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Sun Microsystems

Sun Releases Solaris 9 for Intel 457

nairnr writes "Sun has announced that it is releasing Solaris 9 for Intel. Any takers? According to Sun, it extends the 'enterprise class OS to the X86 market'. How nice of them. Non-commercial usage is available at no charge, while commercial pricing starts at US $99; attractive OEM pricing is also available. Source code for Solaris will now be available. It seems they are after Microsoft, not Linux. More Power to them."
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Sun Releases Solaris 9 for Intel

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  • Cool!! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DJ FirBee ( 611681 )
    I heard that Solaris was faster and more scalable than Linux. Plus you are not bothered with kernel recompilations etc.

    I think I'll download it and try it out. What the hey, it's free.
    • not exactly (Score:2, Informative)

      by greechneb ( 574646 )
      The software is free...

      Their bandwidth isn't, its $20 for the bandwidth to download it.

      Nice way of trying to appear nice, but still screwing you...
      • by yerricde ( 125198 ) on Friday February 07, 2003 @12:01PM (#5251164) Homepage Journal

        The software is free...

        SCSL is not a free software license [gnu.org] by the GNU definition, nor is it an OSI approved open source license [opensource.org].

        As to whether the Solaris 9 operating environment for the x86 platform qualifies as gratis with a $20 shipping charge, it depends on whether Sun has licensed it for free redistribution to any third party.

      • Re:not exactly (Score:4, Interesting)

        by mmol_6453 ( 231450 ) <short.circuitNO@SPAMmail.grnet.com> on Friday February 07, 2003 @12:01PM (#5251168) Homepage Journal
        Well...if someone would be so kind as to provide an MD5sum of the actual image, so we could test it against the ISO files that are going to show up on P2P networks...
      • Screwing who? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 07, 2003 @12:03PM (#5251185)
        You wouldn't pay a lousy 20 bucks for a mature, rock stable open source operating system? Jeebus. Scrooge should worship you.

        Foobar.
      • by l33t j03 ( 222209 ) <l33tj03@hotmail.com> on Friday February 07, 2003 @12:09PM (#5251255) Homepage Journal
        I agree with you completely, Sun has every single one of us backed into a corner and is screwing our brains out with their voluntary $20 download deal. Those Suns of bitches should rot their asses off in prison for this type of shit.

        Yesterday I was driving past a hamburger stand and they had a sign out "2 Chesseburgers for $2". Bastards are screwing me all to hell I figure. $2 for some cheeseburgers. I swear I get screwed like that every time I drive by some store that has signs.

        Flipped open the newspaper this morning. The damn grocery store was advertising buy one get one free cans of beets. My big problem was with the 'buy one' part. That kind of hook is just a set up to screw a guy. Indeed, I think I was being screwed right then and there, while reading the paper. They act all nice with the 'get one free' part but behind your back they're standing just there just screwing away.

        I say we stand up for our rights. No longer should we let people screw us by asking us to enter into a completely voluntary retail contract where in return for a price determined by the market we receive some good or service. That kind of shit has to stop somewhere or next thing you know web sites will be asking you to give them money in exchange for not serving you ads. I don't want to live in that kind of world and neither do you.

        • ...asshole! ;)

          Damned good point tho. We really have some self-righteous SOB's on here who feel entitled to all software, without writing a single decent piece of software themselves. $20 for a mature OS with no license limit, and people BITCH. Ingrates.

      • Re:not exactly (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Mr_Silver ( 213637 ) on Friday February 07, 2003 @12:15PM (#5251341)
        The software is free...

        Their bandwidth isn't, its $20 for the bandwidth to download it.

        Nice way of trying to appear nice, but still screwing you...

        For crying out loud, it's $20. For that you get something which many thousands of man hours have been used to produce you such a thing. Sure, you would have loved to get it for free - but once you accept that it isn't going to happen, you'll see it isn't that bad a deal.

        Sure, you can download Linux for free. But don't begrugde Sun for asking $20. Hell, it's not as if they're charging you lots of money [microsoft.com] for it and they'll quite happily let you make copies of it and give it to your friends - unlike some companies [bsa.org]. All they want is twenty lousy dollars!

        Remind me not to get into buying rounds of drinks with you if that sort of amount is that big a deal to you.

