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HP+Compaq Deal Could be Great for Linux 258

elliotj writes "This Business Week editorial is arguing that the HP purchase of Compaq could mean big things for Linux as the resulting monolith is forced to rationalize their multitude of operating systems. The most sensible solution may well be for them to abandon HPUX, Tru64 et al and embrace Linux as the one-and-only *nix OS. Interesting thing about the article is that it comes from Business Week...not exactly a traditional penguin cheerleader." Ah, but soon, thanks to Yet Another Corporate Merger, we'll have another defunt company icon in the topics field.
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HP+Compaq Deal Could be Great for Linux

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  • I think most of you agree that if HPaq did decide to embrace Linux it would be pretty cool. But there are quite a few potential drawbacks of this. First of all it would mean the loss of quite a few jobs in Compaq and HP. Both companies have a pretty large developement staff which would not be entirely needed. Some would need to remain behind in order to produce a flavor of linux tailored to their systems. Imagine that if all of a sudden a wave of 60 year old Unix guru's were put out onto the street...
    • by Benley ( 102665 ) on Thursday September 06, 2001 @10:44PM (#2261817) Journal
      ... or imagine what could happen if all of a sudden a large wave of 60-year-old Unix gurus were unleashed as Linux developers instead of HP-UX or Tru-64 developers.

      Very Good things may happen if Hewlett Paqard keeps their OS fellows around and turns them towards the new unified OS front.
      • That is EXACTLY what is happening with IBM, and here at Computer Associates. Smaller companies like ours NETSuai [netsuai.com] are devoting all of our time to security.

        Personally I'm greatful for the help
      • by StandardDeviant ( 122674 ) on Friday September 07, 2001 @12:12AM (#2262147) Homepage Journal
        "imagine what could happen if all of a sudden a large wave of 60-year-old Unix gurus were unleashed as Linux developers"
        • TECO debs and rpms are made (if this has already happened, I don't want to know).
        • Someone publishes a .bashrc to give you that nice home-y ITS feel.
        • Thinkg**k comes out with an "emacs is for punks" shirt.
        • A Multics kernel personality (written in APL with a FORTRAN 66 I/O layer) is submitted with a reminder to Alan and Linus that they were soiling diapers when the author was rebeading core.
        • Somebody adds a "KILL SYSTEM" command to one or more shells.
        • Somebody writes a kernel module to accept input (through serial I'd guess, not that I'm advocating this) from handmade front panel switches...
        • ... and somebody else modifies LILO/GRUB/GAG to accept input from them ...
        • ... and somebody else publishes a HOWTO on how to do away with LILO (...) if you have the front toggles ...
        • ... and the second author's name is Mel.
        • Someone mails Alan or Linus a kernel patch ... on paper tape.
        • Two words: PDP port. (tech sidenote: yeah yeah, I know)
        • Termcap gets an entry for "asr33".
        • Somebody hits Tannenbaum (sp? cue old mono vs. micro kernel thread reference) over the head with a walker.
        • Joining Isoslack and Zipslack is ... TapeSlack.
        • Someone does a photomontage of their naked, full moon ass and part of the kernel source and mails it to AT&T's corporate headquarters.
        • Linux becomes able to boot straight to SpaceWar using the framebuffer modules.
        • The man page for ed(1) gets updated.
        • Someone posts a flame about how directories are bloat. (no, not like LDAP)
        • Multics or ITS joins the ranks of supported VMware guest operating systems.
        • When you grovel around in /proc periodically the kernel gives you sage advice like "All Hardware Sucks."

        A coat? In Texas? Are you insane?

        • You make all this sound like it's somehow a bad thing...

          Actually, I like some of those ideas, since I'm a bit of a retrocomputing enthusiast myself. And an ELKS port to the PDP-11 is probably doable, especially with those ancient DEC techies kicking around.

          Porting ITS to modern hardware, though... go look through the ITS tech reference. I thought of doing it to learn a little about OS hacking. It frightened me.

        • ``TECO debs and rpms are made (if this has already happened, I don't want to know).''

          Well not yet. But there are versions of TECO written in C. Any bets on whether I could get it to run under Linux in my copious spare time? Would RPMs by Christmas do?

          ``Somebody writes a kernel module to accept input (through serial I'd guess, not that I'm advocating this) from handmade front panel switches...''

          This'd mean I could actually find something neat to do with the PDP/8 and 11/70 front panels I have down in the basement!

          ``Two words: PDP port. (tech sidenote: yeah yeah, I know)''

          Sort of like getting back to one's roots, eh?

          ``Termcap gets an entry for "asr33".''

          I've seen this already (on a SVR4.2 for the PC and, if memory serves, on Coherent) but not on a Linux box.

          ``The man page for ed(1) gets updated.''

          You mean people are still making tweaks to ed?

        • "Someone does a photomontage of their naked, full moon ass and part of the kernel source and mails it to AT&T's corporate headquarters."

          ...in ASCII. :) Come on, you know someone has done it.

      • why would any sane company drop a well developed, stable, scalable, reliable operating system like HPUX or Tru64 for a hacked together piece of shit like linux?

        i mean seriously, slashdot is kidding itself if you other unix hackers will take you seriously.

        at the moment i am hacking the IP stack and to be honest its a disgrace. statements such as these:
        icmp_reply(&icmp_param, skb);

        are insane. for fucks sake copying data around in an IP stack is retarded and is against the principles of designing a fast IP stack. look at the bsd stack if you really need a lesson.

        and it will take all of IBM's $1b to fix the mess that is linux.

    • It's all a nice thought, but you're absolutly right. Both companies have tailored their *nix systems for their hardware, and I highly doubt that they will move away from this.
      • The question is, how many different computer product lines can/should the combined company support?

        I only count a few: Laptops (consumer and corporate), desktops (consumer and corporate), standard servers (small, medium, and large), and high-availability systems (large and gargantuan).

        Both Compaq and HP currently have product lines for all these markets. Sometimes more than one. The combined company will have two or three product lines for each market. Can you smell trouble?

        Even IBM wasn't able to pull this off forever. The combined company must figure out how to consolidate its product lines... especially because some of them are in direct competition with each other.

        Take high-availability for example. Does it make sense to move all the Tandem customers to PA-RISC? Or the other way around? Or does it make sense to port all this stuff to Linux, which could eventually run the entire server line? Which strategy will be faster? Easier? Cheaper? Which will be less porting effort? What will the current customers tolerate?

        Dunno. Tough call. I'm glad I'm not sitting in the big chair for this one.

      • I love Linux and I think it's got a great future. But for HPaq to abandon Tru64, VMS, HP-UX and the legacy systems would be folly.

        Those systems have an installed base of users that are willing to pay money to have working systems keep working.

        Linux, OTOH, is characterized by a slew of small VC funded company carcasses that failed to grasp how to make money off this nascent OS.

