys made tracing a core priority and built a complete system for it. Linux waited until someone came along and contributed a system that is light enough to get past some very conservative objections, and lacks many of the features of DTrace. If observability were a core value of the Linux team, the core developers would have been working on this themselves years ago. (This is not to say that Kprobes won't mature into an excellent system, especially with Solaris's lead to follow.)

    The only question is whether "scratch your itch" results, in the long term, in a more reliable (observable, etc) system than "design for reliability (observability, etc)". This is sort of a reprise of the "worse is better" argument, and I think it is by no means resolved.

  • Jon Schwartz (Score:5, Informative)

    by Pros_n_Cons ( 535669 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @01:00PM (#10363843)
    If we are going to post Suns blogs shouldn't we post the Red Hat exec's Blog defending [] against Sun?
  • by Builder ( 103701 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @03:19PM (#10365414)
    First off, a short tale about Sun. I recently bought a V20z dual opteron rig from them. On two separate occasions, after logging HARDWARE support calls (faulty ram and faulty powersupply), they've phoned me within 2 days and asked why I'm running Linux on the machine, and have I considered running Solaris instead. On each occasion, I've told them that we have no interest in Solaris on x86, but they've gone on to give me a hard sell.

    They may well be a company that supports Linux, but they're pretty damn schizo about it :)
  • by maitas ( 98290 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @06:44PM (#10367472) Homepage

    Ok, I'm a Sun employee... but an open mind one.... :-)

    As a "GNU/Linux vs. any other OS" (I know it wasn't the article's point, but I really like hard direct attacks, is like instinc to me) I always though that GNU/Linux could have an umbeatable advantage as for the total number of kernel programmers compared to any other OS. To put it on an example:
    - Back in 1991 Linux had only 1 kernel developper and 1 user (Linus Torvalds himself).
    - In 1995 Linux had 100 kernel developers and 1000 users (Ok, those are numbers invented by me).
    - In 2000 Linux had 1000 kernel developers and 100000 users (once more, numbers invented by me).
    - Nowadays Linux have 10000 kernel developers and 2000000 users (last time, I promise, numbers invented by me).

    The idea, is to try to make a geometrical prediction of when in time Linux will have more kernel developers than the biggest comercial OS has. After that point in time, the comunity can claim to have an unbeatable advantage, since, not only new technologies will be created first on GNU/Linux, but after any other creative comercial OS invent a new technology, it will take a really short period of time to be implemented in Linux.

    From that time on, Linux should have the majority of the OS market, leaving niche space to any other OS (something like QNX nowadays).

    I welcome any response to this post. Mainly if you think I'm insane, or even better, if you like my idea and have the correct number of kernel developers and users for all the years I listed, so I can do a Taylor aproximation and post a possible time of Linux supremacy, Pinky and Brain style ;-)


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