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Oracle To Invest In Sun Hardware, Cut Sun Staff

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the taketh-with-one-hand dept.

Oracle 135

An anonymous reader writes "There's been much speculation as to what Oracle plans to do with Sun once the all-but-certain acquisition is complete. According to separate reports on InfoWorld, Oracle has disclosed plans to continue investing in Sun's multithreaded UltraSparc T family of processors, which are used in its Niagara servers, and the M series server family, based on the Sparc64 processors developed by Fujitsu. However, Larry Ellison has reportedly said that once the Sun acquisition is complete, Oracle will hire 2,000 new employees — more people than it expects to cut from the Sun workforce. Oracle will present its plans for Sun to the public Wednesday."

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135 comments

What about the software? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30923944)

What about all of Sun's software? Solaris? Java? NetBeans? Their C, C++ and FORTRAN compilers? OpenOffice.org?

Re:What about the software? (3, Informative)

five18pm (763804) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924878)

Solaris, Java, NetBeans, OpenOffice.org, everything is staying according to Thomas Kurian and Ed Screven. Only thing I didn't hear about was OpenSolaris. There is also going to be an Oracle Cloud Office, online docs like Google Docs.

Re:What about the software? (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#30927744)

I can't see Ellison resisting the opportunity to really fuck Microsoft over with OOo.

Good (1)

omb (759389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30928682)

And all power to his elbow, maybe he can leverage the OOXML debacle into anti-trust, and clean up that mess foe a profit too.

--
Der Feind meines Feindes mein Freund vielleicht.

Re:What about the software? (4, Informative)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924938)

All of it was mentioned, with the exception of the C, C++, and Fortran compilers.

  • I don't remember specific plans for Solaris, other than that it will be the OS running a lot of the Oracle appliances they're talking about.
  • Various Java news. Integrating HotSpot with JRocket. Unifying the programming models/API for Java SE and Java ME. Java SE 7 will include support for multi-core and better support for multiple [non-Java] languages.
  • Netbeans goes forward as a "lightweight" dev environment, while JDeveloper is the "strategic" platform. Netbeans will get improved support for scripting, dynamic languages, and mobile.
  • OpenOffice.org will continue as a separate business unit. As with everything, Oracle is bragging that it plans to boost investment in it. They mentioned an Oracle Cloud Office based on OpenOffice.org, which aims to offer the same experience on the desktop, Web, and mobile (as Microsoft is talking about with Office 2010).

Maybe someone else can fill in more details.

Re:What about the software? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30927512)

Netbeans goes forward as a "lightweight" dev environment, while JDeveloper is the "strategic" platform.

I don't like the sound of this. It kinda implies that they're going to cut out all J2EE-related features out of NetBeans. And what about Glassfish?

Re:What about the software? (0, Flamebait)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 4 years ago | (#30928818)

No, they didn't say anything about cutting things out of Netbeans. Just that they want to add more stuff.

As far as JDeveloper being the "strategic" platform, it sounds like that has more to do with the efforts Oracle will take to package it as more of a turnkey platform. Kurian mentioned integrating Hudson with JDeveloper, for example. I don't think there will be anything stopping you from using Netbeans as your primary environment if you don't mind setting up some more stuff yourself. JDeveloper is supposed to be the preferred choice for large teams in enterprise environments.

As for Glassfish, that, too, will continue to be developed. As with Netbeans, Oracle wants it to be a solid reference J2EE implementation, while WebLogic will be the "strategic" platform. The distinctions between those two products are wider than between Netbeans and JDeveloper, so I think it speaks for itself. Kurian specifically called out some of the nice features of Glassfish, and said that they plan to continue to support it as a "rapid development and deployment environment."

Re:What about the software? (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925084)

Is their C/C++/FORTRAN compiler (I assume they all use the same optimization backend) any good in terms of optimization? Does it beat GCC in any significant way?

Re:What about the software? (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925264)

A couple of years ago it was still the default compiler in OpenSolaris. But I think it had to do with compatibility, because you couldn't compile Solaris with GNU tools.

Since then a lot of code has been patched to be compatible with GCC (or more precisely, the whole GNU toolkit. Oracle's Makefiles weren't compatible with GNU's make, for example). I think they still recomended the use of Sun's compiler for this. Also it was a pain to have Sun software compiled against Sun libraries and GNU software compiled against GNU libraries...

In terms of performance, my guess would be that in SPARC you would have some sort of performance gain (getting the compiler from the guys that make the chip is a big advantage, then again SPARC is Open Source too, you can get the HDL sources for the UltraSPARC T2 IIRC). I doubt that you will see a big difference in x86/x64 as so many people is involved with them.

