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The Steady Decline of Unix

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the slow-slide dept.

Network 570

stinkymountain writes "Unix, the core server operating system in enterprise networks for decades, now finds itself in a slow, inexorable decline, according to Network World. Jean Bozman, research vice president at IDC Enterprise Server Group, attributes the decline to platform migration issues; competition from Linux and Microsoft; more efficient hardware with more powerful processor cores; and the abundance of Unix-specific apps that can now also run on competitor's servers."

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570 comments

Uh huh (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 8 months ago | (#44610017)

So the bulk of Unix's decline comes from competing *nixes, in particularly Linux.

News at 11.

Re:Uh huh (3, Funny)

mtrachtenberg (67780) | about 8 months ago | (#44610035)

Nah, it's not Linux eating into UNIX's market share. It's stuff like the Debian, RedHat, Android and Ubuntu OS's.

Re:Uh huh (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610143)

Why do we even need to have this conversation? If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck it isn't a duck unless it is branded a duck? This is so fucking stupid. Linux is a UNIX type of operating system, so UNIX isn't in decline.

Re:Uh huh (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610201)

>>>W
>>>>H
>>>>>O
>>>>>>O
>>>>>>>S
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>H

Re:Uh huh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610227)

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck it isn't a duck unless it is branded a duck?

Didn't you read the acronym? GNU's Not Unix. Now whether Linux is GNU is topic for a whole nother thread.

Re:Uh huh (2)

reedk (43097) | about 8 months ago | (#44610399)

But GNU/Linux is POSIX-compliant, and that's what people mean when they lump Linux with UNIX or call it "another UNIX."

Re:Uh huh (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610535)

Windows NT was certified as POSIX compliant.

Windows NT!

Re:Uh huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610577)

I don't know about you, but I've seen both Gnus and Ducks and they don't look alike at all.

Re:Uh huh (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610249)

Because we here at Slashdot like to be accurate, especially when poking holes into other's arguments.

Linux is a kernel, nothing else. It's the distributions which are supposedly eating into UNIX's market share, but really just chewing away at Redmon's marketshare.

UNIX market share only appears to be dwindling because it takes less hardware to do the same jobs they were doing just a few years ago.

People are consolidating 10 to 20 servers onto single or two small/medium sized servers.

Total server counts go down, productivity goes through the roof - the numbers are just that numbers, without any details as to why they've shrunk.

Re:Uh huh (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 8 months ago | (#44610371)

Other than to honor market doublespeak, so far as I'm concerned, you can lump Unix in with Linux, OS-X, QNX and the other variants and -likes that make up the *nix ecosystem. It's a helluva lot easier to port an application from Unix to, say, Linux, than it is to port from Unix to Windows, unless you use a compatibility layer like Cygwin. Man, I wouldn't want to use Cygwin too much on a production server. The only time I ever did it was to get a decent radius server running on a Windows machine. It worked reasonably well, but I was very happy to move to a Linux server due to glitches.

Re:Uh huh (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610403)

It's "OS X" not "OS-X". It's also not a "variant". It is Unix.

Re:Uh huh (3, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 8 months ago | (#44610481)

If it weren't Unix, it weren't an Unix variant. But since not all Unices are identical, every single Unix is an Unix variant.

Re:Uh huh (4, Insightful)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 8 months ago | (#44610525)

Linux is a UNIX type of operating system, so UNIX isn't in decline.

The article is mainly talking about the Unix versions like HP-UX, Solaris, etc... and the iron used to run them, focusing on installations that require many 9s of reliability, fault-tolerance / fail-over and up time. Their argument is that those systems are more mature, reliable and capable (and more expensive) than most Linux systems. Many installations are realizing that they don't need that all that and less "capable" Linux and/or x86 systems are just fine - for many things. Personally, I believe in using the right tool for the job, not necessarily the best and/or most expensive tool. The trick is defining the job correctly.

Re:Uh huh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610539)

Unix has three definitions.

1. Legacy Unix, based on the AT&T Unix source code. eg: Solaris and AIX.

2. Certified Unix(tm). eg: Solaris, AIX, and OS X (apparently not included in their decline of Unix numbers).

3. Unix-like operating systems. eg: Linux, *BSD. (*BSD is also somewhat legacy in that AT&T incorporated their source code).