      • by fmaxwell ( 249001 ) on Friday February 07, 2003 @01:21PM (#5251951) Homepage Journal
        Nice way of trying to appear nice, but still screwing you...

        Yeah! Why should I have to pay them for the bandwidth that I use? In fact, I think it really sucks that they won't pay the cost to FedEx the CDs to me. Cheap bastards.

        And they conveniently don't mention that I have to pay for the blank CDs after I download their ISOs. First screw me out of $20 for gigabytes of bandwidth and then I find out I have to supply the blank CDs. Assholes.

        Why can't they follow the Mandrake Linux model where they give away their product AND supply the bandwidth for free? It seems a shame to abandon that business model just because it drove Mandrake into bankruptcy.

    • Plus you are not bothered with kernel recompilations etc.

      Uhh, you can't compile the kernel, because it's propietary. That's still something different.
    • Re:Cool!! (Score:3, Informative)

      I heard that Solaris was faster and more scalable than Linux.

      It is, on Sparc machines. (And I've even heard rumors to the effect that Linux is faster on old sparc hardware.)

      Slowlaris on Intel is a big waste of time for Sun. The only reason they did not kill it is because enough of their large customers insisted they keep it in place. I hope they are charging them an arm and a leg for it, because x86 Slowlaris will only drain resources they need to apply elsewhere (like Sparc Solaris and Cobalt).

      Plus you are not bothered with kernel recompilations etc.

      Apparently you've never had to deal with patching Solaris.

  • Whoohoo! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hanashi ( 93356 ) on Friday February 07, 2003 @11:47AM (#5251021) Homepage
    I've been waiting for this. Solaris for Intel gets too little love. I tell you what I like about it: On my (relatively cheap) PC at home, I can run it in a VMWare session and test out things that I will later use on the SPARC version. It should be great for OSS developers, who can compile and test their applications on their desktop, even though they don't have the SPARC hardware. It's source compatible, baby!

    Also, I write about system administration and security topics, and it's nice to try out certain procedures. I don't have a SPARC at home, so using the Intel version under VMWare is a lifesaver.

    • Solaris and VMware (Score:2, Interesting)

      by sjanich ( 431789 )
      Check out the VMware site first, I believe that Solaris dones't work well with VMware. Something about the video adapater, if I recall correctly.
    • Has it improved? (Score:3, Informative)

      by rve ( 4436 )
      Solarisx86 was available free or at a symbolic price years ago. I fell for it, and besides not working properly, it managed to destroy my CD-ROM by making the arm whack back and forth violently all the time during the painstakingly slow installation process.

      For a single CPU low end box used for non commercial purposes, there were no advantages at all, and it took a lot of effort to get (most of) your linux or *BSD software compiled and running on it

      It was interesting for learning purposes though.

      Do you know if it is any more suitable for a PC now? Taking into account that the average PC now is about 5 to 10 times more powerful, and Solarisx86 has been developed for a few years more?
      • Re:Has it improved? (Score:3, Informative)

        by Hanashi ( 93356 )
        It's much improved now. I admit that the original versions were crap. Also, keep in mind that even the SPARC machines Sun sells have a lot of standard PC parts in them, so the Intel port is naturally more compatible. Not perfect, but still good.
  • Free?ish (Score:3, Informative)

    by Znonymous Coward ( 615009 ) on Friday February 07, 2003 @11:47AM (#5251024) Journal
    Non-commercial usage is available at no charge

    Thats cool and all, but you still have to pay $20 to download the ISOs [sun.com].

    I guess it's a good deal. Free would be better though.

  • by sczimme ( 603413 ) on Friday February 07, 2003 @11:48AM (#5251030)

    This was announced on January 23rd:

    From: John Barton (john.barton@sun.com)
    Subject: Solaris 9 x86 Now Available
    Newsgroups: comp.unix.solaris, comp.sys.sun.admin, comp.sys.sun.misc, comp.sys.sun.apps
    Date: 2003-01-23 16:15:26 PST

    The Solaris[tm] 9 x86 Operating Environment is now available. To purchase a media kit or download the software, please visit: http://wwws.sun.com/software/solaris/binaries/get. html?ssobm=x86


  • but ack! it's US$20 for the privilege [sun.com]. I've still got my Solaris 8 CDs that I haven't used yet anyhow, so I guess I shouldn't bitch...
  • How negative... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PincheGab ( 640283 ) on Friday February 07, 2003 @11:52AM (#5251081)
    According to Sun, it extends the 'enterprise class OS to the X86 market'. How nice of them.

