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Economist article on Sun's Linux Strategy

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  • New Strategy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sonetsst (598483)
    I know this doesn't end Sun's use of linux in the market place, but why in god's name would they push solaris on the x86. Maybe it is just me, but when i can have crontab maintain servers why should i feel the need to switch to solaris?
    • Re:New Strategy (Score:5, Interesting)

      by salimma (115327) * on Sunday May 25, 2003 @10:38AM (#6034828) Homepage Journal
      As I recall Churchill wasn't much of a lefty

      If you run a heavily Sun-oriented tech shop, presumably it will be advantageous to run a single OS (well, Solaris/Sparc and Solaris/Intel) to running Solaris/Sparc and Linux/Intel; cautious companies might more easily justify purchasing Intel-based hardware if they don't have to put a new OS on it at the same time.

      It is quite interesting that Oracle is to be made available on Solaris/Intel. If Sun could not keep up its CPU development - should UltraSparc IV be a dud, say - a jump to Intel (or more probably AMD64) would be easier if a customer and software base is already established.

      • Re:New Strategy (Score:3, Interesting)

        by niola (74324)
        Oracle previously had a port of 8i that ran on Solaris X86, but they discontinued it due to poor adoption.

        If you have access to Oracle Metalink, check out Metalink document #149914.1 from May 2001.

        --Jon
        • but they discontinued it due to poor adoption

          Interesting, thanks. Now that Sun actually produces their own x86 servers, presumably they should have more staying power...
      • If you run a heavily Sun-oriented tech shop, presumably it will be advantageous to run a single OS (well, Solaris/Sparc and Solaris/Intel) to running Solaris/Sparc and Linux/Intel; cautious companies might more easily justify purchasing Intel-based hardware if they don't have to put a new OS on it at the same time.

        Linux/Sparc and Linux/Intel ?

        Solaris is far more limiting to specific architectures than Linux is. In fact Solaris/Intel is a real dog, has always had limited hardware compatibility and Sun's I
        • Re:New Strategy (Score:3, Informative)

          Linux/Sparc might be an option for small web serving, email and other stuff using OS components, but otherwise what app are you running? Your campus clustered SAP installaton with DR site across the other side of the world supporting your entire business is unlikely to be running Linux/Sparc.

          Have you actually checked the prices for Sun's Linux boxes?

          • Have you actually checked the prices for Sun's Linux boxes?

            You mean here [sun.com]? $1,995 for a single-proc P III @ 1.4Ghz?

            That's the entry price, as soon as you start looking at upgrades and systems with fault tolerant power supplies, RAID etc... then yes... they are expensive. $520 for a second processor!! (just a 1.4Ghz P-III).

            Just go to www.pricewatch.com [pricewatch.com] and see what $1,995 can get you.
            • The article by " The Economist [economist.com]" is best understood in the context of another important news article: "Sun beefs up low-end servers [com.com]" by C|Net. Below is the key quote from the latter article.

              Hardwarewise, Sun's low-end servers are virtually identical to the sort of thing the Dells of the world sell. The systems, in fact, come from the same contract manufacturers in Asia, McNealy noted.

              Linux on x86 or Itanium is an excellent value proposition for the customer but is a horrible value

            • And have you checked the prices for the new Xeon based machines?

              There's also the point of the bundled software and the one source for software and hardware support.
        • Solaris/Intel is a real dog, has always had limited hardware compatibility and Sun's Intel boxes are simply too expensive

          Interesting, I have not seen any specific benchmark for Solaris/x86. How much of an underperformer is it? Presumably Sun now having their own x86 line means they would have to tune it up...

          On the matter of price, since Sun is hardly likely to use custom components, surely one can create a Sun/x86 clone with the same components, thus guaranteeing hardware compatibility. Support cost mi

        • Solaris is far more limiting to specific architectures than Linux is. In fact Solaris/Intel is a real dog, has always had limited hardware compatibility and Sun's Intel boxes are simply too expensive.

          That was my experience with it as well. However, in the past, Solaris on Intel was mostly a convenience for Sun Sparc shops. Sun didn't put a lot of effort into optimizing Solaris for the Intel platform.

          Now that Intel is apparently going to play a larger role in Sun's product portfolio, it will be interestin
      • AMD Opteron (Score:5, Informative)

        by Winnipenguin (603571) on Sunday May 25, 2003 @11:40AM (#6035087)
        FYI:

        Sun likely to use AMD's Opteron chip
        By Michael Kanellos
        Staff Writer, CNET News.com
        April 8, 2003, 3:47 PM PT
        http://news.com.com/2100-1010-996060.html

        Sun Microsystems will likely adopt the Opteron processor from Advanced Micro Devices as it extends into new branches of the server market.

        Menlo Park, Calif.-based Sun has been testing the forthcoming Opteron chip for servers in its labs, and has found interest for the chip among customers, said John Loiacono, vice president of Sun's operating platforms group. Although he couldn't commit to any definite product plans, Loiacono said that the chip, which comes out April 22, would probably end up in a Sun product.

