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Sun Microsystems Software Linux

Ian Murdock Joins Sun 123

RLiegh sends us the second piece of news today featuring Debian founder Ian Murdock. In an entry on his blog, Murdock announced that he is joining Sun Microsystems as their chief operating platforms officer. As he put it in his opensolaris post, this "...basically means I'll be in charge of Sun's operating system strategy, spanning Solaris and Linux." In all likelihood one of his first priorities will be "closing the usability gap" between Solaris and Linux.
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Ian Murdock Joins Sun

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  • by Creepy Crawler ( 680178 ) on Monday March 19, 2007 @08:55PM (#18408883)
    Im not sure where Murdoch is coming from here.

    GNU tools are on one of the CS's that Sun ships, and I install gnu tools anyways. It's there and easy to use. Sun supports its SunOS well.

    Unless Murdoch is reffering to the wonderful "usability" of old and haphazardly done Debian packages, well erm.. let Sun take care of themselves. I like relatively new user-based programs (like, not from the early 90's).

    Typed on a Debian Testing machine. Debating to go with Ubuntu..
    • by good soldier svejk ( 571730 ) on Monday March 19, 2007 @09:08PM (#18408987)
      I presume he is talking about package management. Do the current SunOS/Solaris versions ship with modern package management? Because the stuff that came with 2.8 and was crap.
      • I dont know about Solaris 10 to tell you the truth, Solaris 8 and 9 were terrible Debian package management is still the best around
      • Blastwave [].

        Blastwave is a collective effort to create a set of binary packages of free software, that can be automatically installed to a Solaris computer (sparc or x86 based) over the network. Blastwave has a substantial build server farm for the use of the software developers and maintainers in the Solaris community. All software is built and tested in a standardized build environment using Sun ONE Studio 8, Sun ONE Studio 10, Studio 11 tools as well as GCC.

    • by McFadden ( 809368 ) on Monday March 19, 2007 @09:08PM (#18408991)
      Maybe I'm just a cynic, but when I read "In all likelihood one of his first priorities will be "closing the usability gap" between Solaris and Linux." - I genuinely wasn't sure which one was supposed to be ahead of the other,
      • Perhaps he is talking about the desktop?

        Maybe porting DBUS and HAL to Solaris... A recent KDE and Gnome wouldn't hurt either.
        • by cheshire_cqx ( 175259 ) on Monday March 19, 2007 @09:58PM (#18409331) Homepage
          Nexenta [].
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by AaronW ( 33736 )
          I am running KDE 3.5.6 on Solaris at work. It was painful to compile due to all the missing libraries, but I have most stuff working, including sound (video doesn't work well since the Ultrasparc system is way too slow). There are binary versions available for download for Solaris which are actively maintained.

          The Solaris kernel needs a *lot* of work. It has some cool features like D-trace, but don't expect anybody to be able to jump in and write stuff for it since it is very poorly documented. I don't
          • The Solaris kernel needs a *lot* of work. It has some cool features like D-trace, but don't expect anybody to be able to jump in and write stuff for it since it is very poorly documented.

            This guide sure seems like a good start on dtrace:

            Not to mention that dtrace isn't a just kernel tool. It can obtain information from the kernel but it also does probes within user space programs and across programs.

            I don't think most Sun engineers know what comments are for. ... With the Linux kernel ... The code is fairly well organized and generally well documented.

            I've done a fair amount of kernel programming across major unix systems and they are all weak re: documentation and comments. The Linux kernel code is just not well documented. I would say it is slightly better than *bs

            • by AaronW ( 33736 )
              In general, the parts of the Linux kernel I have looked at are far better documented than Solaris. As for file systems, I took a quick glance through the EXT3, XFS, NFS and Reiserfs code in the Linux kernel and found that generally it is far better documented than ZFS, though Reiserfs and NFS seem worse than the others. Even where not well documented, the function names are often much more meaningful, making it much easier to pick up the code. Similarly, the networking code in Linux is generally very wel
          • by lanc ( 762334 )
            You have compiled KDE on Solaris? Go, shame yourself. After that visit the Blastwave [] repository.