Re:What about the software? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30925780)

http://blogs.sun.com/BestPerf/entry/free_compiler_wins_nehalem_race

Re:What about the software? (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926202)

The most interesting thing about that was that the 'auto parallelization' code used 8 cores to get slightly more than 50% more performance than it got with one core. To be honest, I'm a bit surprised that it got any benefit. It's parallelizing loops which can only be done if the compiler can prove that there are no dependencies between loops (which means that it must be able to see all of the code that executes in the loop, including the bodies of called functions) and it will often result in slowdown because subsequent loop iterations will use data in the same cache line, so you get a lot of churn.

Compiler performance is very important on the newer UltraSPARCs, like the T1 and T2, because they do not do out-of-order execution. That means that data dependencies between instructions can cause pipeline stalls (which, hopefully, won't be a problem because you've got another thread or seven waiting to run). The compiler needs to know the length of the pipeline and design the instruction stream with this in mind. It also needs to do things like space floating point operations for the T1, which has a much larger floating point latency than most other chips. Moving data between the floating point unit and an integer register (e.g. branch on a comparison between floating point values) takes several cycles, so it needs to be aware of this and shuffle the instructions accordingly.

Re:What about the software? (2, Interesting)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#30927778)

The killer app for the Niagaras is Java, lots of Java. That's CPU-hungry but of course you can run a separate Java app (in the JVM) on each of your 96 threads. Makes a Niagara server well worth the money in our experience.

Re:What about the software? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30928162)

You don't need a separate VM on each thread. Java encourages you to use lots of threads. It has accurate GC, which means that it can track which threads have references to which locks, so the VM can remove locks when all of the threads that reference them are on the same CPU, and even schedule them so threads that don't contend for the same lock will run. On top of that, a separate thread for the JIT, one or two for the GC, and you've got something that can quite happily use a lot of contexts.

Re:What about the software? (1)

Lally Singh (3427) | more than 4 years ago | (#30928370)

Or (now) Oracle DB threads.

Re:What about the software? (1)

ChristTrekker (91442) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926094)

I use gccfss [sunsource.net] and it's great. Handles GNU-ish code, and yields highly-optimized binaries. Unfortunately (for me), the last available version for Sol9 has a nasty bug in it that the team has no intention of fixing.

Re:What about the software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30925106)

What about all of Sun's software? Solaris? Java? NetBeans? Their C, C++ and FORTRAN compilers? OpenOffice.org?

MySQL?

Re:What about the software? (2, Interesting)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925328)

Ellison re-iterated that it is not competitive, but complementary with Oracle. They plan to increase investment in the business. No specific announcements about development direction or how Oracle plans to package it (no mention of an "Unbreakable MySQL," for example).

Re:What about the software? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#30927802)

I bet we will see some kind of upsizing soloution to make it easy for mysql users who have outgrown mysql to migrate to oracle.

Re:What about the software? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30926054)

Sorry, I have a very difficult time considering MySQL to be Sun-caliber software.

Frankly, that acquisition has already gone down in history as one of the biggest tech industry blunders of all time. Sun gave up a lot of money, and in return got a completely shitty product. I mean, MySQL isn't just a bad database system. It goes out of its way to be fucking stupid whenever it can. The mere fact that MyISAM doesn't support transactions and foreign key constraints makes it a complete joke. Even SQLite now supports both of those!

Sun could have done much better for themselves, and for their customers, had they invested even just a small fraction of that money into the development of PostgreSQL. Unlike MySQL, PostgreSQL is the type of professional database system that would have fit in really well with their Solaris and Java offerings.

Regardless of what Oracle says now, I hope they kill off MySQL as quickly as possible. MySQL is a disease, and needs to be eliminated. It is responsible for more corrupt and lost data than basically anything else in history. And it's something that Oracle doesn't need associated with them, given that Oracle's database products are basically the complete opposite of MySQL in every way.

Re:What about the software? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#30927814)

Regardless of what Oracle says now, I hope they kill off MySQL as quickly as possible. MySQL is a disease, and needs to be eliminated. It is responsible for more corrupt and lost data than basically anything else in history. And it's something that Oracle doesn't need associated with them, given that Oracle's database products are basically the complete opposite of MySQL in every way.
OTOH if oracle kills mysql they risk driving people to postgresql. From what I have heard postgresql is far more of a threat to the likes of oracle than mysql is.

If I was in oracles position i'd keep mysql on lifesupport while trying to make migration from mysql to oracle as easy as possible for those who outgrew it.

Re:What about the software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30925406)

Netbeans is going to stay... as the LIGHTWEIGHT development environment... Muhahahahahahahahaha

What Kind of 'Hiring?' (3, Insightful)

mpapet (761907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924026)

Sounds to me like he'll axe the long-time Sun employees, instill an environment of fear-based fealty and then replace workers.

I also wonder if this wasn't part quid-pro-quo for getting the merger approved.

I see green shoots!

Re:What Kind of 'Hiring?' (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924232)

I also wonder if this wasn't part quid-pro-quo for getting the merger approved.

Hruh? Please elaborate. Why would the EC hinge merger approval on replacing Sun employees with new engineers and sales force post merger completion? You really think 2000 jobs would be enough to sway the EC on the monopoly issue? You think all those jobs would be in Europe? Sales jobs would need to be market-location-specific. Engineering... there could be a case there.

