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Sun Puts its Weight Behind Ubuntu Linux 338

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the stepping-stones-to-success dept.
fak3r writes "Sun today announced that they are putting their weight behind Ubuntu Linux. While Ubuntu has been many people's desktop Linux choice for a few years now, with its Debian heritage, you can see what kind of server it could be. Slap that on the new Sun 1Us with the new Niagra T1's CPU, the one that'll have four, six or eight cores each, and go to town."
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Sun Puts its Weight Behind Ubuntu Linux

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  • by SWroclawski (95770) <{gro.ikswalcorw} {ta} {egres}> on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @01:36PM (#15352276) Homepage
    As a very happy Ubuntu user, I'm scared.

    But it could be worse, it could be "Ubuntu, supported by SGI"
  • by ubiquitin (28396) * on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @01:38PM (#15352295) Homepage Journal
    Does this mean that Sun is endorsing the Debian package management system over RPM-based approaches? IMNSHO, it's high-time that an enterprise IT vendor saw value in dpkg.
    • Don't forget Sun thinks they're competing against Red Hat. RPM would be the last package system they'd want their name behind.
    • by WebCowboy (196209) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @02:14PM (#15352623)
      Sun is endorsing Ubuntu, a Linux-based operating system. There isn't anything indicating that they are favouring any particular software packaging system. Dpkg/apt-get might be the way Ubuntu keeps its own house in order but nothing prevents anyone from installing and maintaining RPM packages on a machine running Ubuntu.

      Merits of dpkg aside, SUN may give standards compliance a high priority in its products, and like it or not in order to comply with ISO23360 the operating system MUST support the installation and management of RPMs (it need not be the native package system of the OS, but ALL ISO23360 compliant applicaitons are distributed as RPM packages). SUN could very likely contribute its resources towards making Ubuntu comply with ISO23360. Mark Shuttleworth himself stated that this was a goal for upcoming Ubuntu releases so they would be on the same page. Therefore if the ISO23360 standard gains traction it could mean that installing RPMs on Ubuntu machines could become more common than you'd think, especially for companies like my employer--large enterprises that salivate over anything with "ISO##### Compliant" on it...and guess what SUN's customer base is?

      Oh yeah...perhaps I should explain what this ISO23360 is. Basically it is a standard that specifies a set of requirements for Linux-based OSes (file structures, included shared libraries, software packaging format, etc) to allow compliant application software to be easily deployed and executed on any compliant OS without the need to recompile and/or re-package for each OS as is the case today with Linux systems. It is more commonly known as LSB3.1 ;-)
       
  • there's a typo ;) (Score:3, Informative)

    by Janek Kozicki (722688) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @01:39PM (#15352299) Journal
    it's Niagara T1 CPU [sun.com], not Niagra.
  • Debian (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @01:40PM (#15352313)
    So why wouldn't you just use Debian if you want a server linux distro? What will Ubuntu provide over Debian for a server?
    • Re:Debian (Score:3, Funny)

      by /ASCII (86998)
      Actual releases?

      (Though I hope Etch will be the start of a new trend there)
    • Re:Debian (Score:2, Insightful)

      by towsonu2003 (928663)
      So why wouldn't you just use Debian if you want a server linux distro? What will Ubuntu provide over Debian for a server?
      Latest packages and more features? or maybe better hardware recognition? or both?
    • I use Ubuntu as the server for the LAN in my house. I have to say it has one very big advantage over Debian. It's stupid easy to install. Ubuntu actually makes a really terrific server, no disadvantages when compared with plain Debian. The few disadvantages it does have, when compared to a distro like Gentoo, will be mostly fixed in Dapper Drake.
      • Re:Debian (Score:3, Informative)

        by swillden (191260) *

        I use Ubuntu as the server for the LAN in my house. I have to say it has one very big advantage over Debian. It's stupid easy to install.

        Ubuntu uses Debian's installer, so Debian is *exactly* as easy to install as Ubuntu. Specifically, Ubuntu uses the new installer that Debian released with sarge. I suspect your previous experience with installing Debian predated sarge.

