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Oracle Restricts Access To Sun Firmware Downloads

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the where-the-bits-did-once-freely-roam dept.

Oracle 202

boer lee writes with the news that you can expect trouble in downloading firmware updates for your Sun server if you purchased it before March 16, 2010. "In a somewhat surprising move (and without any notification to customers), Oracle shut down public access to firmware downloads. I learned this the hard way when I contacted Oracle customer service almost two weeks ago. Yes, it took 13 days for me to get access to the firmware download for systems under the standard warranty (i.e. less than a year old)."

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Draconian? (1)

Ardx (954221) | more than 4 years ago | (#32090976)

Oracle being draconian? Whodathunkit.

Purchased Before March 16, 2010? (4, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091008)

Purchased Before March 16, 2010? Doesn't that exclude, like, almost all purchases of Sun hardware?

Re:Purchased Before March 16, 2010? (5, Informative)

Too Much Noise (755847) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091082)

Purchased Before March 16, 2010? Doesn't that exclude, like, almost all purchases of Sun hardware?

No 'almost' about it. According to TFA, systems sold before that date come with the 'old' Sun warranty, while the ones after have the 'Oracle Global Warranty'. The two don't mix and the old systems require 'opening a formal service case' to get the firmware that they're entitled to.

Re:Purchased Before March 16, 2010? (5, Informative)

ender- (42944) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091136)

I just tested this and I was able to download firmware for some of our x86 servers with no issues.

Re:Purchased Before March 16, 2010? (2, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091298)

It may have been a glitch.
The new owners trying merge Sun's customer base into their system. Maybe it is fixed now?

Re:Purchased Before March 16, 2010? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32091338)

If it's a glitch, then the problem would be the unverified news item on slashdot.

Sun confirmed it to me on April 9th (5, Informative)

borcharc (56372) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091964)

Its not a glitch, I received this email from sun after submitting a ticket that i was unable to download the firmware for my workstation on 04/09/2010:

Hello,

As of April 5th customers now need either hardware warranty or a 'system' level contract to download firmware, drivers, etc from either SunSolve or the Download Center.

Sincerely,

Sun Web Team
Sun Microsystems, Inc.

-

When trying to download the current bios and driver iso for my Sun Ultra 24 it says i am not authorized. Please advise.

Re:Sun confirmed it to me on April 9th (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#32092966)

Okay I was trying to give them the benefit of the doubt. Frankly I would say this is a bad move if Sun wants to stay in the Hardware biz.

Re:Purchased Before March 16, 2010? (3, Informative)

Too Much Noise (755847) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091342)

Then maybe TFA is wrong - or at least in part. However, March 16th was the date Oracle changed its hardware support policy [cio.com] . Seeing that the Sun acquisition was concluded at the end of January, any new changes of policy most definitely do not include old Sun kit.

Re:Purchased Before March 16, 2010? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32091904)

No 'almost' about it. According to TFA, systems sold before that date come with the 'old' Sun warranty, while the ones after have the 'Oracle Global Warranty'. The two don't mix and the old systems require 'opening a formal service case' to get the firmware that they're entitled to.

Cisco does that crap too.

Cisco has a policy of giving away free IOS firmware for security problems, even without a support contract. They've had this policy for years.

But you can't just download the firmware. You have to call Cisco and open a case. And most of their staff have never heard of this policy, so you spend 15 minutes telling them that Cisco does actually have this policy, and even telling them where on Cisco's website it explicitly says Cisco does have this policy.

Then they assign you to an engineer who will work with you to resolve the case. The engineer will call you back.

Then the engineer asks what is the problem, you explain, and they give you a special time-limited url to download the firmware.

Then you download the firmware and upgrade your router. Then they close the case and send you a survey.

I estimate it costs Cisco $50 to handle each "free" download.

If Cisco wasn't so paranoid, it would cost them next to nothing for a simple webapp where you create an account, select your router model & serial number, and click on the generated link to download the firmware.

Bound to Happen (1)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091026)

I really don't like that this happened, but it is not something completely unexpected.

I did think that Oracle said something about continuing support for Sun stuff. I could be incorrect in that, but I was under the assumption they would continue support.

Re:Bound to Happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32091072)

fark Oracle

Re:Bound to Happen (5, Funny)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091296)

For small values of support.

Re:Bound to Happen (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32092554)

Oracle does not support anything. Oracle support is total joke for their own products, for things they bought it is even more worthless.

Seems a bit silly at first glance... (1)

ProdigyPuNk (614140) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091054)

This seems rather odd as the firmware is just a binary blob anyway, right? I'm not sure what they achieve by doing this other than alienating their customers. However, does the firmware just happen to fall under an umbrella of things that non-customers should not have access to? That would better explain their position. Or they could just be trying to squeeze an extra dime out of people...

Re:Seems a bit silly at first glance... (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091238)

More than that. Plenty of binary blobs are considered to be serious business(see just about any proprietary software).

Firmware, though, has more or less the ultimate in dongle-based copy protection... It's of essentially no use at all without the hardware, which is what you paid for anyway(the only exception would be those situations where the difference between the high end model and the midrange/low-end model is a couple of firmware locks. In such cases, the "high end" firmware is probably of considerable interest to owners of the "low-end" model who know which way to point a hex editor...).

