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248 comments

Never too late (5, Insightful)

thammoud (193905) | more than 5 years ago | (#23932603)

Thank you Sun for all the great products that you have open sourced. Unlike your competitors, you have outsourced your crown jewels.

Re:Never too late (4, Insightful)

dintech (998802) | more than 5 years ago | (#23932617)

And I really, truly hope it works out for them. I hate for it to go the wrong way...

Re:Never too late (5, Insightful)

pegdhcp (1158827) | more than 5 years ago | (#23932749)

Probably because they are an UNIX company at the end, their track record is better than that of Novell. SUN is closer to the core of FOSS community. Also this is not the first time they admit a mistake, which takes some balls to do in IT industry. It was really appreciated (by me at least) when they switched from SunOS to Solaris and it was not just the name that was changed. I hope Novell would take the clue one day...

Re:Never too late (-1, Flamebait)

IAR80 (598046) | more than 5 years ago | (#23932859)

I wold say Novell is a pretty mormonic company to start with.

Re:Never too late (4, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933009)

you're saying that has a high percentage of Latter Day Saints among its employees? Or are you being ironic?

Re:Never too late (5, Insightful)

BadOPCode (1187615) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933411)

I'm confused. What did Novell do? I'm not talking 8 years ago. What did they do today? Signed a sweetheart deal with Microsoft to get some inside poop on Windows tech to deliver some compatibility to Linux. Wow that is horrible. Ya they were trying to do what the EU forced Microsoft to do. Sun is rotten too... because back in 'Nam ... for christ sakes people ... get over it. These companies are delivering massive amounts of resources to the OSS community. DO NOT WHINE ABOUT IT! I understand if they do something you feel is morally and/or religiously wrong, by all means do not participate in the matter. But call me a troll but I think its ridiculous and stupid to look a gift horse in the mouth. Also note: Fanatical fanboys make no difference to the scheme of anything other than everyone's annoyance levels.

Re:Never too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23933607)

Wrath is a sin as well.

Java (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23933007)

Thank you Sun for all the great products that you have open sourced. Unlike your competitors, you have outsourced your crown jewels.

You mean like Java? Hahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahaha.....

GPL zfs (5, Interesting)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 5 years ago | (#23932605)

Phipps says that Sun is trying to remedy the situation with the open sourcing of Java, Solaris, and the rest of Sun's software."

GPLing ZFS would go a long way with me!

Re:GPL zfs (5, Insightful)

FauxPasIII (75900) | more than 5 years ago | (#23932629)

> GPLing ZFS would go a long way with me!

Prepare to be surprised.

Re:GPL zfs (5, Informative)

An dochasac (591582) | more than 5 years ago | (#23932887)

I think anyone who has attempted to legally link proprietary drivers, video codecs with the Linux kernel would understand some of GPL's limitations. The fact that GPL can take from so many licenses (without necessarily exporting) doesn't automagically make it the best license.

CDDL is based on MPL which has an explicit patent protection clause (bring a patent suit against another CDDL licensee and you lose all CDDL rights)

The fact that (besides Java), Sun hasn't released much GPL code should not cause us to ignore significant contributions by Sun to the opensource community. According to a E.U. study on The economic impacts of free and opensource software [europa.eu] , Sun contributed 312 million Euro's worth of FOSS which amounts to over 51000 person months. This was 44% of all corporate contributions to FOSS. The next highest contributor was IBM with 13% then Red Hat with 8%. The rest SuSE, Netscape, AT&T... don't even add up to Sun's contribution. And this study came out before Java was GPL'd.

Re:GPL zfs (5, Insightful)

lolocaust (871165) | more than 5 years ago | (#23932985)

What's wrong with the GPL "taking" from other licenses? If you don't want your code taken and modified without being given the changes you should pick another license that doesn't allow that (I can name one that comes to mind). I don't see anyone bitching about modified BSD code in Windows or OSX, although I'm sure some changes were given back by Apple. This isn't really directed at you as much as it is to the driver developers who got their panties in a bunch a few months ago, so please don't think I'm taking one word you wrote out of context for the purpose of this rant.

Re:GPL zfs (2, Interesting)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933161)

You can have $3 billion dollars, you just have to cut your arms and legs off before you can spend a single penny.

The point is; Linux is the most used open source operating system and Sun licensing it under the CDDL is like dangling a carrot out, but saying only one in ever ten people can have a bite.

If the GPL is good enough for Java why isn't it good enough for ZFS? I'll tell you why. Sun's Java was on a road it couldnt' correct so it gave to the GPL community to keep it afloat. ZFS doesn't actually have any real competition so they use the CDDL to thumb their noses at Linux and the GPL.

Sun has always had a sore spot for Linux. They only grudgingly accept Linux at times because their very existence depends on it.