    Ok, so what is going to actually please this person? Sun gets closer and closer to the Open Source idea, and all we can have is sarcasm in the post? We should be CELEBRATING! Thanks, SUN!

    • Ok, Ok. I forgot the smiley. :-) I honestly am quite impressed with Sun. While being a Linux fan, I appreciate the diversity of options. Visibility of powerful, stable Unix options enhances the position of Unix for other applications.
    • Re:How negative... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ajs ( 35943 ) <ajs@ajCOWs.com minus herbivore> on Friday February 07, 2003 @01:27PM (#5251996) Homepage Journal
      I'm going to go out on a limb here: You cannot approach being open source.

      This can be compared to the statement that you cannot approach being pregnant. You simply are or you are not. To quote Yoda, "There is no try, only do."

      How's that? Well, quite simply, unless your source code is available for modification and you can run the software wherever you need it, and you can contribute your changes to whatever maintainer you please (note that I just excluded, for example, qmail), then you cannot build an open source community around the software. You can certainly have a strong and dedicated community (Windows even has one), but you cannot build a community that has the same benefits. You cannot have the people who need to scratch the itch scratch it at will for themselves and anyone else with the same itch.

      Ultimately Sun will decide who can collaborate on their own versions. They will maintain a centralized set of priorities, and contributors outside of Sun will be viewed as submitters of bug-reports that compile, not co-workers.

      This is not open source. This is a company, faced with extinction via open source, trying to hide in the tall grass. Hint: it's not going to work. I say this being a big fan of what Sun did for the industry in their day. It doesn't matter. The more they say, "look, we have the benefits of open source too," the more people will begin to ask, "why not just go with truly open source software?"

      Linux, BSD (amusingly, Sun's old source code base), and many other smaller-niche free systems are rapidly eclipsing the proprietary operating systems. You look at MS and see very little movement, but that's because they're so large and move in different circles for now. When you look at Sun or HP you begin to see the devastation that these upstarts are creating in the industry. Why? Because collaboration with your peers is powerful. Collaboration between customer and vendor is almost always not.
  • Not exactly new... (Score:5, Informative)

    by ImpTech ( 549794 ) on Friday February 07, 2003 @11:52AM (#5251086)
    The press release is new, but Solaris 9 x86 has been available on Sun's site for a while now. Also, only the SPARC version is free, the x86 version still costs $20 to download or $95 for the media kit. However, since they were originally planning on canning Solaris x86 altogether, this is great.

    Solaris is a neat system, and I've enjoyed playing with x86 version 8, though it couldn't replace Linux on my desktop. I have seriously considered using it on my servers though.
  • Question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Znonymous Coward ( 615009 ) on Friday February 07, 2003 @11:54AM (#5251104) Journal
    Does anyone know if Solaris 9 will run on Connectix Virtual PC [connectix.com] and VMware [vmware.com]?

    • Re:Question (Score:4, Informative)

      by 4minus0 ( 325645 ) on Friday February 07, 2003 @12:24PM (#5251432)
      Yes, it does run on VMware.
      Haven't run it on Virtual PC as I don't have that.
      Only thing I ran into was that if you're going to run X is that it has no clue what video card VMware is using. No surprise there really. Did what I needed in 256 colors though.
      Word to the wise; if you install it, skip the install disc and use disc 1.
      That will save you a poop-ton of questions on the forums and usenet.
  • vs. Microsoft (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sogol ( 43574 ) on Friday February 07, 2003 @11:55AM (#5251109) Journal
    I can hardly see how this will affect Microsoft.
    Windows attracts a large user base of non-technical users, who don't care about volume managers, ssh, etc. If Sun are seriously trying to dig into Microsoft's market share, they better include ported versions of Deer Hunter and Solitaire.
    • Re:vs. Microsoft (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bmetzler ( 12546 )
      I can hardly see how this will affect Microsoft.

      Really now. Microsoft might have started out with selling cheap consumer desktops, but those margins are starting to get mighty thin. I think that Microsoft wants to see some of those larger margin server deals.

      IOW, they want to start competing for the market of those who *do* care about volume managers, ssh, etc.

