×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Sun Plans Solaris Subscription Model

Hemos posted about 10 years ago | from the change-their-models dept.

Sun Microsystems 152

heliocentric writes "As reported in this CNet article. In an effort to make its version of Unix compare more favorably to Red Hat's Linux, Sun Microsystems plans in coming weeks to begin selling its Solaris operating system through a subscription model." On the down side, there was coverage of the announced layoffs, as well as the MSFT case being won. The article makes a good point, that Sun has reinvented itself before, and that no one should write Sun off.

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

152 comments

first (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8768032)

first!

Subscription model or source code model? (5, Interesting)

passthecrackpipe (598773) | about 10 years ago | (#8768035)

What the article's author doesn't get is that maybe Redhat is not so much succesfull because they have a subscription model, but more because their is direct interaction with their userbase (fedora) and the source is Open. A subsciption fee based model tends to be *really* good for the vendor (guaranteed, known cashflow that you can put on the books as revenue) and not so good for the end-user (expensive, bad for your cashflow). I'm sure that this time, the users have wisened up, and are using Linux.

also, the MSFT case wasn't *won* it was settled...

Re:Subscription model or source code model? (5, Insightful)

phaze3000 (204500) | about 10 years ago | (#8768081)

Realistically though, this move would seem to be targetted at stopping existing Sun customers from migrating to Linux rather than tempting RedHat customers away. As Sun's customerbase is geared more towards the higher end of the market I suspect they are less likely to be swayed by arguments about openness.

Having said this, it's not like Sun doesn't use openness when it suits them - Gnome (Sun Java Desktop) being a good example.

Re:Subscription model or source code model? (5, Informative)

Allen Zadr (767458) | about 10 years ago | (#8768206)

Sun Freeware [sunfreeware.com] has been up since 1996 (maybe longer). Sun is NOT new in the OpenSource game. Remember, first and foremost, sun has ALWAYS been a hardware vendor. While they make money from Solaris, it's not enough to get by.

Selling x86 Linux servers is actually quite profitable for them these days. Not as much of their market as the Enterprise Class SPARCServer market though.

Re:Subscription model or source code model? (4, Insightful)

Urd (198177) | about 10 years ago | (#8768685)

Sun Freeware has nothing to do with Sun, it's done by volunteers exactly because Sun couldn't be bothered with freeware.

Instead of trying to beat more money out of the client who just gets the same thing, maybe they could do something smart like sell decent services which would be a whole new revenue stream for them.

Sun IMHO is very shortsighted, however they have a lot of cash and so they are quite in the position to come out of this, however it's going to get a lot worse first. (As long as they keep ignoring their established clients and heritage they will continue to decline.)

Re:Subscription model or source code model? (2)

Allen Zadr (767458) | about 10 years ago | (#8768872)

SunFreeware - "Created for and sponsored by Sun Microsystems", does that qualify as "has nothing to do with Sun"? SunSITE (the origins of SunFreeware) was independent.

I agree [slashdot.org] with [slashdot.org] your other points though.

Re:Subscription model or source code model? (3, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 10 years ago | (#8768900)

Sun Freeware has nothing to do with Sun, it's done by volunteers exactly because Sun couldn't be bothered with freeware.

Yes and no. SunFreeware is not run by Sun, but Sun has given them their support, and distributes a CD of their software with Solaris 8 and 9. So the original posters point holds. Sun is not new to freeware.

Re:Subscription model or source code model? (0, Redundant)

czei (121516) | about 10 years ago | (#8769305)

Sun has always embraced open standards, so in that sense they have always been "open". What they haven't done is given away the source code to Solaris with all of the advantages it has over other operating systems. In a company where source code has been viewed as valuable intellectual property the temptation is great to hold on to it.

Re:Subscription model or source code model? (1)

Octorian (14086) | about 10 years ago | (#8769769)

Exactly... The Sun philosophy towards "openness" is open standards, not open implementations.

Now frankly, open standards are far more important, because it allows anyone to interoperate with their products.

What's a bigger proiblem with MS? Closed-source or closed-standards? If their file formats were open standards, do you think we'd have so many problems with MS Office interoperability with our non MS systems?

Re:Subscription model or source code model? (5, Insightful)

steve_l (109732) | about 10 years ago | (#8768140)

I'd argue something different: RedHat's current subscription-only policy is going to kill it if they keep it up.