Re:Uh huh (4, Informative)

who_stole_my_kidneys (1956012) | about 8 months ago | (#44610049)

The decline is from the price point. My last place of employment had 1 HP UX server that costed upwards of 25K for software and specific HP hardware to run on. migrating to windows cost a fraction of that in OS licenses and hardware, even though it took 8 windows servers to do what the one UX server did, it was still cheaper.

Re:Uh huh (-1, Troll)

0123456 (636235) | about 8 months ago | (#44610065)

Why would anyone in their right mind switch servers from HP-UX to Windows?

Re:Uh huh (4, Insightful)

localman57 (1340533) | about 8 months ago | (#44610117)

Why would anyone in their right mind switch servers from HP-UX to Windows?

Why wouldn't one? Based solely on who_stole_my_kidney's anecdotal argument, and your rather content-free counter-argument, I'd be inclined to follow his advice.

Re:Uh huh (4, Insightful)

Shatrat (855151) | about 8 months ago | (#44610255)

Because instead of replacing 1 HP-UX server with 8 Windows servers, it could have been replaced by 1 Linux server.

Re:Uh huh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610321)

Care to back that up in any meaningful fashion? Show me where there is a single Linux server that can do the same thing as a HP UX server does that cannot run Windows. Bring it on, fanboy.

Re:Uh huh (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 8 months ago | (#44610561)

Care to back that up in any meaningful fashion? Show me where there is a single Linux server that can do the same thing as a HP UX server does that cannot run Windows. Bring it on, fanboy.

Exhibit 1: A Linux server, brand new.
Exhibit 2: A HP-UX server, 25 years old, clearly unable to run Windows.

SCNR

Re:Uh huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610575)

I think the parent was expecting the server to run Linux and the processes previously run on the HP-UX system instead of just running Windows.

Re:Uh huh (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610259)

Switching from a serious platform to a limited Fisher Price(tm) My First Server(tm) whose only benefit is the ease of setting up some basic functions. Uh huh. Doesn't sound like a good idea.

You got multiple choices that are not only better, but also similar to HP-UX enough that the migration cost is a tiny fraction of that for Windows.

Re:Uh huh (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610389)

Switching from a serious platform to a limited Fisher Price(tm) My First Server(tm) whose only benefit is the ease of setting up some basic functions. Uh huh. Doesn't sound like a good idea.

You got multiple choices that are not only better, but also similar to HP-UX enough that the migration cost is a tiny fraction of that for Windows.

It is kind of fun to see Slashdot wannabees stuck in 1995, while some of the worlds largest organizations run Windows Server 2012.

Re:Uh huh (2)

mellon (7048) | about 8 months ago | (#44610511)

Most likely _all_ of the world's largest organizations run Linux. But only _some_ of them run Windows Server 2012. So I think the OP got it right.

Re:Uh huh (5, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about 8 months ago | (#44610519)

while some of the worlds largest organizations run Windows Server 2012.

Larger organizations can hide the TCO of an army of IT people better then small ones.

Re:Uh huh (2)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 8 months ago | (#44610311)

Because Unix is architecturally closer to Linux than Windows, would be the obvious answer. But seeing as there aren't many details given about the role of the servers*, it would be wise to reserve judgement in the particular case, even if it makes little sense as general advise.

*Often times under further questioning admins doing similar switches, the irrefutable answer becomes " exchange integration" or something of the like. Someone offering advise can't very well redesign the entire IT operations over coffee for a company he doesn't work for.

Re:Uh huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610597)

Advise is a verb meaning "to give advice". Advice is the verb you couldn't find. Dew knot truss yore spill checker.

Re:Uh huh (4, Informative)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 8 months ago | (#44610585)

I can give the counter-arguments against using Windows:

* You're guaranteed to suffer every month for maintenance (Patch Tuesday), and require multiple machines not just for capacity-matching, but for redundancy if you want anywhere near the same uptime. In spite of an MCSE/MCSA being cheaper, one competent UNIX admin can maintain 3x the machine count than an MCSE/MCSA can - unless you feel like springing for a lot of pricey add-ons/upsells to keep admin FTE headcount down (e.g. automation via SCOM,SCCM and etc). It doesn't take too much for that SA contract cost to match or exceed the HP one, especially if the Microsoft products have the word "Enterprise" in the product title/license.