        Ubuntu actually makes a really terrific server, no disadvantages when compared with plain Debian.

        The disadvantages of Ubuntu as co

    • Re:Debian (Score:5, Funny)

      by aug24 (38229) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @01:50PM (#15352400) Homepage
      A GUI, so that MSCEs can use it.

      Justin.
    • I'm guessing its a lot easier for Sun to endorse a distro thats lead by a company and semi-community based, rather than a completely community based effort.
    • Re:Debian (Score:5, Informative)

      by MoogMan (442253) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @02:39PM (#15352846)
      What will Ubuntu provide over Debian for a server?

      Commercial Support.
    • (obDisclosure: I work for Canonical in the support department. I am a Debian Developper.)

      > So why wouldn't you just use Debian if you want a server linux distro? What will Ubuntu provide over Debian for a server?

      I gave a talk on exactly this at LinuxTag. I don't know if recordings are available. The basic idea is stability, releases, vendor support, and commercial support.

      And this is all available today.
  • by nganju (821034) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @01:41PM (#15352322)

    Remember this quote from Scott Mcnealy [linuxtoday.com] a few years back?
  • Question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot.kadinNO@SPAMxoxy.net> on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @01:42PM (#15352331) Homepage Journal
    I use Ubuntu (actually Kubuntu) on my Linux desktop machine, but I use straight Debian on my headless server.

    Can anyone tell me why a person would want to use Ubuntu on a server, as opposed to just using Debian?

    It seems to me that most of the advantages of Ubuntu are on the GUI side of things, and this is the way that most of the software that's different for Ubuntu than Debian is aimed towards. Most of the server-type packages you'd probably be pulling from the Debian repositories anyway, so there's not much advantage and some things might not work, because Ubuntu doesn't follow the "Debian way" in everything (there are some file locations and paths that are different, I believe). Plus Debian has always seemed a bit better documented, although I admit that's arguable.

    I'm glad to see Sun put its weight behind a Debian-based distro, but I don't quite get why Ubuntu and not just Debian, especially if it's for servers. The only reason I can think is that they don't want to get too close to Debian's leadership and philosophy, and find Ubuntu more palatable from a PR and customer-relations perspective. Still, it seems like an odd choice.
    • by asv108 (141455) <alexNO@SPAMphataudio.org> on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @01:59PM (#15352496) Homepage Journal
      Can anyone tell me why a person would want to use Ubuntu on a server, as opposed to just using Debian?

      As a big proponent of debian, the biggest problem corporate/companies have with debian support options is that is not coming directly from the distributor of the software. So maybe thats one reason for choosing Ubuntu is that they offer support directly.

      Its also probably a lot easier for Sun to deal with a company when wanting changes/partnerships, rather than dealing with a fully community based effort. You can't just go to 1-2 guys in Debian and say do this and get it in by next week or else!

      • As a big proponent of debian, the biggest problem corporate/companies have with debian support options is that is not coming directly from the distributor of the software. So maybe thats one reason for choosing Ubuntu is that they offer support directly.

        I understand this, but didn't Ian Murdock (founder of Debian) already try this with Progeny? The distro went belly-up and eventually Progeny became just another Linux services and support company. I'm not even sure if they're still around TTT. How is Ubunt

        • by xenocide2 (231786) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @05:44PM (#15354314) Homepage
          Partly, it's a matter of timing. When Progeny started, it was 2000. Perhaps the height of the .com bubble. There were a lot of competitors to Debian. Redhat was still officially supporting a free desktop OS. GNOME hadn't yet recieved a critical look via a Usability study that demonstrated that half the crap in it was not only useless, but confusing. Distributing an .iso was feasible but finding software to burn them was still arcane. Crappy modem support was still a fundamental problem. A notable constants though: Debian stable was two years old, and woudn't be out for another year.

          By the time Ubuntu came out, Fedora had taken (and partly dropped) the torch, GNOME was vastly improved, KDE wasn't in danger of being placed in non-free, and a lot of Linux providers dropped out after the .com crash.