        "Can we commit to using Opteron today? No," Loiacono said. "Can we use it? Are we likely to use it? Yes."

        The probable endorsement from Sun is one of the strongest yet for the upcoming chip. Although RackSaver and a host of second-tier manufacturers have come out with product plans, no large manufacturer has done so yet. AMD declined to comment.

        Sun's guarded optimism for the chip is a good sign for AMD, said Dean McCarron, principal analyst for Mercury Research. Opteron is designed for servers running up to eight processors, and that market is still largely controlled by the small circle of multinational computer makers. These manufacturers, moreover, tend to be fairly conservative when it comes to new technology.

        "If you can get a Sun or IBM interested, that is crucial," he said. Virtually all of the major manufacturers are testing Opteron, according to Jack Steeg, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Newisys, which is licensing designs for Opteron servers.

        According to Sun executives speaking at the company's quarterly product update, Sun-branded servers containing so-called x86 chips from AMD or Intel will also occupy a more prominent place in the company's overall product line, which is currently dominated by servers running Sun's own UltraSparc chip.

        "You will hear a lot about Solaris x86. There are over 1,000 applications on Solaris x86," said Sun CEO Scott McNealy, referring to the version of Sun's operating system that's tweaked to run on servers containing Intel and AMD chips.

        Sun, in fact, will update its LX50 server, which is designed for x86 chips, in the very near future, company executives have said. Although Opteron comes out in two weeks, Loiacono cautioned against drawing too strong a connection between the Opteron release and the pending update to the LX50. The chip requires a completely new motherboard. Sun is also working on other AMD chips.

        Change of heart
        The fairly buoyant endorsement of technology from the PC world represents something of a change at Sun. The company has engaged in a heated battle for years with Intel, deriding the performance of servers based on Pentium chips and mocking, whenever possible, the sales of the Itanium processor.

        A year ago, Sun deferred "productization" of a version of Solaris for Intel servers. Intel, for its part, has repeatedly noted how servers containing RISC-based chips, like Sun's UltraSparc, have become a smaller part of the overall server market.

        The shift appears to derive from equal doses of opportunity and desperation.

        On the opportunity side, Sun is positioning itself as a complete technology provider that will earn profits from sales of hardware, software and services.

        Intel- or AMD-based servers from Sun will be outfitted with Solaris and a variety of server applications, McNealy said. Even if these typically less-expensive servers don't carry the same margins as Sun's UltraSparc boxes, they will serve as vehicles to sell Sun software.

        The company is kicking off a Chinese menu-style licensing program called Orion to beef up software sales.

        "They (Sun) are making a bigger commitment to supporting other platforms, and what is the best way to do that? By having Linux or x86 in-house," said Kevin Krewell, senior editor at the Micropr
    • Having someone to blame is still the biggest reason solaris will make it on the x86 architecture, as well as integration into a solaris environment.
      Microsoft clients don't talk well to solaris machines, and the solaris architecture is expensive, so it would only seem natural to make their OS run on commodity hardware.
      Linux can fill the gap between x86 and Solaris, but it still can't fill the gap between opensource-friendly admins and beurocratic old-school management.
      • Re:New Strategy (Score:3, Insightful)

        What about predictable release schedules, excellent service, bundled apps and good ISV support? (All right, forget about the last bit - for now at least).

        There's also the advantage of having your techies 'fluent' on the same OS throughout the datacentre, with one partner to deal with when things go well... or go wrong.
        • that translates to blah blah blah cheaper blah blah blah one butt to kick blah blah blah approved (although I like your version better).

          And that, boys and girls, is why Solaris is going to run on x86 hardware. Mr. Saul will be signing autographs as you leave the auditorium, the lecture is now over. You've learned it all. Thank you and have a nice day.
    • Re:New Strategy (Score:2, Insightful)

      by blewneon (675861)
      Why? The same reson that Microsoft does, money and control. Once an OS is loaded on a system there is an amazing amount of control that a software publisher can leverage. Of course they will jock the numbers around to make linux look like a complete looser as far a maintence costs go. In truth it is extreamly difficult to calculate software maintenance costs because the numbers are just so darn close. What would a Solaris Admin cost as opposed to a Linux Admin? Also the question of support contracts can ea
      • Re:New Strategy (Score:3, Insightful)

        by WindBourne (631190)
        I am amazed that companies like sun and MS can actually push stuff like this. When you buy support for Solaris, you ultimatly can only get it from one company; Sun. Likewise, the same is true for Windows. These companies can (and do) charge outlandish $ for the support. With an OSS approach like BSD or Linux, then multiple companies compete to offer support. True competition is always good as it drives down prices and quality up. Partial competition leads to either low prices or ok qualtity, but rarely both
        • Re:New Strategy (Score:4, Informative)

          by elmegil (12001) on Sunday May 25, 2003 @12:57PM (#6035480) Homepage Journal
          With an OSS approach like BSD or Linux, then multiple companies compete to offer support.