        If nimble little companies have failed to do so, what makes you think that a behemoth like HPaq will be able to do so?

        No, the right move is for them to contribute to the growth of Linux and become recognized as a key player in that area (IBM strategy). Then, when the installed base of Linux creeps upward enough, they can sell services and specialized add-on products that will be recognized for adding value instead of adding hype and cool.

        Linux is too small and growing too fast to be able to predict with any certainty which markets it will figure into most dominantly. Servers? Yes, but don't discount what random thing can come of the ferment that is the embedded market. Any Linux company (not just HPaq) should cultivate internal expertise in Linux so that they can be ready to jump when it starts to become obvious where the market is leading.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Posing AC because I'm a Compaq employee fearing for my job...
      First of all it would mean the loss of quite a few jobs in Compaq and HP.

      Even without the focus on Linux there will be plenty of job loss. Both companies have their own version of Unix. The initial announcement said that they planned to "integrate" the two systems and create one mega-Unix. Well, we all know how trivial it is to merge two completely different operating systems into one, right? In reality, they're going to pluck a few key features from one Unix and put them into the other. Then, the "losing" Unix gets thrown out on the street, along with all its developers!
      Imagine that if all of a sudden a wave of 60 year old Unix guru's were put out onto the street...

      Well, not 60... A few years ago they flushed out most of the old Unix developers and brought in a new group (I don't really know why). Most of the Unix people have only been around for a few years. But yes, you probably will see a wave of gurus out on the street.
  • A lot of it depends on how well the deal is received by stockholders. The overall impetus for the deal was to cut costs by eliminating overlapping divisions (not just Linux-related stuff), but so far HP's stock is down- there's a front page story on this in the Financial Times today (www.ft.com). This could indicate that stockholders and investors are scared that the consolidation plans are too aggressive, and it might scare HP away from eliminating support for older *nix systems in the near future. Still, we can hope....
  • Linux is no longer the underdog. It is clear that Linux has a firm grip on the imagination of such battle-worn industrial giants as HP and IBM, that the battle is no longer in the hands of the geeks. The product has left our hands, and I for one, am delighted to see the Minuet link from earlier in the day. At least half the posts on that topic were mean-spirited, a stiff hill that Linus didn't have to climb in 1991.

    The great work of Open Source is finished. Now the true geeks, return to working on obscure things that don't hit the news every six hours.

    -Water Paradox
    • Who it is way too early for that statement. No one in linux has a $30B mattress fund fr freakin rainy days....wait microsoft does. Linux still needs to come a ways to be comfortable in the market like Microsoft
  • I know all the *nix have a lot of similarities, but HP has kind of been with HPUX for awhile now. Could they be able to support linux within a year? That could require a lot of training. And any transition requires even more spending money (something I'm guessing they have less to throw around after buying Compaq).

    Honestly I think they're going to be more conservative and go for printers and other accessories, not necessarially linux anytime soon.

    • They haven't a larks chance in hell of making that sort of transition. The PA-RISC port of Linux is best classified as immature, and is highly incomplete (i.e. it doesn't support the full gamut of bus types found in HP 9000s, such as GSC or HP-PB; there's absolutely no support for the high end machines like the V-class or Superdome, etc).

      I can't even begin to imagine home much work they'd have to do in order to make Linux run at all, much less reliably and quick, on the Superdome (each node can be a 64-way PA-8600, 128GB memory, up to 192 PCI slots, all hot swappable, with hardware/software parititioning).

      And HP/UX is only ONE of the operating systems in question here - you've also got OpenVMS, Tru64, Nonstop-UX, and MPE/IX. All of which have very large legacy installtions, run on hardware that Linux can't yet, and have capabilities that are well beyond what Linux can do.

      I'm a huge fan of Linux, and have been using it since around '94, but have also used and supported HP/UX, Solaris, Openserver, Unixware, Nonstop Clusters, BSDI, OpenBSD and FreeBSD. (With some exposure to Tru64, MPE/IX, OpenVMS and Vax/VMS).

      Unfortunately migration is a per customer, per application issue. Some might be simple (i.e. moving a webserver or a database), but there is a HUGE amount of custom code or niche applications running out there that aren't nearly that simple, particularly when talking about the non UX platforms (e.g. MPE/IX) where you don't even have the benefit of a mostly similar API to ease porting. And even porting to and from Unixes is no piece of cake, particularly when they're based on different branches of the great Unix tree (e.g. HP/UX is heavily modified SVR3, Tru64 is branched off OSF/1, etc).

      So getting back to the original point - they couldn't really drop anything without screwing their customers. So its much more likely that they'd move what they could into maintainance (i.e. no updates save bugfixes.)

  • Well they both had a pretty big presence at the linux expo. And i saw plenty of ipaqs running linux of sorts. I sure hope they both under one umbrella will continue to support linux but in an even stronger manner.
  • Hewlett Packard bought Compaq. Hewlett Packard owns Compaq. I have a Hewlett Packard. My cousins have a Compaq. That means that I own them. I already did, but this is more of a buffer zone.

    Click here [invalidchars.com], it's great.
  • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Thursday September 06, 2001 @10:46PM (#2261829) Journal
    It seems like the potentials for Linux are sort of obvious, given the merger.

    The problem is that HP will have to lay off about 16,000 more people. I wonder how many of these will be part of the Linux project.

    What are the odds that HP will do something idiotic and get rid of Linux instead of pulling it into its heart and soul?

    - - -
    Radio Free Nation [radiofreenation.com]
    an alternate news site using Slash Code
    "If You have a Story, We have a Soap Box"br

    • This is a very interesting question, and immediately IBM pops up in my mind. With IBM's recent wave of support and effort put into the Linux OS, I wonder if embracing the Linux operating system would give HP-Compaq a stronger competitive position against IBM. Neither HP nor Compaq has put any significant effort into this OS in the past, and they may well lag behind IBM's development efforts, including products like WebSphere. Perhaps they might find it more profitable to rely on the solutions they have for the most viable of their existing OSes and then work on merging technologies.
      • Neither HP nor Compaq has put any significant effort into this OS in the past, and they may
        well lag behind IBM's development efforts, including products like WebSphere.


        Comapq's [compaq.com] Linux effort.

        HP's [hp.com] Linux effort.

        I'm not saying that they have invested as much time or money into Linux as IBM, but don't say it has been overlooked by HPaq. Compaq even has links on their site for Linux on the iPaq handhelds.

    • Some layoffs are inevitable, but with an abundance of resources I think it would be very unlikely to reduce support for Linux. IBM has made the beginnings of significant investment in Linux and businesses are starting to see Linux as the potential "next big thing", at least to some. HP-Compaq will probably not want to risk missing the boat here, so at least some Linux initiative would be prudent.