          The other half of the equation was simple: goals. Shuttleworth aims to be truly successful [launchpad.net], not just something to feed himself and his kids (*cough* his progeny *cough*). He capitalized on the fact that Debian stable was so sorely out of date that when everyone else stated they'd not be packaging xfree 4.4, debian had just gotten 4.3 into unstable. Ubuntu's release schedule is (usually) designed to be synchronized with GNOME so that, for a brief moment, Ubuntu is one of two places to go for the latest (the second being CVS). Shuttleworth recognized that a number of people didn't have access to windows based CD burning software, or perhaps the knowhow to find some, and funded ShipIt.

          While Murdock was aiming for NOW (network of workstations), Ubuntu's initial focus was on laptop support. Even in 2000, the question was asked "why do you think your SSI will succeed in today's environment?" If the answer was "it's open source," well that answer clearly wasn't adaquate. NOW assumes a very specific kind of resources, and adds a lot of complexity to gain something that rapidly falls in price. It might be interesting, but you have to own more than a couple workstations to make it worth your time, and it doesn't really aid mysql or apache much.

          It almost seems like Canonical learned from Progeny that half of selling Debian support was going to be making people want it, instead of capitalizing on some imaginary underserved market segment looking for ways to reduce the cost of Debian deployment. As always, sales, sales, sales!
    • Re:Question (Score:4, Interesting)

      by deque_alpha (257777) <qhartman@PERIODgmail.com minus punct> on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @02:36PM (#15352821) Journal
      Can anyone tell me why a person would want to use Ubuntu on a server, as opposed to just using Debian?

      I've been a big fan of Debian since I first started using Linux 10 years ago. I really respect their attitudes towards a lot of things, and yet, I hardly ever use it. There a couple factors behind this, most notably their tradtionally huge lag behind current development, and their adherence to "the Debian way" even if it is less convenient for no good technical reason. One example of this is lacking a "local" startup file by default. It is relatively trivial to add one, but there's no reason not to have a template for that in place out of the box, like every other distro I have ever worked with. For me, the Debian experience is sort of a death of 1000 cuts where there are no major deal breakers, but a lot of minor annoyances. For a lot of people, this is offset by the other things they do well, but for even more people, it is not. Ubuntu takes all the stuff that Debian does right, and then removes a lot of the painful little annoyances. That's a big part of the reason that I run Ubuntu on servers as well as desktops. MAybe a lot of this will be fixed by the new leadership that Debian has, but only time will tell. I know a lot of people don't see these as problems to be fixed, but I think those people are the typical "vocal minority" that is so common in the FOSS world. The users don't always know best, but if they are complaining, it's a good sign that a change should at least be seriously considered. Hanging onto dogma is not good just for its own sake, there have to be sound technical or (sometimes) philosophical reasons behind it.

      I also run a highly heterogenous environment, and I find it easier to have everything I touch be either completely the same or totally different. Having a number of machines that behave nearly the same is harder for me because of the "close but not quite"-ness of it. Moving between a Fedora machine and an Ubuntu machine is easier than moving from a Debian and an Ubuntu. There's a clearer differentiation, which makes it easier to "change gears". It's like moving between different versions of windows, things are close enough you expect them to be the same, but different enough to be really annoying. This is probably just me though.

      So, yeah, that's why. For me anyway.
    • Re:Question (Score:5, Interesting)

      by digidave (259925) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @02:39PM (#15352852)
      Ubuntu's predictable release cycle and newer software repositories might benefit a lot of businesses. For instance, PHP 5 is not available in Debian stable, but is in Ubuntu Breezy and Dapper. Sure, you can use one of several PHP 5 packages available for Debian stable or use the version from the unstable repository, but then you're compromising a lot of what makes Debian so great... package stability and quality.