Re:GPL zfs (4, Insightful)

samkass (174571) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933529)

licensing it under the CDDL is like dangling a carrot out, but saying only one in ever ten people can have a bite.

Actually, it's like saying that only 9.5 out of every 10 people can have a bite... among all the OSes out there, I think only Linux has problems, and that's a tiny fraction of the desktop OSes out there.

Re:GPL zfs (5, Insightful)

street struttin' (1249972) | more than 5 years ago | (#23934151)

among all the OSes out there, I think only Linux has problems, and that's a tiny fraction of the desktop OSes out there.
This is quite telling. OSX hasn't had too many problems adding it, and neither has freebsd. It's the GPL that has issues, not CDDL.

The fact that GPL needs to have everything that touches it be opened makes it very difficult to use it in proprietary environments. By using CDDL and allowing ZFS to be in freebsd, I could now use freebsd to create a proprietary network storage device using freebsd as the OS, zfs as the file system, and not have to release any source if I don't want to. That's pretty powerful.

Re:GPL zfs (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23933333)

The numbers in that study seem to be *way off* reality. Really, RH and only 400kloc? I suggest you look at the OSDL study or any of the recent "Who wrote linux 2.6.x" statistics on LWN for more realistic numbers.

Re:GPL zfs (4, Funny)

y86 (111726) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933585)

Sun contributed 312 million Euro's worth of FOSS which amounts to over 51000 person months. This was 44% of all corporate contributions to FOSS.
That's why I bought 50 shares of "JAVA". It's 10$ and it's a good company overall.

Re:GPL zfs (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#23934125)

Ultimately it doesn't matter how many lines of code Sun has contributed.

Their big mistake has been ignoring commodity hardware, not their policies
towards an particular operating system or 3rd party codebase. Open standards
go a long way to deliver what you would otherwise need Free Software to do.

Sun simply chose to ignore us. That lack of vision cost them their position
in the marketplace. This is typically what happens to dinosaurs. This is
especially true in a free market where artificial exit barriers aren't a
problem.

They can "liberate" whatever they like. It doesn't matter as the boat sailed
over 10 years ago.

Re:GPL zfs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23932831)

ZFS is currently the subject of a patent suit against Sun by NetApp. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Re:GPL zfs (0)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#23932847)

The day they will open source ZFS will be when their next file system will be ready for sale.

Re:GPL zfs (2, Funny)

IAR80 (598046) | more than 5 years ago | (#23932891)

The day they will open source ZFS will be when their next file system will be ready for sale.
And from the looks of their recent performance that will be never.

Re:GPL zfs (2, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 5 years ago | (#23932969)

The GP was asking for ZFS to be released under the GPL. It already is open-sourced, just under the CDDL which is, unfortunately, incompatible with the de-facto standard copyleft license, the GPL.

So, er, what file system is Sun selling then? ;)

Re:GPL zfs (5, Interesting)

An dochasac (591582) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933037)

ZFS is already opensourced and available to all Operating systems with CDDL compatible licences. It is already available in BSD, OSX, OpenSolaris (All distributions including Nexenta,OpenSolaris2008.05,Nevada,Belenix,Schillix,Martux,Milax)

ZFS read is already in OSX 10.5 and I've installed the beta ZFS write in Mac OSX 10.5, created a pool on a USB keychain, imported that pool into OpenSolaris2008.05 (which automagically mounted it). Put stuff on it, snapshotted it, exported it and reimported it into OSX. This is the filesystem of the future. The fact that GPL isn't compatible with ZFS is Linus's problem. Good luck with that FUSE module.

Re:GPL zfs (-1, Flamebait)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933245)

Hi zealot hater. Your smug attitude is quite unbecoming. Does it make you feel good?

Re:GPL zfs (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23933385)

I think that GPL-fanatics' attitude is all the time quite unwelcoming towards people outside the GPL realm. Does it make them feel good? I think not, but old habits die hard.

Re:GPL zfs (1, Offtopic)

teknopurge (199509) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933759)

Hi zealot hater. Your smug attitude is quite unbecoming. Does it make you feel good?

It made me feel good. =)

Re:GPL zfs (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#23934217)

Man, the only thing worse than his anti-zealot zealotry is your anti-anti-zealot zealotry.

Re:GPL zfs (1)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933381)

Meh, it was clearly on purpose that ZFS was put under a GPL-incompatible license.

If the GPL was compatible with CDDL, then Sun would have just chosen another license

Re:GPL zfs (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933451)

The fact that GPL isn't compatible with ZFS is Linus's problem. Good luck with that FUSE module.

FUSE gets faster all the time, but it appears that ZFS may go GPL here soon anyway. It would be kind of surprising if it didn't, what with Sun moving other projects that direction.

Compared to Linux, OSX is not even in the running for servers, except for budget SANs.