      More importantly in my mind is the fact that a combined HP-Compaq may have enough leverage in the home PC market to fight against Microsoft leveraging tactics. With one less big PC OEM to play against each other with threats of high prices or refusal of product sales HP-Compaq (and possibly, Dell, IBM, etc.) will have an easier time calling Microsofts tactics and "leveraging" their own solutions (hopefully including Linux).

      Such a strategy would be risky, but a combined company has a better chance of pulling it off.
  • by S. Allen ( 5756 ) on Thursday September 06, 2001 @10:46PM (#2261830)
    And IBM is already committed to Linux. So HP either chooses Linux to gain an equal footing or foolishly pursues it's own massive matrix of proprietary hardware/os offerings. Like the article says: "If HP continues to place equal emphasis on the various operating systems, it will likely survive. But HP could have difficulty growing in the high-end server market and in services. Fiorina's job could become one of managing decline rather than leading growth."

    Services will not pull them out of this one and training a new/larger field service group in a plethora of new technologies will not be cheap. My money says they will not succeed. Only a simplification and rationalization of offerings will. Linux looks like an excellent choice as it is beginning to make a buzz in boardrooms.
    • 'Services' does not equal 'field service'.

      Field Service fixes stuff. 'Services' = consulting, as in $300 per hour Sys admins, DBA's, and Project managers.

      Plus, if anyone thinks that Linux is better than Tru64, they are smoking crack. Tru64 is what Linux should strive to be. HP/Compaq will continue to support both HP-UX and Tru64, as long as there are Tru64/Alpha boxes out there. But don't expect to see any new hardware based on the Alpha and running Tru64. In 18 months, we will be snapping up those on eBay
      • Good point. And when I talk about 'Services', I mean consulting. Consultants need to be trained on the tools they use as well as the field technicians who fix hardware. Arguably, training Consultans on a variety of software is harder than training field technicians since consultans are asked to do much wackier things with the tools they are given :)

        Ironically, consultants tend to be negatively impacted by an overly-large palatte of tools to choose from. Too little is bad, but too many means they cannot develop depth of expertise. HP + Compaq more than doubles the complexity for consultants.
        Lastly, I did not claim Linux was better than Tru64. Linux may be very well served by emulating Tru64. The issue is traction and support. Linux has far greater traction, has been ported to more hardware and has more drivers than Tru64. It also has more developers. And HP+Compaq needs developers to sell hardware.
  • What happens if you are a customer who was sold a system with one of those "other" operating systems. You'd scream bloody murder if the OS running your systems was going to be trashed in favor of something else.

    If that happens you can be sure that Microsoft is going to try and sweep in to pick through the carnage...

    • What happens if you are a customer who was sold a system with one of those "other" operating systems. You'd scream bloody murder if the OS running your systems was going to be trashed in favor of something else.
      If that happens you can be sure that Microsoft is going to try and sweep in to pick through the carnage...

      I don't think the BizWeek guy is suggesting they drop support for their Unices tommorrow. (BizWeek cheering on Linux??? What is this world coming to?)

      They're all Unix flavors, all conforming to POSIX to some degree or another. If your inhouse developers followed the POSIX standard closely, (which they should have, as that gives you the flexibility to switch unix flavors), tranistioning to Linux is an order of magnitude easier than switching to NT/2K. And training an HPUX staff to use Linux is substantially easier than teaching them the MS way. Running to Microsoft would be even more difficult.
      • They're all Unix flavors, all conforming to POSIX to some degree or another. If your inhouse developers followed the POSIX standard closely, (which they should have, as that gives you the flexibility to switch unix flavors), tranistioning to Linux is an order of magnitude easier than switching to NT/2K.

        There are many applications that do not and cannot run on Posix. A lot of Digital customers were running code for real time control systems that requires features that Posix simply does not provide.

        Nobody is going to switch an aplication to Linux just for kicks. Legacy UNIX systems will endure for the same reason that many companies still run obsolete O/S like MVS (and their idiot sysadmins will still maintain that it is the acme of progress rather than the acne).

        More likely would be that HP/UX and Tru64 were made open source.

  • But will it really? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Wister285 ( 185087 )
    I think that this merger will obviously cause some downsizing of OSes but this will have bad side effects. One, it could hurt corperate culture and cause alot of internal stability problems. No good programmer is going to want to give up his or her job and baby (their flavor of UNIX). It will cause them to leave or cause competing UNIXes within HP (everyone remember at Apple - Mac people had buttons "we are the future" and the Apple people had "we are the cash"). This is obviously a great risk that came with aquiring Compaq.

    Second, the decentralized nature of Linux posses a problem for big wigs in the mega companies today. Beside HP, who just made their "distro," who is behind Linux besides all of the individuals? Where is their ticker symbol? I do realize that HP made HPUX, but was its success really that great? I'm all for Linux, but are most people on the board of directors going to prefer an OS which they can fallback on (like Microsoft), or one which has a rebellious "nature" and following.

    Granted, Linux is nice and all, and it will get a boost from this merger, but I'm not sure that it will quite get the boost that this article is talking about. I just can't think of any more points right now. :-)
    • one of the big questions in C'paqs buying Digital was what to do with DECUnix?

      this problem caused major problems for the Paq management team, as did the question of what to do with the Alpha chip...i (and numerous others) predicted at the time that Paq would try to bump off the Alpha chip because of their, uh, close relationship the Redmond Krewe, they did try, the G told them, "No, noo, can't do that"

      also Paq had a major (by corporate standards) revolt in the Alpha devel teams....lost mucho development talent because of the merger...

      HP will face similar probs...

      the high margin folk at HP only know of HPUX, and the "lure" of Linux will probably not be very great for them and their developers, Linux SMP/scalability is at least 2 years behind HPUX....

      Paq has been one of M$' dependable Ben Dovers since the day, they know from nothing but WinOS and lousy customer support...any attempt to shove Linux down their throats will result in massive problems with the "True Believers" on the Compaq devel teams...

      Linux WILL get a boost from this, SURE, but H'Paq will have to decide to row the boat with Blue or with M$

      ...for Carly it won't be an easy decision, as picking the wrong partner will prob ensure the acquisition or demise of America's Most Admired Engineering company...

      OT: i still have my HP 35/45/55/67/97/41c/x/v calculators and let's not forget my fave, the 16C,they all still work like new, though a few of them be lookin real uglee and they been around the world...Good Luck, HP!
  • Judging from the "overwhelming" support both companys have from their shareholders regarding the deal, I doubt it will even occur. c'mon, how many companys REALLY go through with a merger after it drops over 5 billion in value? Not even micro$oft would touch that one...
  • Company Icon (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gameshow Bob ( 31940 ) on Thursday September 06, 2001 @10:52PM (#2261865) Homepage
    And you STILL don't have an HP icon. Actually, the official strategy from HP, at least before all of this merger business, is the "Three OS Strategy" Windows, HP-UX, Linux. HP-UX at some point is going to be binary compatible with Linux and be the HP Big Iron version of "Linux"
  • by piecewise ( 169377 ) on Thursday September 06, 2001 @10:53PM (#2261870) Journal
    "Yet another corporate merger." I'm not insuating that remark was made in this way -- but so many people say that phrase with a sense of bitterness, and I just don't get it. It's the nature of the markets. Companies merge, so what?