Re:Seems a bit silly at first glance... (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091404)

It's of essentially no use at all without the hardware

Or a clone of the hardware. As if there's a vibrant sun-compatible gray market.

Re:Seems a bit silly at first glance... (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091718)

To be fair, um... you could make a Sun XVR-100 out of an ATI Radeon 7000 Mac Edition PCI. But that's stretching, and they never offered THAT firmware for download anyway (although General Dynamics did.) (Same for an XVR-300 out of (presumably) a FireMV 2200 PCIe or Radeon X300 SE, except no download anywhere..)

Re:Seems a bit silly at first glance... (1)

coredog64 (1001648) | more than 4 years ago | (#32092188)

As someone who did the Radeon 7000 to XVR-100 conversion myself, I'd suggest that someone wanting to pursue the latter could start by picking up an honest-to-goodness XVR-300 and dumping the firmware out of that. The big win on that GD firmware was that it enabled a feature that you couldn't get otherwise (console on the DVI output).

Re:Seems a bit silly at first glance... (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 4 years ago | (#32092916)

I actually want to go even further, and use a (Dremel-modded) PCIe x1 to PCI adapter, on top of that mod, to get an XVR-300 into a Blade 2500.

Open office (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32091074)

Recently I noticed the oracle sign added to my openoffice.
It got infected by teh evil, but how?

Re:Open office (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32091124)

Probably because Sun was the big sponsor/supporter. Now it's Oracle.

Re:Open office (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32091286)

Soon it will be renamed "Not So Open Office (please contact Oracle for your low cost license number)"

Re:Open office (2, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091486)

I don't think it would happen, but who knows. IBM has standardized on a variant of OOo (Lotus Symphony), so if Oracle decided to abandon it, IBM would take up the mantle of keeping the project alive. Even if IBM forced everyone to move to MS Office 2010, the users on AIX and RHEL would be left out in the cold.

I'm expecting a bigger split between StarOffice (Sun's commercial version of OOo) and Open Office.org though. OOo might get a few token updates while SO would likely receive major makeovers. Similar to the concern about OpenSolaris versus Solaris.

Re:Open office (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091702)

Simple. You left it open.

If (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32091080)

If a woman is talking and no is there to listen, is she still wrong?

Re:If (2, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091370)

If a woman is talking and no is there to listen, is she still wrong?

If you're jacking off to pictures of 1920s film stars, is it still sex?

Re:If (2, Interesting)

chibiace (898665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091726)

If they are dead, is it necrophilia?

Cut off free Solaris patches too (3, Informative)

homer_ca (144738) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091094)

You need a maintenance contract to download software patches now, including security patches. Not that they were good with security patches before, they were months behind the Linux distros on releasing them.

Find the users... (2, Interesting)

OMA1981 (706426) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091112)

What's the easiest way to find out who/what is using an a network port? Disable/unplug the port and wait for someone to call in and complain. This might be the same mentality at work, just a little larger scale.

Re:Find the users... (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091144)

What's the easiest way to find out who/what is using an a network port? Disable/unplug the port and wait for someone to call in and complain. This might be the same mentality at work, just a little larger scale.

Couldn't Oracle just stare into its crystal ball and get the answer to this more quickly?

Re:Find the users... (5, Funny)

Panaflex (13191) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091570)

No, they snort the noxious gases from a chasm and quack. Using the power of Oracle 13i and a huge dataset of duck calls, they are able to manage a software empire. Recently Oracle, announced the procurement of the Sun God Ra, after he defeated Osiris and left Isis searching the river for his missing uh... firmware.

Just another symptom of declining customer service (3, Interesting)

cruff (171569) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091116)

Sun's service has been sliding for some time now. Oracle appears to be accelerating that decline. We had some RAIDs, originally purchased from StorageTek before the Sun acquisition, come off of the three year warranty they were purchased with. We've been unable to get Sun (now Oracle) to recognize the RAID's serial numbers to get them on the maintenance contract for quite some time now. You'd think Oracle would want our money?

Re:Just another symptom of declining customer serv (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32092356)

We have seen this issue with them also. Somehow serial numbers are not recorded properly in the Oracle support database causing us endless headaches with support. This is not just limited to storage sold by Sun, but servers as well.

Oh, good Lord. (5, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091142)

Speaking as a Solaris admin of nine years, this is the best news Dell and Red Hat could ever get.

Re:Oh, good Lord. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32091208)

Dell? bzzt. Try IBM and HP.

Re:Oh, good Lord. (1)

Mr. Foogle (253554) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091276)

I wonder if the FreeBSD guys saw a jump in downloads? Need an OS to lay on that non-Snoracle hardware.

Re:Oh, good Lord. (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091528)

Huh? Don't get the relevance of BSD to this discussion. We're talking firmware, not OSs.

Re:Oh, good Lord. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32091860)

Huh? Don't get the relevance of BSD to this discussion. We're talking firmware, not OSs.

Yes, it's quite obvious you don't get it.