            Solaris isn't linux, don't try to use it that way. That's one of the major mistakes any linux-guy trying Solaris can do. It is hard to explain since linux is pretty widespread among the home users and the curious - but there is a complete unix world that you might not see, hence linux is not the standard. No, I'm not saying Solaris is it, but I also don't try to use linux on a solaris way. And no, I don't want
        • Solaris Express (the current development release) already has GNOME 2.16, HAL, D-BUS, and Xorg 7.2. An update to GNOME 2.18 is in progress.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Tiro ( 19535 )
        That's exactly what I was thinking. I downloaded Solaris last summer and set it up for fun on a quad boot machine. Solaris systems administration definitely has a steep learning curve for nonprofessional Linux users like me. Murdock should try to catch up with OpenBSD. In oBSD the user isn't coddled as much as with say Ubuntu's gui admin tools, but the answers are always on hand with the great documentation. I'm sure Solaris is nearly well-documented, but not in an easily accessible form like OpenBSD. Just
      • I reckon this is part of Sun's attempt at looking friendlier to Linux-o-philes.

        Maybe they should change their company name to something more old-fashioned and homely, like Murdoch & Sun - Makers of software and other intangibles.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by cmdr_tofu ( 826352 )
      I don't know too much about solaris 10 (although I don't think it's improved much), but whenever I
      get stuck on a solaris 8 machine, I get annoyed by some of the commands. tar xvzf does not work,
      I have to gunzip -c | tar xvf -. Why can't I "du -sh", or "df -sh", and what is wrong with bash?

      Bash is a great shell and it should certainly be the default over csh! Well I guess Solaris is rock
      solid and has a lot going over Linux (like easy ACL support over NFS), and certainly bash and other free
      software can be
      • I don't know much about Linux, but I get annoyed by some of the commands. tar xzvf does not work on bzip2 compressed tar files. As for bash, it supports POSIX incompatible extensions by default and adds nothing of significance over ksh. Only someone with limited experience would have to compile GNU stuff themselves, as knowledgable users go to the Blastwave or the Sun freeware websites. Again, only a numpty would statically link against zlib, meaning they have to recompile all their software that depends on

        • by naChoZ ( 61273 )

          tar xzvf does not work on bzip2 compressed tar files.

          Since bzip2 compressed tar files are not gzip compressed tar files, this behavior should be expected. tar jzvf, on the other hand, works just fine on bzip2 compressed tar files.

          • Mmm, I was being a little bit glib. The extension to POSIX tar that unzips a file before untarring it is really just a shorthand that does the same as gzip -cd | tar xf -. On the BSDs, the j flag isn't needed as tar (or pax as tar) is intelligent enough to determine the format of the file before attempting to decompress it.

        • It has been years since I administered Solaris 8 machines. I recall ftping packages and dependencies
          from a sunfreeware ftp site, but the selection was very limited compared to the number of official Debian packages, and there was no nice facility like apt for dependency autograbbing. It probably has improved since then, but apt-get on Solaris would be nice. Easier is better :)

          tar xjf debian-opensolaris.tar.bz2 :)

  • Didn't he recently talk down about debian?

    Not that he wasn't right, but being the founder... doesn't that say something about what we might expect of him at SUN?
    • Didn't he recently talk down about debian?

      I wouldn't call it “talking down”. What he did was reflect upon the unfortunate social/managerial situation in which the Debian project now finds itself, after his departure. Ian merely pointed out that a purely democratic software development venture is bound for problems because of a lack of strong leadership, which is true. There's a reason Debian is known as being a distribution that is chronically lagging behind the rest. That's the very reason wh

  • by 0racle ( 667029 ) on Monday March 19, 2007 @09:24PM (#18409097)
    I was hoping for a Solaris 11 release in my lifetime.
  • by Graham J - XVI ( 1076671 ) on Monday March 19, 2007 @09:38PM (#18409183) Homepage Journal
    How about closing the usability gap between Solaris and OSX instead? ;)
    • Yeah, and then Solaris will be good as a server OS like OSX is!
      • First things first - I was obviously talking about their desktop.
        • Obviously. However, I'm not sure who is trying to run Solaris as a desktop OS anyway.

          I have built and/or maintained hundreds of Solaris servers over the past year. If getting a pretty desktop with fancy widgets means any tradeoff on its strength as a server, then I'd rather Sun not invest in Solaris as a desktop OS.