If the current pricing model of RedHat is relaly such that Solaris or Windows costs *less* that a RedHat sub, then it is in trouble.

I know I will get pointed at fedora, but given that fedora kills the network on a any laptop whose network is on a PC-card, isnt supported by all those binary things I use (nvida, vmware), I dont view it as a broadly tested or stable enough solution to work with.

Sun are just going to put pricing pressure on RedHat; the real test is what penetration Novell/SuSE linux has. If a version backed by the suits gets picked up by the PC vendors and sold mainstream, it can put serious pressure on RedHat's position as "the" north american commercial Linux distro.

Sun are probably still doomed, either way :)

Re:Subscription model or source code model? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8768389)

"know I will get pointed at fedora, but given that fedora kills the network on a any laptop whose network is on a PC-card, isnt supported by all those binary things I use (nvida, vmware), I dont view it as a broadly tested or stable enough solution to work with."

Just wanted to point out that this is a problem particular to your system not "any laptop". Fedora defintely works with Laptop PC-cards and can run the binary things you mentioned, ie nvidia just fine. I don't know why your saying that you can't since obviously there are a ton of Fedora users out there using the binary Nvidia drivers. Also I'm writing this from a laptop running FC1 with a Network PC-card.

Regarding pricing your definitely right though. Red Hat HAS to cost less than Solaris and especially Windows. The guys there are pretty smart though so I don't expect them to just sit around while the martket changes around them without reacting.

Re:Subscription model or source code model? (5, Interesting)

Allen Zadr (767458) | about 10 years ago | (#8768163)

Solaris has also lost ground as the must universally supported UNIX platform. Once upon a time Solaris could charge what it wanted for it's O.S. because to play thier game you had to pay their prices.

Instead of quacking and crying about it - instead of trying to corner Linux and OSS out of the Market, Sun has done quite the opposite. First, they work with OSS to try and make sure that popular OSS projects work on their platform [sunfreeware.com]. At the same time, they started offering their current O.S. as a free (or nominal) download [sun.com].

Second (Sun re-invention, part II) they started selling x86 systems with Solaris x86 _AND_ Linux support. This plays on Sun's old-school strength of being known as a very reliable hardware vendor (less true now, but their reputation is still strong).

Finally, (re-invention part III) they are moving their Solaris OS (the preferred OS for their SPARC hardware) into a subscrption model that more closely resembles what RedHat has to offer. I highly doubt that this has any more reason than to more closely align sun's two product lines (Solaris and Linux).

Part 1 that I mention happened way back in '94-'96.

Duck? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8768224)

Are you a duck? "quacking and crying"

Re:Subscription model or source code model? (3, Insightful)

Rotting (7243) | about 10 years ago | (#8768198)

I don't think it was RedHat's open source model or subscription model that has made them successful. I believe it was because back in the day they had one of the easiest installers to use which gained them market share. If debian or slackware had "better" installers then who knows which distro would be the "redhat" of today.

Not trying to start a distro flame war here. I personally prefer slackware but this is just how I see it. :/

Installers... (2, Informative)

Allen Zadr (767458) | about 10 years ago | (#8768262)

Very insightful from my point of view... In fact having frequently installed Solaris back in the early days ('95) - RedHat was the first Linux distribution that came out with an installer that was ALMOST as friendly as the one Solaris came with. (Just the facts).

Because of the installer, RedHat was MANY folks' first Linux distribution. And I too love Slackware, but I can't use it universally because of it's lack of Oracle support.

Re:Subscription model or source code model? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 10 years ago | (#8768231)

I don't think the fact that it open Source is a major reason for using RedHat over the Solaris. It is more of an issue that RedHat and Linux in particular run on more affordable hardware. And that with one copy you can copy it to other systems legally.
As for subscriptions it is sometimes good for the companies as well. Because it can save money in the accounting area. It is much easier and cheaper to maintain a small monthly fee then going threw the processing of purchasing the full version at full cost because then you will need to get a bunch of permissions and meetings to discuss if they should spend the money or not. With a subscription the money is being paid it is easily accounted for and they can get new stuff without the extra expense and man hours of hassle.