Well, let me clarify that for you:

this is the beginning of the end for Snoracle hardware, because unless you are a Swiss bank so deeply entrenched in SPARC and Solaris, nobody in their right mind will go along with this bullshit, when they can get cheap-ass generic hardware off of avadirect, siliconmechanics or whoever the next reasonable volume discounter is.

Unfortunately, that also means the beginning of the end of Solaris.

It's about getting to be that time to say "goodbye dear Solaris, trusty companion, the best operating system on the planet. You'll continue live in my memory."

Re:Oh, good Lord. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32092578)

Then why in the devil would they run BSD?
Linux is the default choice these days in the server room. Linux has been killing solaris for years, we are far past the beginning of the end.

Re:Oh, good Lord. (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091376)

Dell is a leader in the race to the bottom in terms of support and hardware. If you are migrating from Sun hardware, I would think there are other competitors (HP, IBM) better suited to your needs.

Re:Oh, good Lord. (2, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091754)

Even though my preference is IBM or HP for servers (mainly out of old time's sake), Dell's offerings are just as good, and they support RedHat as a server OS. Dell knows where their bread is buttered, and if their products do not do well in the data center, companies will change to HP, IBM, or Cisco brands in the next hardware upgrade cycle. With modern virtualization technology, it is not difficult to change out the hardware without much production impact [1][2].

There is a BIG quality and service level difference between stuff that goes in a server rack, and a bargain basement PC bought from a big box store. As always, you get what you pay for.

[1]: Install the OS/VM server on the new hardware and get it up to date with patches, power off the VMs in production, swap hardware, import the VMs, power them back on. Of course, it never goes this easy in reality, but this is a LOT easier than replacing a physical machine, rebuilding the OS, apps, paths to data, and other stuff.

[2]: As an alternative, I've seen some companies that are Mac based use XServes and VMWare Fusion to replace aging PC servers. They do this for services that can't be moved to OS X like Active Directory and Exchange. This is a completely supported way to run production systems, especially if a company has a great deal for hardware with Apple.

Re:Oh, good Lord. (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 4 years ago | (#32092352)

We use Dell servers (small company, 4x lower prices servers like the T300 series) and while I like the hardware "ok", the service is pretty thin when it comes to Linux. We run CentOS, which half of the techs that I have talked to have never heard of. They have flatly told me that they are a "Microsoft shop" and they can't help with Linux. In my experience, they are useless for anything relative to software unless it is Microsoft.

On the other hand, I have a couple of spare servers (testing only, dual PIII, around $2500 ea. back them) that run 24/7, from the late 1990s, and they still run perfectly in every way with never a replaced part. I have installed Redhat/Fedora/CentOS on a dozen Dell servers, 4 different models, and have never had an issue with everything installing perfect the first time. So from my experience, their hardware is easy to install, lasts a very long time, and the few times I have had warranty issues, they were handled quickly.

I did once have a cooling fan die out of warranty, and their price for a rebuilt fan "kit" was $75. I went and bought the exact same fan online from a industrial supplier for $13 and just soldered the wires into their proprietary connector (the extra part in the "kit"). They are too expensive for replacement parts. But all and all, if you can take care of your own software, I still recommend Dell. We even use them on the desktop (meh, they are ok) because of price vs performance. The big difference is that while Dell isn't the most powerful systems, you get a little less performance for about half the price.

I also have some IBM servers from 96/97 that still ran when I finally retired them, after cannibalizing them a little. Of course, those were $4500 with one PPro and no hard drives, making them closer to $6k+ each for similar reliability, but exceptional performance.

Re:Oh, good Lord. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32092592)

Dell Enterprise linux support is very competent. Tell them you are running redhat next time.

Re:Oh, good Lord. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32092766)

The advantage of IBM is that you might pay a high price for support, but if things are going to hell in a handbasket really fast, you can always get a tech onsite to help with the problem. Of course, this is a lot better with the pSeries line where IBM makes the hardware, the OS, and quite likely the software (if using DB/2, CATIA, or something along those lines.)

HP support I've seen has been middle of the road. However, in my experience, they tend to be better than Dell. Dell is great if you have a MS shop with a whole bunch of A+ techs who either can pull out a soldering iron and do exactly what you did, or find a solution by heading to a Fry's, buying a part and making it work. However, on production critical equipment, a soldering iron may void the warranty, so you need to have at least 24/7/365 with a 4 hour response time at the minimum. This is why I like HP. They actually won't give you crap if you need a tech on-site because your primary DC's motherboard ate itself and the secondary DC is groaning under the stress of twice as many queries.

Some server maker's service is OK... but in general, make *sure* to get the premium/gold/platinum/whatever is their upper tier service plan. Elsewise you will be screaming in Hindi, "Ma' mai apan paryavkaka s bta k?" repeatedly when the tech tries to read down a script asking you to run hard disk diagnostics when the box won't POST, then gets mad that you don't.

Re:Oh, good Lord. (2, Interesting)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091874)

In my experience, both Dell and Sun are about equal as x86 server suppliers, on quality of hardware, price and quality of service. They were quite good to play off against each other too.

(Dell's desktop build and service is shit, their server build and service is excellent. In my experience. YMMV. Etc.)