* All that aside, I haven't even touched on increased space, power consumption, cooling/HVAC, and etc... the costs scale up almost exponentially in larger installations.

Re:Uh huh (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 8 months ago | (#44610359)

If HP-UX is expensive enough, Windows can actually be an attractive choice. Remember, just because you have a technically better solution, you can't just slap a $100k price sticker onto it and expect that people won't go for the cheaper option that can be boosted up in functionality with a bit of third party stuff.

Re:Uh huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610471)

1: x86 is cheaper than PA-RISC.
2: Someone knowing how to click start->run is a lot easier to find than someone who knows what sam is (and isn't.)
3: Better app support.
4: Easier to deal with audits and auditors.
5: Better management tools when you have a lot of servers.
6: Windows can be "free" with enterprise level licenses, as well as the tools to manage them. OpenView/BTO isn't cheap.
7: Fewer IT admins needed (no "windows" guy/"UNIX" guy.)
8: The security in a company are the routers, switches, and network fabric, then secondarily the IDS/IPS and the hypervisor's snapshot functionality. Host security is a lost cause these days.
9: Auditors pass companies with Windows installations; they fail companies with stuff they don't understand.
10: You can't get fired using Windows, period.

The 90s called, they want their Windows back. (0)

gentryx (759438) | about 8 months ago | (#44610115)

Wat? Replacing a Unix server with Windows boxes? Srsly? Sounds like a stupid idea, especially if you factor in admin costs.

Re:The 90s called, they want their Windows back. (1)

ebh (116526) | about 8 months ago | (#44610419)

Unless, of course, your main application has gone EOL, and its replacement (and all its competitors) only runs on Windows.

Re:Uh huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610159)

Clearly, it was HP that stole your Kidney or at least one of them.

Re:Uh huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610179)

Yep, where I'm on contract currently they are migrating from Unix and Oracle to Linux, Windows, and SQL.

Re:Uh huh (2)

mcrbids (148650) | about 8 months ago | (#44610217)

Oracle is a flavor of SQL. So is MS SQL Server and PostgreSQL. I'm guessing that you meant MS SQL Server?

Re:Uh huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610181)

8 decent servers are going to get you pretty close to $25k, no matter what software you're running.

Re:Uh huh (5, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 8 months ago | (#44610303)

I'd be curious to know what exactly the HP-UX server did that could so easily be moved over to a cluster of Windows servers, myself. Apart from believing that one can buy eight servers with Windows Server licences and come out much less than $25k, I'm just trying to sort out what this server would have actually been running that one could simply go "Oh well, we're going to Windows now."

I've found damned few cases in my experience when wholesale moving from one platform ecosystem to another platform ecosystem was a viable activity in and of itself, unless it was part of a long term strategy of retooling and recoding. I've seen some organizations move from Unix to Linux, but generally with the notion that porting apps was relatively easy or had already been done. But to move from *nix to Windows is a big deal, unless you're running everything in Java EE, in which case why would you completely change your ecosystem with other *nix variants out there?

Re:Uh huh (2)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 8 months ago | (#44610401)

The decline is from the price point. My last place of employment had 1 HP UX server that costed upwards of 25K for software and specific HP hardware to run on. migrating to windows cost a fraction of that in OS licenses and hardware, even though it took 8 windows servers to do what the one UX server did, it was still cheaper.

Agreed, but for one thing: Amortization.

In a previous position, one of my clients had an ancient IBM 9370 mainframe going. Mind you, for the business size (about 200 employees) and what they used it for (a string of automotive dealerships), it was 1) overkill when purchased (they overestimated their expansion plans by couple of factors), and 2) hellishly expensive. I think they paid a solid 7 figures for it, but cannot remember exactly how much.

Thing is, its amortization schedule was roughly 2 decades at least if I were to guess. They bought it in 1984, I last saw it in 1999, and I bet it's still running today if their CFO has anything to say about it. Anything after the amortization date is pure gravy for them, methinks.

Another reason why I say it's likely still around:
- It does pretty much everything they need it to.
- Unlike most x86 servers (but not unlike most high-end UNIX boxen) could probably take a direct 1-megaton nuclear detonation and keep going without so much as a dropped routine.
- You could swap out everything but the power cable without shutting it down (I think only a microcode and certain IPL patches would force any real cold downtime). Yes, I'm including RAM and processors.

