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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
  • Cameras (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Feminist-Mom ( 816033 ) < c o m> 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.
  • No contest (Score:0, Interesting)

    by SlashdotMirrorer ( 669639 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @11:06AM (#10362604)
    The contest was over before it began, and any true bearded terminal hacker would tell you as such. Even with Solaris's stack protection and pipe extraction techniques to improve security, the Linux kernel tends to shine in performance comparisons. What I would like to see however, is a detailed analysis of how much the Sun filesystem drivers tendency to examine inodes twice per operation affects this. It could be an easy fix.
  • by tecman84 ( 815301 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @11:13AM (#10362695)
    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."
  • 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 djdavetrouble ( 442175 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @11:32AM (#10362861) Homepage
    a prime candidate for a google whack !!!!!
    As guessed, it returned 1 search result .
    gugel [] great link too, funny asian / english sign enclosed. (only offensive if you really passionately love vegetables.)
  • 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.

  • Re:Kernel Recompile (Score:5, Interesting)

    by iabervon ( 1971 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @11:37AM (#10362906) Homepage Journal
    The actual compilation step is no big deal; it doesn't actually require any user interaction, and it's reasonably quick. Chances are that you'll spend longer downloading than compiling. The hard parts are configuring and installing the new kernel. Installing is a bit tricky because you want to be able to switch back if the new one doesn't work. Configuring is tricky because there isn't a non-expert tool for it. There really ought to be a configuration tool which would start with a distro-specific configuration, check the devices you have installed, ask you to plug in each USB device you use in turn, check the filesystems in your fstab and detected on your devices, and generate a configuration that supports everything.

    All of this is easier in 2.6 than in 2.4 and before, because the kernel developers decided that they really wanted the build process to be efficient and accurate (which they care more about than people who don't do it constantly) and they wanted the configuration system to be consistant and well-specified.
  • Re:GNU OpenSolaris (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hattmoward ( 695554 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @11:41AM (#10362960)
    Exactly! I know they've updated to more modern command-line tools (they've actually grabbed some of the gnu ones) in 10, but Solaris userspace feels so ancient compared to modern linux. Despite what Sun and other proprietary Unix vendors may have you believe, command line tools have been evolving over the last 10 years. (I would bitch about wanting bash or zsh, but I'm pretty sure bash made it into 9.)
  • Re:Not much longer (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Moderation abuser ( 184013 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @11:44AM (#10362993)
    Yah yah, if you start at the Y2K spending and silliness it does look like the stock has tanked, but if you think of Y2K as a blip it looks more like reasonable growth.

  • 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 ) * <> 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!"

  • Re:Not much longer (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Alex ( 342 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @11:53AM (#10363106)
    Especially when you consider stock splits.

  • Re:Not much longer (Score:5, Interesting)

    by iabervon ( 1971 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @11:58AM (#10363164) Homepage Journal
    It's up 45% against 2 years ago, so it looks from the stock that Sun didn't quite die a few years ago and is recovering now.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2004 @12:04PM (#10363227)
    Solaris on x86 is a joke and nobody would use it unless they have a very special need.

    Please explain ... why is it a joke? What experience do you have with it?
  • 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2004 @12:13PM (#10363323)
    Solaris on x86 is a joke

    True of Solaris8, and Solaris9 on x86. Definitely NOT true of Solaris10 on x86.
  • Re:Kernel Recompile (Score:2, Interesting)

    by megarich ( 773968 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @12:18PM (#10363377)
    The thing linux needs now is better/easier driver support. And it should also try to make those drivers stick if you manually compile a kernel/driver.

    I've updated my kernel recently through YAST online update, I forgot I manually compiled my video driver(ATI Radeon) so when the machine restarted my X was done. Now i have to reinstall the driver all over again.

    I know YAST would take care of this for you if you download their nvida driver but does anybody know how you can recompile a kernel and make your driver that you add stick without reinstalling if there is a way?
  • by emil ( 695 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @12:31PM (#10363511)

    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 could have wrapped the Solaris kernel in a GNU userland, which would have been a much more interesting animal indeed.

  • Re:Kernel Recompile (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2004 @12:44PM (#10363673)
    Nowadays you can just do "make install", it'll copy the kernel image to /boot, set up the initrd if you need it. It even updates your grub configuration by adding the new kernel entry, while of course also leaving the existing entries.