Re:Subscription model or source code model? (2, Insightful)

davecb (6526) | about 10 years ago | (#8768286)

passthecrackpipe writes A subsciption fee based model tends to be ...not so good for the end-user (expensive, bad for your cashflow).

Actually it can be good for a company that has trouble coming up with great whacks of cash for upgrades, so long as the subscription fee is both

  • fair for the value received and
  • low enough to allow savings to finance a change-over.
I'm biased, but $50-$100 per seat per year sounds good to me.

--dave

Incomprehensible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8768587)

"I'm biased, but $50-$100 per seat per year sounds good to me."

For a server OS? Huh?

Besides, you already have to pay yearly support to sun anyway. This just looks like its adding more cost where one didn't exist previously.

Its raising the cost of Solaris.

Another nail in the Sun coffin. Too bad.

Sun (2, Interesting)

Kailden (129168) | about 10 years ago | (#8768037)

I'm not writing them off...I'm investing in them. But I'd wish people would stop using the 'Sun Rises' play on words.

Re:Sun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8768119)

I need a Tivo for my car. Pause live traffic now.

Dude, if you want paused traffic, try I5 through LA during rush hour, or 101 through SJ, or I80 over the Bay Bridge, etc.

Re:Sun (2, Interesting)

Allen Zadr (767458) | about 10 years ago | (#8768601)

Tired plays not-withstanding, perhaps the 'Sun' is setting.

Seriously, Sun's hardware reliability is getting worse, they are selling Linux on their systems - and for quite some time they are no longer the 'dot' in dot com*. Their x86 server offering is not yet well suited to compete with Dell and HP for Linux server hardware either.

*Way back when - Sun used to be the hardware behind one of the Top Level Domain - DNS servers. J.ROOTSERVERS.NET, IIRC. Anyway, that was short lived, and they were quickly replaced with a faster IBM AIX box.

They are re-inventing, but they've been re-inventing since 1996. So, you'd best make sure they have bottomed out before you try to ride their restructuring up. They are in a loosing business (proprietary UNIX hardware), and constantly trying to re-structure to keep their heads above water - being later than all other competitors in entering the x86 market space.

Wikipedia reaches 241000 articles (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8768039)

GNAA [wikipedia.org] is one of them! Vandals of the Wikipedia unite, destroy this horrible organization!

Sun and Microsoft (1, Interesting)

Zero_K (606548) | about 10 years ago | (#8768042)

First both Sun and Microsoft invest in SCO, after it *trys* to get freaky with linux. Then Sun and Microsoft settle some lawsuits, which ends up with MS forking over serious money (in the order of 1 billion). And now this. Now they try to pull some pay for updates crap. They sound more and more like one company the more time goes by. It would be interesting to see how much stock MS owns of Sun, if any ofcourse.

Summary of previous poster... (5, Insightful)

MosesJones (55544) | about 10 years ago | (#8768219)


"I've never looked at Microsoft or Sun in detail, and run all of my assumptions from Slashdot"

"On Slashdot I only read the articles about Linux and hate SCO with a religious fanaticism, all of my views on software companies are therefore based on the SCO case"

"I have been working in Software only a few years and have no understanding of the history of either Sun, Microsoft or IBM and am not aware of what Sun actually does"

I'm sorry to be so rude, but to base an opinion on either Sun and MSFT around the SCO case is like saying that Sony and Philips are the same company because of the Intertrust case.

No... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8768341)

Wait a minute. Do you mean to say that Sony and Phillips are not the same company? I'm sure I read otherwise. You must be mis-informed.

...And Slashdot, Slashdot is News for Nerds - so of course every news item that may be important in making a determination on these companies must have been reported here. Again, you must be misinformed. -- FUD, it's fun to spread.

Re:Sun and Microsoft (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 10 years ago | (#8768470)

Well Sun is a big supporter of Linux and they are a big supporter for Unix. Sun and myself doesn't see this as a conflict, Use Linux for what Linux is good for use Unix for what it is good for. I personally don't think Sun wants to be in this battle. That is why they paid SCO so they can continue doing business without having to choose sides (especially with IBM). The People at Sun Don't like Microsoft but they have to do business with them, same as for Apple, IBM, ..., ... A subscription plan isn't always bad if they continue to give updates on a regular interval and keep fairly close to their deadline. As well it helps companies keep their records straight and maintain their budget more easily (and this can save considerable amount of money). No Software subscription is not Joe User. But Sun never tried to sell to Joe User they always tried to sell to businesses that need good servers. Also to let you know Sun Microsystems is one of the top sellers of Linux with their cobol servers and their new Intel/AMD servers.