    Often people get layed off -- but if the companies don't merge, trust me, MORE people could get layed off (clearly in this case.. Compaq's been in BIG trouble for some time)

    Call me a Capitalist Pig, but this is the way it goes, and it's not so horrible. I don't like Compaq, I don't like HP much... but I'm not cursing them because they're merging -- it's best for the market, and could turn out pretty good.

    It's funny that (especially those from the 60's) despise corporations, and somehow fail to realize corporations provide us with jobs, health coverage, a place in which to feel pride, et cetera. Companies aren't evil.

    If you want something to bitch about, bitch about the 50% divorce rates. Now THERE are some "comporate mergers / layoffs" in itself.

    My ranting is done. :-)
    • bitch about the 50% divorce rates. Now THERE are some "mergers"

      Actually, the lack thereof, i'd say. :)
    • However, companies are amoral. Publically traded companies are the most amoral of all. Corporations have to make short term decisions that maximize profits for their shareholders or they can be sued. If it means buying politicians, offensively using patents, indefinetly extending copyrights, balkanizing scientific disciplines with walls of IP, or polluting the environment as much as legally possible then so be it.

      Public relations departments aside, corporations don't have consciences. So yes, it's true. They can employ people and fill needs but it is not pristine good with no downside whatsover. The positive things they do are not an excuse to turn a blind eye to the horrible things they often do. Their actions bear watching and sometimes correcting. And no, "the market" does not automagically bring right and light to the world. The market IS a system with some homeostasis but these mechanisms are themselves amoral with no regard for the welfare of either corporations or individuals.
    • It's funny that (especially those from the 60's) despise corporations, and somehow fail to realize corporations provide us with jobs, health coverage, a place in which to feel pride, et cetera. Companies aren't evil.

      Call me a Socialist, but in many countries corporations don't provide health coverage, The government does. Having had the opportunity to compare nationalised health coverage with the US corporate version I know which I prefer...

      Call me a cynic but I don't feel pride in all of the "corporations" I've worked for. I used to work for an ISP in the UK, and I was proud of our achievements there (lots of good stuff with little capital outlay)... I have worked for a very large American corporation and the amount of Bureaucracy astounded me... it also hindered myself and my colleagues from doing our jobs properly. I currently work for a health care non profit, and I have no pride in the company acheivements. I have some pride in some of what we are doing, but we are hampered by budgetary constraints combined with expensive software.

      The one thing that you said that I agree with in that paragraph was "corporations provide us with jobs". Yes, they do, but at what cost? The US works the longest hours (I officially work 40 hours per week here compared to 35 in the UK) has shorter vacation time (I have had anything from no pto (as a contractor) to 10 days, compared to the UK where I started with 24 days. Sick leave is worse (I currently have none as a contractor), In fact all in all employment here seems to be to provide the corporation with exactly what they want at the least cost. It's certainly not mutual. One of my previous managers went as far as to say "Weekends are optional". That wasn't in my contract, but he wanted us to work weekends and late nights, and... and not be compensated for it.


  • Ah, but soon, thanks to Yet Another Corporate Merger, we'll have another defunt company icon in the topics field.

    Defunct. Like Compaq desktop systems.

    Good riddance.
  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Thursday September 06, 2001 @10:55PM (#2261879)
    Dont get me wrong I have been using Linux for about 8 Years now and I like working with. But I also like working with Unix systems (Solaris, *BSD, etc). And I found that every OS has its atvantages and Disatvantages. And I dont think Hpaq will do a big switch to all Linux any time soon. Although it would be great if they use Linux for the systems that Linux is good, for Low-Mid size servers (1-2 Processors) where the server is set up and let it do its job. But I found the Triditional Unixes and even the old VMS has its place as well in today market and I dont see them dieing out anytime soon (Mabey VMS). Those Evil Closed sourse Unix Systems (Some with over 20 years of development on them) are better tuned to do their jobs on their own systems. Linux by contrasted is developed to work more like a leathermen tool of the OS. (Windows is like a cheap pockit knife). Although they are greate for most taskes there are time that you need to get a real screwdriver or pliers to get the job done. I found the Unix systems Open or Closed source work very well. And True64 and HPUX still have their place. They do the serving on the higher scailable systems that Linux dosent handle as well plus I found that the latest versions of the UNIX's are more stable then Linux is. Mostly because they are designed around a fixed archecture, While linux and windows tries to run on it all.
  • by Pinball Wizard ( 161942 ) on Thursday September 06, 2001 @10:56PM (#2261883) Homepage Journal
    ...abandon HPUX, Tru64 et al and embrace Linux as the one-and-only *nix OS.

    And supposedly IBM will do this as well, along with making AIX "100% Linux compatible". Trouble is, I've been hearing this for years - and AIX still ships without a C compiler and behaves erratically when you try to install GCC, Perl, etc from anything other than pre-compiled binaries. And where is SMIT for Linux? I'm having a hard time finding evidence of IBM's billion dollar commitment.

    It would be a great move for all these companies to get behind Linux - maybe Sun will go the same way if it finally happens. It would be awfully nice to use the same tools to admin RS/6000s as you do to HP or Sun servers, not to mention your Intel boxes at home. Trouble is, all we've seen yet is lip service paid to Linux.

    So HP, if you're listening, hopefully you won't drag your feet like IBM has. You're not that far behind, because so far IBM has done very little.

    • Belive me, you DON'T want smit for Linux.
    • blockquoth Pinball Wizard
      I'm having a hard time finding evidence of IBM's billion dollar commitment.

      I'm guessing that the billion dollar commitment is in things that are "linux-related" and not really so visible. Things like DB2, which runs on linux. That's a big chunk of change right there, and it could be filed under the billion dollar margin simply because it'll run on linux.

      There is a lot of stuff in their website's linux section, but not so much that it represents a billion dollar investment. I'm really betting that number translates mainly in to proprietary programs and such that we don't really care about, rather than actually putting out stuff like SMIT for linux.
    • About every cab and bus -- as well as a large number of billboards -- in the greater Boston area has a Peace/Love/Linux ad. And that's not even counting the infamous sidewalk graffiti.
    • GCC for AIX (Score:2, Informative)

      Have you taken a look at the AIX toolbox [ibm.com](aka the additive that transforms AIX 4.3.3 to AIX5L)? This includes the official IBM blessed version of rpm as an lpp, and once rpm is installed, you can install GCC rpm's from the GNUPro directory.

      Of course, since the IBM patches to gcc havent yet been rolled into the main source tree of GCC, the compilers are available as-is. But still this is a vast improvement from the Bull supplied lpp's that had to be installed in /usr/local/bin. Try it - you'll most probably be pleasantly surprised.

