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Sun Microsystems

Scott McNealy's thoughts on Linux 105

profesor writes "Scott McNealy had some interesting comments on Linux at the dedication of Sun's new campus in Massachusetts. " Well interesting, assuming the comment "a great way to get to the wrong answer" is interesting. Scott's keeping his cool on this one, and doesn't want to be seen like a certain someone else.
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Scott McNealy's thoughts on Linux

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    What Scott means when he says "the wrong answer" is that he doesn't think there are very many people in the world who need computers... mainly just people who are creating things. Most people aren't creating things on their computers, they are using things that other people have created.

    Having a big old computer on your desk is not particularly efficient if all you need to do is browse the web. There is plenty of room for devices more specifically designed for your needs. It's not that he doesn't want to see Linux on the desktop instead of Microsoft; he'd rather see the desktop market go away.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Hey I like and use linux.

    But this whole deal with Linux being a threat to Solaris is B.S . Solaris scales up to 64 processors and 64 GB of memory. Linux smp is still not up to the mark . Linus "the father of Linux" Stated that linux may never scale upto 64 processors. Linux was designed for single processor systems where it is at times better than Solaris.

    As far as intel hard ware goes they can hardly be compared to high performance RISC hardware. And the price you pay is for quality, scalability and mission critical stability.

    Linux on Intel is a good solution for clients but when the going gets tough its time to roll out
    HPCs.

    if (Solaris == Linux == Unix !=NT)
    printf ("Hooray!!!!!");
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 06, 1999 @08:47AM (#1902137)
    I agree with the previous "out of context" complaint. But the position of Sun towards Linux seems to be a bit more clear in my view. After the HP announcement, I went to my Sun sales rep with what HP was doing w/training, and asked if Sun was going to offer Linux training.

    My request was forwarded, and they seemed a little surprised at my request, but recommended finding a course at a local college. Doesn't seem like a coordinated response to Linux, positive or negative.

    It looks like that, at the current time, Sun is sitting on the sidelines with Linux. It isn't going to be any real revenue earner for them. And, it isn't going eat a sizeable chunk of their revenues either. Most people who are into Linux aren't going to be the type to spring for an Ultra 10 workstation, not to mention a Ultra Enterprise 4000 server. Linux will never have a home on the E10000 "Starfire" machine. (Companies just aren't spending $1+ million on hardware to run an operating system that won't exploit it.)

    But Sun seems to have more reason to weakly embrace Linux than to repulse it. (Especially because of the Microsoft factor.) Keep in mind that you can't judge the actions of Sun by what comes out of McNealy's mouth. Also be aware that he's more focused on the big servers and tiny java devices. Middle-of-the-road-devices don't interest him. (Somewhat odd for a company that started with workstations.)

    Sun is a friend of Linux, but not a strong ally. They have no reason to be.
  • Though if sheer processing power for the buck were to be factored in, then Linux comes out on top.

    Example: If you want a small workgroup server, Linux can give you a solid system at minimal cost.

    Example: If you want a workstation, Linux can offer a very competitive environment complete with SMP, Networking, 3D Graphics, Standards Compliance, and Portability.

    Example: If you want to perform calculations, a Beowulf cluster of Linux boxes can give wonderful results for a modest investment. I believe a Beowulf could be constructed that could beat an E10000 in raw calculating power for a fraction of the cost. For that matter... I believe that it is possible to build a cluster of E10000's using Beowulf technology that could beat just about anything on the planet - it'd be expensive though... :)

    Like I've said before, Solaris and all the other commercial Unix's are a wonderful thing! They are very mature and stable but they by no means provide the greatest value to the greatest number of customers.

    If I was going to run a bank or a hospital server that attended to mission critical services, I'd choose a commercial UNIX (not that Linux wouldn't do the job but because of current high-end scalablitiy issues). But, for the subsidiary systems like workstations, terminals, and research tools, I'd use Linux.

    The point here is... with enough money, you can build the fastest computer in the world. Linux just brings the power of UNIX within the reach of the average person. Good for UNIX no matter how you look at it!
  • Posted by AnnoyingMouseCoward:

    As for the first part of your posting - no arguments there. People can make up their own minds.

    Fat servers and thin clients. This is where I disagree with McNeally. I'll admit that I'm biased ( since I work in the corporate sector ), but this is a cycle that I've seen before.

    Time sharing was a big hit when it came out, simply because the hardware was expensive. As hardware prices dropped, the equilibrium shifted away from centralised multi-user to distributed networks of ( essentially ) independent machines ( "No one will survive the attack of the screaming micros!" ).

    With the internet, we are seeing another stage of the same cycle. For the average home user who just wants to send/receive e-mail and other relatively simple tasks, the current cost of a PC does favour a situation where you have a simple ( and cheap ) device that connects to a central device with most of the actual brains.

    So once again, the ecenomic advantage lies with a centralised system.

    However, my own experience with home users ( including several relatives ) is that they would like to be able to a lot more than just send and receive e-mail. They just can't afford the price of hardware/software/connect time.

    Presumably, as time goes by, the cost of these things will continue to decline as more people connect to the net and as the technology matures.

    So while thin client/fat server may be appealing ( and cost effective ) in the short term, I personally feel that it's unlikely to become entrenched as the norm for very long.

    Just my $0.02 worth gang.
  • It is a very important addition to the discussion as it fills in parts of McNealy's statements which were unclear. If I had any moderator points left (spent 'em all on the Thompson article) I'd do it. This is an insightful reply -- Sun has a great deal more invested in hardware than software, and Java is simply a means to their end. It isn't a moneymaker (unless you sell books) but both Sun and IBM are pushing furiously for Java because they stand to leverage their position in Big Iron for the future of computing. IBM in particular has written more Java code than Sun has -- don't get too excited, IBM has written more NT code than Microsoft, it just points out where the money lies.