And to top that off, I see a lot of similar situations with other ancient boxes (HPUX, AIX, SunOS, you-name-it.)

Re:Uh huh (4, Insightful)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 8 months ago | (#44610499)

Thing is, its amortization schedule was roughly 2 decades at least if I were to guess. They bought it in 1984, I last saw it in 1999, and I bet it's still running today if their CFO has anything to say about it. Anything after the amortization date is pure gravy for them, methinks.

If only it didn't require power and A/C, and if only it didn't require support. Power costs for one of these beasts is most likely all by itself more than it would cost to buy a modern replacement.

And support from IBM is astronomical, if it's even available. If you're not paying for support, well, that's another kind of cost. But you won't find out about it until the bill comes due.

Re:Uh huh (1)

lgw (121541) | about 8 months ago | (#44610589)

I highly doubt IBM had anything to do with it. I'm sure it was a UCS system (Reynolds and Reynolds, today). They were grandmasters of hidden costs. But power is likely not one of them - they're surprisingly efficient for what they do.

Re:Uh huh (3, Informative)

mellon (7048) | about 8 months ago | (#44610581)

Added bonus: they can use it to heat their building in the winter. I once spent a couple of months sitting next to one of those babies in an un-airconditioned space in the summer. Despite being close to the water, where it was consistently cool outside, that machine kept it nice and toasty inside. I still twitch a little if you say dazzdee [wikipedia.org]. You can keep amortizing a machine while it's powered off and in a warehouse, and save yourself a bunch of money emulating a 370 in software on some reasonably powerful Xeon server. Or just sell the thing for scrap and write it off as a loss.

Re:Uh huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610603)

costed? costed? seriously?

HPUX is a dinosaur OS - it's complete crap.
Now add up the costs for 8 server grade systems, 8 Windows Server OS licenses, hardware maintenance, OS maintenance, software licenses for all 8 boxes - you are well over the cost of that single HPUX box, if you're legal...

Re:Uh huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610053)

More like "Unix in decline because it costs money to use the name Unix."

Re:Uh huh (1)

major_handicap (2882291) | about 8 months ago | (#44610105)

Especially if it's owned by Oracle...

Re:Uh huh (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610287)

Oracle is the reason that my employer is switching from Solaris to Linux. We were one of Sun's biggest customers, too.

Re:Uh huh (4, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about 8 months ago | (#44610087)

Likewise, there has been an alarming drop in the number of people who use Kleenex when they blow their nose.

Re:Uh huh (4, Funny)

localman57 (1340533) | about 8 months ago | (#44610137)

Yeah, but that's just splitting hairs. If you factor in all the *nex's , people are blowing about the same amount. It's just more diversified.

Re: Uh huh (2, Informative)

samkass (174571) | about 8 months ago | (#44610099)

The biggest UNIX vendor in the world-- Apple, Inc.-- has had its UNIX laptops increase in market share in almost every quarter for the last 5 years. And although it's not certified UNIX like its desktop sibling, iOS is based on the same core... not sure what value differentiating this specific market segment offers. In the server, Linux seems to be doing just fine, and is close enough to UNIX for it not to matter.

Re: Uh huh (2)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 8 months ago | (#44610491)

Yeah; I've been wondering what exactly they mean by UNIX here -- are we talking POSIX compliant OS (they almost all are these days), something based on BSD/AT&T code (BSD derivatives like OS X and FreeBSD, plus SVr3+ derivatives like HP:UX) are are we talking purely SVR 4+, and thereby mean SCO offerings when we say UNIX?

See http://www.levenez.com/unix/ [levenez.com] for a nice list of UNIXes. Interestingly, Windows NT isn't there, even though it is POSIX compliant.

Re:Uh huh (5, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | about 8 months ago | (#44610111)

Combine that with the fact that Solaris is now in the hands of Oracle, who are squeezing out everybody who doesn't have a support contract and pissing off people who used to use it ... or that HPUX is still in the hands of HP (where technology goes to die) ... and what's even left?

AIX is still around, but I have no idea of how widespread. Beyond that, I'm hard pressed to think of another commercial version of UNIX I've encountered. (That doesn't mean they don't exist, but they were never in any shops I was in.)

That pretty much leaves Linux as the primary UNIX-like-thing for most people.