Re:What Kind of 'Hiring?' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30924420)

It's not a merger. It's an acquisition.

Re:What Kind of 'Hiring?' (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926660)

Red herring. Has nothing to do with the gist of my post.

There's a reason why companies like Oracle have an M&A team... operationally, they are very similar.

Re:What Kind of 'Hiring?' (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30924372)

As an Oracle employee, I can tell you "fear-based fealty" is not at all how Oracle works. They have a long history of acquisitions, and the strategy is always the same: Keep the best and brightest from the acquired company, and let everyone else go. Heck, they've bought entire companies before specifically so they could get their best engineers (virtual iron). They're practically obsessed with getting the best people, not the best bootlickers.

Re:What Kind of 'Hiring?' (3, Insightful)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 4 years ago | (#30927192)

How do they go about determining who the best people in a company are?

Re:What Kind of 'Hiring?' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30924740)

Yea, green. Like the green in McNeeley's and Schwartz's pockets. Hey there Scott, lets have a few more Microsoft jokes, they can't steal your customers any longer.

Re:What Kind of 'Hiring?' (1)

eclectus (209883) | more than 4 years ago | (#30928174)

Were you watching the same presentation I was? I'm a Sun employee, and I (and others in my office) liked what we saw, and wanted more. I can't speak for others, but I'm looking forward to being part of Oracle. He wants to hire MORE engineers, not get rid of talent. He wants to use the compete stack of hw/sw/apps to succeed and beat a certain 3 letter company that has been spewing the FUD.

Employee cuts (4, Insightful)

mu51c10rd (187182) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924028)

However, Larry Ellison has reportedly said that once the Sun acquisition is complete, Oracle will hire 2,000 new employees — more people than it expects to cut from the Sun workforce.

This is not right from the article. Oracle plans on hiring 2000 employees, but they plan on reducing Sun's headcount by more than that. Hope those Sun employees pick up jobs quick in this rough economy...

From FTA:

Ellison told The Wall Street Journal that Oracle plans to take on 2,000 new employees - but that it will reduce Sun's head count by a larger number.

Re:Employee cuts (4, Insightful)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924096)

Hopefully Oracle will NOT hire the Sun server sales reps.

They demanded that Sun push high end servers (with their high sales commissions) instead of x86-64 solutions and, IMHO, effectively killed the company

Re:Employee cuts (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925830)

They demanded that Sun push high end servers (with their high sales commissions) instead of x86-64 solutions and, IMHO, effectively killed the company

How much of their failure in the x86-64 solution has to do with the fact that they were going up against two entrenched players (HP and Dell)? I wasn't even aware that Sun offered low end servers until I read about it in the WSJ this morning.

Re:Employee cuts (1)

Lally Singh (3427) | more than 4 years ago | (#30928402)

A lot of people want good supported Unix servers with a bit more vendor-support (e.g. you want the guy who wrote the code to fix your kernel) than what most linux-server shops can provide.

Sun's had years with the right products, with some huge gaps, to do well here. But they've had their heads up their asses.

Re:Employee cuts (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 4 years ago | (#30928952)

I don't think the issue is so much dealing with HP and Dell as it is the lack of marketing. Sun's Startup Essentials [sun.com] program offers some decent pricing on the lower-end gear for smaller companies, but seems to be almost totally unknown. I've been totally happy with the low-end Sun gear I've bought, but with the discontinuation of the X2100 line it seems that they're abandoning the low-end market that they could probably have completely taken from SuperMicro, had anyone actually known they were available.

Re:Employee cuts (1)

Usagi_yo (648836) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926302)

What is better? An engineering driven company or a Sales team driven company? As much as I hate to admit it (as a systems engineer), the sales team force not only want to sell stuff that generates high sales commission, but they want to sell stuff that actually is in demand. Sun's sales force team was excellent in both knowledge and expertise.

And

High ticket items, mean higher profit margins to corporations too. While some do strike it rich with high volume short lived product, Post 1995 sun was not going to do that with Desktops based on near proprietary OS (Solaris) and very expensive and exclusive chip sets (sparc, ultra-sparc), nor could they compete at the X86 level with off the shelf engineering with companies like Gateway, Dell, HP, Compaq.

Where they failed miserably was development expense and magnitude of increase of applicability of the high end servers. The San Diego team of High end server design that they acquired from SGI/Cray -- the guys that very expensive, but very much in demand E10k came from, never quite became part of core Sun Development, due to both distance and tribal tendencies from within Sun. Very much like, if you didn't work within 25 miles of corporate HQ or have a badge # below 300 -- you were not really part of the family, but a distant cousin or crazy Uncle/Aunt type.

Deja Vu (1)

omb (759389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30928626)

So, so, so like the DEC demise, I like the badge numbers, and the UNLOYAL marker 123B, when you were re-hired!

