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HP and SGI Boost Linux 107

Panix writes "Good news today from HP and SGI. Both have announced that they plan to offer Linux as one of their "core" operating systems. HP even stated that it would develop a special version of Linux for Merced!" It's crazy- 2 companies once known for their OSs have chosen another.
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HP and SGI Boost Linux

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Even in the WSJ, Linux is referred to as a language(?): es/SB917398093261529500.htm

    Anybody know what's up with that? Because UNIX is the 'lingua franca" of the internet, maybe?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I don't know about anyone else, but the article scared me... not because of what it was saying, but because of how it said it. It appears that the author is sorely mis-informed, repeatedly calling Linux a "language" and saying that RedHat is trying to commercialize the language...

    Hopefully the facts are still true, about HP and SGI, and I hope if HP makes a "Merced version" that it's fully released back to the public in GPL!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I am sure everyone remembers back when the web was starting, and so many forward looking folk knew the internet was going to "take off". Of couse, Microsoft largely ignored the internet, and got to the party awfully late. Only M$'s already entrenched monopoly kept them from loosing out, because they were able to "give away" their browser.

    Now, we have everyone joining up with the open source. I see a parallel here. The difference this time is that M$ cannot afford to give away it's operating is THE cash cow for them. What does this mean? This time, Microsoft is going down. It may be a slow dwindle over the next 10 years, but it will happen.


  • Yeah, like Intergraph. They really made it big on NT-based graphical workstations. They haven't been profitable since they started making NT machines... Now, SGI has a far more interesting product, IMHO, but that doesn't necessarily help.
  • Posted by timtan:

    Even if they could (I don't think they can) they will still fail because anyone willing to use Linux probably isn't stupid enough to get stuck with a HP only solution.

  • Take that, Dell, Compaq and G2000, you sniveling MS syncophants.

    This is good.

  • ... have you ever tried to use HP/UX or IRIX? It's almost as bad as AIX.

    Give me Linux or Solaris any day.
  • HP could not legally release a binary-only Merced release of Linux.

    HP could conceivably write their own window manager system to run on top of Linux and keep that closed source, and might have a marketable asset if they did so. They would probably be better off, however, working on pre-existing window managers and establishing a strong tech support group -- I think that would be more marketable and it could be achieved more quickly.
  • Remember folks, Win95/98 is a 'dead' product line now according to M$. So what could they lose by opening up it's source? They don't have to GPL it you know, they can use an evil M$ license something like this:

    "You may only use/modify/distribute this source code if you own a valid license for Windows 98.
    You may install modified copies only on machines which already have a valid license for Windows 98. Any other use constitutes theft and will be treated exactly the same as any other piracy case if reported to the M$ anti-piracy hotline."

  • Does it need to be court tested? It's not as if it's a new law, it's just a copyright statement. If I wrote some code, and retained my copyright on it, what makes you think that any court would decide that HP could legally use it without my permission?

    This is all the GPL says: "My code. My copyright. I say how it can be used." Nothing ambiguous in that.



  • It's not like they are offering Linux instead of their primary OS (Irix and HP-UX). If you read the article, it states that they will be offering the option of Linux as an OS for their Intel computers.

    This is not their "top of the line" systems. We are talking about PCs and workstations like the SGI Visual Workstation.

    The day they offer Linux for their high end systems, I will be thoroughly impressed. I believe this is a possibility. Go Linux!

    "In true sound..." -Agents of Good Root
  • Yeah, but for those of us with no data worth dick and therefore no concern for security, IRIX is still the sweetest UNIX to actually do some work on.

    Both my Linux boxes trounce my Indy in terms of performance, but I'd much rather work on the Indy any day of the week...
  • IRIX the Worst Unix Ever?

    Gee, I hadn't heard news of Linux scaling to 64+ processors, but if you know something that we don't, feel free to share.
  • AIX has TONS of nice features that I'd like to see in Linux. Like logical volume management, TRUE plug and play (only os I've ever seen that does it right)..and a crud load of other things I'm too tired to remember. I used to HATE AIX...but after having admin'ed some rs/6000's for the past 3 years, even tho AIX has it's quirks...I'd take an AIX box over an intel box anyday. We need to cut out the glut and dead pieces of PC's too bloated and has too much legacy tied to it. Don't get me wrong, I use the hell out of my PII...but damn PC architecture sucks.
  • Problem is, though, that there is no Support for Dell's RAID controller in Linux, afaict.
  • I called Compaq to get referred to a server retailer who could get me Linux pre-installed, and they referred me to Big Apple in NYC. I'm waiting to hear back from them today, but I'll be sure to let you know how it goes. I have a client doing an NT vs. Linux selection, and NT is winning because of Dell's 24/7 on-site warrantee stuff. I'm hoping Compaq can provide a server w/ the on-site. VAResearch can not at this time, although apparently a deal with a National support company is in the works.
  • Doesn't that new SGI machine use USB stuff? If so, this could be a real boost for Linux USB. After all, didn't SGI hire David Miller to port Linux over to their MIPS workstations? Hopefully we'll see USB support real soon.
  • HP is fading pretty fast, they seem to have given up on being a technology company, and CEO Lew Platt seems intent on turning HP into just another Wintel reseller. Solaris is replacing HP-UX servers left and right at the places I've worked. HP could use Linux to reinvigorate itself, but they need to embrace it bigtime. They're so committed to NT workgroup-style solutions, I really am not sure if they can avoid being kicked out of the data center entirely.
  • The full wall street journal article can be found at http:// 98093261529500.htm [].