      -Brent
    • and don't forget about the box game that everybody on windows plays...

      you know the box game: it's when nothing is on your desktop so your use the selection box to randomly select things and make the box flip, get bigger, etc.

      fun fun fun!
      • That is actually one of the BEST games to ever be developed. I remember wasting hours upon hours playing it. By far worth the investment of Windows. :)
  • "#1 Unix" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Johnny Mnemonic ( 176043 ) <mdinsmore@gm a i l .com> on Friday February 07, 2003 @11:57AM (#5251137) Homepage Journal

    Quoth the Press Release: "Solaris[tm] Operating System (OS), the number one UNIX platform"

    Does anyone know by what metric they figured that? Sales volume? Some kind of security/performance metric? Or is it pure marketing speak for "we think we're #1!"?
    • by The AtomicPunk ( 450829 ) on Friday February 07, 2003 @12:03PM (#5251182)
      Despiting being a big fan of Solaris x86, I'm pretty sure it's the latter. :)

    • Does anyone know by what metric they figured [that the Solaris OE is the #1 UNIX platform]? Sales volume?

      I'm guessing Sun's press release refers to sales volume among UNIX® brand products [opengroup.org]. The GNU/Linux operating environment is not a UNIX brand system, and neither is any of the free BSD systems. The Solaris operating environment is [opengroup.org], and it just might have the greatest sales volume among UNIX brand systems.

    • Does anyone know by what metric they figured that? Sales volume? Some kind of security/performance metric? Or is it pure marketing speak for "we think we're #1!"?

      OK, listen....Solaris, buy it so I can keep my job...
      Solaris, the number one Unix platform...
      While the first may get a few alternative techie types to buy it, it is probably not "market savvy" I think that is the metric they used :-)
    • They probably just think that. From what I understand, Sun is more likely #3 Unix platform if you consider home users + enterprise. Apple's Mac OS X would be #2 and Linux would be #1 slightly edging Apple out.

      However if they mean just enterprise, then Sun could be #1 at this time. However Linux would have to be a pretty close second. Not sure where OS X is yet since Apple is only just now dipping its toes into enterprise in earnest. They have had Mac OS X Server for almost three year now, but they only recently started their big push for Enterprise with the X-Serve and OS X 10.2's major enhancements designed as much for enterprise as the end user. It will be interesting to see how they do in the years to come.

      I'm sure someone somewhere has actual numbers on all of this.
  • Small correction (Score:4, Informative)

    by bconway ( 63464 ) on Friday February 07, 2003 @11:59AM (#5251147) Homepage
    How nice of them. Non-commercial usage is available at no charge, while commercial pricing starts at US $99; attractive OEM pricing is also available.

    The Solaris 9 x86 download is a $20 charge. The SPARC download is available at no charge. Also, the source was available for free for Solaris 8 as well, so that's not something new.
  • by Odinson ( 4523 ) on Friday February 07, 2003 @12:02PM (#5251175) Homepage Journal
    Here [sun.com] is the Intel based HCL list, but nothing about Solaris 9 yet.
  • by lildogie ( 54998 ) on Friday February 07, 2003 @12:07PM (#5251228)
    Last year, Sun really, really wanted to drop Solaris for Intel.

    Speculation was that it was for one or both of two reasons:
    1) Not to dilute their SPARC-oriented business,
    2) Not to dilute their Sun-Linux business.

    At a conference I attended, as well as some Sun presentations, some Sun employees were begging customers to demand Solaris 9 for Intel from their sales reps. Seems that there was still a "Solaris for Intel" faction inside the company. Also, the inside scoop was that they already _had_ Solaris 9 for intel, but the higher-ups didn't want to release it.

    Customer demand was heavy and it changed the original plan to nix Solaris 9 for Intel. Now it's out.

    No big secrets here, just a little historic perspective.
  • More power to them! Because they wouldn't be Microsoft if only they could! No sir! God Bless Sun! Hail Sun, the doer of all Good and Right in this wicked land of Microsoft!

    Sun! Sun! Sun!
  • by ntaylor963 ( 550921 ) on Friday February 07, 2003 @12:10PM (#5251267) Homepage
    This just shows that Sun is reacting to getting killed by Linux. Linux is shooting at Microsoft, but hitting Sun with friendly fire.