      I would argue that Debian stable packages are better than Ubuntu packages, but not always once you get outside of the stable repositories. Ubuntu can stabilize newer packages faster.
    • I see it the other way round. I don't know why anyone would choose to run Debian over Ubuntu. I see several advantages of Ubuntu over Debian. One of these is that it provides a polished GUI out of the box, but that isn't the only reason.

      One of the other major reasons that I see is that the project is sanely managed. A new version of Ubuntu is released once every six months; compare that to Debian which struggles to get one out every two years. Another is that Debian provides only a sparse collection

    • Why would MCSE's primarily use Terminal Services when NTLM authenticated telnet allows you to manage the server through a text based console without a hit on the proc that a gui entails?

      Because it's not easy, intuitive or picture based. Different minds, different methods. Ubuntu's biggest advantage is that it's debian based (dpkg, apt etc.) It's secondary advantage of being easy to navigate makes it's possible installbase much broader. Sure a gui will eat up some cycles, but the training time you save i
    • Why Ubuntu ? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by this great guy (922511) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @03:18PM (#15353175)

      I use Ubuntu as well as Debian, both on desktops and servers. Here is a couple of advantages Ubuntu has over Debian on servers:

      • Server install. I have to point it out because many people don't know it but installing Ubuntu doesn't necessarily mean installing a full-fledged desktop OS. You can actually select the "server" option during installation and it will only install server-related packages with no X11/X.org packages whatsoever.
      • Fixed release schedule. Ubuntu releases a new version of its install CDs every 6 months while Debian is more irregular and does it less often. It makes it easier for example when you need to install Ubuntu on recent hardware, the kernel is generally more up-to-date and Debian may not detect all of your hardware. Of course it is always possible to find workarounds for Debian (loading an optional kernel module, netbooting a more recent kernel, etc), but it involves more work.
      • Packages freshness. Ubuntu tends to have more recent packages than Debian. For example I recently had to install 2 servers, one Ubuntu and one Debian, that had to boot off a software md RAID setup. It worked off-the-shelf with Ubuntu because it uses a more recent initrd package (mkinitramfs, IIRC) while the latest AMD64 Debian release uses an older initrd package (initrd-tools) that was unable to correctly detect and assemble the RAID arrays when booting up, I had to manually fix that to make it work.
      • Homogeneity. When you already run Ubuntu on your desktop machines, running the same OS on your servers (without the desktop packages of course) simplifies everything: your local package mirroring server only has to mirror packages for 1 OS, maintaining and supporting only 1 OS requires less work than 2 OSes, etc.
      • Developers. It seems Ubuntu developers are extremely active and, simply said, bright people. I have already fixed a couple of bugs in various Ubuntu scripts/packages over the past year or so and Ubuntu developers have always been very quick to respond and apply the patches. I also tend to keep an eye on what they are doing and it is obvious that Ubuntu developers make a lot of efforts to correctly engineer every little detail in their distribution.

      As a Unix guru/developer I also regularly use a couple of other Linux and BSD distros (FreeBSD, Gentoo, OpenBSD, etc) because I like to experiment a lot and like to live on the bleeding edge of technology, but all in all I have realized that Ubuntu plainly rocks and there is a lot of reasons why it is becomming so popular. I think every IT engineer easily understands the advantages of Ubuntu. And somehow it totally makes sense that Sun, "a company built for engineers, by engineers" [1], is interested in Ubuntu :-) I am a technological perfectionist and Mark Shuttleworth (the man behind Ubuntu) seems to have created a distro the way I would have done it. It is well engineered and It Just Works (TM).


      [1] http://blogs.sun.com/jonathan [sun.com]
  • by El Cubano (631386) <roberto.connexer@com> on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @01:44PM (#15352345) Homepage

    While Ubuntu has been many people's desktop Linux choice for a few years now,

    I find it interesting that a distro only first released slightly over 18 months ago [1] [distrowatch.com] [2] [wikipedia.org], could be "many people's desktop Linux choice for a few years now" (emphasis added).