HP are about the same as either. IBM are better on quality and service but pricier.

Re:Oh, good Lord. (1)

soundguy (415780) | more than 4 years ago | (#32092868)

I have a rack full of Asus quad-core/4-bay 1U machines that are about half the price of equivalent Dell, HP, etc. I get them from NewEgg. I don't know why "service and support" is such a big deal to everyone. I've never had a single hardware failure of any kind in 3 years of using these commodity boxes, but if I did, I'd just swap the drives into another chassis and get on with my life. (I have hot spares in the rack) If both RAID1 drives failed or were irretrievably corrupted, I'd restore to a spare machine from either the 3rd onboard daily backup drive or the redundant weekly offsite backups. (these are cPanel web servers - account restoration from backups is trivial and completely automated)

I especially don't understand why people insist on OS support from their hardware vendor. I use CentOS exclusively and have never had any kind of problem that wasn't an easy fix with info from a Google search. Are they trying to run an IT department without any IT people or something? Exactly what kind of "support" are they getting from the likes of Dell? Are they trying to use Dell CS as their sysadmins? Are they adding bleeding-edge hardware with no available drivers or kernel support?

Re:Oh, good Lord. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32091418)

In my first hand experience, here is what is happening:

Dell, HP, and to a lesser extent IBM are gaining with servers. HP is viewed by a lot of people as being more of a server-grade company, but both Dell and HP have mature products for the server rack.

Oddly enough, Cisco is getting a boost too. Since Cisco sells rackable x64 servers, businesses who buy a lot of hardware from Cisco find it easy to just buy the PCs from them too for a better deal.

OS-wise, RedHat is the platform of choice that is being moved to from Solaris. This is boosting RedHat's sales, as well as use of CentOS for non-production testing and staging. Windows is also getting a boost. Since a lot of Sun installs are islands in a Windows-based sea, sometimes companies make sure their applications run well on Windows, then just wholesale migrate that direction.

In general, the sea change is from Solaris -> RHEL in the big data centers. There is a lot of concern about Sun's direction these days.

Re:Oh, good Lord. (4, Interesting)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091526)

Don't discount CentOS. My organization just did some consulting work with a Fortune 500 company that has several thousand CentOS boxes. They just couldn't justify the cost to run RHEL when they had enough in-house talent to fix problems when they came up (it being open source and all).

Re:Oh, good Lord. (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091918)

I've dealt with Red Hat support. They're really fucking awful and eminently not worth paying a penny. (YMMV.)

The actual reason to buy a copy of Red Hat is (1) you're running Oracle and want a supported OS (1a) you're running similarly pricey proprietary software and want a supported OS (2) you have a paranoid whose fears you have to assuage (3) you think giving Red Hat at least a bit of cash is a good thing and you can convince someone who signs the cheques to do so.

Re:Oh, good Lord. (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091808)

plenty of production sites use CentOS, several of my clients do that as well as my employer. Search engines plus forums beat a RedHat help desk 99 times out of 100; I've never needed RedHat support.

Re:Oh, good Lord. (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091898)

My experience concurs with most of that, except that CentOS is just fine for production machinery.

We run a lot of Java on Solaris. Mostly that can be moved to Solaris x86, which is a supported platform on Dell. Until Oracle think they can screw Dell out of pennies too. Then we have to move it to (ew, icky) Linux.

(Moving Java from Solaris to Red Hat is actually something I have done. The Java is easy, the Unix glue is all different.)

HP or Dell blades are damn fine too, if you're willing to pay VMware the big bucks for the nice version. (VirtualBox is ludicrously unrobust rubbish and I really think Sun bought a pup.) That takes care of Solaris x86, Linux and Windows nicely.

Re:Oh, good Lord. (5, Funny)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091612)

Speaking as a Solaris admin of nine years, this is the best news Dell and Red Hat could ever get.

Yeah, Oracle has been so unkind to customers since the Sun acquisition that at this point, it's less like Oracle is a doctor trying to bring Sun back to life, and more like Oracle is a drug addled psychotic who filled the rotted corpse of Sun with a bunch of knives and used needles and has decided to rape it continuously until sunrise. At this point, so many would-be Sun customers have been hearing this steady drumbeat of "Oracle are acting like jackass" stories that even if they became the perfect vendor tomorrow, almost nobody would touch them with a ten foot pole.

Re:Oh, good Lord. (4, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091958)

Mod parent up. This is what it feels like. Except that I would phrase them as "Oracle are acting like Oracle" stories.

Re:Oh, good Lord. (5, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091736)

If you've been running Sun systems for that long, you know what a pain it is to navigate Sun's absolute mess of customer web sites. I used to have a hell of a time finding the download I needed — and I was a Sun employee. That's one reason other server vendors (like Dell) have cleaning Sun's clock for a long time.

I wrote technical docs for Sun, some of which appeared on the web. One of the least favorite parts of my job was dealing with the company's web bureaucrats. They were in denial about the many problems with their tech, knew jack about clean web design, and had way too many processes that should have been automated but weren't. Worst of all, Sun's politics and organizational dysfunction meant that web content was generated by a half dozen different groups with overlapping and conflicting responsibilities.