    The simple fact is that Linux is most suited to Sun's core market (realiable servers), and Sun is losing market share big time to Linux. On the other hand I believe that last year Microsoft went from 92% to 94% of the desktop market.
  • Is Solaris a graphical OS?

    Is it easier to use than Linux?

    And, most importantly, is there any way I could run Windows games on it? :P
    • As far as I know, it is as XFree86 as linux, so, definitively yes, it is graphical.

      If you know about something called Gnome, you might find this interesting :)

      http://wwws.sun.com/software/star/gnome/
    • Is Solaris a graphical OS?


      well... there's openwindows:


      here's the text [sun.com]


      here's the picture [albany.edu]

    • by VoidEngineer ( 633446 ) on Friday February 07, 2003 @12:48PM (#5251672)
      Good questions, and well asked.

      Is Solaris a graphical OS?

      Yes, very much so. It uses an X for hardware management, and for many years has used CDE (Common Desktop Environment) for mime-type association and related activities, which KDE was based off of. Gnome has gotten into the market, however, and is to be the new desktop environment for future releases of Solaris. For many years Solaris has competed with the likes of AIX and IRIX. Solaris supports stereo-3D graphics (read: Virtual Reality, VRML, CAVE, OpenGL) and high performance SVGA, PAL, and NTSC graphics configurations. Because it supports things like multi-head, multi-processor, and multi-threaded applications and configurations, movie studios and game-design companies often use Solaris workstation and server solutions to design and render special effects for Hollywood movies and the like (I may be mistaken, but I believe that Industrial Light & Magic is a Solaris shop... ever see Jurassic Park?).

      Is it easier to use than Linux?

      Yes and no. It's easier to design special effects for movies, install virtual reality caves, and run scientific data analysis with Solaris. They are both flavors of unix, so the difficulty is about the same, in terms of learning arcane commands and stuff. It's probably easiest to say that Solaris is as easy as Linux... just different. (Your questions is like asking whether or not vanilla icecream is warmer/colder than chocolate icecream...)

      And, most importantly, is there any way I could run Windows games on it? :P

      Sure. You could install WINE libraries on your machine, I suppose... But if you get a Solaris box, and download your OpenGL and Java3D libraries, why play Windows games, when you can design your own games? Why play windows games, when you can play VR games? :P

  • Add another CD with packaged open-source goodies pre-compiled for Solaris/Intel ...

    Thinking of it, please do the same for the next release of Solaris/Sparc ...

    If you do that, you will get very happy customers ... although may be they will be not so ready to spend money on some of yours over-priced software products

  • by krokodil ( 110356 ) on Friday February 07, 2003 @12:14PM (#5251331) Homepage
    I am having problems with SUN JVM on linux
    and considering switch my java servers to
    Solaris x86. Does anybody have feedback on
    quality of JVM on Solaris x86?

  • by BierGuzzl ( 92635 ) on Friday February 07, 2003 @12:16PM (#5251349)
    How long until this is available on gnutella?
  • Earlier versions of Solaris on Intel were half-assed and limited, I have had the opportunity to use this one, and I have to say that I'm pretty impressed.

    The first "right step" that they have made is including the GNOME desktop environment. GNOME replaces the venerable CDE and upstages the purple K Desktop Environment.

    Sun has thrown their support behind aopen standards, and they should be saluted for their recalcitrant embracement of Linux. Perhaps their stock will go over $1.00 now.
  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday February 07, 2003 @12:18PM (#5251370) Homepage Journal
    Linux's market share is growing most aggressively. Furthermore it is Unix so there is a certain victory for all Unixes when Linux succeeds, as long as it's not taking market share away from Sun.

    Woops, sorry Sun.

    On the other hand the continually growing Unix presence in the world, largely fueled by Linux (I like BSD too, but it has had nothing like the success of Linux) has made it possible for Sun to once again start taking some accounts away from Microsoft (who has been gaining ground on them since NT's release.) This is an especially crucial time because until now the only 64 bit operating systems have been Unix - NT/Alpha doesn't count because of its narrow distribution. Windows on 64 bit is now going to become downright inexpensive with the release of Hammer. There is NO TIME TO LOSE in gaining some ground.