          Where, precisely, is the company that offers 24x7 support for Linux AND your hardware, with onsite options for both, globally, at a lot less than Sun's support price?

          It's nice to talk theoretically about the things that might be, but most customers care about what is.

  • Two points.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by salimma (115327) * on Sunday May 25, 2003 @10:34AM (#6034807) Homepage Journal
    • Solaris for Intel - that news is a few months old. Nothing to see here - though appearing in a business-oriented publication might indicate Sun's seriousness on the matter
    • SCO lawsuit - left unsaid is the possibility that Solaris itself would be targeted next, should SCO win or settle its IBM lawsuit. It's not only Sun's Linux strategy that is in question (Though both cases are equally questionable)

    • Your second point (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Solaris is in no danger whatsoever from the SCO lawsuit. Solaris is based on System V R4 and is licensed as such. Much has changed in Solaris since those days, but those changes belong to Sun.
      • Re:Your second point (Score:5, Interesting)

        by salimma (115327) * on Sunday May 25, 2003 @10:41AM (#6034838) Homepage Journal
        Solaris is based on System V R4 and is licensed as such

        So is AIX, but SCO is threatening to revoke their license (it remains to be seen whether that's legal or not) due to claims of technology transfer to Linux. Since Sun ships Linux solutions too it is conceivable that they might get entangled in the same way.

        Granted, Sun does not have a high-profile involvement in Linux but the IBM case is most likely totally FUD anyway. If there turns out to be Microsoft involvement in it, then Sun is the obvious next target...


        • So is AIX, but SCO is threatening to revoke their license (it remains to be seen whether that's legal or not) due to claims of technology transfer to Linux. Since Sun ships Linux solutions too it is conceivable that they might get entangled in the same way.


          As I understand it, Sun has a different kind of license than IBM, one for which they presumably paid a lot more money. I forget where I read this, but it was somewhere on the Internet so I think it was pretty credible. Doubly so now that I've posted it
          • Doubly so now that I've posted it on Slashdot

            Cool. I shall post a journal entry that's self-referencing, that way my future pronouncements shall be infinitely credible :)
      • Re:Your second point (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Miguel de Icaza (660439) <(trowel) (at) (gmail.com)> on Sunday May 25, 2003 @10:41AM (#6034839) Homepage Journal
        Sun is taking measures to provide source code under their community license, That doesn't matter quite as much as M$ releasing the Windos source because Sun doesn't deliberately hide their better APIs for internal use nor use deliberalely incompatible interfaces.Solaris is an open system, you don't -need- the source code. Sun has not, say, modified the way their CDE or NFS or DNS or X11 or POSIX implementation works to prevent other people's software from working with it, which a certain OTHER company has as a nasty history of ...

        Sun has a history of being open with their stuff. The SPARC architecture is downloadable off the web, ferchrissakes, and there are many Sun clone vendors . Their hardware division actively works with other companies to help them port to SPARC, which was why everything and its brother ran on Sun machines in the early 90s. Their NFS protocol was documented and now used by pretty much everything. Sun machines can also use DNS and other non-Sun resolvers just as well as Sun's own NIS system.

        On the other hand, there is this OTHER company who deliberately does not release documentation to outside developers, deliberately obfuscates how their stuff works, breaks other people's protocols or refuses to use them (can you completely replace NetBIOS name resolution with DNS ... I only wish. Can you replace the NTLM Domain crap?).
    • wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jbellis (142590) * <jonathanNO@SPAMcarnageblender.com> on Sunday May 25, 2003 @10:46AM (#6034855) Homepage
      the reason SCO can target IBM is b/c IBM was its partner in a "next generation unix" project called AIX 5L or, earlier, Project Monterrey. So IBM, unlike Sun, has engineers who work on Linux AND engineers who had access to SCO ip.
      • If SCO somehow wins it's IBM lawsuit (on a copyright ground, not just a trade-secret one), it will prove that all Linux kernels everywhere are in violation of it's IP. At minimum, that will force all commercial Linux systems to either pay SCO or be offline for a few weeks as new, non-infringing kernels are built and distributed.
      • So IBM, unlike Sun, has engineers who work on Linux AND engineers who had access to SCO ip

        Bizarre that most articles on the lawsuit does not even mention Project Monterrey. Given IBM's compartmentalisation I wonder if the relevant groups have any significant communication between them... we shall see, as long as there is no settlement, really.
    • Solaris can not be targeted. Back in the late 80's or early 90's, Sun bought the total rights to Unix. I forget how much money it was, but I seem to recall it was in the high 10's or low 100 millions. IBM never bought the same license. They pay yearly as I recall.
      • IBM never bought the same license. They pay yearly as I recall.

        Bizarre, what is their claim of having a perpetual license about then?

        Does IBM mean as long as we pay, we cannot be denied the license? Sounds rather weak to me.

        Should IBM lose its license for AIX though, can they not just license it from Sun instead, if Sun indeed bought the total rights?