  • Thank you!

    Yes, Linux isn't big iron, Solaris is definitely better for that. Ultra-thin clients I think Linux might pull off better, but only time will tell.

    And yeah, of course UNIX is better than NT. :)
  • Yes, I think Sun is doing something like that with Solaris, for non-commercial use, or something. It isn't very well publicized. But I was talking about the hardware that comes with your average SPARC. (because x86 Solaris isn't a viable option compared to Linux)

    However, with the thin-client model, this UltraSPARC we use for a campus computer would be obselete. Cool.
  • Give me an example where *Solaris on x86* outperforms Linux on x86. Linux runs their binaries, and the kernel syscalls are generally faster. Sun hasn't really done much with x86 Solaris lately, and their market share there has been eaten by Linux. I wonder why... I'd use x86 Solaris as an alternative to SCO, but not to Linux.

    Generally, it has been my experience that Linux performs faster and better on x86 than x86 Solaris can dream of. I would love to see objections. *Solaris on SPARC* works great for huge servers, with many processors, but that's not the question.

    And Linux works for very large networks, like the Internet. Many ISP's use it. It also works well for clusters, like Beowulf clusters. The only thing that needs some work is support for multiple processors, and that's supposed to be better in 2.2 (I'm sure it's better than NT).

    Linux on x86 has *massively* more driver support than x86 Solaris, and it's generally on par with WIndows NT, and probably better than Windows 2000. And sound isn't really necessary for a server, but it's a nice thing to have as an OS feature. I'm going to get a TV card for Linux... :)
  • by pb (1020) on Thursday May 06, 1999 @08:14AM (#1902144)
    Everything he said was taken out of context. That doesn't mean that it's false, but I for one would love to know what he meant by "a great way to get to the wrong answer"...

    Assuming that the right answer is Sun's Slowlaris? Maybe for multiprocessor boxes, but definitely not for the price...

    Anyone have any more info on this?
  • Get a grip already and glue your frail ego back together. Technology moves on, usually without people like you so that technology becomes accessable to more than just the excessively pompous.

    Eye's Bleeding indeed.

  • There's less of a reason that there used to be, but basically the reason why Sun execs (and Oracle ones for the matter) are 'always' bashing MS is they realised some time ago that they're far more likely to get an article published about them if they bash MS. Scott and Larry Ellison (from Oracle) have done some pretty crazy things in the course of bashing MS, and in many ways it's just so that more people will actually listen to them and not just ignore them for not being MS. Things have changed somewhat in the last 6 months though - the media are much less MS puppy-dogs, and are a lot more open to Sun (and others') ideas.

    Here's a somewhat amusing 'top 10' dig Scott did a while ago:
    (taken from a VAR Business article [varbusiness.com])
    Sure it's sophomoric, but Bones can't help but get a good chuckle every time Sun CEO Scott McNealy comes out with a top 10 list about Microsoft. He had the 800 or so attendees howling at Sun's annual reseller shindig last week at the Marriott Palm Desert near Palm Springs, Calif. É Drum roll É The Top 10 signs your pacemaker is running Windows:
    10. When you wake up in post-op, Intel Inside is stamped on your chest.
    9. Every year, you need an upgrade operation.
    8. Every few minutes, without warning, your heart reboots.
    7. Your heart works, but you can't get that loving feeling anymore.
    6. Your wife starts calling you Micro Soft.
    5. You discover that Pacemaker 98 doesn't scale past sleepwalking or four holes of golf.
    4. Your head nurse looks suspiciously like Janet Reno.
    3. Y2K scares you to death.
    2. You realize it isn't only the hospital gown that leaves your rear exposed.
    1. You're dead.

    • Thin clints are probably the right way to go for the enterprise... much more stable, easy to maintain... it would save loads of support costs. But for the home user? Who's gonna be my server?

    I agree that it'll happen first, and fastest, on the enterprise. As for your server, it'll be your 'ISP', though that isn't really the right term for it. It'll be a service provider in general - yesterday Sun were making a big deal about this with their 'serviceprovider.com' thing... The reason why some things will take longer at home is simply due to bandwidth, or lack thereof (though this will be solved over time). If you're mostly downloading stuff, current cable modems might do. If you're editing 'big' files, then you'll start having trouble, at the moment - but when people often have 2Mbit each way, things'll be more interesting...

    • Maybe an "internet appliance" is fine for most things but what about us programmers? What about Photoshop and 3D Studio? Are there really viable alternatives that can handle thousands of users compiling and running filters and rendering 3D? Can a "thin client" run Quake3?

    Since when did I say that it was for everybody? In fact, I clearly stated at least twice that it wouldn't 'do' for geeks. As for Quake3, how about all the new games machines - Q3 on Playstation-2, yum yum. The more recent (and upcoming) game machines make much ado about internet connectivity as standard. Some guys from Sony were saying that it could end up being a 'centre' for home networks - enter Jini, HAVi et all.

    Btw, 'thin client' does NOT mean there is no hard disc (or equivilant). It does not mean 33Mhz 386. Remember the recent Intel stuff about the StrongARM 2? Cheap little embedded processor that goes up to 600Mhz. Guess what it will targeted at...? It's kinda hard to define 'thin client' - think of something around an old Atari or Amiga, but with at least 200Mhz processor, 16MB RAM, 'internet connectivity' as standard, etc. OS would probably (mostly) come in ROM, or similar...

    • There are lots of "computer enthusiasts" (not even counting us hardcore geeks) that would be appalled by the idea of not having a local drive or their own software. And how would software licensing work? Subscriptions? Blehh...

    'thin client' != 'no hard disc'. It might have a notebook size one, it might even have one of those IBM micro ones, it might have flash ram, or other type of NV (non-volatile) RAM, it might have an Orb drive or Zip drive or re-writable CDROM...