Naturally, Oracle is trying to clean up this mess. And it's predictable that whoever is reworking Sun's web presence is going to screw up now and then — something that complicated is Murphy's Law waiting to happen. It's still a step in the right direction.

Re:Oh, good Lord. (3, Insightful)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091890)

No, Oracle is just trying to put it behind a paywall so you don't know what you're getting into until it's too late and you already own the hardware.

Re:Oh, good Lord. (2, Interesting)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091950)

There's a reason I always search docs.sun.com from Google ;-) It's also until now been good for finding firmware upgrades. (e.g. every X2200/X4500/X4600 shipped with firmware so immature it would be Not Fit For Purpose if UK consumer law applied; Sun won't send a field engineer until you've upgraded the firmware, or tried and failed to do so. Fantastic boxes once that's done, of course.)

Re:Oh, good Lord. (1)

Luke has no name (1423139) | more than 4 years ago | (#32092080)

You mean Silicon Mechanics and Canonical.

Right?

Oracle will kill Sun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32091190)

All the big customers are switching to IBM and RHEL. So sad.

Re:Oracle will kill Sun (2, Funny)

Mr. Foogle (253554) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091220)

SUN's not pinin'! 'SUN's passed on! This company is no more! SUN has ceased to be! 'SUN's expired and gone to meet 'its maker! SUN's a stiff! Bereft of life, SUN rests in peace!

If Oracle hadn't bought it SUN'd be pushing up the daisies!

Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! SUN's off the twig! SUN's kicked the bucket, SUNs shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!!

THIS IS AN EX-COMPANY!!

Re:Oracle will kill Sun (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091716)

My Oracle is full of Ellisons.

Re:Oracle will kill Sun (1)

jpmoney (323533) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091318)

A lot of small and mid-sized customers are switching too ;)

Greedy Sun, and in turn greedy oracle. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32091192)

"support contracts". making people pay for critical security patches. It's like a virus writer holding your machine for ransom until you pay up, and then your machine is "secure" again. This is nothing more than legalized extortion.

Fuck Oracle, and Fuck Sun.

pwned (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32091214)

That's what you get for buying from a company that bet on open source hippie crap lol.

Re:pwned (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32091410)

That's what you get for buying from a company that bet on open source hippie crap lol.

That's the weakest and most transparent trolling post I've ever seen. You're giving the rest of us a bad name. On the ground and give me twenty!

Oracle Support... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32091274)

...is an oxymoron. Oracle is going to loose Sun a lot of customers. My employer is already making contingency plans for moving off Sun systems, and we buy a lot of Sun systems.

Looking more and more like I will stop using Sun.. (5, Interesting)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091354)

I mean, come on. This is firmware which ONLY WORKS on your Sun/Oracle hardware. If you own the hardware, you should be able to get the latest system firmware. This might be the final straw in terms of me recommending Sun/Oracle hardware anymore. Personally, I loved them. My work loved them as well. But this is getting ridiculous. Ok, I can understand closing off downloads of different patches to the OS. You want updates, get a service contract because the OS was free. But to cut off firmware updates to their hardware? No one does this. You can freely download the firmware from the manufacturer of everything out there for free, because, to use that firmware, you needed to OWN the hardware which means, the company received their money for it... We have thousands of Sun desktops and servers (no exaggeration, literally, thousands) at work. I have been a very happy Sun Unix Administrator for the last 12 years, but I have to say anymore, I can't recommend we keep buying these things (especially as the majority of the codebase has been slowly ported from SPARC to x86 over the last 5 years). I have still been recommending Sun x86 hardware for their ALOM/ILOM interface and very well engineered gear which tends to last for many years longer than a Dell or HP... But the nickle/dimming to death is starting to make it so that it is not worth it to purchase a Sun box with the extra premium when I similar spec'ed Dell for 30% less, and take that extra 30% savings knowing that about 20% of it will be used in needing to replace the box a few years sooner due to hardware failure.

Re:Looking more and more like I will stop using Su (1)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091740)

I hear that! Sun and Solaris have provided me a very good living for some 20+ years now, briefly as an employee several times and just about every contract and position thereafter, but Oracle is just poisoning the well. They fumbled the MySQL relationship, lost the inventor of Java itself, and countless other valued employees. All in the name of making a quick buck off of Sun's corpse. Long live Open Solaris, but I'm supporting Linux and VMWare data centers from now on. So long Solaris, and thanks for all the fish!

Re:Looking more and more like I will stop using Su (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32091966)

Sun seems to be going to earn a marksmanship medal in footshooting.

Sun could have had a sizable market lock-in with their VM partitioning and LDOMs. However, because businesses got nervous, the title for VM server of choice in the enterprise has been handed to EMC/VMWare.

Another example is ZFS. Sun should have done like Veritas and licensed ZFS, creating a de facto standard for filesystems. Doing so would have given them top marketshare in a critical sector, and would be a field leader, just like they did with NFS and NIS. They should have let Apple license it under their own terms. This way, Sun's technology would be on a large amount of desktops. However, because it wasn't licensed, it is a very cool product, but it won't attain widespread use. I'm sure by having the core technology widespread, Sun could have made a lot of money by licensing add-ons and enhancements to it.