          • Not AS a desktop OS, but since it does have a desktop, it might as well be intuitive right? One of the reasons that Windows Server is so popular (I know, I shudder at the thought too) is that it's easier to use and administer than most *nix flavours. There's no reason a server OS can't have an intuitive interface, and IMO OSX's is the most intuitive there is. I guess I should have elaborated more in my initial post :)
            • Ah. That makes somewhat more sense.

              But I don't find that administering Unix via the command line and text files is so difficult. In fact, it makes the configuration and admin process more transparent (IMO)... there's a lot less 'magic' going on under the hood to make things work. Also, our Unix servers don't require the GUI to be loaded, so we don't pay for the overhead on the system.

              I've also worked with Windows systems during my time as a sysadmin, and one thing that we always did was install an SSH se
  • Debian on Solaris? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dara Hazeghi ( 1076823 ) on Monday March 19, 2007 @09:38PM (#18409191) Homepage
    As the Debian GNU/kFreeBSD [] project has shown, it is possible to port the Debian userland (including the excellent apt-get package management system) to other kernels besides Linux. I would like to see Debian/Solaris project come out of Ian's endeavors. If not that, then at least an upgrade of the current Solaris userland to make it more Linux-like.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      > If not that, then at least an upgrade of the current Solaris userland to make it more > Linux-like.

      That's an "upgrade" the world can do without. Why does everything have to end up looking like linux? If you want linux, use linux. --if --you --like --Solaris --with --all --those-annoyingly-long-gnuish-options take a look at nexenta. It's got a solaris kernel,
      but they've managed to wrap the linux unusability 'features' around it for a really, all around, horrid experience.

      • --if --you --like --Solaris --with --all --those-annoyingly-long-gnuish-options

        1. The commonly used options almost always have short versions.

        2. Long options are still better than some stuck-in-the-1970s old-school Unix utilities which annoyingly lack many useful options altogether.

        3. The option to use long options is really great for writing scripts where readability is much more important than brevity.

    • There already is one. It's called Nexenta [] and it's a melding of Solaris with the Ubuntu userland. They have a LiveCD you can try out and everything. Worked pretty nicely when I tried it back in September.
    • by kindbud ( 90044 ) on Monday March 19, 2007 @10:27PM (#18409579) Homepage
      If not that, then at least an upgrade of the current Solaris userland to make it more Linux-like.

      You mean it would have all the inconsistencies and inscrutability of the System V and BSD userland inherited from SunOS, PLUS all the additional inconsistencies Linux has contributed? I can hardly wait.

      Do I use a dash or a double-dash? Will the man page refer me to the info docs? Or will it refer me to the command line help? Or was that --help?

      One of the things I dislike about Linux userland is that it is such a bastard of every other userland out there. Cacophony cannot be emulated, it can only be shouted down.
  • If Sun hopes that Ian will somehow make Solaris more attractive to the open source community, I don't think that's going to happen. Solaris is what it is, all the technical and legal arguments have been made, and people have made up their minds. Unlike golf-playing IT managers, people who pick open source software are generally not going to be swayed by figureheads.

    What Ian can do, however, is effect changes inside Sun. For example, if he can convince Sun to drop dual licensing for Solaris, it could more
  • I knew chaos theory had a future in computers.
  • Debian isn't the best model for usability for non-technical users; glacial release schedules and lack of desktop environment coherence to offset your stability is, well, what you get with Solaris already.
    Sun should poach Mark Shuttleworth if they want someone who can make a solid OS into one that you can give to random people to use without it blowing their minds.
    • Debian isn't the best model for usability for non-technical users; glacial release schedules and lack of desktop environment coherence to offset your stability is, well, what you get with Solaris already.

      Considering the fact that Ian Murdock isn't currently even a Debian Developer [] I don't know what Debian is currently doing (or according to you, not doing) has to do with him at all.

  • At least appears greener than Debian.

    I wonder if he'll be a capable exec though. The politics is rough and we don't know what kind of authority/reach he has. For example, budgets? hire/fires? or is it more.... Figurehead type meet-and-greeter. Every organization that can afford them has a stable of ponies just for this purpose.

    Good luck to him. I really hope it works out considering the disparaging remarks posted earlier today.
  • We cannot allow a usability gap!

    Apologies to the late Mr Kubrick.
  • Sorry. I see the word "Murdock" and I have to yell the name. Or act crazy and fly a helicopter.

Reactor error - core dumped!