      I havent tried building those rpm's from source, but the source is also provided (hurrah for the GPL!)

    • When you read the IBM people talking about the billion dollar number, it is always something like "Invest a billion dollars throughout the organization in linux". My impression is not that they are necessarily spending the money as people have been suggesting around these parts. For instance, they aren't going to be giving FSF 100 million, or buy out Loki. They aren't going to spend a billion dollars painting buses with peace signs and Penguins. They're probably not even hiring more than a handful of programmers to hack on existing 'open source' projects. But, across their entire organization, infrastructure is shifting. People who used to work on AIX are now devoting some of their efforts to Linux. Some people are helping out with Mozilla (which they are probably counting too, even though its also a Windows platform). Others are making their "Enterprise Software" usable on Linux, or vice versa. They are even starting some projects in China too. Added all up, its a billion, but its not like they are spending a billion more than they would have otherwise--its a shift of their normal operating expenses, and probably much of it isn't on flashy high-profile activities.
    • And supposedly IBM will do this as well, along with making AIX "100% Linux compatible". Trouble is, I've been hearing this for years - and AIX still ships without a C compiler and behaves erratically when you try to install GCC, Perl, etc from anything other than pre-compiled binaries. And where is SMIT for Linux? I'm having a hard time finding evidence of IBM's billion dollar commitment.

      that's exactly my experience too. can people here tell me...is it normal to waste days trying to compile stuff on AIX that compiles cleanly and without difficulty on Linux or Solaris? the Linux toolkit that comes bundled with AIX 5L is a little bit of help, but as the previous poster implied, stuff like gcc and bash doesn't really sit quite right with the rest of AIX, which can lead to some WeirdShit (tm) down the track when you're trying to compile supposedly 'standard' software.

  • of defeat for these two large proprietary-Unix vendors. Not that I think they'll ever do this, but it sounds like a good idea to me. A very good idea.

    For decades, proprietary-Unix vendors sold awkward, mutually incompatible versions of the OS on the premise that this somehow "differentiated" their products and "locked-in" their customers. All this really accomplished was waste lots of money on software development and maintenance - money that could have been better spent on basic hardware R&D and product development. Maybe they'll learn and embrace the commodity open-source OS concept, but I'm not holding my breath.

    HP and Compaq are in for a rough ride (and the stock market has figured this out - HP's down about 20%). Since they've given up designing their own processor architectures, they're destined to become garden variety Intel box-makers. And Dell's got them beat at this. Moving to Linux might help.

  • by standards ( 461431 ) on Thursday September 06, 2001 @10:58PM (#2261893)
    Hahahaha. Why would HP abandon HP/UX?

    Certainly I can understand why Compaq's Unix (aka Tru64, Ultrix, OSF1, DigitalUnix) would be KILLED. After all, Digital never let it grow to be a competitor with VMS. The market was never really developed.

    HP/UX isn't the most popular Unix, but it is popular and mature and has it's following.

    So there is no need to "rectify" HP/UX with Compaq's UNIX, other than to kill Compaq's efforts.

    Killing HP/UX would just help Linux succeed, and HP has no financial reason to be interested in that.

    After all, HP doesn't want to get out of the lucrative HP/UX hardware business, and supporting Linux will just convince people to go with lower-cost hardware.

    Business Week should only publish stuff written by people with a clue.
    • HP doesn't want to get out of the lucrative HP/UX hardware business, and supporting Linux will just convince people to go with lower-cost hardware.

      Actually, Cray is doing quite well building Linux systems to augment their UNICOS line. People may want a lower-cost system, and HP should look at it that as a business opporitunity instead of a lost customer.

    • HP/UX is not going to be a 'lucrative HP/UX hardware business', because HP's next generation hardware architecture is going to be IA-64, which was co-developed by Intel and HP. Of all the current *NIX the only propriatary UNIX that runs right-now on IA-64 is HP-UX, because IA-64 is supposed to be HP's upgrade path from HP-PARISC. From custom hardware to generic PC clones with HP logos.

      HP-C cannot kill off VMS or tru64 because of gov contracts requiring support for something like 10 years. Plus, Tru64 is one of the best propriatary unicies around, and much more standard.
  • by pantherace ( 165052 ) on Thursday September 06, 2001 @10:58PM (#2261895)
    HP/C can't, even if they wanted to. Period. VMS and others (think tru64, and maybe hpux) have a government contract which requires them to support the systems for something like 10 years or more. Plus, many banks use VMS, and rely on Alphas. (No, geeks aren't the only ones who like them.) The problem hp-compaq-dec is going to have is that they are by contract forced to support these operating systems, whether they want to or not.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    With paying customers for tru64 and HPUX, why should Hewlet ComPaqard drop those OSes for Linux?

    I predict both propietary unices will continue to be maintained. But eventually they'll start to look more like each other and Linux.
  • One company that could win big if HP were to make such a switch would be Linux vendor Red Hat (RHAT). Although it probably wouldn't win any license revenue from such a move, the adoption of Linux would be a big boon to Red Hat's overall goal of making Linux a top choice for corporate customers. (emphasis mine)

    Duh. Last I heard Red Hat's business model precluded any sort of "license revenue"! They went into the Linux business primarily to provide service and support. The GPL won't allow any Linux company to make money selling Linux licenses!

  • Why does this irk me? It has a tone of distain about it.. like their saying.. 'that crappy business model that nobody can make any money from, but just won't die'

    Am I strange for letting that bother me? :)

    • Am I strange for letting that bother me?

      No, you're not. It gets on my tits as well. However, I suspect that the reason the author used this phrase has more to do with gramatical ignorance than deliberate malice.

      "so-called" means (or used to mean) that the subject of the sentence is, in the opinion of the author, often incorrectly described. For example, when describing some 3rd world dictatorship you might write "..the so-called Democratic Republic of Umbongo" meaning that it is not realy democratic at all. However, I have noticed several occasions recently where authors have used "so-called" in relation to phrases which are accurate but unfamiliar either to themselves or their perceived readers.

      So, either the author believes that Linux is not open-source but just called so (in which case he is ignorant) or he doesn't know the proper meaning of the phrase "so-called" (in which case he is also ignorant).

      OTOH, many Slashdoters don't understand how to use a shift key or what the apostrophe is for, so perhaps we shouldn't complain too much.

  • HP-UX is far to powerful for linux to take its place just yet. HP makes a ton of cash from big telcos and banking companies selling HP-UX, HP 9000 hardware, Omniback, etc. It may be a niche market, but it is a highly profitable one. It's the lousy printers and PC junk that is dragging HP down.

    As much as I love linux it is not yet able to replace HP-UX in its niche, which is by far the best commercial implementaion of unix ever.
  • Don't you think that in the long run Linux and FreeBSD will serve as the *free* base to which all other *nixes will attach themselves to provide specialised, sophisticated, higher-quality (?) services like clustering, multi-processing, fault-tolerance, etc?