PR problem for Sun... (1)

mkcmkc (197982) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933921)

The fact that GPL isn't compatible with ZFS is Linus's problem.
Actually, it's more of a PR problem for Sun than anything else. The fact that Sun chose an explicit "poke in the eye" to the Linux community when they could easily have chosen otherwise has been duly noted (and is one more reason not to bother looking back at Solaris, IMO).

Re:GPL zfs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23933033)

ZFS is already available under the more free CDDL license and is available as part of FreeBSD. Why would they want to add additional restrictions to it? It sounds like Linux needs to catch up.

Re:GPL zfs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23933359)

Now, Explain to us how adding an additional license to choose from will add more restrictions to the code.

Re:GPL zfs (4, Insightful)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933457)

Because the GPL is manifestly less free than the CDDL and contributions licensed under the GPL could not be folded back into the CDDL version?

And don't try to say "well, they could stipulate that all submissions have to be dual-licensed"--you and I both know we'd see some stupid little gnuZFS the same day as ZFS was GPL'd, just to get around that.

Re:GPL zfs (3, Insightful)

Bralkein (685733) | more than 5 years ago | (#23934027)

And don't try to say "well, they could stipulate that all submissions have to be dual-licensed"--you and I both know we'd see some stupid little gnuZFS the same day as ZFS was GPL'd, just to get around that.
While the GNU people certainly can be rather over-zealous when it comes to the subject of licensing, inclusion of ZFS is surely a matter of kernel development, and the Linux kernel does not (AFAIK) fall under the aegis of the GNU project.

Linus Torvalds always struck me as a pragmatist, and Linux kernel development is backed by a number of groups with a genuine commercial interest in improving Linux with the inclusion of good technologies like ZFS. In the light of these facts, I would be very surprised (not to mention disappointed) if a dual license prevented the inclusion of ZFS in Linux.

Re:GPL zfs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23933485)

FreeBSD isn't any more "allowed" to use ZFS than Linux is. They're both not allowed to. The CDDL is incompatible with both the GPL and the BSD license. Sun just doesn't care enough to retaliate against FreeBSD. You can bet they'd object if someone tried to put ZFS into the Linux kernel.

2001-2002? (3, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 5 years ago | (#23932611)

How about the other years? or is 2001-2002 the period they screwed up the worst ?

Re:2001-2002? (4, Informative)

cpuh0g (839926) | more than 5 years ago | (#23932779)

Oh, I'd say 2008 is shaping up quite nicely to be one of the worst years in their history. The huge revenue miss in Q3, combined with the total lack of organic revenue growth, the continued exodus of top execs, and the pending layoff of up to 3000 employees doesn't exactly bode well for the future of Sun.

Ponytail-guy and his pals have basically given away the crown jewels and have not been able to "monetize" any sort of decent return for their efforts. The company can't sell servers, gives away software, and keeps purging the budget of the services and marketing teams that are the only pathway left for revenue growth. Geniuses.

I love Sun, I love their software, and they even have some really impressive hardware, but the management team there is absolutely clueless about how or where to take the company. The bets they made on open source and other areas are clearly not paying off. The stock is as low as it has ever been over the past 8 years and is showing no signs of life.

It is utterly depressing to see such a great company go down like this.

Re:2001-2002? (1)

IAR80 (598046) | more than 5 years ago | (#23932827)

and they even have some really impressive hardware,

Have you ever worked with the Sun Blades?

rock and hard place (1)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 5 years ago | (#23932967)

Ponytail-guy and his pals have basically given away the crown jewels and have not been able to "monetize" any sort of decent return for their efforts.

And what brilliant strategy would you have recommended? What should they have "monetized" and how?

Re:2001-2002? (4, Interesting)

raddan (519638) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933315)

Even if Sun as a corporate entity disappears, though, I'm sure that their influence will continue to be felt. Look at Netscape. Really, they only had two significant products (which came in one package): Navigator and JavaScript. Now, Netscape is no more, but Navigator lives on as Mozilla/Gecko and JavaScript as ECMAScript, and both of those technologies have been essential to the "2.0"ing of the web.

Sun created Java, which (love it or hate it) is still being taught as part of the core curriculum in many computer science programs. And SunOS/Solaris and its many associated technologies are being integrated into many places (PAM, DTrace, ZFS, and so on). If you have experience with any of Sun's technologies, you know they're not perfect, but they're damn well thought out, and they make many parts of your daily work easier.

I hope Sun weathers these changes-- they're one example of a company that saw a coming shift in the business of selling computers and software, and instead of lobbying the government to prop up their failing business model, instead changed their business model. There's plenty left for Sun to fix in their company-- e.g., have they opened up their hardware documentation yet? (we would probably buy Sun hardware if we could run other OSes, fully-supported on it). But it would be a shame to see such an innovator go the way of Xerox PARC, Bell Labs, etc, etc, etc...