Re:Uh huh (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 8 months ago | (#44610189)

Apparently SCO UNIXware [xinuos.com] is still around, though I assume that it's more of an absurdist performance art piece with a couple of legacy customers than an actual operating system at this point.

Re:Uh huh (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 8 months ago | (#44610323)

Apparently SCO UNIXware is still around

Must be those people who paid the extortion fee.

I find it astounding that any organization wouldn't have long ago asked themselves WTF they're running it for -- and I can't imagine there have been any updates to it in a long time.

Or, it's alive and thriving -- I have no idea. It's been a dead horse for years to me. If someone told me they'd be putting in a new server with SCO Unixware on it -- well, I'm not sure of how long it would take me to stop laughing.

Re:Uh huh (2)

kotj.mf (645325) | about 8 months ago | (#44610529)

It's still surprisingly big in retail - it runs a crapton of local back-end stock keeping applications at the major retailer that I worked for awhile back, and I've since heard that they've virtualized it to deploy on their "next generation" in-store platform.

20 years ago, it was really the only game in town for Enterprise UNIX(tm) on Intel, and given how much it costs to design, buy, and deploy ANYTHING that's going in to 2000+ remote locations, it's going to stick around for quite a while more.

Re:Uh huh (5, Funny)

telekon (185072) | about 8 months ago | (#44610141)

"Reports of my decline have been greatly exaggerated."
    -- UNIX

Re:Uh huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610555)

I'd like to counter with ...the number of UNIX installations has grown to 10, with more expected...
    - Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson, June 1972

But does Netcraft confirm it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610027)

Huh?

How long has Netcraft been confirming BSD dead? (2)

ron_ivi (607351) | about 8 months ago | (#44610037)

How long has Netcraft been confirming BSD dead?

Re:How long has Netcraft been confirming BSD dead? (5, Funny)

morcego (260031) | about 8 months ago | (#44610079)

BSD confirmed Netcraft is dead.

Re:How long has Netcraft been confirming BSD dead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610325)

"We'll broadcast the press release LIVE from Soviet Russia--tonight at 11..."

Re:How long has Netcraft been confirming BSD dead? (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 8 months ago | (#44610183)

I have no idea, but Netcraft has been confirming (or not confirming things) have been dying so long that Netcraft themselves have become a punchline to me.

Because, other than their periodic confirming that something is dying, I have no idea of who the hell they are or why I'm supposed to care about what they tell us.

When I see "Netcraft confirms it", it's just another bad internet meme to me. Are they actually relevant to anything?

Re:How long has Netcraft been confirming BSD dead? (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 8 months ago | (#44610267)

The reason it became a meme is because someone submitted that headline, while netcraft itself was in no position in the industry to confirm much of anything. That's the joke. Someone actually thought "netcraft confirms it" meant anything at all, and it was funny. And reiterated about whatever the next few articles were. Meme became ensconced.

Re:How long has Netcraft been confirming BSD dead? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 8 months ago | (#44610509)

That was kinda my point ... Netcraft confirming something has been a meme on Slashdot as long as I've been using Slashdot.

And that's at at least 2 or 3 weeks I think. ;-)

As if ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610055)

... Linux isn't Unix.

Re:As if ... (2)

WarJolt (990309) | about 8 months ago | (#44610081)

Nope...Unix engineers don't have to worry about being publicly humiliated if they checkin bad code. Mostly because the public doesn't really care.

I thought OS X was Unix (4, Insightful)

cyfer2000 (548592) | about 8 months ago | (#44610125)

If OS X is Unix, what do you call iOS. And if we take Linux as a kind of Unix, how about Android? Or maybe the title should be written as "the steady decline of Unix Server License sale"

Re:I thought OS X was Unix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610299)

If OS X is Unix, what do you call iOS. And if we take Linux as a kind of Unix, how about Android?

Or maybe the title should be written as "the steady decline of Unix Server License sale"

Depends about your definition of OS - kernel only, or actual user land and tools? If the latter, neither iOS or Android is anywhere near Unix. If anything, Android is Java.

Darwin doesn't count? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610135)

Gotta be some metric boost there, right?

A distinction without a difference (2, Insightful)

Fished (574624) | about 8 months ago | (#44610173)

The distinction betwen "Linux" and "UNIX" is virtually meaningless. All of the traditional proprietary unixen are massively customized from the original System V/System 7 sources over the past thirty years -- such that it's hard to say that they have a common core even. The only real difference is a marketing difference.