    Solaris, HP-UX, True64 et altera would just vanquish as stand-alone systems. Instead they would offer system modules which will add value on top of the 'basic' system processes.

    Just an idea...

    • Actually, it would seem it's the other way around.

      I was just browsing through a new HP-UX 11i guide, looking at info about CIFS/9000 [hp.com] which is based in large part on Samba [samba.org]. Since it's based on open-source software CIFS/9000 is free to download [hp.com], but note that it only runs on HP-UX 11.x.

      And that seems to be a good system for them: Develop tools based off the work of open-source projects (so the ground work is already done for you), but tailor them to only run on HP-UX. That way re-releasing the new tools for free doesn't hurt you, because the only way for someone to use them is if they are a paying HP-UX customer.

      They've got the best of both worlds. The grunt work and benifits of open-source developers, AND they get to keep charging huge ammounts of money for the OS.
  • The EU has already said they will block the merger. Yes, they have a say in it, they stopped the GE-Semmins? merger. Then I'm not sure the U.S. will allow it. Sure IBM will still be bigger, but it really will throw the market out of kilter for Dell, Gateway, and rest. Then the customer bases of the companies aren't excited about this merger. As to Linux both companies have talked more than they have actually done.
  • by tcc ( 140386 ) on Thursday September 06, 2001 @11:39PM (#2262074) Homepage Journal
    How about having balls and develop and MARKET a true 64 bits processor, I.e. the alpha!?

    Compaq had all the ammos to fight intel and microsoft... but they didn't have the balls.

    I guess HP won't do it neither since they're in bed with Intel.

    The only thing that pisses me off is to see money winning again over technology, Intel's release in a year from now will be what alpha would have been a YEAR ago if it would have kept the same pace than pre-compaq. Intel really doesn't deserve ANY credits for "innovation". Maybe in 4 years from now they'll "innovate" enough to catch up with the theorical bar that alpha would have been at in the same timeframe, then again, not without stealing some alpha technology. (I mean.. licensing probably for peanuts, as we know compaq).

    I remember when they had a speech with Digital Domain (special effects house) people at the Alpha Workstation launch party 2 years ago, they were claiming all the speed performance this and that, BUT NEVER would compare it to an Intel workstation (everybody knew it was HEAPLOAD faster with native apps and relatively equal speed with FX32 recompiling). They NEVER DARED touching intel's marketshare.

    Anyways, no more compaq. That name brought shame and destruction to another "amiga" platform, a platform that was too much in advance for it's time, and will be copied and ripped to death for some years to come.

  • Who, after all, have been reduced to similar standards, recently ...
  • by ToasterTester ( 95180 ) on Thursday September 06, 2001 @11:50PM (#2262104)
    Sun, Compaq, IBM, and all the rest in one article or another said for them Linux is just a tool to get people off Windows and over to some from of Unix. Then once they have customers moved to Linux they will then start to convince them now they need to move up a their commericial Unix with enterprise features and real support. So Linux is going to move people off Windows, but then same user will be moved over to Solaris, AIX, HP/UX, Tru64.
  • by CptnKirk ( 109622 ) on Friday September 07, 2001 @12:06AM (#2262130)
    HP, who's stock has fallen to about a third of what it was a year ago, still isn't seeing any light. It just bought Compaq for what was $25 Billion in stock. Well since then the stock price has gone from around $23/share to a little over $17/share. This now puts the deal worth at around $18.5 Billion. Still a huge amount of money, but going down rapidly. Investors are asking themselves the same questions that are being asked here. What is the new game plan? Make Linux their heart and soul? Kill off the Linux and HPUX divisions? We all know there will be major layoffs. There just isn't a lot of room for making huge profits in the desktop PC market. Even less I think they'll find in the free OS market.

    Now don't get me wrong, I love Linux, Open Source and the like as much as the next guy, however if I had money in HP or Compaq I'd sure hope they'd ditch some of these projects. Right now they need to concentrate on what will bring in the most money the fastest. That's PCs with Windows, peripherals and their scientific equipment (which has huge mark-ups). Supporting Linux at this time IMHO is not the best use of their limited resources. They need to have clear goals (one, maybe two things), and strive to meet them. Being big is not enough.

    And speaking of big. A lot is being said about HP now being number 2 behind IBM. As much as people might hope that this makes HP a threat, I just don't think so. IBM has remained pretty strong over this past year. It has a many diverse products, most of which are doing fairly well. With the time it takes HP to work out all the details of this merger and get to facing those goals IBM will have been going strong for another 3-6 months. In the mean time it will be able to corner the Linux desktop market (another reason for HP to bail).

    And all this is fine with IBM. IBM is happy to support Linux because it's a sound strategy. Linux works like their mainframe OSs (well much more so than Windows does). IBM develops a lot of software to run on their "big iron", but people and companies are moving away from big machines and onto smaller servers and work stations. For this Linux is a sound choice for IBM. They don't have to spend a lot of money to port their OS to a PC architecure, it's more or less been done for them. Any enhancements they might make to help their Apps can be made through Open Source projects. JFS, Java devel, kernel devel have all come out of IBM. Not because they're being nice, but because it helps their database or some other high price App. run better. This is very sound business and has worked very well for them. I'm sure they'll continue to support Linux, as well as produce desktop PCs that compete with HP. However they have a much more sound business model, they have much more money, and when it's all said and done, I don't think they have much to worry about from HP's latest merger.

    • Since when was PCs with Windows such a huge margin-creator?

      Why do you think Compaq was doing so poor before
      the merger?

      The fact is that this market has the profits eaten up by component-makers, especially Intel.
      There really is almost no margin in selling Windows-PCs, and the competition is fierce and huge.

      Hompaq needs to keep looking for alternative income-sources.
    • HP wants to be in the consumer PC business, then you're probably right. They should dump all the overhead and follow Dell. But it's a tough business and Dell is a tough competitor.

      If HP wants to be in the high end, high margin consulting business, then Linux makes a lot of sense. There's no point supporting Digital Unix, Tru64, and HP-UX, especially since _none_ of these offer any real competitive advantage. (Being a little faster on certain classes of hardware or having a slightly better clusting system compared to AIX/Solaris doesn't count except in very limited markets). It makes a lot more sense to improve Linux where needed and gain access to the larger Linux market.

      On the other hand, while adopting Linux across the board makes a lot of sense, it still doesn't offer a real compelling reason to use HP products. It doesn't hurt, but it doesn't help much either.

      In the end that's the real challenge for the new HP. Finding something that they really can do better than Dell and IBM. The only thing that comes immediately to mind is printers, but that's not going to support such a massive company.