Re:2001-2002? (2, Interesting)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 5 years ago | (#23934221)

Oh, I'd say 2008 is shaping up quite nicely to be one of the worst years in their history. The huge revenue miss in Q3, combined with the total lack of organic revenue growth, the continued exodus of top execs, and the pending layoff of up to 3000 employees doesn't exactly bode well for the future of Sun.

I'm curious, how do you have the Q3 revenue numbers when Q2 isn't even over yet?

Re:2001-2002? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23932915)

Sun has tens of thousands of employees, many exclusively engaged in software development. They've had many rounds of layoffs before and since 2001. They looked at Linux vendors such as Red Hat and saw they were much smaller. Have you ever had to meet a payroll? It's easy to sit back and say, this company should do this, should've done that, they should get a new business model.

The wrong decision can sink a company. Look at Sybase - they were one of the hottest RDBMS vendors in the late '80s. Then they ran into a cash shortfall and had to make a source code licensing deal with Microsoft. Now Microsoft has the majority of the SQL Server business that Sybase once had, even though Sybase still has joint ownership of the source code. Yes, there are plenty of nice people out there willing to roll up their sleeves and help, but there are also plenty of un-nice people who will take what you've got and use it to push you aside.

yeah, finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23932635)

good to hear about sun's mistakes , especially from a top management guy at Sun.keep along this line and will be ok.good luck!

still skeptical (2, Insightful)

IAR80 (598046) | more than 5 years ago | (#23932667)

I am still skeptical of Sun. They are coerced into behaving nicely by the huge open source community which is not that much interested in what they have to offer anymore and have a lot of influence in the market. And let's face it, they opened up Java after IcedTea is out for quite a while now.

Re:still skeptical (4, Informative)

/ASCII (86998) | more than 5 years ago | (#23932875)

IcedTea is based on OpenJDK, released by Sun.

Re:still skeptical (0, Troll)

IAR80 (598046) | more than 5 years ago | (#23932939)

True, but the cat is out of the bag now. They could have open sourced java years ago and really make a difference. Right now I only remember their stupid forms I needed to complete on their website to download the Linux version.

Re:still skeptical (4, Informative)

Kentaree (1078787) | more than 5 years ago | (#23932931)

They open sourced their compiler, virtual machine and most of their libraries before IcedTea was started according to wikipedia. [wikipedia.org] And how would you say they can be coerced? It's not like their entire revenue is based off open-source, so I don't see any distinct advantage open-sourcing would give Sun

Re:still skeptical (5, Insightful)

julesh (229690) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933081)

They are coerced into behaving nicely by the huge open source community which is not that much interested in what they have to offer anymore and have a lot of influence in the market

Not really. Java still dominates the enterprise application market (the only place it ever made any money for Sun), and its open source status is likely to have little effect on this. Even without ZFS being open-sourced, Solaris would still have a world leading file system. And I don't see where any pressure at all came from for them to open source the design of their UltraSparc T1 and T2 processors [opensparc.net] . Sun have been progressively opening more and more of their key business IP, and as far as I can see the only reason they have done so is that they really believe in the benefits of open source.

Re:still skeptical (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#23934247)

Sun doesn't "dominate".

It shares the market with IBM, HP and Linux.

Depending on your "enterprise" app of choice, Sun may appear to be nothing but a has-been.

You know how you can help, Sun? (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#23932669)

Just finish open sourcing Java, and then bring JRuby and Jython up to par with the latest versions of the C-based versions. Oh and throw in there a spec to allow easy integration of those languages into JSP and some other areas to make them peers to Java itself in the enterprise world.

Re:You know how you can help, Sun? (3, Informative)

BestNicksRTaken (582194) | more than 5 years ago | (#23932797)

you might be asking the wrong company there - as far as i recall, the main jython developer also wrote ironpython, and now works for microsoft who seem to not really take python seriously as its a bit of a bolt-on hack and not nicely integrated into visual studio like c++ etc; they're not exactly the kings of opensource either....

plus, even though the jython library version is out-of-date, it still makes c-python look like a snail - and i never thought i'd say that java is faster than c!

hopefully python3000 will bring us speed if not compatibility.

Re:You know how you can help, Sun? (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933113)

plus, even though the jython library version is out-of-date, it still makes c-python look like a snail - and i never thought i'd say that java is faster than c!

C-Python is a bytecode interpreter written in C (Apples). Jython is a bytecode->bytecode translater that operates on top of the Java runtime (Oranges).

Re:You know how you can help, Sun? (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933849)

Oh and throw in there a spec to allow easy integration of those languages into JSP and some other areas to make them peers to Java itself in the enterprise world.

Now I don't doubt that you'll see a fair amount of Java code in JSPs, but that doesn't mean that it's right or desirable. The correct thing to do is to write a tag, which presumably can be written in any language that can be compiled to JVM bytecode.