  • by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrotherNO@SPAMoptonline.net> on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @01:44PM (#15352346) Journal
    "The odds are quite good that we will be aggressively supporting the work that Ubuntu is doing," Schwartz told reporters. "In the hardware we ship, I don't want to be Solaris only, because then I will just define my market to be smaller than the opportunity...I think you should expect to see more of the relationship, and stay tuned."

    So if Ubuntu is going to bed with Sun, does this leave Oracle out in the cold? Will they now be forced to look to Red Hat (which is clearly not interested) or Novell (which is probably not the best fit) instead? The Linux-go-round continues to spin.

    • Ummm, please, explain how an enterprise software supplier and support orgnization like Novell is not the "best fit" for an enterprise software supplier and support organization like Oracle? Novell has a long history of enterprise level deals, exactly the kind of Linux that Oracle can push to board rooms. Sun's dreaming in techni-color if they think they won't get laughed at the instant they say "Ubuntu". Like it or not, the old school execs in power today know the name Novell. From personal experience, it s
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @01:46PM (#15352361)
    Yesterday: Microsoft flirts with open source
    Today: Sun flirts with Ubuntu (yahoo article title)
  • by GillBates0 (664202) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @01:46PM (#15352367) Homepage Journal
    ...like lugging some of Sun's monstrosities around on one's back. I have only the Sunblade 100's and their heavy-duty CRT monitors to thank for, for my markedly improved resilience and my super-sturdy balls.

    This is a good thing for Ubuntu and Open source.

  • by Analogy Man (601298) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @01:47PM (#15352375)
    If you are going to town with the Niagara chip I hope your application is appropriate for it. If you need to chew up threads...great. If you have a single threaded application you will have 2X the response time of a Sunfire v440 which is hardly a FAST machine (think medium duty truck). If you are doing any floating point processing the FPU is shared across the 32 processors (8 cores / 4 threads) the application sees.
  • by metamatic (202216) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @01:50PM (#15352406) Homepage Journal
    Perhaps we'll see a repository for Java .debs at last, eh?
  • Weight? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fm6 (162816) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @01:51PM (#15352408) Homepage Journal
    All I see is a lot of vague statements about how cool Ubuntu is and how Schwarz would like to do stuff with it. That's a long way from "putting weight behind Ubuntu". The headline of TFA is more accurate: Sun is flirting with Ubuntu. Or more accurately, their new CEO is — and I'm not convinced he'll be around long enough to push through that kind of strategy.
  • sun to the destkop (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mikesd81 (518581) <`mikesd1' `at' `verizon.net'> on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @01:57PM (#15352481) Homepage
    Could Sun be using this to eventually get to the desktop, or at the very least, allowing companies to run a complete linux system. Solaris server, Ubuntu clients for the employees?
    • by fm6 (162816)
      Well, Sun is always trying to get on the desktop. (And wasting a lot of money in the process.) But I don't see how endorsing Ubuntu helps them get there. All the Linux apps that run on Ubunto also run on Solaris/x86.
  • I've used Ubuntu, installed it, ran it for a few weeks, and went back to Slackware. It's origins and aims are noble, but it's not my favorite distro. Even as a "live" CD, Pro-Mepis and Knoppix have it beat; I keep a copy of Knoppix 4.03 around just in case I have to (or have the opportunity to) use/fix a PC. Java is a better C++, but not by much; C# is better designed and you're not giving up too much in the way of SDK size, available documentation and libraries or ease of use over C++. It's not available a
  • by creimer (824291) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @02:00PM (#15352508) Homepage
    If Sun puts too much weight behind Ubuntu, it could explode like a supernova.
  • I think Solaris is better. Also that Java and C are better than C# in a previous post here.

    That said, go ahead with the different OS versions. We have to appreciate differences.

    Peacefully,
    Jim
  • So does that mean that Ubuntu will install the openoffice help files and proofing tools properly by default now?

    That would be a nice start.

    • The open office 2.0 help files/proofing tools.

      And yes I know it's a simple backport oversight, but it's damn annoying anyways!