Re:Employee cuts (1)

eap (91469) | more than 4 years ago | (#30928850)

Anyone with knowledge of how hardware sales works knows that's not the fault of the sales reps. Management sets sales quotas and promotions, as well as the sales goals for each item.

If you expect sales reps to give you an unbiased recommendation, then you are an ideal customer. Sales reps will pursue the strategy that retires the most quota

Re:Employee cuts (0, Troll)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924972)

I think in this case the Journal is mistaken. Ellison just talked about this issue minutes ago, and he castigated the press for reports the Oracle plans to lay off "half Sun's workforce" (or similar). He says Oracle plans no such thing, and in fact he will be hiring 2,000 new employees, which will be more than it plans to lay off as a result of this acquisition.

Re:Employee cuts (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926046)

I wish I could independently confirm that, but Oracle's "Careers" page requires IE. Doh!

Re:Employee cuts (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925252)

You get that from fucking the article? Curious.

Re:Employee cuts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30926850)

i got anal warts from fucking kathleen fent.

Hire 2000? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30924062)

That might be more people than *Oracle* plans to sack, but Sun has been cutting people left right and center to stay afloat while this whole thing was going through. Larry Ellison can spin it however he wants, but there's definitely been a net loss of jobs since the whole ordeal began. I'm glad to finally see this go through though.

Re:Hire 2000? (1)

mikael (484) | more than 4 years ago | (#30927128)

During the dot com boom, Sun was hiring around at leat 300 people/month,ranging from architects to junior programmers. That was going on for several years. Maybe it has been continuing.

All I know about that is... (3, Informative)

Third Position (1725934) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924114)

...is that the shop I work in is replacing it's Sun, HPUX and AIX servers with Red Hat Linux clusters hand over fist. HP and IBM are making up the lost revenue selling us blade servers, which pretty much leaves Sun out in the cold, given that Sun hasn't really established themselves on commodity hardware. Sun's servers are great, of course, but I'm guessing that without a competitive commodity platform to get their foot in the door, they aren't going to be making most customers A list of vendors when they go shopping for high end hardware.

Re:All I know about that is... (3, Funny)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924170)

Just how many blade servers do you have to buy to "make up the revenue" from one HPUX box?

Re:All I know about that is... (1)

Third Position (1725934) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924352)

Good question, I don't do the purchasing so I couldn't tell you. But selling something is certainly preferable to selling nothing.

Re:All I know about that is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30926536)

Just how many blade servers do you have to buy to "make up the revenue" from one HPUX box?

Except that Sun sells low-end (x86, T5120), medium-end (T5440, M3000, M4000) and high-end (M{5,8,9}000) systems. Same as HP, they have both x86 and RISC offerings.

One exception is that you can buy a Sun enclosure and stuff it with both x86 and SPARC blades as you wish. With HP and IBM, you can't mix and match your x86 and RISC stuff.

Re:All I know about that is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30924396)

We're doing the opposite here. IBM does make good hardware, but their blade systems are horrible for the customized work we do. Sun's blade solutions have been easier to manage and work with.

Re:All I know about that is... (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925054)

Sun has had X86 Intel and AMD servers for about 3 to 4 yrs now. Mutli-core CPU and multi CPU both. And blades. Of course they also had a lot of advanced features that made them expensive, and HP/Dell and sometimes IBM killed them on price at the 2 to 4 CPU low end pizza boxes. But you can't say they aren't "established".

Trying to cut salaries? (5, Informative)

ErichTheRed (39327) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924132)

I wonder what the motivation here is. Oracle isn't exactly known as a warm and fuzzy employer. Every time I've had to deal with Oracle products, it's painfully obvious that the people they have intentionally design their software to be difficult to support...and then they hire armies of low-skill consultants to "help" customers install their systems.

(And yes, I understand enterprise-grade software is complex. However, needing someone to guide you through all the quirks in the products or documentation just to get a proof of concept going is sad. I think SAP may be the only worse company in this "doesn't work out of the box" category.)

My guess? Larry is going to wipe out the current long-tenure Sun employees who know everything about Sun's products and replace them with low-skilled, low-salaried n00bs. My further guess would be that these employees would be in lower-wage countries as well.

IBM has been doing stuff like this for a while, from what I've heard...including offering people permanent one-way transfers to India along with the appropriate salary cut. Every time one of these crazy schemes comes to light, I really wonder what I should do with the rest of my career...I have at least 30 years until I retire!!

Re:Trying to cut salaries? (4, Insightful)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925056)

Every time one of these crazy schemes comes to light, I really wonder what I should do with the rest of my career...I have at least 30 years until I retire!!

So that would make you about 35, right? Well, take a look around you. How many technical coworkers do you see that are ten years older than you? How about twenty? And thirty years?

There's age discrimination in every field, but being a 60-year-old programmer is only marginally more likely than being a 60-year-old stripper. You might get lucky and still have a job in this field in ten years if you're really, really good, but as hardly anyone has only one career these days, it might be a good idea to think seriously about what comes next.