  • The new HPaq building a strategy around Linux would be a bold and inspiring move, and might mean that they could salvage something out of this train-wreck of a merger. But it will never happen. The Beast in Redmond wouldn't like it, and a struggling PC OEM simply can't risk making the Beast angry. No, the Beast wants HPaq to generate chaos and confusion around Tru64, HP-UX, Linux and the rest and what the Beast wants, the Beast gets.
  • The argument that HP-UX was what held HP back in the boom times for everyone else of the 90s is nonsense--how come Sun thrived with Solaris? What held HP back was that as early as 1993 [hp.com] key HP executives lost faith that HP could fund the next generation of PA-RISC. Thus an alliance was made with Intel.

    HP ever since has been shouting at the top of its voice that there will be complete binary compatibility between PA-RISC and IA-64 using technology such as Aries [techtarget.com]. They have to in order to retain any customers. Binary compatibility is simply non-negotiable.

    Thus HP gave away its two crown jewels, processor architecture and compiler technology, to Intel for precisely one reason--binary compatibility with what was perceived to be the potential industry-standard processor of the future. It would be to say the least rather strange for HP to walk away from this to embrace either Linux or Tru64. To do this would be to admit that HP gave away its crown jewels to Intel for nothing. (Which is actually the case since anyone from IBM to Dell etc. will be allowed to be resellers for IA-64.)

    My question for those who would have HP abandon HU-UX--what's left? What exactly would HP have left as crown jewels that would distinguish its Unix offerings from the competition?

    I've said this before, it was the decision to not fab the next generation of PA-RISC that decided everything for HP and nothing else. Once HP surrendered any hope of competing against Intel there was nowhere to go for increasing higher margin sales. Who exactly was going to embrace HP's future offerings when more than five years ago it was common knowledge they were transitioning to a new processor fabbed by Intel? That was the reason HP had no answer to Sun during the boom of the 1990s. Instead HP was stuck with trying to sell NT workstations and then a completely desperate move to go into selling home PCs in a bid to raise cash by any means possible. Sun on the other hand, relatively free from having to worry about what either Intel or Microsoft thought, was able to create a software business from scratch with Java. By keeping control of Java, Sun was able to leverage IBM into helping it storm into corporate business software. And all this could be done without sacrificing Solaris for Linux or any other such preposterous nonsolution.

    I think HP's executives simply made a series of shocking miscalculations. In this analysis [hp.com] there is only mention of X86 and Power PC. There is nothing said about Sun which doesn't fab their own chips, they have instead a 13+ year partnership with Texas Instruments. Last I saw Texas Instruments' market cap was larger than either HP or Compaq, considered separately. I think it was also a miscalculation that Intel would be the only place to go for a foundry, what about IBM? (I have to wonder with the Asian nations pouring so many resources into semiconductors whether we aren't entering a rather long period of plenty of surplus manufacturing capacity. The only obstacle I see is the US government's intervention in not wanting to potentially see technology shipped abroad. At least this applies to China which the US wants to keep one or two generations behind in wafer fabrication technology.)

    Lastly for those who want HP to standardize on Linux...uh, standardize on what? What exactly do you think will be the winner in say filesystems? ReiserFS, Ext3, JFS, XFS? And at least three of of those four alternatives are technology controlled by other companies. How about KDE vs. Gnome, RPM vs other packaging alternatives, PostgreSQL vs MySQL? Notice that IBM has good in-house solutions they will offer for many of these basic questions, what does HP have? I think it's going to be a hard sell to argue that the complexity of HP-UX will be easier than having to potentially support all of these alternatives.

    I just find it shocking that a company the size of HP/Compaq will not think it can find the funds to either fab its own chips or pay someone other than Intel to do so. At that size IBM is able to do everything from hardware to software as well as fund a massive R&D patent-producing machine. Wny is it so hard to understand that in a world where IP is king, you better own your own stuff?

    • Very interesting.


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    • I think HP and Digital (and SGI) both made the same fundemental mistake. They both (correctly) figured that the longterm future would not be proprietary systems but instead it would be commodity operating systems (uhh, Windows) on a commodity platform (Intel 32 or 64-bit). They just sorely mis-estimated how long it would take to get this long-term future.

      When the Pentium Pro briefly became the fastest chip available in the early 90s, it sent shockwaves through the Unix guys. They suddenly realized that there was no way they'd be able to keep up with WinTel, and would either have to get on the boat or sink.

      What they forgot was that they had customers *today* that were worried more about shortterm roadmaps and support and so on. As soon as DEC and HP showed the slightest wavering around their commitment to UNIX on RISC, the Sun salesmen were there to steal accounts from them. Then, NT5 and IA64 were delayed, just long enough so that the dot com sales explosion was primarily focused good old-fashioned Unix - a market where HP and Compaq/DEC had almost entirely fallen off the radar for the non-instituational customer, and Sun and IBM cleaned up big time.

      Another thing that these dinosaurs missed is the Andresson statement that the Internet makes the OS irrelevant. Sun and IBM figured it out and made a massive middleware ('eBusiness') push with Java. Microsoft figured the same with their own proprietary stuff. With DEC's software experience, they *should* have been on the stick, but by then I think they'd resigned themselves to the Compaq boxpushing mentality.

      All of this doesn't change the final outcome tho -- the long term future is still commodity Windows|Linux on commodity Intel. Knowing this doesn't help, because you still have to support those VMS/Tandem/MPIX/HPUX/Tru64 customers for the next 10 years before it gets there. And when they do decide to jump ship, they're not necesarilly going to be calling the HP salesman.
    • Believe me, HP looked at outsourcing fabrication. That does let you avoid the cost of investing multiple billions every few years in fab technology, but it still has the following problem. Your high-end RISC chips end up costing $2000-$4000 each to manufacture for performance (e.g. SPECint) that is 60-90% of Intel's comparable $1000 ones. (See Microprocessor Report for more accurate cost estimates). As your RISC chips age and go into the bigger volume portions of your product line, you can drop your costs to maybe $1000, while Intel has dropped its down to $50. And that doesn't include the $100-200 million in design costs per chip. Processor economics is all about volumes. Even the outsourced fabs only give you significant discounts when you hit certain volume targets. (Just ask the 3D chip designers.) Long term, a RISC architecture is tricky to make economically viable. (Short term, the forces of binary compatibility create a barrier to entry for your customers to shift to alternatives so it works out OK.)

      Remember, when the Pentium Pro came out in December 1995, it had faster SPECint than any RISC chip out there, except for a DEC Alpha that had been fab-tweaked to run a slightly higher clock rates two weeks earlier to insure that DEC didn't lose the performance crown with Intel's announcement of Pentium Pro. Intel's performance on commercial computing jobs (which rarely use floating point) has been comparable to or better than the RISC chips for half a decade now. Building high-end servers with more economically viable components continues to make a lot of sense. HP does reduce their lock-in longterm, and agrees to engineer stuff in a more competitive IA64 landscape.