    Software licensing will be interesting... lots of possibilities. Here's a little piece by Scott 'I polish by teeth everyday' McNealy titled Stop buying software [sun.com]

    • Their is a future for Scott's vision I'm sure... but there will ALWAYS be a market for REAL home computers with REAL OSs, IMHO
    Obviously.

    Some people (in the press, and from some corporations) have been banding around the 'death of the PC'. Perhaps they should have said 'death of the PC culture', though I guess that's harder to fit into a headline. They don't mean the PC'll disappear, but that it will be 'sidelined' - it won't have the crown anymore.

    • The E10000 does it now. The E3500, E4500, E5500, E6500 are all hardware capable of doing the exact same thing! But Sun isn't offering that feature in their operating system.

    Unless I'm mistaken, you can do DR on all the Ex5000 now, so long as you have Solaris 7. The E10000's have had it for 2 years, but then Sun merged the special stuff for this into standard Solaris, for Solaris 7.

  • by ChrisRijk (1818) on Thursday May 06, 1999 @01:58PM (#1902150)
    Some time ago I submitted a load of links to Slashdot, but they didn't get published. Here they are:
    • While Linux will pose more of a threat in the long-term, currently it's helping Sun. Here's some recent Sun-related links - Sun does well according to
    • IDC server survey [sun.com]. Sun's sha re price has risen [news.com] from $20 to $70 in last 6 months. Sun is now selling the Samba-like NetLink [sun.com] (part of Project Cascade). Interview with Scott McNealy (Sun CEO) at The Register, parts one [theregister.co.uk], two [theregister.co.uk], three [theregister.co.uk] and four [theregister.co.uk] - "the enemy of my enemy is my friend, so I love Linux.". A SunWorld (not part of Sun) article about the "unoperating system" [sunworld.com] - Oracle (and Sun's) plans for 'thin-server' appliances with a small OS.

    There's also a more recent article at SunWorld about Linux on SPARC [sunworld.com].

    Here's the bit about Linux from the article at The Register:

    • "Linux is like Windows: it's too fat for the client, for the appliance ...it's not scalable for the server. It's the right way to do the wrong answer, so if you're going to do the wrong answer which is fat clients and thin servers, then at least do it with Linux.
    • "Don't send any money to Microsoft for something that's fatter, slower, buggier, doesn't scale as well, and has fewer people working on it.

      "There was an interesting little experiment our CTO [Bill Joy] did. He took the Sony Vaio notebook ... He downloaded Linux, then he went over to Netscape and downloaded the latest version, and then he went over to Star Office, and all of a sudden he had a better, faster, smaller, lower-powered, bug-free, legally free environment ... with more people working on it than the entire state of Washington.

      "Now why in the world would anybody ever write another cheque to Microsoft? I don't know. But why would you do Linux either? That's the wrong answer. Go thin clients, go appliances: that's the right way to go long term. So that's why I call [Linux] the right way to do the wrong answer. And the enemy of my enemy is my friend, so I love Linux."

    Okay, some comments on this. If you include all the GNU/XFree86 as being part of Linux then it becomes pretty damn big. XFree86 is something like 45 million lines of code, last I heard. So 'all' of GNU/Linux is about 60 million, perhaps. Solaris is about 10 million. However, Scott's take on the future is basically the network computer concept. However, the markets he's thinking of are a) corporate, b) embedded consumer systems (TVs, set-top-boxes, intelligent phones etc) and not geeks. So, you have 'big iron' servers in the background giving you extreeme reliability - as reliable as phones, and incidentaly about 20% of Sun's revenue comes from telcos. These manage the 'master records' of your files, data etc. You then have 'simple' local clients that can do their own processing and have access to your 'big iron' servers.

    As an example, just recently, Sun announced their 'i-Planet' software, which is very cute - all you need is 'client' computers with Java running on it, and some servers in the background, with both connected to the internet. Now, what you do is from anywhere on these client computers you 'login' to the server, which then sends you some Java programs so that you can securely manage/access your email and other things. Basically, you don't need a 'personal' computer anymore.

    Scott's "right way to do wrong answer" is kinda misleading. But you can look at it like this, a) he thinks Linux is 'good' for what it is supposed to do, b) he thinks that (currently) Linux is not a general solution to the various problems that need to be solved in computing - ie it solves a sub-set. Scott's general 'solution' is for big (Sun) servers in the background with 'thin clients' being used the the public/workforce running Java - the hardware/OS doesn't even have to be from Sun.

    Is he right? Well, I think that for many situations I think 'thin client' 'network computing' is a good way to do many things, but it's not really for hacker types. How well the implimentation works will depend on the software, which is why NCs didn't take off - the software wasn't ready.

    Sorry this isn't very well written...

  • I don't use Linux because it's soposed to be cool,
    I use it because it's slick on a stinking IBM-PC compatible.
    On real H/W I would use Solaris over Linux any day.(OpenBSD too BTW)

    I installed Linux on my SPARCs because Solaris was too slow, and because Linux is a nicer environment in which to work. Yes, Solaris has a place in the world (increasingly only on high-end hardware). For my machines, however, I'll stick with Linux.

  • by linuxci (3530)
    It's more likely the opposite way round. Linux makes the ideal server OS and is only just coming up to scratch on the desktop.

    I've used Linux since 1996 and it has been my exclusive desktop OS since then but not until recently with the arrival of KDE and GNOME are we going to see it hit the mainstream. People need something easy to use and KDE or GNOME gives it to them, a few more of the major applications (and the completion of the mozilla porject - we need a fast web browser that is standards compliant - although I admit the KDE one is quite good) and Linux will be a major step at making computers really affordable.