Re:Trying to cut salaries? (2, Insightful)

samkass (174571) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925354)

So that would make you about 35, right? Well, take a look around you. How many technical coworkers do you see that are ten years older than you? How about twenty? And thirty years?

There's age discrimination in every field, but being a 60-year-old programmer is only marginally more likely than being a 60-year-old stripper.

While you may be correct, I don't think the current status quo is necessarily evidence of it. I'm 36, and am of one of the first generations where it was reasonable to have a microcomputer around the house as a small child. People 10, 20, 30 years older than me probably got their first computer at a much older age than me and probably don't have that much more experience than me. When I'm 60, I'll likely have decades more software experience than they do now.

Of course, the younger kids might crush me in networking experience, since the WWW didn't exist until just about when I went to University.

Re:Trying to cut salaries? (5, Insightful)

starfishsystems (834319) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926666)

Having a home computer is only the most recent way that people have been able to gain access to computing resources.

When I got started 38 years ago, what kids did was to demonstrate sufficient enthusiasm and talent to be granted access to a research computer somewhere. It was a serious privilege, but with it came contact with professionals - mathematicians, computer scientists, systems programmers, and electrical engineers - who very much knew what they were doing, and who actually had time to share their insights. These people were routinely tasked with writing things like kernels and schedulers and device drivers and compilers, and they could always use help with various lesser aspects of design and implementation.

That's how I got started in the years before you were born. Then I earned my degree and learned the formal computer science to back up that practical experience. And you know what? It's all still completely relevant. I've lost count of the generations of technology and hype that have come and gone. That's all just surface appearance and deserving only of passing attention. The underlying principles haven't changed a bit, and they're as fascinating and challenging as ever.

Re:Trying to cut salaries? (1)

cpghost (719344) | more than 4 years ago | (#30928786)

I've lost count of the generations of technology and hype that have come and gone.

Same here. Skilled code monkeys come and go as tech evolves, but real computer scientists and engineers are still very much in demand.

Re:Trying to cut salaries? (3, Insightful)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 4 years ago | (#30929018)

The underlying principles haven't changed a bit, and they're as fascinating and challenging as ever.

I'll agree with that, but what *has* changed is the overriding desire to save a buck at most companies, along with a continuing loss of perceived value for the years of experience a senior person brings to the table. I've only got about 25 years of experience (20 of it professional), but even I am starting to run into the situation where experience just isn't considered something valuable anymore - "why should we pay you X thousands of dollars more than this kid right out of college? You both know C++, right?"

Re:Trying to cut salaries? (5, Insightful)

fhage (596871) | more than 4 years ago | (#30928230)

So that would make you about 35, right? Well, take a look around you. How many technical coworkers do you see that are ten years older than you? How about twenty? And thirty years?

There's age discrimination in every field, but being a 60-year-old programmer is only marginally more likely than being a 60-year-old stripper.

While you may be correct, I don't think the current status quo is necessarily evidence of it. I'm 36, and am of one of the first generations where it was reasonable to have a microcomputer around the house as a small child. People 10, 20, 30 years older than me probably got their first computer at a much older age than me and probably don't have that much more experience than me. When I'm 60, I'll likely have decades more software experience than they do now.

Of course, the younger kids might crush me in networking experience, since the WWW didn't exist until just about when I went to University.

It's a myth that younger people are "better with computers and technology" because they had access to computers in their house as they grew up. I turned 50 this year and have been doing scientific programming for over 35 years. I started at 14 yrs old in '73, working on time share systems and wire wrapping PDP-11 backplanes. I've been on the Internet since '86 and kids almost always assume they have more "network" experience than I. Some of the recent CS college grads I've worked with can't program their way out of a paper bag without GUI UML tools an IDE and weeks of effort refactoring their work. Young kids take days to do things I'd have it done in several hours because I'd be using use the right tool for the job. 'Awk', 'sed' , bash, csh are still very useful for "fixing" data sets. 'perl', 'php' and 'python' are used for more complex tasks. Compiled languages and libraries are used when performance matters or complexity is high. We had 10+ yr experience software engineers who would spend weeks writing a Java app, when a one line 'dd' would do. They've never heard of 'dd', so they write their own buggy, hard coded program. This old guy was the first one to make use of AJAX and web apps in our 50+ engineering division. Companies should think about this, as they lay off us older guys so they can hire a new cheap, young kid within a month. I'm now doing low-level Linux driver and DSP work for a scientific instrument maker, trying to rescue them from the mess the Java programmer they hired to port their old C, C++ DOS code to XP. "interrupt latency jitter? what's that!?". How come I can't do 5k interrupts/sec on this PC?

Right now, in many scientific fields, the new software being written have less features and run slower than they did 20 years ago. NCAR has spent over 5 years and many, many FTE's trying to replace a C application I wrote in 1991 with a Java version. This 19 year old C/C++ application is still being used quite extensively, even though it's been "replaced" several times with new the development efforts.