To be honest I think that the ability to use scriptlets in JSPs is a bad thing that I'd rather see removed than extended to include other languages.

To be fair (4, Funny)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 5 years ago | (#23932693)

To be fair they wanted to open source the code in Q4 1999, however their Java ftp client just finished loading a few months ago so they couldn't upload the code until just now.

Should have been from the Start (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23932837)

I honestly don't understand how open-sourceing Java, a 'free' 'compiler' will help a struggling company. While it's true that java runs many devices, these are always closed-course customized versions of the java interpreter, so the famour 'write once , run anywhere' becomes, 'write once - debug everywhere'.

It's a great learning language, like Turing was back in the 80's-90's or so, and it can be used to teach the basics of OOP and OOP compiler design.

How they EVER planned to make money off java, is beyond me, [well, maybe the embedded versions]. This should have been open-source from the start.

Re:Should have been from the Start (2, Insightful)

julesh (229690) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933297)

[Java]'s a great learning language, like Turing was back in the 80's-90's or so, and it can be used to teach the basics of OOP and OOP compiler design.

Java is a useful language with a well-designed and extensive set of libraries that make it one of the best languages available for implementing most kinds of business applications.

What it isn't, in fact, is a good learning language.

How they EVER planned to make money off java, is beyond me, [well, maybe the embedded versions]. This should have been open-source from the start.

1. The original plan for Java was as a language for embedded systems. The other applications were added as an afterthought, effectively.
2. It's hard to see how they would have been better off had it been free software[1] from the beginning. The language was adopted at a phenomenal rate, has had a huge amount of community input and is now effectively one of the three most important languages for commercial programming today (along with C++ and C#).

Sun's lack of profit from Java stems primarily from the fact that they never developed the kind of leading support software for it that the development community required, leaving things like IDEs and application servers for others to successfully commercialise. If Sun had produced an IDE even a fraction as good as eclipse, or a server environment as robust as IBM WebLogic, they could have made a fortune from it. But they failed to achieve that.

[1]: I use the term to avoid confusion: Java has always been a "source code available" product, but simply did not have the redistributability of modified versions that we expect from free software. Many people understand "open source" to include the former.

Re:Should have been from the Start (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933327)

a server environment as robust as IBM WebLogic

Errm... s/WebLogic/Websphere/. Sorry, was thinking about something else...

Re:Should have been from the Start (1)

evil_neanderthal (1024405) | more than 5 years ago | (#23934099)

BEA WebLogic is another example of the same principle (SaS company stealing Sun's donuts).

With that, I have coined "to steal one's donuts", please attribute properly.

Sun is still screwing up, albeit not as much (4, Interesting)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 5 years ago | (#23932851)

I appreciate how much effort it must have taken for Sun to move this far on open source. Nevertheless, I think Sun is still screwing up.

Solaris, for example, is being positioned as an alternative to Linux: it's "pick us or pick Linux". From an open source point of view, it would be better if Sun picked a license that allowed the best parts of Solaris and Linux to be combined, and for end users to decide what those best parts are.

For Java, Sun still has most of the control, they have torpedoed attempts to certify Apache-licensed implementations as Java compliant, and their dual licensing scheme for Sun Java means that the project just isn't run the way an open source project ought to be run.

In the short term, Sun's behavior is disruptive for open source, but sadly not in the positive newspeak sense, but in the sense of merely annoying a lot of people for no good reason.

In the long term, Sun is going to lose with Solaris and Java if they persist in their take-it-or-leave-it approach to open source. If they want the technologies to survive in some form, they need to allow a mix-and-match approach; that's what open source is really all about.

Re:Sun is still screwing up, albeit not as much (1)

IAR80 (598046) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933017)

Mysql 6 will be the perfect example of Sun screwing up even more than before.

Re:Sun is still screwing up, albeit not as much (5, Insightful)

pirhana (577758) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933241)

> Solaris, for example, is being positioned as an alternative to Linux: it's "pick us or pick Linux". From an open source point of view, it would be better if Sun picked a license that allowed the best parts of Solaris and Linux to be combined, and for end users to decide what those best parts are.

This is a very important point. Regardless of any so called technical merit Solaris kernel has over Linux, its NOT going to catch up with Linux in adoption or momentum. At least not anytime in the near future. I am telling this as I have managed to get Solaris(intel version) installed on a machine after about half a dozen failed attempts. Mostly due to hardware incompatibility. The tried hardwares include even the very common ones like DL-385. Just to manage it from my laptop(Kubuntu) I installed OpenSSH on the solaris box. It took almost 30 minutes to get it installed where as in linux it would take less than 30 sec. Solaris is no where near to Linux in hardware compatibility , ease of installation, availability of applications ..... But it DOES have some cool technologies like Dtrace and ZFS. So what best SUN can do is to integrate these technologies with Linux and try to get maximum hardware sale and service contract on Linux platform. The problem with SUN has been that they are late in everything. They do things after much resistance. That is what has happened with Java and now going to happen with Solaris. I really wonder why its so hard for the SUN execs to understand such simple things.

meh (2, Funny)

n3tcat (664243) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933051)

So Sun decides that they can't make money by pushing the open source community around, so now they come on their knees and beg forgiveness before they have anymore problems.