    Oh yeah... and since when has Linux been a language? :-)

  • Preview lies. That first paragraph:

    Wow, big talk. You must be an 3L1T3 K3R|\|3L |-|4CK3R, d00d. While I don't know enough to defend HPUX, nor older versions of IRIX, IRIX 6.5 is really state-of-the-art; robust, stable, and good at what it's trying to be good at (scalability, HPC).
  • ...the fact that Dell's been shipping Linux on a custom install basis on their sever line now for at least 3-4 years. Combine this with the announcement that it's going to be offered as an option on their server line (not a custom install anymore!) sometime within the next 2 months.

    The top clone makers knew for some time that Linux was going to happen- this is just something that is happening a little sooner than the timetable that they had in mind... ;->
  • No, of course not. It's GPL. You can modify and
    you can distribute, but you must release the code.
  • Just one I came up with off the top of my head...
    White text on blue background during login. Would
    use FAT, FAT32, NTFS fs modules. Extra kernel
    would kill all processes and demand a system
    reboot after 30 mins.; for simulated Microsoft NT
    "look and feel".
    Costs $250, each new version is a complete rewrite
    of the previous, and forces you to upgrade all
    other software on your system, too. Two words- browser integration
    What do you think, sirs? (Back to work...)
  • I think what is every linux server needs is
    a "Channel Bar".
    Think of all the new technologies we could incor-
    porate into the OS kernel! I envision:
    ActiveTTY s
    DirectCoreD ump, etc.
  • ....and Linux International, which would probably be the litigants in any actions (and ironically include SGI).
    Aaron Gaudio
    "The fool finds ignorance all around him.
  • Well I'm sure they make a profit off of Windows (I mean...$100 for a bugfix to Win95? and look at NT's price disparity between Workstation and Server, which really are mostly the same). But the biggest thing they get from owning the OS is the ability to leverage it for their applications.
    Aaron Gaudio
    "The fool finds ignorance all around him.
  • What did they include from their cookie jar savings?
    Aaron Gaudio
    "The fool finds ignorance all around him.
  • This means much more than a nice X server with hardware assist, or even hardware supported OpenGL support... think in terms of fibre channel drive support on par with their NT and Irix offerings.

    Native support for D1, lossless 720x480 video editing anyone. WOW... Bill gates must be in a freaking RAGE right now. After knocking the stuffing out of SGI with FUD storms, SGI takes Microsoft's help in building an NT box... and promptly offers support for Linux. This is not just another vendor (not to disrespect HP)... this is HUGE!

  • Two major computer makers, Hewlett-Packard and Silicon Graphics, are to support the free software product Linux operating system got a boost from...

    Is this supposed to be English?

    HP is offering Linux on its Intel-based server computers through an arrangement with Red Hat Software, which is trying to commercialize the language...

    Since when has Linux been a language?

  • Two major computer makers, Hewlett-Packard and Silicon Graphics, are to support the free software product Linux operating system got a boost from...

    Is this supposed to be English?

    HP is offering Linux on its Intel-based server computers through an arrangement with Red Hat Software, which is trying to commercialize the language...

    Since when has Linux been a language?

  • And what exactly has David Mosberger-Tang been
    doing since he went to work for HP? Enquiring
    minds want to know.
  • by Al Wold ( 5038 )
    IRIX was so nice, and now it's going to die off. I really SGI should put some of their user interface skills into helping out Linux, because it really could use their help.
  • "The paper said Linux is somewhat taxing for nontechnical users. However, programmers are working on friendlier versions of the language that have a Window-like interface."

    Okay, besides the "language" part, i did not know the system administrators were "nontechnical users." maybe thats is why there are so many MCSEs out there. I really hate when folks talk crap.
  • Hey, fellas, if I'm not mistaken, the article said it would be available on their Intel boxes. Nobody said nuthin' 'bout no PA-RISC or MIPS, nor did anyone say they were replacing anything with Linux, just adding it to the lineup.
  • Wow this is incredible - it's another indication of the massive swing towards the world's (soon to be) favourite OS

  • I'd have to agree that the use of the word "language" both betrays a lack of knowledge about the subject matter and serves to confuse newcomers.