    • by wfrp01 ( 82831 ) on Friday February 07, 2003 @01:16PM (#5251919) Journal
      In addition to being a way to introduce people who'd otherwise have no access to Solaris, I think this is a desktop play. Apple has shown that a truly useable consumer desktop for *nix is possible. Sun is working closely w/ Gnome. The KDE folks are getting money from the German government. The next few years promise to be very interesting. It's still a pretty wide open playing field, and what I see happening is Sun throwing their hat in the ring. My next prediction is that they'll be too half-assed about the effort to really gain any traction.
  • I don't understand why they're charging $20 for Intel but not for Sparc. It can't be for covering the bandwidth (do you seriously think it should cost $20 to download a few gigs of data ?), so there must be some other reason.

    Putting a charge onto a "free" developer version doesn't seem like a good way of encouraging developers to download and try it out.

    Sun should also consider that the fewer developers who are using the "free" version on small Intel boxen, the fewer developers there will be to work on projects using the commerical version on large scale hardware. Limiting access to your products is not a good way of making them popular !

    • I think it's pretty clear why they're charging $20.

      It may not cost $20 to download the Solaris stuff to one person (say on a company T1 that they already have), but I think they knew that the release of this information would incite rioting in the form of Slashdot-like attention. Which it did.

      They didn't want to look like Valve/CS and be caught with their pants down, so they ramped up their servers and bandwidth. They had to pay for all this, before anyone downloaded it. They just want some of it back.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 07, 2003 @12:18PM (#5251375)
    is that "free" as in "free beer" or "free" as in "costs US$20"?
  • How appropriate (Score:2, Informative)

    by jarkko ( 40871 )
    I just got rid of my x86 Solaris 8 workstation setup. I actually used it more than a year, almost continuous uptime.

    Solid as a rock but disk speeds were unimpressive, at least on my IDE setup. Went to NetBSD for the desktop and I'll stick with Solaris on servers (sparc).

    Granted, x86 Solaris is great for practice.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It seems they are after Microsoft, not Linux. More Power to them.

    No offense to anyone who agrees with the above, but if you ignore the anti-Microsoft PR banter from the posted story, this statement seems naive. Sure, that press release has a whole section about how Solaris/x86 kicks the crap out of MS Windows Server 2000, but (in my AC opinion) that's just the PR flacky talking. When you think about it, this move really positions Solaris/x86 directly against Linux in the marketplace.

    For example, imagine you're the IT guy for a small-to-mid-sized company (hey -- this is /. -- chances are some of you *are* that guy). You have some computer assets running an existing proprietary UNIX (HP-UX, AIX, take your pick) on x86. You want some modern OS goodies (built-in web services, enormous RAM & file system capabilities, reasonable security implementations, etc), but you also need to protect your investment in your current system (hardware, your administrators' know-how, blah blah). You're not going to jump ship completely from the *NIX world & go buy a bunch of Windows 2000 licenses... you're going to choose between Solaris/x86 and Linux.

    All that said, I don't think Sun is "after Microsoft, not Linux" anyway... they're after $$$ in the current market.

    --Mid
  • by simm_s ( 11519 ) on Friday February 07, 2003 @12:27PM (#5251450) Homepage
    I don't get why sun is releasing solaris 9 to the intel platform. I thought they were supposed to be a hardware company?

    By releasing solaris for free on the sparc platform they increase the value of their hardware business. By releasing solaris for the intel platform they are decreasing the value of their core sparc platform, because they are giving users the choice of going with cheaper hardware companies. All of sun's engineering talent and effort is going to waste.

    What they should be doing is making operating systems like OpenBSD and linux as easy as possible to port to the sparc platform. This way potential sun hardware customers would not need to have these stupid "which unix is better?" debates.

    It seems that sun does not want to make any money.
    • by LarryRiedel ( 141315 ) <Larry@Riedel.org> on Friday February 07, 2003 @01:07PM (#5251845)

      My guess is that Sun thinks of Solaris as a very good operating system which they have dozens/hundreds of talented people making better all the time, and which seems to perform better on 8+ CPU sparc systems than any other OS.

      I think Sun respects that some customers want to have the same operating environment on their x86 machines as on their sparc machines, and rather than make those customers run Linux on sparc, they provide the capability to run Solaris on x86. A side benefit is letting people with x86 machines try Solaris and develop applications for it.