So, say it with me!

Meh.

Re:A distinction without a difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610367)

There is a difference to some of us who delve into kernel code - Linux is GPL while *nix (in the form of *BSD) is of the less restrictive, non-viral BSD style licenses.

Re:A distinction without a difference (1)

maswan (106561) | about 8 months ago | (#44610501)

And *nix in the form of, say, Oracle Solaris or IBM AIX is more restrictive than the GPL. Linux is just one branch of the unix family.

System V (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610449)

My experience was on AT&T Unix System V. I used to jokingly refer to it as REAL UNIX with a hint of faux snobbery and a straight face.

While working on a Linux system, I was using some command line utility (doesn't matter) and the command kept wrapping. Ran it - errors. Retyped - errors. Retyped - finally worked.

Anyway, a skilled Linux user was watching me, typing away and then running my command - the syntax worked like it was a AT&T System V UNIX, BTW.

Said Linux dude said, try this - and he proceed to do the same thing with the same program but with like one or two flags and then the args.

It worked.

There have been quite a few time savers (I won't call them improvements) built into Linux.

I can't blame them - some of the most common things that we did in Sys V were overly verbose.

Anyway, wanted to share that - gotta go; there's a Matlock marathon and it's Pizza and Banana pudding night! Betsy has got the hots for me and she so young - 68! I'm gonna have a GOOD time tonight!

Re:A distinction without a difference (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 8 months ago | (#44610567)

agreed, however, there are some distinctions that may be interesting here, the Unix/Linux one is really putting it in the wrong spot. The big difference is hardware. Linux runs on many different types, though, typically "PC Server" hardware, X86, whatever you want to call it.

Commercial Unix has come to mostly be, tied to hardware vending. Nobody, to my knowledge, goes out and buys an off brand system and installs HP/UX on it. You COULD do that with Solaris but generally, you are either going to buy Sparc hardware, or you are going to run Linux. Have you ever thought "I am gonna go get some HP blades and put AIX on them"?

I think their real problem is that, this sort of high end hardware sales suffers when PC hardware is at the point that people are junking physical servers because the per server utilization is under 10% and they can get more bang for their buck out of virtualization.

Justification of a new hardware system is getting harder as less workloads really need it. Sure, some of them even offer virtualization, but what do you need LPARs for when you already have virtualization technology and are training people on that? Any workload that can be done in linux on a VM is just going to go that way because it fits in better with the direction the rest of the infrastructure is going; and means being locked in with one less vendor.

Overlooking the obvious (4, Informative)

Frogg (27033) | about 8 months ago | (#44610185)

The article completely neglects the fact that OS X is a fully certified Unix, and, whilst OS X might not be overly popular in the server market, it certainly has a very large percentage of the desktop market. So yeah, perhaps the old-school companies that provide Unix OSes for servers may be in their 'last days', but Apple's OS X has brought Unix to the masses via the desktop, so Unix certainly isn't going to die any day soon.

Not suprising (1)

BigDaveyL (1548821) | about 8 months ago | (#44610199)

One can get Linux or *BSD on commodity hardware for a fraction of the cost.

Re:Not suprising (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 8 months ago | (#44610563)

GNU doesn't really apply to *BSD -- any BSD that wants to pay the fee can pretty much become UNIX.

So does this really mean that there are fewer licenses being sold?

Moronic analysts (4, Interesting)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 8 months ago | (#44610291)

Errol Rasit, research director at Gartner, concurs that the primary cause of Unix weakness over the past decade is migration from the RISC platform to x86-processor based alternatives, which can run many Unix workloads, usually at attractive price/performance ratios.

x86 has been implemented on a RISC based core ever since the PentiumPro. RISC won. It didn't wither away. That transition made possible a performance boost allowing Intel to compete against the home-grown processors of the traditional Unix vendors who lacked the cash to invest in fab advancements needed to match pace.

Such are the fools pandering their vaunted "analysis" to the media these days.

*NIX is most dominant now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610295)

If you include Linux, *NIX is the most common OS in the world by now. Its in every iPad, iPhone, Android phone, every wireless router I know of, every Mac, every top500 computer, many servers (web, email, etc), all of Google's machines, I'm guessing most all of Yahoo's machines, etc, etc.