My question: Where is Oracle going, future-wise? They are alienating their customer base, and they don't seem to be having anything new and improved as an incentive for people to stay with them. Because of this, Sun's competitors are having a field day. In the high end iron department, IBM can offer AIX, pSeries equipment and a VERY well done virtual machine system (VIO, LPARS). In the low end server department, SPARC hardware is pointless, and there is a lot more support for Windows Server 2008 R2 or RHEL than Solaris x86. In the midrange server department, Solaris has the best change of staying around because of the abilities of ZFS, but this is becoming a narrower and narrower market segment. For workstations, there isn't any reason to have a Sun unless one requires the SPARC architecture (which is starting to fall behind x64 in terms of performance). A Mac Pro is as cost efficient as they come, and Dell or HP workstations come with a lot of horsepower.

Sun better start licensing their technologies, start working on more cool stuff, and actually support their installed base if they don't want to end up with the same fate as SGI, becoming a niche market at best.

Re:Looking more and more like I will stop using Su (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32091978)

(especially as the majority of the codebase has been slowly ported from SPARC to x86 over the last 5 years).

This makes no sense; The codebase is >99% shared between the architectures. There's very little architecture specific code that doesn't interface directly with the hardware.

True, SUNW^H^H^HORCL has been shifting some of it's resources towards x64 based systems, there's still plenty of SPARC boxes available, new SPARC chipsets in the pipeline.

Solaris itself is pretty much hardware agnostic.

Re:Looking more and more like I will stop using Su (2)

gtirloni (1531285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32092082)

Oracle is about predictable constant revenue generation. When you realize that it makes all sense. You want to own some Oracle gear, you must have a support contract. They don't see why you shouldn't have a support contract thus removing public downloads of firmware makes total sense to them. It's not about the end user, it's about $$$.

Re:Looking more and more like I will stop using Su (3, Insightful)

Skapare (16644) | more than 4 years ago | (#32092306)

Most, almost all, other computer manufacturers do not do this. Sun itself did not do this until it was borged by Larry. In the sense of Oracle's approach and business model of shaking everyone down for every penny in their pocket, it makes sense. Except for the very top end giant servers that would be running Oracle software even if Oracle had not bought Sun, this is going to decimate the Sun market that is, for the most part, not accustomed to this much aggressive gouging. IBM now has an opportunity to push PPC based machines as the alternative to x86 architectures. I can only hope they do that.

Re:Looking more and more like I will stop using Su (1)

gtirloni (1531285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32092448)

Agreed. One long-term downside of focusing only in the high-end hardware is that you make it easy for people in the low-end/mid-range areas to look for alternatives like IBM, HP, Dell, etc. When these companies grow enough to require high-end servers, they will biased towards what they've been running for years. And then Oracle will have a hard time getting into those markets. And even today Oracle's high-end servers aren't the most obvious choice, so they have to fight with IBM mostly.. and that company sure does have a hell of cash to go aggressively after Oracle customers. Oracle just shows how short-sighted and greedy it is.

Re:Looking more and more like I will stop using Su (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 4 years ago | (#32092744)

Maybe ... hopefully ... Oracle will spin-off or sell-off the low end Sparc hardware business. That would give them some cash for a business sector that apparently are not interested in. Then they could focus on competing for the high end database server market. IBM is diverse enough and experienced enough to carry out a wide range of business and still compete against Oracle for high-end database machines (they've been doing this for decades, with hardware ... mainframes). Oracle isn't experienced in that front. Sun certainly brings some in, but more work still needs to be done (including paying attention to what they bought).

Re:Looking more and more like I will stop using Su (1)

mxs (42717) | more than 4 years ago | (#32092648)

firmware from the manufacturer of everything out there for free, because,

So you have never used Cisco gear then ?

GARBAGE (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091364)

This act by Oracle is simply outrageous.

You see if I ever recommend anyone buying a Sun/Oracle server ever again.

Not going to happen. I will now recommend all owners of Sun/Oracle servers phase them out as quickly as possible, since Oracle has proven so unreliable.

And I actually used to prefer Sun's hardware, and recommended them highly...

Re:GARBAGE (1)

hpavc (129350) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091504)

Agreed, if this is after market issues (like cisco had with ios and did the same thing) they could have addressed it in a different issue.

This coupled with the Solaris support changes, not sure what there is in their product line thats worth it.

Cannot wait for a real zfs/dtrace/crossbow/zome alternative elsewhere.

Re:GARBAGE (1)

gtirloni (1531285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32092296)

You can try FreeBSD 8-STABLE today for ZFS.

Re:GARBAGE (2, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#32092588)

Well, Cisco is basically in a different world. The software is essentially a majority of the value in many of Cisco's products which are software-based routing platforms, sometimes with a few hardware ASICs or specialized ICs thrown in when required (for example, for switching, or carrier grade apps).

The closest Sun equivalent would be Solaris, but they went another direction... they opened that.. (OpenSolaris)

If Cisco didn't limit the IOS distribution, by now, there would probably be 3rd party manufacturers making routers that you could load IOS firmware on as drop-in replacement, due to the immense value and basically industry de-facto standard status of the IOS.