Re:Trying to cut salaries? (4, Insightful)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 4 years ago | (#30928950)

"It's a myth that younger people are "better with computers and technology""

It doesn't make any difference as long as those hiring believe the myth.

Re:Trying to cut salaries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30927592)

How many technical coworkers do you see that are ten years older than you? How about twenty? And thirty years?

Sun had *LOTS* of older coders. It will be interesting to hear from my Sun friends what happens to them.

Re:Trying to cut salaries? (1)

Toze (1668155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925526)

I've thought about this too. I think, once I've got my student loans paid off, and my next couple of degrees finished, that I might look at work in developing nations. Making $15K a year doesn't sound like much, but if you can live well in the area for $10K, it's a good deal; I'd rather have a maid and chauffeur in Bangalore than a 200ft^2 apartment in NYC, know what I mean? The more money I end up making, the more I realize my motivation is to live well and have technical challenges- the actual paycheck is just a barometer for that sort of thing. There will never be an escape from dealing with corporate slime, but in developing nations at least what you're doing is exciting, or new, or important. 20 years from now, who's going to be hiring people for their space flight control center?

Re:Trying to cut salaries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30926342)

I think you'll be disappointed as you learn that many countries are actively against foreigners moving in. For example, India has a "Foreign Exchange Management Act" from 1999 that prevents foreigners from buying land without getting express approval from various not well specified authorities. See http://www.rbi.org.in/scripts/FAQView.aspx?Id=33 [rbi.org.in]
This is not unique to India or even uncommon...

Re:Trying to cut salaries? (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925904)

Every time I've had to deal with Oracle products, it's painfully obvious that the people they have intentionally design their software to be difficult to support...and then they hire armies of low-skill consultants to "help" customers install their systems.

From what I remember from my IT days, Oracle made sales by first sending in analysts who would look not at the customers' requirements, but what they thought the customer could afford. While a lot of companies do that Oracle had absolutely no shame about doing it. The only other large company that competed with them for shiftiness was CA.

Re:Trying to cut salaries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30926950)

"My guess? Larry is going to wipe out the current long-tenure Sun employees who know everything about Sun's products and replace them with low-skilled, low-salaried n00bs."

Sun has been doing this for the past 10 years. Once they started bringing in the H1-B's, Solaris started going seriously downhill, in terms of product and marketshare.

"My further guess would be that these employees would be in lower-wage countries as well."

Probably. They outdo Sun here in this regard.

Leave those stellar objects alone (4, Funny)

(ana!)a (769730) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924264)

I can't believe what's happening, first ax the moon [orlandosentinel.com] , now cut the sun [slashdot.org] , not to mention this thing about mars' spirit being stuck [slashdot.org] . What the hell is going on with our solar system ?

Re:Leave those stellar objects alone (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924530)

With the recent popularity of the books and movies, I'd say we have entered the Twilight Zone.

Thats why things are so messed up.

Re:Leave those stellar objects alone (1)

bobstreo (1320787) | more than 4 years ago | (#30927034)

You forgot Pluto.

Re:Leave those stellar objects alone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30927700)

It all went down Uranus.

Maybe now's the time to switch... (1)

sticks_us (150624) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924282)

To Free/Open alternatives.

I think I like Oracle even *less* than Microsoft, and that's saying something.

GCJ anyone? [gnu.org]

Re:Maybe now's the time to switch... (0)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924550)

Yaaaa... Well I am certain that you can find free/open alternatives for most parts fo the Oracle technology stack, but I believe that you would be hard pressed to find foss software that performs many of the functions of the Oracle applications suite, and that also includes a high degree of integration along with realitively consistant interfaces and apis.

I have been alternately irritated and pleased with all aspects of Oracle corp (tools, support, sales, apps), but the one thing that I know is that Microsoft hasn't got a chance in hell of creating a competitive application suite in the next decade, and they are the group most likely to accomplish it.

Re:Maybe now's the time to switch... (3, Insightful)

williamhb (758070) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926116)

To Free/Open alternatives. GCJ anyone?

But given that Sun has already GPL'ed Java -- see OpenJDK -- you'd be wasting your time.

Re:Maybe now's the time to switch... (1)

rzei (622725) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926300)

Perhaps you were trying to spell out OpenJDK or Apache Harmony. GCJ is not... exactly the way to go -- it might had seem like it was before hotspot, but not anymore. I'd never run any of my java code on other than vm because of all the online optimization support.

Re:Maybe now's the time to switch... (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#30927946)

GCJ anyone? [gnu.org]
Given that there is now a usable FOSS release of java based on the sun code that is far better than any of the independent implementations I think a better choice would be just to fork that if things go sour.

Employing more staff than they're cutting? (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924336)

Let me guess, they're removing more senior staff and taking on cheap young and or foreign staff.