    • Re:Two points.... (Score:3, Informative)

      by elmegil (12001)
      Given that Sun explicitly purchased rights to the Unix code base a very long time ago, Solaris is pretty much immune to SCO's claims. Since we have stoped shipping our own Linux as well, we're probably immune on that leg as well. I can't think of anyone in Sun who wants the SCO lawsuit to succeed, but we are pretty safe from them ourselves in any case.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 25, 2003 @10:39AM (#6034830)

    Huh? Did I miss something?

    Since when did meandering blather, gibberish, and recycled blurbs make for good writing?

    The only "news" in the article is the author's fantasy of a hypothetical Sun buy-out by Oracle or Cisco [neither of whom is doing all that great themselves].

  • Let's hope the switch from Solaris to Linux doesn't give the Sun any problems in the transition phase.
    I'll call this Linux project a success if solar flare activity doesn't increase, and uptime isn't affected.
    The Linux-bashing trolls are allready saying that the Sun will be having uptime problems within the end of the week. I think they are just jelaous.
  • I fail to see how this will save Sun, when was the last to you read an article say how Solaris was better than it's competitors? When was the last time you read an article about Solaris for that matter!

    Also why would anyone buy an Intel-based server from Sun, a relative newcomer to the market, when you could choose someone who specializes in them, and isn't trying to flog a competing product at the same time?

    Andrew
    • I don't know about this saving Sun or not, but there is nothing weak or behind in any way about Solaris. Solaris has been a rock-solid server and workstation OS for a long time, and it is a lot more mature than Linux, so you probably don't hear as much about it these days. Solaris/x86 probably hasn't gotten as much attention from Sun, although I can't really comment on this variant from personal experience.

      On the hardware side, Sun's hardware engineering and field support are far superior to most PC sys

    • by magellan (33560)
      Newcomer to the market? Sun buys its 2-way Intel servers from the same manufacturer that many vendors buy their 2-way Intel servers from, and that manufacturer is not new to the market.

      Furthermore, most Intel servers use either Intel motherboards or Broadcom motherboards. So if vendor B is buying 2-way Xeon boxes based on Intel motherboards from an Asian assembler that puts a blue plastic shell on the motherboard, and vendor B is doing the same thing, albeit with the Asian assembler using a black plastic
  • by jezzgoodwin (675518) on Sunday May 25, 2003 @10:48AM (#6034864)
    A friend of mine recently bought a server from Dell. The main thing he was looking at was the hardware side of things as he wanted to install the OS from the ground up. Dell offered the best hardware and support for the price and also they do price matching so he got quite a few things cheaper than expected.

    Surely Sun can't exactly sell the hardware for any cheaper than it can already be bought for, so what's the advantage of choosing them over a company like Dell?

    Unless of course they bring the power of Solaris to x86 and do it nicely? It's just the same thing from someone else.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Sun can have its engineers design the server and have them built in the same factories as Dull. They can sell it for the same price (or $50 less).

      Oh you now want an operating system to run an application on that foot warmer? Dull will be happy to RESELL a Microsoft or Red Hat Enterprise OS for a few $K. Sun has Solaris x86 with 0 COGS to them.
      • Actually, Sun has publicly stated that they will outsource the design as well as the manufacture.

        x86 hardware (same price as the competition) + Solaris x86 (free to Sun)+ Sun Service + Sun ONE software stack (free to Sun) + ISV ports (Developers! Developers! Developers!) = not priceless but I'll buy 'em.
    • by max cohen (163682) on Sunday May 25, 2003 @11:12AM (#6034940)
      Dell offered the best hardware and support for the price and also they do price matching so he got quite a few things cheaper than expected.

      Maybe the best price/performance hardware support, but their Linux software support leaves a lot to be desired (even at the Gold contract level). We bought several Dell PE2650 servers running Linux and I'm finding that the Dell support techs just don't have enough real world experience with Linux to make Dell into a big Unix player (yet). I'm told Dell is working on correcting that as I type this, but until they do Dell won't be as much of an option for those of us who run Unix shops and know what quality support comes from Sun. Anyone can read a manual--including me--when I call Dell (or Sun or HP), I want to talk to someone who knows more than that.

      Surely Sun can't exactly sell the hardware for any cheaper than it can already be bought for, so what's the advantage of choosing them over a company like Dell?

      Why not? Think Dell does anything Sun can't do in designing an x86 system? I don't. Sun engineers design the server, then Sun contracts with some of the same manufacturers other x86 vendors use to have them built. It's not as difficult as it may seem. One of the great assests of building x86 systems is the off the shelf nature of the components. That reduces the learning curve considerably when compared to designing everything yourself for a system that isn't as widely used, i.e. sparc.

      I welcome Sun's effort to ship better Linux servers. When you consider how much Sun knows about Unix, it's great to have that expertise spilling into the Linux world.
  • Linux a Puppy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by attobyte (20206) on Sunday May 25, 2003 @10:54AM (#6034881)
    Linux is not a puppy. I ran Redhat 6.2 for my firewall until just like a month ago. Linux doesn't have to be upgraded and tendered to. Maybe for exploits but Solaris has those too.