Hmm...
/me wraps his arm around Sun's shoulder

It's alright man. Good to have you with us.

Re:meh (1)

WingedHorse (1308431) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933219)

Sun has been... Pushing the open source community around? Eh? They have given the OS community as much as all the other companies counted together and it just hasn't given them any money back.

Re:meh (1)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 5 years ago | (#23934237)

reminds me of an arrested devlopment bit for some reason

Michael: Is this about the money?

Gob: No.

Michael: What do you want?

Gob: I mean, it's not about money in the sense that I'm coming here saying, "Here, Michael. Take some money." It's just more of a "may I have some" kind of visit.

Sun Doesn't Have Much of a Future (4, Insightful)

segedunum (883035) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933231)

Sun has, and has had, some great products in the past, and some of their hardware is still pretty excellent, but the problem with the company is that they still have a deep rooted protectionist attitude towards SPARC and Solaris. Why do you think it took so long to get Solaris on x86, why it took so long for Sun to accept that x86 servers was where the growth was, why most of Sun's customers still get Linux pre-installed on Sun's systems and why Sun paid a couple of billion for an excellent business opportunity in Cobalt, and then promptly destroyed it?

If they could make Solaris and SPARC stand out and pay off then fine, but they can't hence the half-hearted and pretty sad move to 'open source' Solaris just so all their consultants and execs can run around trying to tell us that it's 'just like Linux'. However, in the cold hard light of day, Linux ate Solaris's lunch, and SPARC just competes too closely with x86 based servers without the comparable performance. SPARC is so inferior to x86 in terms of raw performance it's so laughable. Solaris also suffers from the fact that Sun just don't have the resources to push development to where Linux and other operating systems are, and these days it is increasingly expensive to try and maintain an entire OS yourself.

In terms of open source, Sun's problem is that the vast majority of open source software is written for Linux and the BSDs first. No one thinks of Solaris as their first platform of consideration, and it's difficult to see why they should do so now. It's still like that now, and it was still like that a few years ago when a former employer scratched its head trying to work out why Zope and Python performance was so terrible on Solaris and an UltraSPARC. A Sun guy even recompiled Python in Forte. The bottom line answer we got from the Python devs was "We use open source systems, and possibly Windows, first and foremost on x86 systems, x86 and Linux performs better anyway, and while we'd like to help, we just don't care about your corner case problem on an OS and hardware we don't have access to and can't reproduce. Just use Linux and x86". That's not literal, but it's the general gist, and I couldn't say I blamed them.

The solution? They moved to a far cheaper x86 system with Linux, they had no installation problems with Python as it came within the package management system itself, things were far easier to manage, performance increased exponentially which pleased everyone and Python and Zope ran with no issues whatsoever. That still holds true today.

Re:Sun Doesn't Have Much of a Future (1)

wprowe (754923) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933493)

Is it possible that Sun finally decided to open-source Solaris in hopes the OSS community would help them port it to more platforms? The user gets the "stability" of a commercial operating system with the "compatibility" of an open source operating system. Sun may also brag about the enhanced security that Open Solaris provides because of all the eyes allowed to poke into it, discover the holes, and close them.

Just a thought.

Re:Sun Doesn't Have Much of a Future (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933555)

Sun OBVIOUSLY gets it which is why they are concentrating on Linux on x86 today. On the other hand, it's hard to beat Solaris on SPARC for the big tasks that need a single machine. On the gripping hand, there's only so many RDBMSes with Oracle or Java Application Servers out there (even if the numbers are considerable) and if you don't have more reasons to exist than that, you're not going to exist long.

You really have to hand it to Linus for his work and his choice of license. Today AIX, Solaris, and HP-UX are all being destroyed by Linux; The commercial x86 players (BSDi and SCO) are already done. UNIX is dead, long live Unix!

Re:Sun Doesn't Have Much of a Future (1)

segedunum (883035) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933941)

Sun OBVIOUSLY gets it which is why they are concentrating on Linux on x86 today.
I'm not entirely sure what you think is obvious, and the capital letters aren't going to make it true. The only thing obvious to me is that they've basically been forced into that by market forces, but they still continue to waste R & D time, money and resources on Solaris and SPARC that are not growing and are producing ever decreasing returns. They either need to do something spectacular with them or get rid. They'd be better off cutting costs that way rather than having yet another round of 'restructuring' where they fire thousands of employees and totally demotivate those remaining, wondering when they are next.

