Actually, Linux needs competition or it will start to run out of reasons to make it better. In future, it looks like the BSD family will be pretty much it.
Thanks, Sun/Oracle for erecting barriers around DTrace, thus motivating even better tracing in Linux. Thanks also for doing the same to ZFS, thus saving the rest of us from that sprawling abomination.
Actually, Solaris was de facto a single platform OS - namely for SPARCs. Sun did have that experiment w/ OpenSolaris, but once Oracle sabotaged it, and even surviving forks like OpenIndiana were x86 only, it was a lost cause.
I would like to see SPARC survive, though, w/ either Linux or *BSD on it. It would however be nice if it weren't something available only from Oracle
You can still get SPARC systems from Fujitsu.
But frankly, the only thing SPARC ever had going for it was everything around it. SPARC succeeded despite SPARC, not because of it. Consider:
- SUN produced some awesome workstations and servers.
- Everything used to be open standards (covering SPARC, SBUS, OpenFirmware etc.)
- Solaris stabilized into a nice enough UNIX.
- Lots of Open Source implementations available (Linux, *BSD).
But consider the downsides:
- SUN was swallowed by Oracle.
- SPARC is a nasty RISC architecture. Register windows were really a mistake, and most architectures eschew them as a result. Ditto for delay slots.
- SPARC lagged behind all the other major RISC architectures save for perhaps ARM (which was aimed at low pwoer anyway) in performance.
While SPARC lacked in RISC firepower, it still beasted contemporary x86 CPUs until the Pentium II era (christ, that was 20 years ago!). Since then though, it's just sucked SUN resources as they struggled to keep up with other CPU vendors. They only stayed on top while they could scale up to 64 CPUs when other vendors could not. Once Windows and Linux had caught up with that scaling, and x86 could be reasonable scaled to 16 or more CPUs economically, the writing was on the wall.