Re:Sun and Microsoft (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8768593)

First both Sun and Microsoft invest in SCO, after it *trys* to get freaky with linux.

This is getting tedious. Tell me, when you buy gas, are you "investing" in Shell Oil? When you buy a PC from HP are you "investing" in HP? Not in any normal sense of the word. Sun didn't "invest" in SCO, they licensed driver technology [eweek.com]. That isn't hard to understand. As is common in multimillion dollar deals Sun did get warrants to allow them to buy stock, but a warrant isn't stock, it is a right to invest if they choose to do so.

As to getting "freaky" with Linux, maybe you didn't notice but Sun is the leading Linux desktop vendor [linuxworld.com]. Just one deal they have is giving them sales of 500,000-1,000,000 Linux desktops a year. Not bad for what many people claim to be "not a Linux company."

Sun charged for some types of updates before, just like HP, IBM, Red Hat, Suse and many other *nix companies. Nothing much to see here.

Really bad puns... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8768047)

"Their problems are very real and very severe, but I would say they are far from terminal."

Am I the only one who groaned?

Re:Really bad puns... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8768161)

Just as many of us groan everytime another analyst or tech writer plays on the negation of 'Sun' theme:
  1. If Sun doesn't play with MS, the cheesy headlines are: Sun sets, Sun eclipsed, Sun down...
  2. If Sun does play with MS the cheesy headlines are: Sun sets, Sun eclipsed, Sun down...

Re:Really bad puns... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8768244)

Am I the only one who groaned?

You mean because it involves your knowing about more than routine desktop computing? Yup, that puts you in thin company around here.

The SUN also sets. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8768053)

Anyone got a pen?

you will own nothing (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8768062)


you will work for nothing
you will own nothing
you will hand your children nothing

just what the rich folk who own everything want

Re:you will own nothing (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8768085)

Yep, fits the open source movement to a tee. No thanks to giving away my code for free. Any developer who is interested in staying employed should avoid Linux like grim death!

For free (1)

tindur (658483) | about 10 years ago | (#8768069)

Dind't they give it for free some time ago?

Re:For free (5, Informative)

AKnightCowboy (608632) | about 10 years ago | (#8768147)

Dind't they give it for free some time ago?

Solaris 8 used to be free. Solaris 9 has some funky license (unless they've changed it again) where it's free for single processors and then you pay per processor slot capable on multiple processor capable systems. I.e. a dual CPU capable system with one processor still pays dual CPU prices, a 64 CPU capable Starfire pays the 64 CPU price even if you have 12 CPUs, etc. Here I was advocating going back to Sun because of Red Hat's incredibly high Linux pricing for servers.. I guess we might as well stay with Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the cheaper Intel hardware. Sun has you coming and going with their overpriced hardware and now charging high prices for the OS.

Re:For free (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8768780)

Solaris 8 used to be free. Solaris 9 has some funky license (unless they've changed it again) where it's free for single processors and then you pay per processor slot capable on multiple processor capable systems.

Sun changed the license to the current one in Solaris 8 with the later releases.

The license costs only hit you if you buy used hardware. Sun includes the cost of the license if you buy the hardware from them. I suspect that there aren't a lot of places trying to buy and use E10k systems on a shoe string budget.

Sun has you coming and going with their overpriced hardware and now charging high prices for the OS.

I suggest you roll up the total life cycle costs for the servers you are buying. I suspect that Solaris on X86 will start looking a lot better once you start rolling up license and support costs compared to Red Hat. Sun's prices on X86 servers aren't that bad for a major vendor.

I will also point out that there are still plenty of things that Red Hat (Linux) doesn't do well or at all that RISC hardware running Sun Solaris/HP HP/UX/IBM AIX do well. If you need a capability that a Linux solution doesn't provide what are you going to do?