    It's still indicative of a growing awareness of Linux in the mainstream, however.

  • I wouldn't be quite so charitable; I'd say "because mainstream reporters in large part still don't Get It; they confine their fact checking to 'who said what', and don't ask those who might have a clue whether their story draft will make them look like a total idiot."
  • I don't see this happening. Most of the existing "incompatibilities" between distributions have been due to either of the following

    1) Different package formats.
    2) Different libc versions

    However, (1) is becoming less of an issue since the more popular distributions (namely SuSE, redhat , caldera , and derivatives ) have standardised on RPM. (2) is more a compatibility issue between old/new versions of linux than it is between different distributions. Redhat and SuSE have already moved to glibc.

    Secondly, about HP: the way I read this is that they are intending to port linux to the merced, so that they can sell the hardware to linux users. If there is no linux port to the merced, this could cost them dearly in the high end market ( for example, the buyers perhaps will just purchase alphas instead if there is no merced port ). But I doubt that distributing linux itself will make a lot of money for HP.

    -- Elflord

  • I take it all back ;-)


  • From the articles concerned:
    "...according to reports."

    I'm more than a little suspicious about this announcement. What reports? Have there been any official statements from the companies concerned?

    Some weeks ago people started jumping up and down about Compaq selling Linux and offering 24x7 support, and that turned out to be more creative writing from an over-zealous journalist, than fact.

    Be careful what you believe. I won't believe this until it comes from the Horses mouth!

  • BTW....
    $ chmod 4777 /tmp/sh
    $ chown root /tmp/sh
    $ /tmp/sh

    hehehe. Also, its the slowest of the commercial UNIX's if you check some benchmarks out.
  • HP already sold-out on their own OS.. At least with linux, they can contribute something and enhance it... with NT, they're basically toast... Perhaps HP is realizing that they *have* technical expertise, and that their emphasis has always been on delivering technological advances to the consumer and that the company does not belong in the VAR business?
    If HP has no control over the technology (NT), how can they claim to be a technology company in general?
    Maybe they want to get rid of doing technology work and just become another consulting group.
  • well if they have a clue they'll collaborate rather than do 2 competing ports for the same hardware. but if they do 2, well, *shrug* we'll have 2. interesting that VAResearch is porting to merced.. I didn't know they were that big of a company to have NDA's from Intel and dedicate big resources to kernel development...
  • yeah, there's an HP server here... HP-UX hostname A.09.05 A 9000/730 unknown. it's fairly stable (current uptime 80 days), but generally speaking it's a pain in the ass to use. and it costs at least 3x more than an equivalent solid PC (and I don't mind one assembled from spare parts with buggy memory and IDE disks). give me Linux any day...
  • Since the kernel is covered by the GPL, any changes HP (or anyone else, for that matter) makes to it is covered by the GPL. This means they have to give away the source (well, they can charge a small amount for distribution, but I can then freely distribute what I get from them). In other words, if HP tweaks the kernel for Merced, we all benefit. This is cool.

    On the other size, anyone writing modules or other code that just uses a kernel API, they are NOT covered by the GPL. They don't have to give away/release the source, and can charge. There are a number of companies doing that right now. Linus has explicitly been asked this, and has confirmed it, though he strongly discourages such behavior.

    The more likely issue here is the add-ons (ie the distribution). HP (and SGI, for that matter) will probably come up with slick distributions tweaked for their hardware, and include lots of proprietary knobs and bells and whistles in the form of interesting userland programs. I'm predicting that a good majority of these will NOT be Open Source, though they might be given away.

    Corel Computer's port of Linux to the StrongARM (yeah, I know, they really didn't do a whole lot here) is the model we're looking at.

  • sounds like a good idea to me! :-) let's theme the kernel!!! lemme see, where can we start? any ideas?
  • The paper said Linux is somewhat taxing for nontechnical users. However, programmers are working on friendlier versions of the language that have a Window-like interface.
    Others already caught the language discrepancy. But don't they mean a "dumbed down Window-like interface?" I already have an interface that can display multiple windows and do many other things.

    "Man könnte froh sein, wenn die Luft so rein wäre wie das Bier"
    "We could be happy if the air was as pure as the beer"
  • I just couldn't convince him that sendmail and a sparc5 could shutdown his duel p-ii NT machines until I got him on the phone and had a little conversation...

    Me: Are you watching the screen?

    Him: yeah


    Him: Hey I just got a BSOD!

    Me: hehe, want to see it again?
  • I would be more impressed if HP (dunno for SGI) would publish the info for their higher end systems. Because as of now porting either BSD-s or linux for them is impossible... The stuff has stopped at HP300 ;-(

    Still, not bad. It would be funny to stick it in the face of quite a bit of HP retailers that used to explain that Linux is unprofessional and unstable and people are supposed to by WinXX for their HP stuff...
  • I seem to recall a story from a few months back where the engineers working on Mach v3 for the PA-RISC machines used Mk/Linux as their reference personality for development/testing. According to the article, this made Linux capable of running on all of their PA-RISC line, including everything from workstations clear up to the super-minis.