    My solution to the configuration part is to use the distro configuration or just make absolutely everything as modules. I'm not sure how exactly, but I think that at least on Fedora the old configuration is picked up from /boot even if you create a fresh kernel source tree, there's no copying of .config files involved. Seems to be new to 2.6.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2004 @12:49PM (#10363727)
    I am sure the free hardware, free software, free consultants and free Cash that Sun offered had nothing to do with it.

    Nothing at all.
  • by JonAnderson ( 786732 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @12:50PM (#10363738)
    I am sorry but you must still be living in the world of "25 years ago". I do not believe for one minute that new linux kernel code is always dropped into the source tree bug free. This is a fact of life. Having good observability and tracing enables bugs to be located quickly, understood quickly and fixed first time in the shortest time. Dtrace takes this a step further by enabling dynamic tracing points in the kernel AND in a userland applications (every instruction if you want). And yes I do know what I am talking about having used these tools to find and fix bugs and remembering what it was like before having them.
  • by JonAnderson ( 786732 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @12:58PM (#10363819)
    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.
  • Both are great! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by whitelabrat ( 469237 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @01:03PM (#10363867)
    Each OS has it's strengths and weaknesses. I generally prefer Solaris as it seems to be less chaotic than the linuxes with regards to the complete distribution. Solaris versions are more significant in feature improvement.

    Solaris also is more tighly integrated with it's hardware. Maintenance wise I feel much more confident with dealing with a crisis when using Solaris. Linux again seems chaotic in it's hardware support.

    And don't forget support. Linux does have great community support, but nothing beats a Sun box with a support contract. Nothing.

    Now before you mod me as flamebait, I have to give props to Linux. If your on a tight budget, and you need lean and mean, a linux distro is where it's at. For example, Gentoo 2004.2 can really smoke a Sun in a low-end bang for the buck contest. You also have the ability to change every tiny aspect of the OS if you so choose.

    So there you have it. Bottom line for me is, if my reputation is on the line I'm going to choose Solaris any day (on Sun hardware). Otherwise if things aren't so critical and there's a pinch for money, Linux is king.
  • by saintp ( 595331 ) <<stpierre> <at> <>> on Monday September 27, 2004 @01:06PM (#10363896) Homepage
    * "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).
    A month? Dang, why did you get such good service? I've got a service request in to Sun about the SunOne Messaging Server that turned three months old last Friday. It took me a month just to get a call back on a request that was supposed to have four hour turnaround. I've had our vendor and our regional rep call them, and I'm finally getting a little bit of service, by which I mean an email a day or so.

    When Sun had their big new product conference last week, I tuned in -- and laughed out loud every time they touted their service. Sun service SUCKS, bad. I've only been dealing with them since May, and already I've got a three month outstanding service request, plus on two occasions I've been redirected to people with no connection to Sun. Once, they transfered my call to a company that used to be a Sun reseller (but hasn't been for several *years*, and from whom we never bought anything); later, they gave me a phone number to call, and it turned out to be some poor dude's home phone number. Totally unrelated to Sun.

    We've got SunRay thin clients. There's a known issue with the power supply; it quite frequently burns out. Returning them should be simple, but it took me three separate service calls and finally a call to our vendor to have them flex their muscle to get these things exchanged.

    Frankly, it seems to me that, unless you're running seriously big iron -- and we aren't; our biggest system is a four-way -- you buy Sun for the service. That purchasing point has gone right out the window for me. What's left? Reliability? On systems as small as we use, there's no advantage. Oh, I remember: buy-in. We've already blown thousands on Sun products, so it would be silly to go to Linux, right? Right? Hmm....

  • by einhverfr ( 238914 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {srevart.sirhc}> on Monday September 27, 2004 @01:44PM (#10364284) Homepage Journal
    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 been said about Caldera without the profit.

    I am not saying that SUN will become another SCO, but I do htink that the fear is justified.
  • Re:Kernel Recompile (Score:2, Interesting)

    by aspx ( 808539 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @02:00PM (#10364483)
    Agreed. The design philosophy of linux has always baffled me. The kernel is huge, and does much more than it should. It seems much more manageable if the kernel handles resource management, like allocating memory, disk operations, and scheduling. Everything else should be components built on top of the kernel. But with Linux I have to recompile the kernel to get sound card X to work, because my distro didn't have the right #define. It doesn't make sense. Many computers don't even have a sound card, so what does that have to do with the kernel?
  • Re:There is no issue (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jeif1k ( 809151 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @02:04PM (#10364537)
    I guess you still believe that there is only a need for 5 computers in the world?