      I think sometimes Sun tries to succeed by giving customers what they want, rather than trying to gain advantage through manipulation.

      Larry

    • by swordgeek ( 112599 ) on Friday February 07, 2003 @01:22PM (#5251959) Journal
      You're missing out on one of Sun's biggest points: reliability.

      On the Sparc platform size, Sun builds high-end, high-reliability, high-predictability boxes. They want an OS that works (a) very well with the hardware, and (b) with the same reliability features. If they're going to promote porting of other OSes onto their platform, they'll do it on their own terms, and with their own requirements, and that's not very straightforward.

      It's smartest, easiest, and most profitable for Sun to constantly reinforce the equation:
      Sun = Sparc = Solaris = Solid

      Aiding the development of other OSes leads to...

      Sun = Sparc = Another processor, with lower MHz than Intel.

      Now on the Intel side, there are two factors at work I figure. First of all is the fact that through purchases and blunders, they're moving into it with boxes like the LX50. Given that fact, they (a) want to get Solaris on as many machines as possible, and (b) want to keep their toes in the Linux waters. Add to that, the fact that when they tried to kill of Solaris/x86, there was a large backlash.

      So on the Intel side, they develop Solaris and Linux both. Developing SunLinux is a safety measure which in the short term will sell a few more systems to die-hard Linux admins, while developing Solaris/x86 will keep Solaris on machines that people couldn't justify the cost of Sparc gear for.

      OK, so this is all rambling. What it boils down to is this: Sun, like most companies, says "We don't sell computers--we sell SOLUTIONS!" Well on the enterprise side of things, companies don't buy computers--they buy solutions. Buying a PC from the guy down the street, installing Linux, configuring IPTables, locking it down, etc. etc. is not as appealing for most companies as buying an LX50/Solaris/FW1 box and having a single vendor for complete support.

      Or to summarise the summary, (nearly) NONE of those copies of Solaris/x86 that Sun sells for $20 will go onto serious production machines--the sort of machines that Sun sells and supports. They'll all end up on hobbiest machines, family web servers, and tiny corporate LANs. This isn't enterprise computing, and it's not going to affect Sun's bottom line.
    • by pmz ( 462998 ) on Friday February 07, 2003 @02:22PM (#5252499) Homepage
      By releasing solaris for the intel platform they are decreasing the value of their core sparc platform, because they are giving users the choice of going with cheaper hardware companies.

      Not really. x86 servers do not compete with UltraSPARC servers in features. $/MHz is only 10% or so of the whole picture.

      For example, Sun's servers are built to be maintained. They are laid-out thoughtfully, which often makes an administrator's job mighty enjoyable. They are an investment, where a server can have a useful lifetime of a decade (e.g., I still see SC1000s serving as substantial fileservers even after almost 10 years). Even old Sun workstations make totally reliable DNS or e-mail servers. Ten years into the future, today's Sun equipment will be seen in the same light.

      As for modern Sun servers (Fujitsu, too), they have reliability features built from inside the processor on out to the busses and RAM. They are beaten only by mainframes. They leave x86 in their dust.
  • by wegster ( 16216 ) on Friday February 07, 2003 @12:27PM (#5251451)
    The subject says it all. While it would be certainly _nice_ to simply download the ISOs for free, think about this:
    1. Sun's come a pretty far way towards at least being more 'open source friendly,' and making free downloads available for products that would normally go for (IMHO exaggerated) prices otherwise. Java, SunONE (used to be Forte), etc. Contrast this to Microsoft if you'd like- has anyone seen MS make a version of Windows free, even opened the source to (agh!) Win3.1, or given a free version of MSVC/C++? I think not. Redhat and others sell their free versions of Linux on CDs and have increased prices over the years. Companies DO need to make some money, and no matter how much we wish _everything_ were free (I do as well), I highly doubt that at $20/download they will ever come close to even recovering 10% of their investment in Solaris 9/x86.

    2. It isn't a bad OS. The x86 versions of Solaris have some definite differences from the Sparc/UltaSparc version as far as development goes (some library differences), but it's a pretty stable, decent OS, and most Solaris open source software can be made to build on it fairly easily. You'll need to go to GCC/G++ for development obviously. It's quite stable, even if earlier versions (I've run x86 Solaris 2.6, 7, and 8 previously) don't have near the HCL that Linux does.