    Atto
    • by Bodrius (191265) on Sunday May 25, 2003 @11:37AM (#6035069) Homepage
      I don't know. Ever since I put together my last Linux box it keeps peeing all over the carpet.

      Argh, there it is again! BAD LINUX, BAD!

      Maybe it just happens with Mandrake distributions. I understand some consider them younger, more immature. Although I would keep an eye on that RedHat box, they can lose control as they get older.

      Now if you'll excuse me, I have some cleaning up to do...

    • And during that time, did you upgrade the kernel from 2.2.18 to patch the ptrace root exploit [www.sfu.ca]?
    • Linux is not a puppy. I ran Redhat 6.2 for my firewall until just like a month ago. Linux doesn't have to be upgraded and tendered to. Maybe for exploits but Solaris has those too.

      Try running 1000+ Linux boxes with hundreds of different workloads and configurations (something more difficult than just stamping out a 100 identical machines in a beowulf cluster). Come back to me and tell me that Linux is better than commercial unixes for management in the enterprise.

      Your experience with RedHat 6.2 on your

      • So how is running Solaris on a 1000 different boxes with different configs and loads easier? How about Solaris running on X86? I will give you that Solaris is rock solid on thier own Platform.

        Solaris still needs upgrades and patches. Like I said in the first post. The article said you have to watch after linux like a puppy. What OS don't you have to look after? I heard Windows is really rock solid. No need to keep an eye on that OS. :) Any good Sys Admin watches his/her systems and patches them when needed
        • What you don't see as much of in Solaris is patches in a stable kernel which are necessary, but yet break functionality. Of course you still have to patch, but in general you get a system image which is more widely applicable across all of your machines.

          Contrast this to linux where you have to mantain 3-5 different kernel versions at a minimum. And certifying a kernel version is a lengthly process, with no assurances that the issues you've had in previous kernels have been addressed or that there will b

      • Try running 1000+ Linux boxes with hundreds of different workloads and configurations

        Try radmind [radmind.org], it's made for this situation. And it runs better on Linux that Solaris.
        To keep going with the puppy metaphor, I have a german shepherd. When she was small, I had to learn how to "manage" her. Now that she full grown and 90 lbs, my responsibilities are pretty minimal -- mostly walks, frequent scratches behind the ears. Probably more fun for me than her. However, if you fuck with me or my house, she'll gut

  • by Schreck (137216) on Sunday May 25, 2003 @10:56AM (#6034891)

    Microsoft has also, indirectly, aided a lawsuit that could hurt Linux. On May 19th, it said that it had licensed the rights to Unix technologies from SCO Group, a small software firm. Earlier this year, SCO sued IBM, which has made a big commitment to Linux, seeking damages of at least $1 billion ... The lawsuit had seemed to be a ham-fisted attempt by SCO to get itself bought, or bought off, by Big Blue. But the deal with Microsoft lends credence to SCO's claims and helps it financially to press them.


    How does Microsoft licensing SCO technologies give SCO's lawsuit any credence. Everyone knows MS will do anything it can to hurt Linux. Is there really someone out there going "Hmm, Microsoft licensed SCO's technology, ergo, SCO has a valid case." I just have a hard time believing that.
    • No, but a poor case backed up by $46 billion and a crackerjack legal team can tie the case up in court long enough to scare potential adoptors away.
    • Everyone knows MS will do anything it can to hurt Linux.

      No, not everyone "knows" that.

      Everyone knows MS will do anything it can to hurt Linux.

      Yes, there are plenty of people who will have that reaction.

      For many of them, the word "Linux" does not convey something familiar that they can grasp, just a mixture of promises of free software and threatening images of dirty hippies taking over their MIS department.

      For some of them, it's not even that. It's something they have read in some magazine or other an

    • How does Microsoft licensing SCO technologies give SCO's lawsuit any credence.

      Whether it gives SCO any credence or not, it does give them a check to cash, which could help them in their lawsuit.

    • Little off topic, but this coud make a huge dent in SCO's Case (if any).

      Head over to ESR's No Secrets" [catb.org] home page, if you ever had access to UNIX source code that was not under NDA or NDA not enforced.

      Quote:

      I want to know if you have ever had read access to proprietary Unix source code (not just binaries and documentation) under circumstances where either no non-disclosure agreement was required or whatever non-disclosure agreement you had was not enforced.

  • It's easy to claim your software is cheaper to operate when almost every school and goverment on earth that has a machine is running windows on it. People then buy what their kids suggest; windows machines, and everyone learns it. Along comes linux and in order to use it you've got to retrain your workforce to use it, and retrain anyone coming in to use it. Once Linux gets into schools, desktops, college tech classes etc and is widespread, then we will see demand for people who know it grow and this situ
  • by md17 (68506) <james.jamesward@org> on Sunday May 25, 2003 @11:10AM (#6034935) Homepage

    Whatever Sun's fate, Mr Schwartz is probably right that the software industry will not be taken over by free programs, as some geeks would like. The main attraction of open source, as he says, is the fact that it is "great for innovation", not its questionable claim to be free.