    On the server side Linux has been ready much longer. UNIX in general has been better suited as a server than NT and the freeness of Linux (cost and liberty) makes it the ideal platform. Bugs are fixed quicker, you can extend the Operating System to your needs. The servers are stable, etc.
    Don't tell me NT is easier to set up. I don't think it is. I hate setting up serices with a GUI utility and I'm so used to UNIX anyway. But UNIX is hands down the better server platform and administrators are paid to use what is best not what gives them an easier time (which is a false economy - with NT you get more stress later when you have to keep going to boot the system, while the UNIX admin just relaxes as the uptime goes up and up)
    --
  • Yes, they are still in LI. But Sun's left hand doesn't know what the right one is doing. Big corporations always work this way.

    Bruce

  • We went through this when Bill Gates dissed Linux, too. Folks, when the representative of a company that makes its money on product "A" says that competing product "B" is no big deal, that's to be expected, and ignored. What else would he say?

    Here's a more important news story. Read this press release [w3.org] and see if you can help the W3C by finding prior art to overturn a patent.

    Thanks

    Bruce

  • Actually a roomate of mine has a multia. It was quite decently reliable running either Linux or OpenBSD. The biggest problem is that egcs's alpha optimizations tend to lag behind their x86 optimizations (especially with the pgcc group out there) due to them focusing first on the most used systems.
  • Yah, if you don't mind your eyes bleeding after 5 minutes of work on it.. Plus, the 1920x1200 which the poster was probably referring to has an aspect ratio of 1.6 to 1 rather than the typical 1.33 to 1 of a standard monitor. To handle that resolution a widescreen monitor is necessary. Also, nice feature of the Sun (rebadged Sony) 24" is it has an RGB in which can be connected to a DVD and a line doubler/quadrupler for up to 1080i video (and would do 1080p if such a standard existed)..

    BTW: Perhaps linux drivers for the TNT2 will handle this? The TNT2 is supposed to come with 32MB RAM which should dblbuffer 1920x1200x24 IIRC.. (Though Solaris doesn't offer a 24bit root depth, it's 1, 8, or 32-bit)
  • Strange! I tried setting my Xservers' defdepth to 24 and it reverted down to 8... (I just did xwininfo and it showed 24-bit, but do a xdpyinfo and check for your bits_per_pixel, you will be surprised!)

    The thing is, though, that 1920x1200x32 won't double-buffer in 16MB according to Sun folks, though it should in 32MB.. (which is why I drool over 32MB cards: I shan't go back from 24" or greater.. Wider is Better! ;)
  • Thin clients harken back to the days of multics. (For those who don't know mutics was esentially a time sharing system meant to be usable as a utility, where you paid for compute cycles.) Timesharing didn't make it (out side of the corpate enviroment!) All of the companies/people that toute thin clients have yet to describe anything other then the raw technology going in to the clients and maybe the server. Well I want to know about the billing structure. Why do I want to pay every time I use a word processor and then pay for the storage of my documents... They would be rediculous! Plus do you own the thin client or do you rent it. Before att was split you were not allowed to hook your own phone up to the bell network so that a ill behaved phone didn't kill the phone system. I for one like be Linux desktop system and don't mind setting up computers for other people. I DON'T WANT A SMART TERMINAL ON MY DESK!

  • What else do you expect him to say?

    "Well, y'know Solaris is kind of over-priced and who needs 16 cpu's in one computer anyway? Journalling filesystems are for cowards... everyone should just forget about Solaris and use Linux."

    heheh

    I don't know what he means by "a great way to get to the wrong answer"... perhaps he means the general crappiness of the i386 platform.

    C'mon Scott... us poor college students and hobbyists can't afford SPARCs, and Solaris x86 is WAY too slow compared to Linux or BSD...

  • Thin clints are probably the right way to go for the enterprise... much more stable, easy to maintain... it would save loads of support costs. But for the home user? Who's gonna be my server?

    Maybe an "internet appliance" is fine for most things but what about us programmers? What about Photoshop and 3D Studio? Are there really viable alternatives that can handle thousands of users compiling and running filters and rendering 3D? Can a "thin client" run Quake3?

    There are lots of "computer enthusiasts" (not even counting us hardcore geeks) that would be appalled by the idea of not having a local drive or their own software. And how would software licensing work? Subscriptions? Blehh...

    Their is a future for Scott's vision I'm sure... but there will ALWAYS be a market for REAL home computers with REAL OSs, IMHO

  • "Since when did I say that it was for everybody? In fact, I clearly stated at least twice that it wouldn't 'do' for geeks."

    hehehe

    I wasn't trying to argue but rather expand on that point...

  • They have been giving Linux lip-service, but haven't really been Linux's bwst ally as you say.

    A year or two ago, the Linux Journal magazine ran a feature on non-Intel Linux distributions, and they wanted to put a picture of a SparcStation on the cover. Sun refused because they said "Linux is a competitor".

  • mostly because linux is *not* a competitor to Sun. Sun sell hardware first, operating systems second. Their main competitor is intel. I doubt they would care about their Solaris sales if all the linux users out their bought one of their workstations tomorrow. Actually, it's in their interests to kep a good relationship with the linux crowd because they are potential customers.

    And for those who've interpreted his comments as negative: I didn't see anything he said in the article as trashing linux. Of course, he thinks Solaris is better than linux. In some ways, it is. His remarks amount to this. He acknowledges that it's OK, but presents his own product as "the right answer". I would too if I was in his shoes

  • Example: If you want to perform calculations, a Beowulf cluster of Linux boxes can give wonderful results for a modest investment. I believe a Beowulf could be constructed that could beat an E10000 in raw calculating power for a fraction of the cost. For that matter... I believe that it is possible to build a cluster of E10000's using Beowulf technology that could beat just about anything on the planet - it'd be expensive though... :)

    We just had an NDA meeting with some Sun reps, and they told of us of a large manufacturing company that uses a cluster of 6 fully loaded E10Ks for supply chain simulations (using I2 Rhythm software).