Bye bye, SunOS (1)

yttrstein (891553) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924414)

Man, we had a great run. I'll never forget you, old BSD horse.

Dear Apple:

Buy ZFS from Oracle right now. Thanks in advance.

Re:Bye bye, SunOS (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30924644)

Haven't been listening to anything, have you? Ellison (and the other Oracle people) keep talking about Solaris being the Best High End Unix out there and running the most Oracle instances, so they're putting *more* investment into Solaris.

Re:Bye bye, SunOS (3, Insightful)

yttrstein (891553) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924794)

I've been through fifteen buyouts in my career, big and small. I know therefore that absolutely nothing that anyone involved with this purchase should be taken as truth.

They're likely, based on my experience with all manner of corporate buyout, going to replace the old Solaris silverbacks with their own people, sooner rather than later.

Are you old enough to remember the Compaq/DEC buyout? Digital Unix will continue, they said. It's DEC's best product, they said. And it did, kind of, when it got its name changed to Tru64.

Then they ignored it until it pretty much died. Oh, it's still around and will be supported until 2012, so HP says. Then the lights get shut off and that's the end of it.

When was the last time you actually saw a Tru64 machine?

Re:Bye bye, SunOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30924854)

I'm on a Tru64 machine right now. I'll stop using it once my workstation dies, or I can't compile Firefox for it any longer.

Re:Bye bye, SunOS (1)

indi0144 (1264518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30929004)

:o / There, 100 geek points, redeemable for lots of canned air and diamond based TIM.

Is it helpful? What machine are you using?

Re:Bye bye, SunOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30925108)

Isn't this case different, though? Isn't Oracle pretty dependent on this OS? Oracle isn't on the OS market as far as I know, so IF it disappears I think it will be likely to become part of some new Oracle product. Whether that's a good thing... well idk.

Re:Bye bye, SunOS (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926362)

Tru64 was killed because HP bought Compaq, and it competed with HP-UX. Compaq didn't already have their own UNIX, but HP did. They took the bits of Tru64 that they liked, incorporated them into HP-UX, and started pushing their customers to migrate to HP-UX.

The really depressing thing is that, a couple of years ago, I was talking to someone who did OS research at HP and she'd never heard of VMS...

Re:Bye bye, SunOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30925890)

How fabulous that as per the /. median, the post made by the fanboy who believes whatever Ellison says is the one that's modded "insightful".

Re:Bye bye, SunOS (1)

diegocg (1680514) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925148)

This is what Ellison said [ft.com] before he started his Red Hat clone (unbreakable linux, way before they bought sun):

"I'd like to have a complete stack," he said. "We're missing an operating system. You could argue that it makes a lot of sense for us to look at distributing and supporting Linux."

It seems logical that now that they have their own operative system, they will use it. On the other hand, it'd be stupid for them to fight Linux, since maaaany people use it for Oracle. They will probably support both.

Re:Bye bye, SunOS (1)

mario_grgic (515333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925180)

It appears Apple is rolling their own file system for OS X. At least that's the impression I get from the job postings looking for architects with file system knowledge.

Re:Bye bye, SunOS (1)

El_Oscuro (1022477) | more than 4 years ago | (#30928020)

I am not sure about this:

About 2 years ago, I had a government project to migrate a 6 node Oracle database running Red Hat on current x64 hardware to a single Sun SPARC. After doing the migration, I figured out why: The single SPARC utterly annihilated the X64 cluster in performance.

More recently, look at the Oracle 11g release schedule:

  1. Aug-2009: Linux (all hardware architectures)
  2. Nov-2009: Sun SPARC
  3. Dec-2009: HP-UX, AIX, etc
  4. Windows (not yet released)

I also had another recent project which involved migrating single instances to RAC clusters on new Sun SPARC hardware. Lots of people are still using Sun SPARC and are buying new machines. Given that SPARC gives Oracle an enterprise grade platform in addition to the commodity x64 platform they already have, I don't think they will be getting rid of it anytime soon.

2000 new hires (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924594)

2 chip desiners, and 1998 support consultants.

Re:2000 new hires (2, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925136)

Seriously, dude, I wouldn't want to hire any outdated support consultants from 1998. :P

Today's the 27th. (1)

starbugs (1670420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924676)

Why are we linking to articles from yesterday about what has happened [oracle.com] today?

"Hiring, not firing" (1)

elygre (711543) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924752)

Larry just said, on the webcast, that they will be hiring about 2000 people, and that "this is twice as many as we will be firing. We're hiring, not firing".

Name change to "Sun Oracle" (1)

starbugs (1670420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924990)

Many predictions from the Oracle at Delphi were supposedly inspired [nationalgeographic.com] by escaping gas vapors.

Will in the future people ask of the 'Sun Oracle' - "What were you guys smokin?".

Re:Name change to "Sun Oracle" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30925192)

You're confused. The new name is
sucle

(rhymes with suckle I guess).