    Does the author of this article actually understand anything about software or economics? It seems to me that any consumer in the world should want "free programs" as opposed to those you have to pay for. Even if we assumed that all that silly FUD about Linux having a higher TCO than Windows or Solaris, were true; wouldn't consumers still desire that Linux (and the rest of open soruce) progresses to a point of of lower TCO? And shouldn't that be a lot more viable for open source than a software product which locks you into a big company that just wants more of your money, not less? Anyways, open source is winning and will win more because it can innovate faster and for less. It is not just "great for innovation", it costs less, and costs (TCO) keep going down.
    • Furthermore... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mindstrm (20013) on Sunday May 25, 2003 @11:50AM (#6035127)
      IT's not about "Free shit".

      Will proprietary software with real value still have commercial value? HEll yes, always.

      Will proprietary software that does the same thing as free software have value? No, why should it?

      Why should we be paying anyone money for something people are willing to do for free. Simple as that.

      Look at.. Vmware. Good product. Solid. Makes money. Then we have FreeMware. Not so good. Not even close, really. VMWare definately has *value*, and lots of it.

      Now, if VMWare sits on their product and does nothing but fix bugs, that situation won't last. Eventually, freemware, or someone else, might catch up, or surpass it. But all VMWare has to do is keep innovating and developing, and they can keep selling their great product.

      The same goes for everything.... we all don't like windows because, hell, the only reasons we really use it are because we are forced to by software compatability... we don't see it as anyhing that adds real value.. only artificial value.

      Free software will continue to set a baseline standard for software, which you have to beat significantly in order to actually sell software. That's where things are going. ANd that's a GOOD way for things to be. Nobody is saying focused, commercial programming efforts can't pay off bigtime.. they absolutely can.. butnot if you are going to make snakeoil.
      • The same goes for everything.... we all don't like windows because, hell, the only reasons we really use it are because we are forced to by software compatability... we don't see it as anyhing that adds real value.. only artificial value.


        So, the only reason you use Windows is to accomplish tasks with software which runs on Windows. Hrm. That whole 'accomplishing tasks' and 'getting stuff done' thing doesn't have 'value'? Only 'artificial value'??
        • Basically, yes.

          Windows is a network effect. In general, people need to run Microsoft Windows(tm) to run Microsoft Word(tm) to view files others have sent them from Microsoft Word(tm).

          The intrinsic advantages of Microsoft Word(tm) over competing word processors are small, except in the field of compatibility with itself (which by definition would be hard for anything else to match). Yet that is the feature by which most buying decisions are made.

          The "network effect" was introduced in Metcalfe's Law. Ho
        • Yes, obviously GETTING STUFF DONE is important, and real.
          I never said someone was dumb for using windows when the software they need only works on windows.

          My point is that we have many options for an oprating system.. and in and of itself, Windows does not add any value over what we can get for free. The only reason it has value is because of applications that only work in windows.

    • It is not just "great for innovation", it costs less, and costs (TCO) keep going down.

      And Jon Schwartz has made it clear that he doesn't believe that, over time, the Linux TCO is going lower than the Solaris TCO. Whether he's right or not remains to be seen of course, but he's entitled to his opinion. You posting yours in bold face on Slashdot doesn't make you any more of an authority.

    • Anyways, open source is winning and will win more because it can innovate faster and for less. It is not just "great for innovation", it costs less, and costs (TCO) keep going down.

      The problem is that the people who are writing the open source code do not understand how to keep TCO costs down. The open source community is by-and-large a community of software developers who don't want to be burdened by the issues they had working for corporations. A prime example of this is the open source "release early

  • "Questionable Claim" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by po8 (187055) on Sunday May 25, 2003 @11:27AM (#6035018)

    Whatever Sun's fate, Mr Schwartz is probably right that the software industry will not be taken over by free programs, as some geeks would like. The main attraction of open source, as he says, is the fact that it is "great for innovation", not its questionable claim to be free.

    "Questionable claim to be free"? Let's leave aside "free/Free" for a moment, as the author seems to indicate the former. (Let's also leave aside the grammatical correctness of the sentence, which looks more like it belongs in a /. article than in The Economist. :-)

    Instead, let's ask what this "questionable claim" actually is. Hmm, does open source software have a purchase price? Not really: by definition, it costs $0. How about technical support, is that free? Why, for most open source it is: extensive online help, rapid bugfixes, etc. I know, are any and all costs related to its use zero? Why no, they are not---you still have to pay to field the software and maintain it.

    If you told the author of this article you were giving him a free car, with a free warranty for parts and a substantial discount on labor, apparently his response would be "Oh yeah? What about gas?". Sheesh.

    Although, the article was pretty well-written otherwise :-).