    Sun's future clustering solutions include Beowulf type clusters, as they are going for the HPC market as well.

    Sun gets a big win by being able to design the OS to the hardware. It's nice to be able to power down a CPU board via software, be able to remove it while the OS is still up, replace a bad part and put it back in again. You can do that now on a E5500 and E6500. On an E10K you can divide the 12 system boards into electrically isolated domains running individual copies of Solaris. Electrically isolated means that if you get a hardware failure that crashes one domain, the other ones stay up.


  • . . . his speech, . . . took place in a tent during a driving rainstorm.

    I work a mile up the road from the new Sun thing in Burlington, and there was no "driving rainstorm" yesterday. It did rain, but lightly and intermittently.

    I resent cheap shots like that.

    :)


    "Once a solution is found, a compatibility problem becomes indescribably boring because it has only... practical importance"
  • Gee, I seem to remember that a stock, regular Solaris license was included when you buy Sun hardware. You'd pay like $100 for the CD's and manuals or something. For the big servers, like the 10K, you'd have higher cost, but I'm pretty certain we got the software "free" (now don't start, you know what I mean).
  • For what they are doing, there is no reason to have something as complicated as Windows or Linux running.

    Linux doesn't have to be "complicated" it just has the ability to serve in complex systems. For example, you don't have to and probably don't want to install news servers, mail servers, etc on "client" boxes. You can "scale down" Linux to a very small size.

    Windows is inherently complicated because you generally can't take "out" pieces of the OS as you can with Linux.
  • Yes but what may have been meant as far as the libraries were the development libraries. You know, the header files, static, debugging, profile libraries. Are they "standard" bundled items, or do they only come with the compiler?

    If they only come with the compiler, don't you have to use alternate libraries, like glibc, if you want to use gcc and have debug, static, and profile versions of the libraries around for testing?

  • All the other ISOs I can think of arent owned or patented by a single company...am I missing something? An ISO owned by a single corporation? And how is linux the right approach to the wrong answer? It seems to me without the original BSD kernel...SunOS wouldnt exist would it? BSD was a free kernel just like linux is. Linux was designed to work on a computer you or I or a small company could afford, not 64 parallel processors. thats like pointing to the MindCraft benchmark test where linux didnt work quite right with SMP...well thats because it's not designed to. Wait...slashdot has how many users? and runs on what kind of machine? Seems like Solaris with 64 processor support is a little overkill for most non-rendering-every-point-in-the-universe projects.
  • Find a linux driver for that, or show me double-buffered hardware accelerated 3D graphics on linux

    We XFree86 people are working on it. We've already got multihead working.

    The GGI/KGI people are working on better 3-D hardware support; note that one problem is refusal of manufacturers to release specifications. That said, a Sun running Solaris is still better for your application than GNU/Linux at the moment, but when we get XFree86 4.0 out and KGI/GGI stabilises GNU/Linux will be just a bit better {grin}.

    Ever say "No thanks, I have enough RAM"?

    Yes--I've used the IBM Enhanced 80386 Memory Expansion Adapter (I had it before the ECA came out for it). {scream}

    Cheers,
    Joshua.

  • On an E10K you can divide the 12 system boards into electrically isolated domains running individual copies of Solaris. Electrically isolated means that if you get a hardware failure that crashes one domain, the other ones stay up.

    OK, maybe I'm stupid, but how is this better than running 12 completely separate machines?
  • I like Solaris. I really like Linux. At home I
    was running Solaris 2.5.1, then 2.6. I switched to Redhat 5.1, then 5.2, 5.9, 5.9.7, and now 6.0.
    On low end hardware, Linux smokes Solaris.

    It is possible to create a great Solaris environment. Download/compile perl/gcc/apache/python/tcl/tk/gnu tools/KDE, etc. (Which I have done). Or take the direct route and load a recent Linux distribution and save yourself a pile of time.

    We'll be loading an old Sparc5-70 with Linux.

    Sun would be smart to embrace some of he open source. I.E. include perl/apache/gnu tools/vim in the standard O/S. (sure, you can download them from http://www.sunfreeware.com/ but that's not as convenient as KNOWING /usr/bin/perl is on every Solaris 8 box)

    Bundling tools with the O/S would help Sun by:
    1) saving time of all the Sun folks doing it on their own.
    2) save customers time of rolling their own
    3) high value add/low cost
  • The point is with Linux, you know perl is installed. You know vim is installed. Solaris, you know it's not. I like Sun. I wish they would do a cranial-sphincter extraction and bundle some of the free goodies.

    Have you ever done a very short gig at a Sun site and the previous sysadmin's never installed perl? Or they have 4.036? Or your on a "test" network and can't download it from the web? Maybe you haven't. I've been around a while and I have.

    I like Solaris 7 at work. I prefer Linux at home. My hardware isn't too bad. It'll hold out for another year if I want. It's enough (128 megs Pentium 150) to run Solaris 7.

    Linux is what's beautiful about Unix. Solaris is a commercial product. It has it's good points, and it's annoyances. (X11R6 not 6.3 - so no LBX) The X drivers for X11R6.[34] don't work on the newer graphics cards. That sucks. CDE 2.1 was released before Solaris 2.6 came out. What version of CDE is in Solaris 7? (1.3). Fortunately, I can run KDE on Solaris 7.

    Sun is IMHO the best commercial Unix vendor. However, they can learn a thing or three from Linux. (and I wish they would!) Sure, Linux isn't going to be on the E10000 anytime soon. We have to run Solaris. I'd like to enjoy the ride as much as possible.