Java Enterprise System != Solaris (1)

pwags (529520) | about 10 years ago | (#8768351)

Java Enterprise System is not Solaris. From http://wwws.sun.com/software/javaenterprisesystem/ datasheet.html#5 (Java Enterprise System Datasheet)

Components

* Java System Directory Server 5.2
* Java System Identity Server 6.2
* Java System Directory Proxy Server 5.2
* Java System Application Server Platform Edition 7
* Java System Application Server Standard Edition 7
* Java System Message Queue Platform Edition 3.5
* Java System Message Queue Enterprise Edition 3.5
* Java System Web Server 6.1
* Java System Portal Server 63
* Java System Portal Server Secure Remote Access 6.3
* Java System Messaging Server 6.1
* Java System Calendar Server 6.1
* Java System Instant Messaging 6.2
* Cluster 3.1
* Cluster Agents for System components: Web, Application, Directory, Messaging, and Calendar Servers and Message Queue

Plus from the OS and Platforms it runs on Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS 2.1

Solaris, the Operating environment, is still free (with restrictions).

More money for SCO? (3, Interesting)

cpghost (719344) | about 10 years ago | (#8768074)

Hasn't Sun Microsystems licensed Unix code from SCO? Wouldn't a Solaris subscription funnel even more money to SCO (even though that would only be an unintentional side effect)?

Re:More money for SCO? (2, Informative)

zz99 (742545) | about 10 years ago | (#8768174)

Hasn't Sun Microsystems licensed Unix code from SCO? Wouldn't a Solaris subscription funnel even more money to SCO

No. Sun bought itself free a couple of years ago

Re:More money for SCO? (1)

Art Deco (529557) | about 10 years ago | (#8769385)

Sun's license terms came about quite a while ago when Sun and AT&T had a stock swap. The idea of a Sun/AT&T merger sent shivers through the UNIX industry leading to OSF which brought us OSF/1 (which only DEC used) and Motif which everyone used and almost everyone hated.

As far as I know Sun is the only vendor with such a license where they can distribute UNIX without paying royalties to anyone.

To me this brings up a thought. Assume that SCO wins their lawsuit saying that there is UNIX technology in Linux. Under Sun's license it might turn out that Sun and Sun alone would be the only company who could still legally give away Linux.

Basic Disagreements (1, Interesting)

DarkHelmet (120004) | about 10 years ago | (#8768080)

The article makes a good point, that Sun has reinvented itself before, and that no one should write Sun off.

Pfft, really now? If Sun has *really* truly reinvented itself, and has started to see the light of things, then why is Java still not Open Sourced?

The subscription plan will make it clear that Solaris costs less than Linux and will dovetail with Sun's argument that its version of Unix performs better as well.

To be (a software vendor), or not to be (be a hardware vendor instead). That is the question...

And Red Hat can't throw in a free server as part of a software promotion the way Sun can.

Why does this remind me about how Bill Gates was talking about hardware becoming free?

Come on Sun. Make a good archetecture, and put your best efforts into making BSD / Linux run well on it. Solaris may possibly be destined to the dead path of SCO Unix. Learn from IBM.

Re:Basic Disagreements (4, Insightful)

Albanach (527650) | about 10 years ago | (#8768243)

Come on Sun. Make a good archetecture, and put your best efforts into making BSD / Linux run well on it. Solaris may possibly be destined to the dead path of SCO Unix. Learn from IBM.

Sure, because the world will be so much better with fewer operating systems to choose from? IBM still offer commercial, propriety Unix alongside Linux. Sun offer exactly the same with Solaris and the Sun Java Desktop.

Choice isn't a bad thing. We should be glad Sun are around and the choice is still there. For big companies (think banks or car manufacturers) who have reputations and $billions on the line, there will always be a market for big iron with a custom *nix to run on top of it. IBM offer it, as do Sun.

Sun seem to have ahd a really hard time over their settlement with / victory over Microsoft. Folk need to remember that Sun is a public company. That means the Board cannot turn down a settlement on the basis of not liking Microsoft. The directors are legally required to deliver the best value for their shareholders. That means is Microsoft offer to settle on better terms than Sun were demanding they have no choice but to accept that settlement. Not to do so would see them lose their jobs and possibly end up in court.

Some meandering history... (1)

Allen Zadr (767458) | about 10 years ago | (#8768781)

"Sure, because the world will be so much better with fewer operating systems to choose from? IBM still offer commercial, propriety Unix alongside Linux. Sun offer exactly the same with Solaris and the Sun Java Desktop."