  • by DnemoniX (31461) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @02:24PM (#15352705)
    About three weeks ago I successfuly got Gentoo loaded onto the Sun T-2000 that I am currently benchmarking with the help of a Gentoo release engineer. Unfortunately there are java issuse still. But hell it was fun watching it run just the same. It is back running Solaris 10 now however.
    • by whimmel (189969)
      Did you happen to document your procedure?
      • It's exactly like installing Gentoo on just about any other bit of hardware. You insert the proper liveCD for your arch and install normally. I was working with Gustavoz (Gentoo Sparc Guy), he provided the test ISOs for me to try and I reported back any issues. The main thing is that you need a bleeding edge kernel to support the T1 Niagra and the T-2000 uses SAS drives. Other than that it was completely standard feeling to me.
  • I don't buy it. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by abelikoff (412709) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @02:30PM (#15352767) Homepage
    I am not sure about the motives of this move. Several explanations come to mind.

    • Pure FUD. This is a plausible one. Sun has a lot to lose with Linux success. Linux has always been a competition to Solaris and this is not going to change. Leave "Let's be friends - there is place for everyone." rhethoric for glossy corporate press releases. As long as Sun cares about Solaris it will fight tooth and nail against Linux. becaus if Linux wins, Sun will be reduced to a vendor of exotic albeit powerful and very expensive hardware running a commodity OS on it. And this is not a good position to be in, now that Intel/AMD platform is becoming cheaper and more powerful every day.
    • Change in strategy with Schwartz steering the company. It is unlikely, but still possible that Sun will try to get out of the OS business altogether. But as I said, it is very unlikely - someone will have to do a lot of explaining to the customers, why Linux, so much maligned by the Company, suddenly became the top choice despite all the hype around Solaris (OTOH, seeing the sheer number of people that drank Apple's Cool-Aid during both PowerPC heyday and during the recent migration to Intel platform, one learns to no be surprized by anything). And someone would have to convince customers to buy an expesive piece of hardware running Linux from Sun, not from Dell...
    • Finally, and this is the most possible case, the Comany continues to do what it's been doing the best for about 6 years - running around like a chicken with head chopped off. The company is losing ground and has no strategic direction whatsoever. This might be yet another testament to the "we are clueless and will become irrelevant soon" motto.
  • Just like Debian, Slackware, ${x}BSD, Gentoo, and, uh, what's that other distribution that used to be around.
  • Dammit! (Score:2, Funny)

    by curtlewis (662976)
    I just put Ubuntu on my desktop.

    Now I'm gonna have to go and put something else on it because obviously I made a bad choice.... :-/

  • Is Ubuntu going to have selinux support that works at some point? I wonder if this is an attempt to split some of the larger linux community away from RedHat (Solaris 10 and RHEL5 will be fairly nice competitors because they both have MAC policies)...

    I love Ubuntu but in the interest of free supersecurity this makes me a little nervous.
  • ... with its Debian heritage, you can see what kind of server it could be.

    What? I am already using Ubuntu on three servers. Breezy Badger 5.10 already has a server install mode right on the CD (just type "server" at the boot prompt). No GUI at all.

    Runs like a charm ...
  • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @03:25PM (#15353229) Homepage Journal
    This could be interesting. They don't want to lend support to rivals like Red Hat or Ximian, so they go with a more neutral player. Ubuntu seems to have a lot of steam behind it in the community, and it's a fairly well put together system. Sun may be doing something right this time.
  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @04:58PM (#15354008)
    Hasn't anybody else noticed this?

    x86 is crap! x86 is great, now that solaris runs on it! Penguin suit McNeally loves Linux! McNeally funds scox to destroy linux. No wait, Linux is great, but only as desktop where it competes with msft, but not with sun. No, wait again, Linux is Java - and sun is proud to offer the only legal version of Linux. Msft is sun's mortal enemy, no wait, msft and sun are biggest, bestest, buddies.

    Sun may be a great company is some ways. But when it comes to x86 and/or Linux. Sun is all over the map. I wounldn't make a big fuss over what sun is saying about Linux plans.

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