    3. It's another step in the right direction for Sun. Bearing in mind that they won't make any $ at all off of the x86 line, all hey're really doing with it is trying to gain a few more supporters in the 'new to Unix' camp, which may help in Solaris/Sparc sales down the line, and get some good will in the open source/tech community. Not a bad deal all around.

    Ok, ranting off. Lest I be 'attacked' for any sort of anti open-source, anti-Linux, or anything else, I've been pushing Linux at every company I've worked for as developer and admin, as well as open-source options where they're available. I've replaced many a Windows server in my time...but do realize that companies do ultimately need to regain _something_ on their investment...so those of you that still buy RedHat or Suse on CDs in order to 'give something back' to their respective companies...$20 isn't a bad deal at all.
  • modern hardware? (Score:2, Insightful)

    I tried to install Solaris 8 for Intel. I really wanted to make it work, but I simply ran into a dead-end trying to find any graphics or network cards available locally that would work with it. I finally gave up and shelved my cd's.

    Someone already posted the Hardware Compatibility List, noting that it doesn't seem to be updated. That was my same problem with Solaris 8, the equipment all seemed to be too many years old.

    Are there any rumors that Solaris 9 includes new drivers for more recent equipment? Has anyone successfully installed it with modern video/ network equipment? I'd like to hear a success story before I try again.

  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Friday February 07, 2003 @01:23PM (#5251974) Journal
    All the major big vendors have left solaris on intel fearing its dead thanks to McNeal mentioning solaris 8 is dead and they will no longer support it. Now they are doing an about face.

    The vendors will not come back now fearing Sun can still kill it at any time and Linux is a less risky decision. Linux totally ate all of the early solaris on intel marketshare.

    The only thing you can run on it today are OSS apps. Kind of expensive for just this not to mention FreeBSD and any Linux distro have both the OSS apps and commercial support and they are cheaper and more supported in hardware. Also solaris is optimized for the sparc so performance is not so good on intel anyway.

    Sun already has their own Linux distro for their Lintel servers. They have lost millions already for solaris on x86 and they should relise that its already dead and its a sunk cost investment because McNealy opened his big fat mouth.

  • by DuckWing ( 19575 ) on Friday February 07, 2003 @01:41PM (#5252154)
    I maintain several Solaris systems, both sparc and 40 intel systems (our Unix Lab). The problem with Solaris is there's no software for it! no Java 3d like on Sparc, no SVG plugins for Netscape or any other SVG software used in our computer graphics course here at the University. Hardware compatibility is abismal, only supports limited Nics and video cards, no DRI, limited sound card, and so forth.

    Sun does not do any marketing to entice companies to port their applications to Solaris x86. Even sun doesn't provide decent support, no Java3d, have to use Mesa for OpenGL, no Journalling file system like Veritas for Sparc.

    I'm sorry, but I just can't take this seriously until Sun gets serious. Anyone that says Solaris is better than Linux on Intel Hardware needs their head examined.
  • rules of acquisition (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bluethundr ( 562578 ) on Friday February 07, 2003 @02:08PM (#5252399) Homepage Journal


    1. Install Sunx86
    2. ???
    3. Profit!
    Actually, I think I know what the "???" may be in this case. That would be: build your SUN chops with a copy of said on one of these nice ch33p b0x0rz [ebay.com] and grab hold of some dead trees [barnesandnoble.com] and with some perserverance and love of knowledge you will get to 3.
  • Dreaming... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pmz ( 462998 ) on Friday February 07, 2003 @02:39PM (#5252630) Homepage
    Now, it would be awesome if Sun released their compiler suite for less than $100. It is the best compiler for SPARC-based machines (duh) and would fill in where GCC lags behind. Their dbx is pretty good, too. It's also well documented, which makes it very hard to beat for SPARC-based software development.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 07, 2003 @03:07PM (#5252834)
    Could it be that they are charging $20 just to be able to see how many out there acctually cares about Solaris on x86?

    Management: Lets discontinue Solaris on x86.
    Techie who want to keep his job: Oh, no! Please no!
    Management: No one want to buy it.
    Techie: Eh... Well, lets give it away for free then?
    Management: But what good will that do if noone uses it?
    Techie: Hm. We can charge like $20 so we can count how many that cares.
    Management: Mmmm, money. Good.
    Techie: Phew.

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