    One of these threads said Sun would like to be MS. MS is smarter than Sun at some things other than marketing. MS takes a piece of crap and incrementally improves it by any means possible. (Usually they steal). Sun should openly borrow from the open source community. (and give back too). Borrow the great free languages and utilities, samba, etc. Give back WebNFS, nis, nisplus, creator graphics drivers, etc.
  • Sounds to me like his comments should be evaluated in terms of what he thinks the question is. As much as I like Java (for some purposes), I think that Sun is still working too hard to find questions for which Java is the answer.
  • Sun has only _recently_ begun entering the small-server market; up till now it has been the exclusive domain of SCO and NT. Or are we not talking of the same market? What hardware are you talking about? Ultra 5's/10's? _PC's_? These are used as workstations in the Sun universe. Up till now it has been a nonexistant market for Sun - most of its money comes from hardware, and when you talk of what Sun considers to be _low end_ servers (E450's), please keep in perspective the PC equivalent (on which Linux is still flaky: 4-way SMP anyone?)
    Linux is a new player, which the big players (yes, that includes Sun :) ) are eyeing with mixed feelings; however, they are certainly not all that worried about the "small server market" - it is not generating enough revenue (unlike mid-high end servers and workstation markets). To say with such certainty that Linux is ready to compete in those markets, and that anyone is worried (at the moment), is just plain ridiculous. So yes, I think the post _does_ reek of Linux-is-god bigotry.
  • What he was saying was that his vision is for
    Big Iron (Sun) servers, and ultra-thin clients.

    I was there during the speech and the Q/A session.

    And, Yes, most everything *was* taken out of context.

  • As it should. People who are running Linux tend to do such nasty things as migrating to low-cost Intel-based hardware. People who are running Solaris find this a very painful exercise, so they tend to stay with Sun hardware and its bloated prices.

    Kaa
  • Well, first of all Sun boxes may be "pushing towards the large scalable server area", but currently they are selling an awful lot of plain-vanilla workstations. The place where I work is full of Ultra 1s, 2s, 10s, etc. and I believe this is typical. They all could, in principle, be replaced with Linux boxes. Think about it: three years ago if you needed a small- to medium-scale UNIX server you basically had to buy a Sun -- they were the cheapest. Today, if you are strapped for cash, you buy a PC and load Linux on it. Does this situation hurt Sun? You bet!

    As to world domination plans, you got mixed up a little. Think again: who (and what) has world domination plans? Publicly announced? As the goal of the whole thing? I'll give you a hint: it was not Scott McNealy. Once you've straightened this out, re-read the original paragraph again.

    Regarding Java, all I said was IMHO and all you said was IYHO, so we can disagree. I still think you are a bit naive if you think that all Sun cares about is Java not being "co-opted and corrupted.

    And my law doesn't need proof. It's self-evident. :)


    Kaa
  • Re-read the original post. Did it say that Linux is the greatest? No. Did it even say that Linux is better than Solaris? No. Did it say that everybody (or even anybody) should/must run Linux? No. Did it say that Sun/Solaris/McNealy should die slowly and painfully? No again.

    The point of the post was that Linux is rapidly spreading in the small-server market (this happens to be a fact). Sun happens to currently be a competitor in the same market. Given this I would not expect an unbiased view from Sun on the merits of Linux. Maybe you would, I don't know.

    The other point was that Sun exhibits a fair amount of large-corporation behaviour that I tend to view with suspicion. Again, I'm not saying that that's evil of them, or even unexpected or unusual. It's just that Sun is a large corporation the primary goal of which is to make money. It's wise to keep this in mind when evaluating Sun's actions.

    And I still don't see where all that "True Believer" stuff comes in.

    Kaa
  • Linux is a direct competitor to Solaris. Naturally McNealy is unhappy about the world domination plans, and he expresses it just a bit more graciously than that unnamed individual.

    Again, just because Sun is not MS does not mean it wears a white hat. Sun would be quite happy to squash Linux and have Solaris running on all Unix boxes out there. It is less successful at this than Microsoft with PCs, but it surely wants this to happen.

    I would be quite suspicious of Sun. Given their recent Java moves ("this language belongs to US!"), the famous McNealy privacy remark ("Get over it"), and other signs, I'm detecting a certain darkening of their headware.

    Kaa
  • by lameland (23851) <.ude.fsu. .ta. .ecreipe.> on Thursday May 06, 1999 @08:25AM (#1902181)
    Unlike other Unix players such as Hewlett-Packard and IBM, Sun, in Palo Alto, Calif., has unveiled no plans to support Linux on its hardware.

    Untrue. Sun has decided not to ship linux with it's hardware,
    but is supporting linux on Sparc and UltraSparc. Check out:
    http://www.sun.com/software/linux [sun.com]
  • The price? Solaris 7 was available for just the cost of the media. I don't know if that's still true or not.

    It still is. But only for non-commercial use. Not a bad idea, really. Linux's greatest strength is in the accademic world. Partly because it is a great thing for CS students to play with and learn from, but also becuase it is cheap. And when a student becomes familiar with he is likely to take it with him. I think that Sun realizes this and wants a piece of the action.

    Though they should make more of the OS available if they want to appeal to CS geeks. I mean, Solaris isn't nearly the educational tool that Linux is because the implementation isn't freely available to look at and tinker with. And don't even get me started on Solaris x86's hardware compatability.

  • Sounds like he is shaking in his shoes about there being a competitive standard other than java.

    It really threatens Sun's core business to have every other vendor on the market adopt an open source, open standard os like Linux because it undermines the Java movement. Write once, Run anywhere means a lot less when every vendor is offering Linux. Heck, even if every vendor offered a *nix solution, it would wound them.

    just my $.02

  • Solaris DOES in fact offer 24 bit root depth: check this (running 2.6):

    % version
    Machine hardware: sun4u
    OS version: 5.6
    Processor type: sparc
    Hardware: SUNW,Ultra-60


    % xwininfo
    xwininfo: Window id: 0x3a (the root window) (has no name)
    Width: 1280
    Height: 1024
    Depth: 24
    Visual Class: TrueColor
    -geometry 1280x1024+0+0


    BTW, I agree 100% about the 1920x1200. The aspect ratio screwed up OGL (for me). I traded my wide 24" for the standard big monitor and am happy at 1280x1024 and the higher refresh and standard aspect.