    • There is a price to complexity, even with free software:

      http://www.sun.com/smi/Press/sunflash/2003-02/s u nf lash.20030226.4.html

      SUN'S PROJECT ORION REDEFINES THE ECONOMICS AND DELIVERY OF ENTERPRISE SOFTWARE
      Radically Aligned Software Development, Delivery Strategy and Business Model Help Drive Complexity Down, Cost Out

      SANTA CLARA, Calif., -- February 26, 2003 -- Sun Microsystems, Inc., today previewed its response to customers' need for greater simplicity, predictability and affordability of enterprise c
    • by snarkh (118018)



      If you told the author of this article you were giving him a free car, with a free warranty for parts and a substantial discount on labor, apparently his response would be "Oh yeah? What about gas?". Sheesh.


      It might seem different if you have to hire a chauffeur, though.

  • The worst pain about Solaris I found was that it comes with nearly no preinstalled software. Oh, yes, it has the GUI, it has the web browser and several demo movies, a huge documentation database and a lot of other stuff I completely don't need. It lacks the basic stuff though. Say, I want to install some software. I try to open the website with HotJava, manage to get to the downloads, but on my poor connection I can't grab it - the download breaks and doesn't resume. Nothing wget wouldn't handle... So I qu
    • Which version of gcc on that Linux install? ... Oh never mind...
    • I wonder if you've used a version of Solaris newer than, what, 2.5? 2.6? Gzip has shipped with Solaris since version 7 (2.7), Sun has Netscape packages on its website, and they provide builds of Mozilla on Mozilla's downloads page. Solaris 9 ships with both Netscape and a number of Gnu/OSS utilies (e.g. - tar, grep, bzip2....) And, if you can't find something you need in the default install, you could follow the link on Sun's site to www.sunfreeware.com. Or, and I know this one is difficult, you could
    • www.sunfreeware.com has prebuilt packages to get you going quickly. Since you are obviously new to Solaris, stay away from rpm and learn Solaris pkg first.

    • by jtharpla (531787)
      Since Solaris 8, Sun has shipped Netscape as the default browser, not HotJava

      All your fun happy binaries are available at http://www.sunfreeware.com [sunfreeware.com]

      And Sun now ships a Software Companion CD with most common GNU tools and GUI installer.

      Finally, Solaris 9 now includes /usr/sfw, which also has many of the GNU tools.

      For all that, it still takes me about 30 min-1 hour of work to get a Solaris system to the same nice command-line environment as Linux (ksh or bash, color ls, gtar, and vim 6)
    • It's obvious you've never heard of www.sunfreeware.com, cuz if you had, you would have downloaded the gzip + wget binaries and you would have been off to the races. Plus, why are you using rpm on solaris ? That just sounds like "A Bad Idea (tm)"
      • I did, I tried to visit it and get all I needed. The problem is that I couldn't even load the main page, connection to that site really sucked at that time.
        And what if I didn't have ANY internet connection and installed Solaris for a standalone LAN server?

        Anyway, the story ended when a guy who had more experience with Solaris came, installed everything that was needed from his own CD, configured it, charged us a 5-digit sum and left poorer but happy, with a well configured box. (Linux didn't last...)
  • Free as in? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by madsatod (535808) on Sunday May 25, 2003 @11:33AM (#6035053)
    The Economist article said:
    The main attraction of open source, as he says, is the fact that it is "great for innovation", not its questionable claim to be free."
    Anyone else annoyed with the writers confusion on free software/gratis software throughout the article. Well guess it's viewpoint of the Economist. No wonder they interpret free as "free (as in beer)".
  • Sun is Java (Score:5, Interesting)

    by yog (19073) on Sunday May 25, 2003 @11:36AM (#6035065) Homepage Journal
    Sun is no longer a workstation or server company; they are the Java company. They are getting a lot of their business from Java these days--selling packages, selling Sun University courses, JavaOne, etc.

    Undoubtedly, the server business continues to pay some of the bills, but this business model is in doubt; IBM can out-compete them at the high end and LinTel is eating their lunch at the low end and, increasingly, in the mid-range. They really need to reinvent themselves as an enterprise solution provider rather than a hardware provider that (for some reason) invented Java.

    I think Sun should merge or form a strategic alliance with WebLogic and position themselves as a total server, middleware and web services provider with their state of the art technology. They have a huge advantage in that everyone but Microsoft supports and promotes Java, including Sun's fiercest competitors. They have tremendous domain expertise; a lot of the people who developed Java, J2EE and so forth are still working at Sun.

    Alternatively, perhaps IBM should buy JavaSoft and let the rest of Sun die a quick and merciful death. IBM's stake in Java is so huge now that it's hard to imagine they are not considering this option.

    Just some thoughts on a Sunday morning....

    • What are you smoking? Sun makes most of its money from hardware sales, not Java.
      • What are you smoking? Sun makes most of its money from hardware sales, not Java.

        Same thing. Java is a hardware hog, to be frank.
    • Sun is no longer a workstation or server company; they are the Java company. They are getting a lot of their business from Java these days--selling packages, selling Sun University courses, JavaOne, etc.