On the other hand, it's hard to beat Solaris on SPARC for the big tasks that need a single machine.
SPARC is dead, and it can't handle 'big tasks' in the way that x86 has been doing for years because it just doesn't have the raw performance - as I'd pointed out. Sun have tried to back SPARC into a niche with Coolthreads, but that is a very, very specific niche that few will see any benefit from. SPARC just overlaps too much with the work scenarios of x86 servers, a hangover from the dot com era, and it loses. At least IBM saw sense and put Power into a market where it made sense.

Re:Sun Doesn't Have Much of a Future (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#23934207)

they still continue to waste R & D time, money and resources on Solaris and SPARC that are not growing and are producing ever decreasing returns. They either need to do something spectacular with them or get rid.

While I agree, without SPARC and Solaris, Sun is just another Linux system integrator, plus Java.

Sun have tried to back SPARC into a niche with Coolthreads, but that is a very, very specific niche that few will see any benefit from.

Yeah well, I agree all around. Maybe they're waiting for a major rev of AMD or intel hardware so they can claim "this is what finally makes SPARC irrelevant". I previously thought Hammer might have done it, but it didn't, so I'm probably wrong again.

Re:Sun Doesn't Have Much of a Future (1)

gclef (96311) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933963)

I'd love to say that you're right, but you know what? Compared to x86, SPARC performance still sucks for some tasks...especially serial (non-threaded) ones.

Example: we had a perl script processing high-volume syslog data & inserting it into a database. On sparc hardware, we had trouble getting the script to read any faster than about 600 messages per second. Switching to a similarly-priced x86 box, we max out somewhere around 4,000 messages per second.

Sun's heavy emphasis on threading makes *some* tasks work better. But, if your task is very serial (like reading & parsing syslog), SPARC just doesn't compete.

PJ calls Sun out for "abetting" SCOundrels (4, Interesting)

Gimble (21199) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933235)

Look at this post here [groklaw.net] from Groklaw, reviewing the testimony from the SCO v Novell trial.

PJ notes that SCO enacted a license, illegally according to Novell, with Sun in 2003 that allowed Sun to open source Unix Sys V. Knowing they had that, Sun still allowed SCO to embark on their SCOSource campaign against IBM and Linux users for allegedly putting Sys V code into Linux.

Still find Java hard (-1, Offtopic)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933239)

I write decent Visual Basic code and I am quite adept with OOP, but still find writing Java code quite hard. Is it the case for Java folks out there too? What can I do to be as comfortable in Java as I am in Visual Basic?

In VB, I can visualize a plan of attack on a particular problem but still find that very taxing on my brain when it comes to Java. Bottom line: Java - quite mediocre, VB: fluent, though it does not matter that much these days. I mean, VB is dying.

Re:Still find Java hard (0, Offtopic)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933533)

I assume you're talking about VB.NET?

VB.NET is the braindead version of C#; the two languages map almost directly onto each other, though VB.NET is gimped with trash like the My namespace. Pick up C# and get away from that VB nonsense and Java will come easily to you as well.

Re:Still find Java hard (0, Offtopic)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933677)

Visual BASIC is a RAD environment. Unless you're using Java in a similar environment (Visual J++ maybe? I never used that and don't think they even make it anymore) then it's going to feel a bit different. FWIW, I transitioned into Java from BASIC (but the flat text file variety) and didn't have much trouble, though the concept of OO programming was a bit of a change (not hard to grasp though).

I will say from personal experience that despite liking the concept of RAD environments a lot, I now find the BASIC language (and hence VB) simple, but very, very limiting. C or C++ in the background is far more powerful, which is why for a long time I really liked Borland C++ Builder, which was a more or less a VB-esque app but with C++ as the background language. These days Visual C+ can work the same way (in the "old days" it didn't let you draw your interface like VB did), making it more attractive. I'm attempting to pick up C# along the way, but it's just a project in my spare time. On the Linux front, Glade is useful and I've played around with it a bit, but it's not quite at the same level of polish as Microsoft's developer tools.

As to VB dying, it's only dying in the same way that COBOL is dying. That is to say, it's not really considered a front runner for new application development, but there's still TONS of stuff out there still being sold, and still being maintained, so it IS a good skill to have.

Re:Still find Java hard (0, Offtopic)

mrpacmanjel (38218) | more than 5 years ago | (#23934279)

I currently maintain some software here at work and you've guessed it - most of it is implemented in vb, vb.net, vbscript and asp.

I have also used c, c++ and c# in other projects in my working career.

Almost all computer languages have common underpinnings and principles (e.g. conditional statement, local/global scoped variables & loop constructs) when you know the basic (no pun intended) elements of a language - this rest will follow.