    Though crazy me I also traded the silly "Elite3D" for the regular creator3D cause it doesnt waste four UPA slots like the older turbo ZX (two for fans, believe it or not).

    Anyway- once Xfree86 solves the BIG PROBLEM of no overlay graphics I will rethink the whole issue. As far as I know (with linux, BSD, x86 solaris, etc. etc. youre-favorite-distro-here) you cant have a 24 bit root and pop up a pseudo on top. How shitty is that? The limitiations are mostly in the hardware I guess (some cards like high end matroxs might be able to overlay, as I hear from the xfree86 techs).
  • Maybe off topic and this is posted a bit down below but can I get the Xfree position?

    One of my biggest gripes about x86 (whatever distro) is that you can't get overlay visuals as far as I know. What I mean is 24 bit root and simultaneously open up a pseudocolor window. Why is because I use 24 bit root but some of the software we use requires psuedocolor display (LandMark -- Ugh!).

    I emailed xfree86 a while ago and was told that the problem is the cards, and that maybe the high-end cards (eg matrox) might soon be capable.

    Any news on this?
  • There seems to be a lot of rug beating going on here. People who use single or even dual cpu x86 machines but have never sat down in front of an ultra may not be aware of some of the issues re linux. When I first came to work my company was dominated by x86 solaris. I brought linux and bought the portland group compilers (for a fraction of suns workshop fees) and blew away the solaris x86 machines. Boot in a small fraction of the time, comile quicker, better uptime, better memory handling, etc etc and best of all customize, customize, customize. BTW CDE sucks. I tried hard to get them to switch to linux but no go. Too much legacy code linked against libs you cant get for linux (binary only dists from INT- Interactive Network Tech. for example). So they still use the x86 slowlaris. However! I am sitting in front of a twin ultra60 with 400s and a Gig of ram. What makes it really sweet is the creator3D graphics (and the dual heads). Find a linux driver for that, or show me double-buffered hardware accelerated 3D graphics on linux. I use geomview and do a lot of 3D work. On linux it is merely passable, because you must use software rendering. But on this ultra, baby, it simply flies. Until linux gets caught up at that end (and I dont want bleeding edge solutions, this is a production environment), I am quite happy with sparc solaris. just my 2 c.
  • Sun may charge extra for the compiler, but you can head straight over to www.sunfreeware.com -- a site that Sun sponsors -- and download gcc/gdb in binary, ready to run, Solaris pkg form.
  • you know, this whole phone network metaphor is bandied about a lot but im starting to wonder if it makes sense. i mean, processor speed is CHEAP. and people like playing games, they like word processing, they like having control over what they do. everyone talks about universal clients but theres already one - windows 9x. a lot of innovation is taking place using this platform - icq, real, etc. i think the really interesting apps are going to be involving some type of combination of fat server and medium-weight client...why NOT take advantage of those cheap mips. for chrissakes emachines has 300 mhz boxes for 400 bucks! scott mcnealy has absolutely NO vision. bill too - that 5 billion ms paid at&t to use winCE wont matter cuz the installed base of windows users is insurmountable for the next year and a half...and in the long term we're all dead.
  • >I don't know where you get the idea that McNealy >has any world domination plans, where did that
    >come from? Of course he wants Sun to be >successful as a CEO that is his job, but "world >domination"?

    come ON!
  • If not a friend, how would one qualify being a member of Linux International - certainly before SGI or HP.

    What about the help given to do the JDK 1.2 port to Linux ?

    What about the hardware lent to the linux sparc port ?

    The reason why HP (don't know about SGI) offer Linux courses is because they want to sell their Intel boxes, certainly not for their PA-RISC, MIPS processors. In that context, Sun sells no Intel-based hardware. That is my explanation why linux instruction is not offered by Sun.

    My conclusion: yes a friend and an ally.

    --
    I work for Sun. But my opinions are mine.
  • After reading the previous article saying that Sun was abandoning ISO Java, I'm starting to detect a trend. Namely, there can not be an article about Sun that doesn't contain a lot of Microsoft-bashing.

    Now, I know there's no love lost between the two. Personally, I _tend_ to side with Sun after seeing what MS tried to do in "embracing and extending" Java.

    This business of slamming MS in EVERY interview, however, is starting to sound childish. I know that's what reporters are looking for. Give them an interview that 90% content and 10% MS-bashing and they'll print the 10% MS-bashing every time. It's more sensational.

    Understanding that, maybe the Sun execs should consider taking a PR course and learn to "not comment" on matters regarding Microsoft. It might help the average reader see Sun as a company with its own ideas, rather than "Microsoft Hater #1".

    Just my humble open yun.

  • Linux is a direct competitor to Solaris.


    Sun makes its money on hardware. They don't care whether the customer is running Linux or Solaris, as long as they are doing it on Sun hardware.

  • Doesn't plan to support Linux on Sun hardware?

    I think he meant that Sun would not be selling support contracts for Linux - unlike SGI and HP. Just as a point of interest, if you look at the Unix vendors who are selling support for Linux, I think you'll see that all of them also started selling support for NT a few years back. Make of that what you will.

    Hmmm. They should, it would show off the machines far better than Solaris.

    Not to put too fine a point on it: you have no idea what you're talking about.