Then it will all make sense when the register says "sucle just went tits-up"

Oh wait am I allowed to mention the register in slashdot?

cut staff? (1)

farble1670 (803356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925312)

there has been no announcement about cutting staff, internal or external. "analysts" have speculated that oracle make deep cuts (up to 50%), but oracle has flatly denied that.

hello editor?

This happens alot (2, Insightful)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925470)

Whether we like it or not, it happens. Fire the people making a bunch of money and hire younger people or outsource to cut costs.

I guess I am new to this industry, but I have seen this multiple times. I always thought making more money had to do with delivering good products on a good time, and not firing people to make up the difference. I guess I am still new since I think that idea is messed up.

Investment Opportunity (2, Funny)

twmcneil (942300) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925742)

Go short in where ever My Little Pony ends up next.

This is bad news for Sun hardware staff. (1, Troll)

Usagi_yo (648836) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925998)

Sparc is dead (at least I hope so) as far as U.S development is concerned. Sun pissed away too much money developing Sparc chipsets post 1999/2001 -- when it became clear that X86 architecture was coming into its own. Sun should have stuck with AMD and explored more ways to make Enterprise versions of X86. Spending more R&D money in an ever shrinking niche market when off the shelf components were making leaps and bounds was not a good business decision. I certainly hope Oracle doesn't intend on going down this proven money sink

hole.

M4/M5 and DC series are almost exclusively designed by Fujitsu, except for some odds and ends "thrown as a bone" to Sun. Things like Power supply Specifications, choice of which DVD drives and Disk Drives to use, non-active component boards, and *some* U.S agency compliance responsibilities made me ..... uhhh, Sun Engineers feel like we were becoming sustaining Engineering people for a product we had little to absolutely no design control or responsibility for. Oh yea, well we did get to design some power cords. Woo Hoo! Power cord engineering is what I ... uh, they wanted to do after 15 years of Systems Engineering experience.

I don't know how it's going to work for Sun Hardware Engineering when under Oracle. I think they are smart people and have a different perspective then what was developed at Sun from the bubble burst to now -- But I hope they have something synergistic in mind, rather then Bifurcated product lines. I would like to see Database Transactional off-load processors down to the I/O level .. such as TCP offload engines and specialty I/O designed to deliver transactional data directly to the clients.

As for sideline products, I expect things like Java to be spun off and sold to interested 3rd parties, while I believe Solaris will be kept and well supported for a good while yet as probably government dictated conditions of the merger. Governments don't like when their support disapears over night for things they intended on using for a long time. Open office is a popular alternative to the expensive and bloated MS Office so I think Oracle will keep Staroffice and try to make something of it. Mysql will be supported in name only, and don't be surprised if starts to look more and more like Oracle.

Re:This is bad news for Sun hardware staff. (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926614)

a little hint might have been Oracle promising UltraSparc users continued "future binary compatibility"....like they may at some point ditch the chip and offer emulation on x86-64.

Re:This is bad news for Sun hardware staff. (1)

afabbro (33948) | more than 4 years ago | (#30927932)

I would like to see Database Transactional off-load processors down to the I/O level .. such as TCP offload engines

...which is what Oracle built with their new Database Machines, right?

Sun partners SOL (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926684)

Oracle wants to assume direct sales relationships with the enterprise and government clients of Sun, to get consolidated stack offering and cut out the partner middlemen. Huge (but not unexpected) for some of us who work for value added resellers (VAR), at least my place of employment also sells the other Unix(tm) big iron, Sun becoming ever smaller piece of revenue over the past five years

I don't know about this... (2, Funny)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 4 years ago | (#30927504)

Doesn't investing in SPARC processors, at this point, sound a bit ... RISC-y?

Glad to see Niagara continuing (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#30927730)

The Niagara boxes are really all that and more. One chip, 12 cores, 96 threads in a 1U server. My work serves a pile of Java servlet based websites, so these are just the thing for the job. They spend most of their time twiddling their thumbs and barely breaking a sweat - the previous generation is three V240s that are running flat-out. Yeah, we've got capacity for a while. We're about to get a Niagara-based build server as well, to replace the present V210 - only a 32-thread model, but that should still make stuff finish in roughly the blink of an eye.

Sun x86 is pretty good too - price-competitive with equivalent Dells, service about as good IME. Always good to keep a mix of vendors in the server room for the field engineers to see.

Mind you, with nine years' Solaris on my CV, it's just as well I've been brushing up my Linux. Not that I don't trust you implicitly, Mr Ellison.

Database machines (3, Insightful)

tomhath (637240) | more than 4 years ago | (#30928046)

The direction seems pretty clear: If you want an Oracle database, you buy the entire stack in one place - proprietary hardware, compilers, operating system, DBMS. That's the product they will sell.

The rest of Sun will likely disappear within a couple of years

Meet the new DEC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30928288)

(vertically integrated stack, what everyone else is offering is laughable shit, The Man himself says so)

Same as the old DEC.

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