Don't forget that Sun also sells Linux based hardware. They just entered the market 4 years after IBM (AIX), HP (HP/UX and Tru64), SGI/Cray (Irix), etc.

For all your talk about Sun's board and value... Java makes no sense from a core competancy point of view. Java is now no more than really good marketing, as since 1997, Java has kept Sun's name on the tounge of most IT people - but it makes little sense as a corporate strategy.

Java's initial plans were to be a boost for Solaris OS web presense, and eventually a Java 'physical' machine processor. But then Java (the language) moved faster than the now dead Java machine (CPU) could keep up.

Re:Basic Disagreements (0)

Greyfox (87712) | about 10 years ago | (#8768289)

Java and other solutions from Sun like themselves a little too much. They implement enormously complex solutions to problems that could generally be solved with simpler solutions to prove that Sun's engineers are better than those of every other company on the planet. It doesn't matter that someone else may have solved the problem with a much simpler and more elegant solution, if it wasn't invented at Sun, it's not even worth considering. Sun would create a multi-million dollar laser-cooled refridgerator where two pots, some sand and a wet cloth would have done the trick.

If Sun continues to believe in the obvious inferiority of anything not invented at Sun, IBM's going to eat Sun's lunch. IBM's actually listening to their customers and implementing solutions that their customers want not what a bunch of engineers belive their customers need. And the stock prices of the two companies reflect that.

Re:Basic Disagreements (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8768329)

Pfft, really now? If Sun has *really* truly reinvented itself, and has started to see the light of things, then why is Java still not Open Sourced?

And who says Open Sourcing Java is the light? Sun's business decisions may not reflect your ideals as a user/developer. We don't live in a perfect world!

Possible unfavorable comparison (3, Insightful)

El Cubano (631386) | about 10 years ago | (#8768082)

"In an effort to make its version of Unix compare more favorably to Red Hat's Linux, Sun Microsystems plans in coming weeks to begin selling its Solaris operating system through a subscription model."

I would be more concerned about a possible unfavorabe comparison with MS. Both MS and Sun sell proprietary operating systems. They would need to tread carefully to not scare off the folks that have started considering *nix alternatives to keep Microsoft's tentacles out their bank accounts.

Sun also needs to make it clear to people that they are really paying for support (with a small bit for licensing) and not the MS-style license renewal. Otherwise a comparison with RHAT is not valid.

But it would be a somewhat flawed comparison (1)

sczimme (603413) | about 10 years ago | (#8768148)


I would be more concerned about a possible unfavorabe comparison with MS. Both MS and Sun sell proprietary operating systems.

True, but Sun also offers an open-source OS, i.e. one from each camp (so to speak). MS offers only proprietary/closed-source* OSs.

* Recent compromises and other goings-on notwithstanding.

Re:Possible unfavorable comparison (1)

Allen Zadr (767458) | about 10 years ago | (#8768979)

and don't forget that Microsoft* and RedHat (and SCO) are software companies first, where Sun (like IBM and HP) has always been a Hardware company first. Solaris, Java and Star/OpenOffice were all conceived** to sell more hardware. (although for the latter two - they only help boost Linux usability).

*The Microsoft Mouse, notwithstanding - I have one hooked onto every Linux box I run.

**StarOffice was purchased by StarDivision, a German software company. But it's purchase was originally in the interest of selling more hardware by offering a superior OS and desktop solution.

Won? (-1, Flamebait)

ultrabot (200914) | about 10 years ago | (#8768093)

On the down side, there was coverage of the announced layoffs, as well as the MSFT case being won.

I don't really think they "won" anything. MSFT is now on the clear regarding their .NET IP (most of which probably overlaps Sun). They are now forming IP alliances, so that they can sue pretty much everybody. Killing of Sun is a piece of cake to MSFT, once they deem the time is appropriate.

The axis of evil has been formed (MSFT-SCOX-SUNW), and they are out to suffocate the free world w/ IP law. Luckily we have some hefty backers (IBM, Novell).

You know what companies to boycott, people. Boycotting MSFT is not easy/practical, boycotting Sun should be much easier...