    Linux will run on small-scale SMP boxes. Currently, Sun's biggest machine has 64 CPUs. Even if Linux can boot on an E10000, trying to compare Linux and Solaris performance would be hugely embarrassing to Linux. Sun has a ton of engineers optimizing Solaris for these huge SMP boxes. How many Linux kernel hackers even have access to an SMP 1/8th this size?

    Sun storage is now mainly fiber channel based. Their 14-disk A5000 array can deliver 140 MB/s (using two fiber loops), using Veritas Volume Manager to manage the individual disks. Does Linux support fiber channel at all? Does Veritas run on Linux?

    Linux is great, but it's not the answer to everything. Again, to be blunt, it's Linux "advocates" like you who make the rest of us look bad.

  • FWIW, here's [sun.com] here's the web page for free Solaris 7. It looks like StarOffice is also being given away for it.

    Though they should make more of the OS available if they want to appeal to CS geeks. I mean, Solaris isn't nearly the educational tool that Linux is because the implementation isn't freely available to look at and tinker with.

    Really? I thought the source was available to people at .edu sites. I remember a bunch of hullaballoo when they made that anouncement for Solaris 2.6. I'll bet it's still available.


  • For the thousand people in the insurance company who don't need full powered pc's, just give them a
    machine with a p200, a NIC and a 4 gig HD. How much would that cost 200-300?



    Hardware is cheap. What's expensive is training the users, maintaining the machine, and downtime when the machine is unavailable due to crashes or upgrades. For what they are doing, there is no reason to have something as complicated as Windows or Linux running.

  • What follows is strictly hearsay, and may be totally incorrect.



    My understanding is that the powers that be decided that the compiler group was not delivering a competitive product. So, they decided to force them to compete with the Portland Group, and others. In essence, they had to start paying their own way - by delivering a product that people would pay for. Maybe it's a coincidence, but since they unbundled the compiler, it has been improving by leaps and bounds. For people who don't want to pay for a compiler, gcc and gdb both work fine with Solaris.


    As for the libraries, I'm not sure what you're talking about. They ship with the OS - otherwise even 'cp' wouldn't work.

  • I believe a Beowulf could be constructed that could beat an E10000 in raw calculating power for a fraction of the cost.

    Sure. Just rack up a couple dozen 4-way P2s. The problem is that 'raw calculating power' is rarely enough. Unless you have an embarrassingly parallel application, communication costs will kill you. Remember that the interprocess communication on a SMP is orders of magnitude faster than between nodes.

    Also, if you have an autoparallelizing compiler, you can turn a single-processor sequential code into a multi-processor multithreaded code with a simple command-line option. This can be a huge win for some codes - probably more 'real world' codes than are embarrassingly parallel. This way, you don't need to learn a new programming model - just recompile your old codes.

  • The system header files are there for all the 'system' libraries (libc.so, libadm.so, libaio.so, libcurses.so, libm.so, etc). I think the static libraries are there as well - although their use is discouraged. I don't see any 'debug' libraries anywhere - either in /usr/lib, or in the compiler package.

    I think the only libraries that don't come with the machine are optimized math libraries (libsunperf.so, for example). Those have a whole separate API and everything, so it's not something you're likely to miss.

  • Sun's future clustering solutions include Beowulf type clusters, as they are going for the HPC market as well.

    Calling this a Beowulf-type cluster is a little silly. People were putting these things together for years before the Beowuld project started. That's like calling all browsers "Internet Explorer type applications".

  • how is this better than running 12 completely separate machines?

    Performance and ease-of-use. By having them all in the same box, you get to use shared memory instead of network connections for inter-process communication. In many cases, you can avoid inter-process communication altogether - just spawn multiple threads in the same process.

    The cool thing about the multiple domains, is that you can repartition them more-or-less on the fly. So, if you have a board that is acting flaky, you can remove it from the main domain for testing. While you're testing, you can reboot just that board, you can run a different version of the OS, you can add and remove devices from it, etc. When you have isolated and fixed the problem, you can add it back into the main domain.

  • If Linux can adopt Sun's DR process on Sun hardware, it would be one hell of a trophy to run four seperate instances of Linux on a single E4500.

    I wouldn't be surpised if the hardware wouldn't support this.

    In any case, I think you're getting a little ahead of yourself. If the hardware does support it, and if people actually want to do it, don't you think it's likely that Sun could get it done first? They've already got all the infrastructure in place, from the E10k work. Linux would be starting from scratch.

  • by oldmanmtn (33675) on Thursday May 06, 1999 @09:50AM (#1902202)
    Everything he said was taken out of context. That doesn't mean that it's false, but I for one would love to know what he meant by "a great way to get to the wrong answer"...

    Actually, he said that Linux was "the right way to get the wrong answer". He meant that supporting open interfaces was absolutely the Right Thing to do. He was less convinced about open implementation, but he was at least warm to the idea.

    By the "wrong answer" he meant that the Linux mindset is to have fat, powerful clients. He believes that the right model is to have fat, powerful servers, and thin clients.

    Several times he made analogies to the phone system. Your phone is a thin client, connecting to fat servers. You don't buy software for your phone, the phone company supplies features. Etcetera.

    Most of it wouldn't apply to the way your average /. reader uses computers, but it does make sense when you start thinking about the throngs of less sophisticated users out there.

    How do you make the internet accessible to those people who can't program their VCRs? Asking them to install and configure Windows or Linux isn't going to cut it. For those people, a WebTV-like solution probably makes sense.

    If you have a thousand people in an insurance company doing little but data entry and retrieval, does it really make sense to put a full powered PC or workstation on each desk? It would be a hell of a lot cheaper and more manageable to have some thin, stupid clients communicating with the fat servers in the back room.

    Assuming that the right answer is Sun's Slowlaris? Maybe for multiprocessor boxes, but definitely not for the price.

    The price? Solaris 7 was available for just the cost of the media. I don't know if that's still true or not.

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