      Do you have any evidence that they are actually making money on this stuff? I tend to think that Java is more of a publicity stunt for them. I'd be surprised if "packages, Sun University, JavaOne, etc." produce profits much less profits that cover the development R&D costs of Java. CNET says:

      " Ther

    • I agree with a lot of what you say. What Sun needs to do is quit thinking that Solaris is still better than Linux. They should embrace Linux fully, cede their OS war with it, and start focusing on selling services and hardware like IBM does if they are going to have a chance in this new economy.

      Solaris is dead to the new generation coming online. IBM knows this. Sun can't seem to see it.

      They do have a jewel with Java. But if they don't play that card right they're going to screw it up. Microsoft has
  • by BillsPetMonkey (654200) on Sunday May 25, 2003 @11:38AM (#6035077)
    Since suprisingly recently. The fact that the SCO/Linux case features on the Economist radar can only be good news. Not so long ago this article wouldn't even have feature in their "in other news" section.

    And they're happy to tow the geek line that SCO's case has little real merit calling it a "ham-fisted attempt by SCO to get itself bought".
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You call this "well written"??? The author completely misses the point in at least a few instances. For example, just look at the final sentence of the article:

    The main attraction of open source, as he says, is the fact that it is "great for innovation", not its questionable claim to be free.

    So the author doesn't understand what "free" means in this context. The perpetual confusion of free as in beer and free as in liberty. Most open source software may not be gratis but it is not at all questiona

    • The distinction the author's making is quite subtle, which might be why so many people aren't getting it here.

      The premise is that Linux/Open Source advocates vociferously claim that Linux is both free as in beer and free is in 'libre', whilst the truth is always somewhat less straightforward. It might cost nothing, but has cost implications to run and maintain. The source might be 'free', but you have to buy 'real' apps to do a lot of useful stuff (Oracle for example). You may have the source, but frank

  • Seems that Sun, like others, thinks that Linux is not free due to upgrade and maintaince costs. This might be true, except you can use your existing employes. Since they have those neat brains they can learn. Linux is documented.

    Combine brains, documentation, and larning, wow.

    PS: This all depends on a company making an investment in their employes. It's a big "IF"

    -- James Dornan
    • If a company is providing its own operating system support, it is now an operating system support company.

      If a company is modifying the Linux kernel to fit its particular needs, it is now a Linux distributor.

      People cost money. Somebody hacking the Linux kernel for Acme Manufacturing is the same as a Linux Kernel hacker for Red Hat. So the cost is still there.

      Many companies do not want to be Linux distributors or Linux support companies. They will use a standard distribution such as Red Hat or Suse, tu

      • I find your thinking on this subject to be flawed. Most people would not subscribe those term as you define them.

        Is a company who creates a customer image on a CD for installing Windows a Windows OEM or a Microsoft? As you define it they are. Do most companies want to do that? No?

        Many companies hand out Windows CDs or use Windwos update(like many Linux automatic update features). This this make them Windows distributors? Most companies don't want to be Windows distributors.

        The Linux kernel is configured
  • Mr Schwartz may seem to want to have it both ways. But he is trying to capitalise on an important trend. Some software users have started to realise that even Linux is not as free as it appears: for instance, it has to be maintained and upgraded. "Linux is like a puppy--in the beginning it's great, but you also have to take care of it," says Mr Schwartz. He hopes that firms will opt for Solaris, because it requires less care.

    That's pretty laughable to anyone who has ever maintained Linux boxes.. well, mos
  • To a certain degree. I've running Solaris for about 8 years and linux for about 6. At my company now we run a full linux frontend with a solaris backend. Not a lot of servers, but about 500 linux boxes.

    I don't like to talk about it, but it's a huge pain the ass. We're constantly replacing hardware. I'm constantly training people on how linux does things. When it works it's fine, but much of the documentation available is not the greatest. Many writeups are old, features left out. We have to do a lot to the
  • Sun makes all their money selling over priced hardware. They are now realizing that it is their fate to become just one more pc manufacturer selling machines running Linux/Solaris/Windows. Eventually SPARC machines will be a thing of the past.
  • Reads like smelly think tank stink to me, Especially the closing lines...`The main attraction of open source, as he says, is the fact that it is "great for innovation", not its questionable claim to be free.' Even though it's woven into a Quote... The "article" is taylor made for Suits who try to think geek. Mentioning the cost of ownership slogan... Smelly Think Tank Stink.
  • What everyone who runs SunOne under Linux has to be asking themselves is "How much sand in the Linux Sun Hourglass is left?". Nearly a year ago Sun had an epiphany which resulted in them porting Iplanet and other software over to Linux.

    Now companies who are using Webservers running SunOne/Iplanet under Linux are probably running on borrowed time. The last service pack for SunOne for Linux was released Oct 2k2(I could be full of crap, I'm running off memory on this one)...and there's at least one serious
  • Thinking of Oracle buying SUN. If it did, would Oracle it rename it Apollo?
    Éibhear

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