Sure, Windows has a margin in the desktop, but when my aging parents have over 50% of the computers in their home as *NIX machines (3/5 to be exact) and they don't even know what *NIX is, I think that says something.

The king is dead, long live the king (4, Insightful)

dwheeler (321049) | about 8 months ago | (#44610327)

"Unix" - as they define it - is going away. But what's really happening is that old implementations of Unix are being replaced by modern implementations and re-implementations of Unix.

Servers are increasingly using Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu, etc. On the client side, the #1 smartphone (by popularity) is Android, based on Linux. The #2 smartphone is iOS, based on Unix. On the desktop, Macs are running MacOS, also based on Unix.

What's this? (5, Insightful)

joh (27088) | about 8 months ago | (#44610339)

Neckbeard teasing? Or what?

Unix (in some incarnation) is running the world. It runs on servers, on embedded systems and basically all tablets and smartphones (both Android and iOS are Unix).

I cannot believe I'm wasting 30 seconds on this. Die, Slashdot, die.

Irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610355)

This is just about semantics, copyright, and trademark issues. UNIX is more than a trademark, a brand, a product, or a license. UNIX is a set of standards, a set of design ideas, and a broader philosophy that transcends the constant evolution of such things. Linux is very well within the umbrella of what UNIX really means, and is arguably now the front-running champion of the modern incarnations of the UNIX philosophy of computing. That the older / commercial UNIX variants are dying is expected: this is how natural selection works, and it's beautiful that the market of UNIXy things is one that's free enough for natural selection to take place.

So no, UNIX isn't dying. Some old flavors of UNIX are slowly passing away in favor of a new flavor. Linux has evolved from asking questions 15-20 years ago about "Can we be POSIX compliant and be compatible with existing to UNIX" to the current status of "We are the de-facto reference implementation of the POSIX standards".

So the old timer Unix unix, not the new time *nix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610381)

So what they are saying is that the old-timer Unix(tm) types of unix (including Solaris/SunOS, AIX (IBM unix), BSD (University of California Berkeley Software Distribution unix), UnixWare, SantaCruseOperation Unix, HPUX (Hewlett Packard Unix), NetBSD, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, Nextstep, Ultrix, DecUnix, CLIX (Intergraph Unix), Xenix (microsoft Unix), are dying off, while new-timer types of unix (iOS, OSX Apple unix, which are heavily derived from BSD unix), (RedHat, Debian, Ubuntu, ChromeOS and Android which are all based on Linux, which was independently developed to operate in a unix-like way and just follows POSIX standards) and other new-timer unix-like operating systems are gaining in popularity. Hmmm. I see.

Does this mean... (1)

jennatalia (2684459) | about 8 months ago | (#44610383)

...that SCO will want more money for those companies/systems still using it to make up for lost revenue that they're not entitled to?

The important question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610387)

An interesting hypothesis, but what all of slashdot is waiting to hear is: does Netcraft confirm it?

Idiot (2)

Tough Love (215404) | about 8 months ago | (#44610417)

This guy seems to be blissfully unaware that FreeBSD is Unix. With Apple selling millions of handsets, Unix is obviously not in decline. Just squeezed out from one role (by Linux) and taking on a new one.

Obviously, this might change in the future, but from the moment, Unix is doing to opposite of declining. Troll article. If there is a story in there somewhere, it is the rise of Linux in the server room.

Branded Unix might be on the decline... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44610455)

...but if you think about it, Unix-like, to include Linux, Mac OS X, iOS, and Android, is on a meteoric rise. Especially in the ARM world.

I'd mod the OP Flamebait (1, Insightful)

dickens (31040) | about 8 months ago | (#44610497)

Between OS-X, IOS and Android, this discussion is more than a little comical.

The alternatives got better (3, Insightful)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 8 months ago | (#44610559)

I was soooo glad when we finally decommissioned our last Solaris box. It's not that Unix got worse it's just the alternatives got better. Also the proprietary RISC based hardware underpinning much of commercialized Unix lost out to cheaper PC commodity stuff. Again, it's not that RISC sucked, it's the fact that the lazy proprietary paradigm couldn't figure out how to evolve past the "Screw, em. They're locked in. They _CANT_ switch" model.

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