The Cisco IOS software is very unique, enterprise routing/switching equipment isn't a commodity, or at least it wasn't at the time, and it has a very long useful lifetime, in that it can still do its job just fine, and serve a useful role for otherwise lucrative customers, even long after 10 year sales and support EOL.

Used Cisco equipment would be a very good cost-effective alternative for small/mid-size enterprises to run their network infrastructure with, if they wanted, were willing to forego support, and if the IOS/other updates needed to provide any added features or performance/fixes were publicly available..

And these people would have little option but to buy brand new Cisco equipment, if not for aftermarket.

Servers are really quite different...

Servers have an aftermarket, but they lose value much more quickly.

A server that was cutting edge 10 years ago, is basically worthless today for new purchases. Whereas a router that was high-end and cutting edge 10 years ago can still have a lot of value in the aftermarket.

As for the large enterprises that buy most Sun equipment, it would be almost unheard of for them to seek equipment in the aftermarket.

The most likely reason they would be looking for firmware updates is that they have old equipment doing something important that they cannot or do not want to migrate away from at that point.

Oh, yeah, and they have an issue related to an old bug in Sun firmware, that they had delayed patching for a long time.

So... they go to Sun's website... looking for answers, their Sun hardware is being flaky due to a defect, it's out of support contract and Sun won't provide the fix

IOW, the hardware is going to have to be replaced to fix the issue.

They will be forced to buy new hardware... but are they going to buy more hardware from Oracle after having this issue, after Oracle denied them access to the fix?

Are they going to keep support contracts on all their other Oracle servers, and replace them with new Oracles when they reach their 5 year server replacement cycle? Or will they buy shiny new Compaq or IBM servers for a fraction of the price? I think the latter...

More importantly... when some small business or individual picks up their old server [with firmware-related issues] on the aftermarket sold as-is to get rid of it by the original company...

What is this going to do to their opinion about Oracle, when they find there is a fix for the issue, but Oracle decided they can't have access to it?

Well, they will be more concerned that there was an issue in the first place, it makes the manufacturer look bad.

Arguably, this move could increase the number of old Sun/Oracle servers on the aftermarket and reduce the price they sell for, making the brand look even cheaper than it does today.

jonbenson (4, Informative)

jonbenson (748756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091374)

I am downloading the firmware for my Sparc T5520 server right now. This sounds like a personal problem.

Re:jonbenson (1)

Kymermosst (33885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091844)

Just downloaded firmware for my first-gen X4100, GA date Nov 2005.

So, no issue for me either.

Re:jonbenson (1)

Darby (84953) | more than 4 years ago | (#32092820)


I am downloading the firmware for my Sparc T5520 server right now. This sounds like a personal problem.

It's only a problem if you don't seed it when you're done downloading ;-)

In a somewhat surprising move (1)

BestNicksRTaken (582194) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091450)

Erm, i'd say its totally *unsurprising* given what we've seen of how oracle is handling sun nowadays - you tried to get a patch cluster (or even patch info!) lately?

i'm not even going to mention killing off opensolaris or charging for odf plugins.

Confirmed (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32091462)

I've just confirmed this with my Sun account (that doesn't have our contract attached.) At my day job we've purchased over mid-six figures worth of Sun hardware (retail over $1M) in the last two years; this and other Oracle-ization has nearly guaranteed that it's the last that we'll ever buy.

Hardware, Software, Complete. (1)

ak3ldama (554026) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091466)

...and it's gone!

Seriously... that is retarded. Horrible way to treat customers, even if they are only past customers. The new slogan sucks too. Sorta like: "We want to be like IBM, we are not sure how yet, but we are going to try this out."

The Oracle Speaks (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32091624)

At Delphi, the Oracle Larry Ellison speaks:

Larry: "Hmmm... everybody thinks we bought Sun in a clever ploy to offer integrated solutions. That would allow us to out maneuver IBM and their crappy DB2. I know how to show them how wrong they were... I'll shoot Sun hardware in the foot! Along with strangling MySQL and putting a fatal bullet in OpenSolaris, I'll make sure anything valuable from Sun is gone forever. Then let them try to figure out why I bought it."

Tech Analysts: "Curses, he is too clever for us!"

Re:The Oracle Speaks (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32091776)

I'd bet money that M$ paid them through some back door deal to buy Sun and kill OpenOffice. Not to mention the side benefit of getting rid of mySQL, and Solaris. Think about it. It's going to be huge blow to the OSS community. It's time for a new set of forks.

Dead man walking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32091692)

Just another sign that Sun h/w is dead. Almost open support was a hallmark of Sun. They put all of their solutions and problems on line. Nothing hidden and very easy to get access to despite the need for a contract number.

That said, almost any of the open source o/s support forums and sites provide better information for each distribution.

Sun h/w is obsolete, low performance, and risky from an Enterprise point of view. Solaris X86 possibly had some legs but you can fuhgetaboutit as well.

Sigh. It was a good run but there is nothing more unsightly than misplaced technology nostalgia. (says the guy with a 1000 in his garage).