Personally I always get to grips with the core elements of a language and ensure I have a good foundation to build on before I start on the libraries.
For me, the libraries are the most 'challenging' aspect of learning a new language.
Once you've got your head round the libraries you will find it much easier to solve problems.

I've recently started Java programming again and feel almost overwhelmed at the sheer size of just the core libraries in Java.
It's a worthwhile investment in time and energy because Java is pretty much implemented everywhere and of course now open-sourced.

Stay at it and good luck!

Not Open Source (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23933271)

I think they screwed themselves. I am happy to see they are changing their minds and hope that is not too late.

Only 2001-2002? (2, Informative)

Mathness (145187) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933405)

Reading this story [groklaw.net] seem to indicate that 2003 and forward should have been part of the "screw up" period.

It is good to see Sun throw their weight in to support open source.

Sun has a long way to go.. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23933497)

Yeah, they screwed up big time. Groklaw has a nice article up on their involvement with SCO:
http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20080625020853732

And they are still screwing up. Just have a look at the legal agreement you need to agree to when downloading even the *specification* from any of the Java Community Process groups where the project lead works for Sun. Evil and completely unacceptable terms for open-source developers...

And in those projects where they have released the source under a free license, they still keep an iron hand on the development process. So unless you work for sun, you need to beg to get your changes in (and sign all sorts of agreements). Closed bug-reporting systems. Version-control repositories that you need to apply to get read-only access to. Closed mailing lists. Design meetings held in person (Sun employees only of course).

This is a company that has a *long* way to go before they understand what Open Source is about.

Or, less charitably, this is a company that does indeed understand what open-source is about and is manipulating the system. Yes, once the source is released a fork is then possible, but for a large project inertia and an existing pool of developers all from one company make that something that takes real anger to do. So the changes Sun has made so far don't achieve a whole lot; they still completely control the direction their open-source projects take.

Real OSS companies are different; they contribute upstream, allow derivatives downstream, and are open in their process. A whole world of difference. See RedHat for a good example.

Re:Sun has a long way to go.. (4, Interesting)

JerkBoB (7130) | more than 5 years ago | (#23934313)

Or, less charitably, this is a company that does indeed understand what open-source is about and is manipulating the system.

Never attribute to malice what can be explained by simple incompetence. Or ignorance, in this case.

Sun is a company comprised of over 30k employees. That's a small city's worth of people. Many of those people have been with Sun for a long time, from times before OSS really came on the scene.

People at the top may get it. People at the bottom (i.e. new, younger hires) may get it. The problem is that there are many people in-between who have been doing things the Sun way (indeed, the standard corporate way) for so long that OSS is just alien and bizarre.

There is indeed a lot of internal hostility toward Linux. A lot of it is just sour grapes, but there is also quite a bit of feeling that Solaris is the superior solution, and people are downright baffled that anyone would knowingly choose inferior technology. "If we just showed them the light, they'd use Solaris instead of that Linux crap!"

As with most huge multinationals, the company is made up of several distinct business units. Hardware, Software, Sales, Services, IT, etc. Sales people make money on software sales and support contracts. They also make money on high-margin government and finance sales. What they don't make much money on is bare hardware sales, especially if the customer wants Linux. Unfortunately, what this all means is that the people who use revenue streams to try and shape corporate focus are in a battle with the senior executives who are trying to shift the company away from relying on those high-margins-but-shrinking-buyer-pool revenue sources.

There is also the problem that for many people, a job is a job. They're not particularly interested in keeping up with things outside of their sphere of influence. Change means having to learn new things, and sadly, there is a lot of resistance to change (not just at Sun, of course!)

It will certainly be interesting to see what Sun looks like in 5-10 years, if it still exists as a distinct corporate entity.

I think that Sun is doing Open Source fairly well (2, Insightful)

MarkWatson (189759) | more than 5 years ago | (#23933761)

Sure, Simon Phipps's quote makes a good headline, but between OpenOffice.org, Netbeans, Glassfish, slowly but surely Java, etc. I would personally give Sun a good grade.

Open Source can be good for business, huge, large, and small. A bit off topic, but: while I earn most of my living consulting on (unfortunately) closed source projects, I almost always try to initially talk my customers into at least considering Open Sourcing all or parts of development projects. I believe that software development should be done in the least expensive and highest quality way possible: better for almost everyone to drive down the cost of software development; I argue that the less expensive that useful projects are, then more projects get funded. Also, about an hour ago, I received a small grant from someone in Europe to convert one of my LGPL projects from Java to Pascal/Delphi :-)

Let them come truely clean (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#23934077)

and speak about the deal with MS to fund SCO. When you pay 10 million for software that is worth at most 200K, and you obtain a big chunck of stock, well, that is not about a set of drivers. And let not just the OSS world know about that, but some of the regulatory groups.
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