    Actually, that is exactly the problem with what's happening with Solaris: putting in features like "dtrace" assumes that computers are expensive and have dedicated staff to "observe" and "tune" them. In a world with hundreds of millions or billions of computers, that attitude makes no sense anymore. That is why the Solaris approach is so outdated.
  • Re:Kernel Recompile (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rd_syringe ( 793064 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @02:16PM (#10364685) Journal
    I don't know, there are always the "studies" Slashdot links to, but when it comes right down to it, a lot of people try out Linux thinking it's this great alternative to Windows, and then they find out it's really an alternative to UNIX. Linux is a really great server operating system. I don't know why people are insistent on trying to fit a square peg through a round hole and hack on various desktop emulators to trick people into thinking otherwise via really snazzy screenshots. There is too much architecturally that holds Linux back from dominating the desktop market (you say "any market," but Linux pretty much does dominate a bit in the server arena...that's because it's a server UNIX clone).
  • by Exter-C ( 310390 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @02:37PM (#10364915) Homepage
    Sun doesnt need to have its kernel recompiled all the time because it doesnt have as diverse a hardware support as linux does. YES linux could be built with support for just about anything and everything but then it would be called lin-bloatware. Solaris in my experience has performed better than linux for longer periods of time under higher load. I have seen this time and time again (in 2.2 and 2.4 kernel series). We are still running 8 Solaris servers on intel hardware and 8 linux 2.6 based systems on the same hardware. BOTH are configured identically as far as apache and used services are concerned. Generall the Solaris 9 systems are more reliable (even on x86) than the same linux boxes on 2.4. Yet to be determined for 2.6 although 2.6 does appear to outperform the solaris system at this stage (uptime yet to be determined).

    So realistically solaris is still king between linux and solaris. However FreeBSD is still more of a realistic competitor to solaris.. Where is the press on that?

    But in the end any *nix flavor is better than none. Long live solaris and linux both have thier benefits and both have drawbacks. Realistically there is NO PERFECT OS!!. (and as long as humans make OS's there never will be).
  • Re:Kernel Recompile (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Monday September 27, 2004 @03:47PM (#10365737)

    Agreed. The design philosophy of linux has always baffled me. The kernel is huge, and does much more than it should. It seems much more manageable if the kernel handles resource management, like allocating memory, disk operations, and scheduling. Everything else should be components built on top of the kernel.

    Oh yes, the Hurd [] way. Hurd is an interesting concept, but I doubt it will ever be significant - Linux is eating it's potential users.

    Or it could be some rather critical problems in Hurd, such as the inability to support partitions over 2 GB in size (not really a Hurd problem, just really stupid driver design - Hurd's file system drivers memorymap the entire partition, and since the address space of a 32-bit processor is just 4 GB...).

    In any case, I doubt Linux had any real design philosophy behind it at the beginning, and when it had become significant enough to deserve one, it was too late to make fundamental changes to basic architechture.

    But with Linux I have to recompile the kernel to get sound card X to work, because my distro didn't have the right #define. It doesn't make sense. Many computers don't even have a sound card, so what does that have to do with the kernel?

    Some computers don't have hard disks either. And if they do, they could be IDE, SCSI or SATA drives (not to forget the old XT drives, still supported by the kernel :). As for what a sound card has to do with the kernel, it's simple: kernel's task is to control access to the hardware resources, and to provide a virtualization layer to hide the implementation details of that hardware from the applications. Kernel provides a virtual machine to the applications to run in.

    Linux design principle seems to include every possible driver with the kernel. This makes sense, since the kernel-driver interface changes with almost every build, so you'd need to recompile any external drivers anyway.

    And, ultimately, is there all that much difference between recompiling kernel and installing a driver ?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2004 @10:02PM (#10368999)
    Linux is directly used in hundreds of millions of systems on a daily basis, especially if you count all the embedded devices, not just the servers and clients (of which there are estimated to be at *least* 10-20 million as of 2003 I believe) etc.

    Can this be said of Solaris? I didn't think so. Not even Windows comes close when embedded devices are considered too.

    Remember, many of the innovations going into the Linux kernel benefit embedded systems and special purpose computers, not just servers and desktops, so these developers and users count too.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"