Just in: Gigabyte & ASUS 2 charge for BIOS upd (1)

Proudrooster (580120) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091758)

Good job Oracle! You will only hurt the ones that buy your hardware :) I know, I know, I know maintaining that 20-30% annual support contract is part of the business model, but FIRMWARE updates? Please.....

In other news, Gigabyte and ASUS will start charging for BIOS updates. You just thought your were going to purchase that new 6-core AMD PhenomII and use it with your motherboard. Not so fast... get a premium support contract first! Of course I am just kidding, I hope. Better go download the new BIOS just in case it disappears.

Apparently Larry doesn't have enough ... (2, Funny)

Jerry (6400) | more than 4 years ago | (#32091948)

airplanes, yachts or mansions.

Kicking away customers with both feet (1)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 4 years ago | (#32092058)

I have to say, at a completely anecdotal level, this shit is absolutely driving a significant migration off of Sun/Solaris and onto Linux with HP/Dell x86 hardware. We're looking at consolidating several hundred SPARC/Solaris boxes onto a significantly smaller number of modern multicore commodity boxes.

I'd been nagging to start on this for the last 3-3.5 years, but it's finally getting traction. Ironically, OpenSolaris would likely have been a better option, but nobody here's got faith in that platform. Just when ZFS was gettin' real good too! :/

Thanks, Larry!!

Re:Kicking away customers with both feet (1)

gtirloni (1531285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32092340)

As a sysadmin I'm thinking if I should stop looking at Solaris/SPARC as a viable career path. I might not have enough companies to work for in the future with Oracle screwing up like this. Oracle has already said they won't care about low-end hardware.. only mid-range and high-end stuff. That shrinks the number of potential employers.

Re:Kicking away customers with both feet (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32092884)

Why do you feel that Linux requires x86? Debian supports SPARC. I understand wanting to get away from Sun/Oracle hardware, but Linux on the existing SPARC boxes could be an intermediate step.

Solaris 10 d/l was busted too... (1)

coredog64 (1001648) | more than 4 years ago | (#32092070)

This weekend I was trying to download Solaris 10. The old license survey that you got in between selecting a platform
and the actual download was busted and redirected to www.oracle.com

I filled out their online trouble ticket and got an email pointing me to the instruction page. I then sent them
a screen shot showing that I was logged in and a zip file of the HTTP traffic between me and Oracle. I didn't get
a follow up email but the Solaris download is mysteriously working again.

I spent the weekend trying to grab a copy of ALOM 1.6 firmware. The Oracle dev site says the 1.6 version is public
and that only prior versions are restricted, but all attempts have resulted in failure. I even went so far as to use
a search engine to try and find an unsecured copy -- no dice. I did find an earlier version of the OBP firmware that
will allow me to install OpenSolaris 2010.03, er, 2010.04, er, 2010.H1

Oracle is awful (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 4 years ago | (#32092336)

Oracle are a bunch of morons with bad customer service.

we had a problem where local and remote connections to a fully patched 10G Database were timing out. it took down a major operation and the backup DB was having the same problem. Oracle blamed AIX, AIX blamed Oracle. we got them on a call together and instantly, the AIX support guy sounded way more knowledgeable about what was happening. we asked Oracle if there was a person that knew AIX better on their staff... he said there was but he was off that day. The director of infrastructure said "I have the number of 'so and so' SVP at Oracle, would it help if I contacted him to get the resources we needed on this call" and the Oracle support guy got offended and became very rude.

In the end, the AIX support folks figured out that every time Oracle was authenticating a connection to the database, it required a DNS lookup to get the network hostname of the AIX frame, even for local connections. We had a Domain controller down that day and that caused the connections to time out, even though we had two controllers defined for DNS. the only way around this problem was to use the Hosts file, but that becomes a pain because every entry will need to be validated every so often because if one entry is not correct in the hosts file (does not even have to be the DNS resource) the connection times out. We looked at some of the 11G environments we have and were able to replicate the problem there as well so Oracle has not fixed this issue in their latest release either.

nice that it is so reliable and all.

Re:Oracle is awful (1)

gtirloni (1531285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32092494)

I was at one of those Welcome Sun events. There were hammering the message "Oracle software will run better on Oracle hardware" all the time. At some point the guy saw all the worried faces thinking "what about my IBM/Dell/HP/etc server running Oracle?" and said "but it'll also run on other hardwares too" with a yellow smile on his face. So I think their troubleshooting procedures will probably follow this sequence: 1) Check if software is running on Oracle hardware 2) Suggest customer buy Oracle hardware 3) If doesn't work, actually troubleshoot the issue

Unprintable thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32092686)

See ya later, Laaarry.

not

Oracle Sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32092746)

I've currently had a support request open with them for about 3 weeks now, just to get the firmware I was entitled. Their last response to me was to "build it yourself." They then linked me to http://www.sun.com/opensourcecode/ ...

Oracle's acquisition of Sun is honestly going to be the worst thing that ever happened to them, as they are going to lose all of the previous customers who were buying both Sun and Oracle products due to the way they are handling hardware support.

Oracle sucks (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32092896)

Need i say more?

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