      Sun made this work in three ways: one they had a larger RISC chip volume to begin with, staying focused to and committed to UNIX/SPARC made them look safer for companies with huge installed skill bases in UNIX, and three, they (correctly) gambled that if they wer able to sell enough high-end SMP servers, the chip costs could be made essentially irrelevant for at least a good portion of their server line. Selling of high-end servers was helped significantly by brandname visibility of Java and Internet leadership in general.

      Sun has never claimed they had a compelling long-term strategy for dealing with Wintel's volume economics (IMHO). Scott McNealy I believe has put it something like this: We and all the other RISC/UNIX vendors are like a bunch of campers running from a hungry aggressive bear. Sun's goal is to make sure that all the other campers get eaten first, and maybe by that time we'll have the strength to take on the bear.

      I'd agree that HP execs probably erred in their estimation of how fast the shift from RISC to IA would happen, (and how fast they+Intel would execute the shift), and Sun chose a "middle-ground" strategy of designing RISC chips and staying focused with "all their wood behind one arrow" that ultimately was wiser. I wouldn't call HP executives miscalculations "shocking" though.

    • Put another way, I think HP faced the classic "innovator's dilemma": do you cannabalize your own high-end high-margin product base by shifting to technology with lower margins, or do you let others use that cheaper technology to eat into your own base while you protect your margins? It's a tough call. Sun certainly ended up making the right choice. I'm not really clear why "not cannablizing" turned out to be the right choice, other than that it heightened their focus enormously, with engineers laser-like focused on cost, and marketing/sales able to present a very clear simple message to customers.

  • Did anyone else see the bizarre juxtaposition from the writeup: embrace Linux as the one-and-only *nix OS.

    If Linux should be the "only" one, why the wildcard asterisk? Sorta reminds you that there's diversity out there, while you're trying to homogenize the image, if not the marketplace.

    HPUX, Linux, Unix, BSD, IRIX, Solaris, ... they all have their reasons, their histories, their strengths, their weaknesses, their lack of support and their communities.

    • HPUX, Linux, Unix, BSD, IRIX, Solaris ... they all have their reasons, their histories, their strengths, their weaknesses, their lack of support

      And their Linux kernel personalities.

      Lets face it. Linux is the new unix standard. Most all Unixes are developing linux compatability (can you think of an important one that isn't?). Remember how POSIX was supposed to unite Unix-land? In the end I think it just gave companies an excuse to differentiate and proprietize while still maintaining the moniker of "Unix" or "Posix". With a free, fully functional refernce model that is skyrocketing its market share (linux), the unix manufacturers have no choice now but to be interoperable. Whether HP decides to use the real Linux refernce model (more likely on higher volume, lower cost models) or their flagship HP-UX brand of Linux(personality) is somewhat of a red herring. Linux should be the synergistic glue that brings together HP and Compaq's disperate software platforms. (which I gather was the the point of the article.)

  • Be sure to see Robert X. Cringely's column Resetting the Shot Clock: Why Hewlett Packard Buying Compaq is a Very Bad Idea, But Will Happen Anyway [pbs.org]

    Cringely's theory (and mine) is that HP CEO Carly Fiorina (Carleton S. Fiorina) realizes she is near to being fired, and she is using a merger to buy time.

    Both HP and Compaq have made some monumentally stupid decisions. For example, Compaq bought Tandem, bud didn't use Tandem's sales force, even though the Tandem product required a huge amount of special service.

    The biggest problem in technology is managers who don't understand what they are managing. There is a theory that a manager of a technology company does not need to have a thorough technical understanding. Decisions made based on that theory have destroyed many companies. But the problem is very poorly reported, because the reporters don't have technical understanding either.

    My understanding is that Carly Fiorina is responsible for the terrible financial state of Lucent Technologies, her former company.
  • The purchase of Compaq could mean big things for Linux as the resulting monolith is forced to rationalize their multitude of operating systems. The most sensible solution may well be for them to abandon HPUX, Tru64 et al and embrace Linux as the one-and-only *nix OS.

    *Maybe* the sale is good for Linux, but I have to believe this is a bad thing for all other OS'es NOT Linux or MS. For many reasons Linux is NOT up to the corporate snuff that HP/UX or Tru64 is, and if they did get dropped many corporate users are either going to be screwed or will move to Solaris. Yesterday there were posts about how the appearance of a (largely irrelevant) MenuetOs was a Good Thing; now we see posts about how the possible disappearances of highly important OSes is (implicitly) also a Good Thing. Come on, let's see some consistency and rationality here: does "news for nerds" always have to mean "news mostly about Linux" ?

  • From the Inq:

    The Clearest Statement that HP has made this week about the future of Tru64 Unix (D/UX), Open VMS, and the Itanic platform has appeared on a news forum at tru64.org.

    based on this [tru64.org]posting by an inforworld reporter on Tru64.org.
  • by Kagato ( 116051 ) on Friday September 07, 2001 @11:12AM (#2263486)
    All you have to do is look at HP's comitment to OpenMail and you have a pretty grim outlook. HP has not qualms about killing a project that could be a compeditor to a MS product. I've been to the UK debelopment centre, I've talked to Unix Developers, they all see the writing on the wall. HP does not want to do anything that could upset MS. The enconomics of scale make selling 100 NT/2000 servers to do the job of one V Class HP-9000 Unix box far more profitable.
  • Greetings,
    HP-UX comes in two different varieties and does some things that Linux can't yet afaik. So I doubt that they'll drop it. They might drop Tru-64, and I can't think of a reason to do so.
    In the past I've worked on a CMW version of HP-UX which later became VVOS. This is a highly secure (Military grade security) Operating system with capabilities and privileges and labelling of data and... I can't see HP just ditching it in favour of a version of Linux with none of those features. Can you?
    HP already support some Linux development with hardware donations, so why they wouldn't continue I don't know. I would imagine that they would continue to develop and sell HP-UX. They will probably add some sort of Linux support, and I would imagine that they will ditch Tru-64...
    But, I don't work for HP or Compaq, and I don't make their decisions for them. I'm probably wrong.
  • HP has been able to be somewhat independent of Microsoft because it sold many things -- printers, instruments, etc -- that were not dependent upon Windows. If it absorbs Compaq -- the vast majority of whose revenues rely upon Windows PCs -- this will change. The merged company will be much more dependent upon Microsoft than HP was before. Microsoft will own the combined company.

    As for Linux dominating the *NIX world? Perish the thought. We do not need a monoculture; that's one of the biggest problems with Windows.

    --Brett Glass

  • A bunch of people have mentioned IBM, which is good, because I wanted to mention it myself. But one question to ponder: is it really a good idea to go against $1 Billion of marketing, even if it's for the same OS? If you've seen Times Square, you'll know what HP-Compaq would be up against (think apartment building-sized Linux ad).

Basic is a high level languish. APL is a high level anguish.