    I'm surprised we didn't see more news about it at the time... I'll see if I can dig up the URL.

  • Good analysis.

  • If you look on some of the *BSD pages NetBSD [] and FreeBSD [] you'll see that at least one of them (NetBSD []) is being actively ported to PA-RISC.

    HP300 was relatively easy, as it used a more "open" CPU, the Motorola 680x0 series. (The "old" processors in the HP800 series is the Moto also.) The new HP700 series (and HP800 that have been upgraded) use PA-RISC, which HP developed in-house, and therefore, keeps wraps on the specs.

    Ken Crandall
  • It looks like Linux has a chance of UNITING the various UNIXes, and this can be a good thing.

    1) Easier ports between UNIX (who knows maybe they wont have to be ported they'll run out of the box)
    2) More hardware that is supported by Linux and not NT (That is always a good thing)
    3) More software, maybe SGI will port cosmo to LINUX, and some or all of its other products.

    Looks like this year will be the year the M$ starts loosing market share in the server market BIG time, and the new millineum will be the beginning of Linux as an accepted OS. Especially when all those window users start having problems with there Y2K bug in 98.

    gee I love *NIX
  • Great, all Linux needs are two companies take the hard work of other programmers wh code Linux for free and make turn it into a shitty, buggy, and full of security holes OS.
    SGI makes the Worst Unix Ever Known, IRIX, and HP is now the Bottom Boy To Bill Gates and also makes a shitty Unix, HPUX. This is a wrong direction for Linux. Companies stealing other peoples work and making money off of it like it was their own is wrong.
    This is not like Redhat and Caldera value adding Linux and selling it for $30 (With source!). These are two companies that don't care about OSS and see it as a threat. Now that the world has figured out that they can't make an OS worth shit, they have to go and take an OS that is better than what they make.
    The only way this will be a good thing for Linux is that *ALL* source code from them is GPL and OSS.
  • In the back of my mind, I worry about all of these different companies putting their hands on Linux. On one end, it is good for us because it increases recognition. On the other hand, it makes me worry that they will all start to seriously meddle with the kernel in such a way as to make each of their linux's different from eachother. Just imagine if HP said, well you can only run HP approved Linux applications on our linux, since it is not fully compatable with the other linux's. Then, what if one of them tries to challange GPL, and make their source secret. What if one or two of these Giants tries to take Linux over, and use their money to bully smaller linux makers out of the market. We must be dillegent to make sure this never happens! Fragmantation and corporate domination is not an option.
  • Does anyone have any idea if this is confined to the US or if HP and SGI plan to release products with support for Linux in the UK?
  • Besides well-known level of M$ "technicians", "system admins" and many "programmers", the bottom line is correct (IMHO) - Linux has some road to go before it can replace Lose9x on the desktop.

    I really like what Linus did to all of us (besides the kernel, of course) - he setup a very high goal to pass - the desktop. If Linux didn't have this goal it wouldn't have had much to add to what it has now (network serving? c'mon, grow up! it can do it even while you play Quake :).
  • HP and SGI are looking at the long term here. The biggest threat to their high-end server business is Wintel and NT. By supporting Linux on their low-end workstation lines, they weaken Micrsoft, and more importantly, gain mindshare. I work in HP-UX these days, and believe me, anybody who can administer a Linux box acn administer an HP-UX box.

    For both companies, Linux is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate that *NIX solutions are more stable, more powerful and more scalable than NT. It will help keep current HP shops "in the fold" and slow the growth of NT in their target markets.

    I really don't believe either company intends to fragment Linux. They view it as a complement to their OS offerings, not a threat.
  • DOS theme

    Boots to single uer mode. no networking, no swap, no multi-taking, no job control, no process control, no signals, no shared memory, console only.

    Macintosh theme

    Disable all tty support, cripple multi-tasking, use xdm for the boot shell. Good networking.

    Win95 theme

    Spend 3/4 of processor cycles in noop instructions. Move the swap to a limitlessly self-enlarging file on the regular monolithic filesystem. Eliminate any concept of file ownership. Randomly lockup/crash/reboot three times per 8-hour shift. (Really, our network people won't even look at a Win95 problem unless it exceeds that threshold.) Introduce random mutations to all communication protocols.

  • Well, HP-UX is annoying, clunky, non-standard, poorly documented with an amazing quanitity of obscure and hard-to-configure-or-use utilities. If you can tolerate these shorcomings in Linux, you can tolerate them in HP-UX

    BSD forever :)


BLISS is ignorance.