Why use MSFT products? (4, Interesting)

Monx (742514) | about 10 years ago | (#8768129)

Boycotting MSFT is not easy/practical

I've been doing it for years. It actually is quite easy if you are willing to pay for good software or find a good free replacement for the MSFT (or Windows only) software you think you need. For example, there are lots of office suites out there and more individual spreadsheets and word processors that are office compatible.

In any case, if you are running a Sun OS, what is the likelihood that you have any MS products on it? Didn't IE for Solaris get discontinued years ago?

Re:Why use MSFT products? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8768573)

This is such bullshit. If all you do is read email and code and need an office suite, yeah, maybe you can avoid Windows. But tell me, what software is available for Linux to replace things like Cubase, Sonar, ProTools, Premiere, ACID, etc., the list goes on and on. None of the linux equivalents even come close in their wildest dreams to being functionally competetive. Please don't mention any of the open source attempts - sure, their work is admirable, but they are toys compared to the real deal. I would love to run Linux for everything, but the simple fact is it is FAR FAR AWAY from having any sort of real applications normal people use.

Tell me, what Linux solution do you use to record 24 tracks of audio? To add effects (professional sounding ones) like reverb, compression? What audio mastering software for linux do you use? How about what do I use to capture and edit video (i.e. for real professional video work) ? Add titles?

While Linux is great and everything, most of you all live in a fantasy land running around with horse blinders on. There is much more to the world then gcc, emacs, and vi.

Until Linux gets professional software that professionals can actually use that does everything their current stuff does - plus a damn good incentive to switch (what do I do with the $5,000 in plug-ins I have? ) etc. Face it, Linux will stay in the niche market it has unfortunately. The barrier to entry is simply too high.

Microsoft Bull... (1)

Allen Zadr (767458) | about 10 years ago | (#8769437)

As the original poster pointed out - if you want to pay to avoid Microsoft - it's possible. Especially in an Office environment*.

To the original post's point, there are several Apple/Mac compatible products that most people in Music think are far superior to the products that you are speaking of (of course now most of them come in Mac AND Win versions).... Still qualifies as paying your way around Microsoft.

More importantly to the Linux zealot in me, if it can work under Mac OS X, then it's not difficult to port it to Linux when the time is right (many, many professional software companies have Linux versions that are waiting for customers to request them - the only thing in the way from a Linux perspective is a unified desktop).

*Office environment is the most mainstream use of Windows, and where Linux freeware AND commercial efforts have mostly been focussing for some time. Of course pro audio tools are more specialized, and have less broad interest - thus less developers.

Re:Why use MSFT products? (1)

zz99 (742545) | about 10 years ago | (#8769013)

Didn't IE for Solaris get discontinued years ago?

I tried IE for Solaris a few years ago. I may have complained about Netscape 4.x for Solaris, but IE was ten times worse! It not only crashed like Netscape sometimes did. It would frequently kill my X-server all togeather. And on one occation it even managed to get the whole system to lock up.

...so no wonder if it got discontinued

Sun in an axis of Evil?!? (3, Insightful)

levell (538346) | about 10 years ago | (#8768136)

I don't think the software world is as black and white as you make out. Sun are the driving force behind OpenOffice, which I'm very grateful for.

I certainly don't intend to start boycotting them any time soon.

Tinfoil Helmets (1)

turgid (580780) | about 10 years ago | (#8768653)

You're right. People here should take a step back and look at all the drivel being posted. I haven't seen so many tinfoil helmets attached to one story for a long time. It's the done thing to be disparaging of Sun here nowadays, and to come up with all sorts of conspiracy theories involving Microsoft, SCO and aliens with flying-saucers. However, people are not so quick to do the same to IBM and HP. It makes one wonder.

Re:Tinfoil Helmets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8769574)

A lot of folk are still sore over the "dot in dot com" adverts that were popular back in 2000.

Everybody in the know knew this to not be the case, but hey - it's marketing. Anyway geeks tend to store animosity for those who pretend to be greater than they are (thus M.S. Bashing).

--
Posting anonymously to protect myself from the inevitable flamebait mod-downs.

Re:Won? (3, Insightful)

steve_l (109732) | about 10 years ago | (#8768173)

As a Java developer on some Apache projects, I'm not yet rushing out to boycott Java. I'll just deny Sun any of my money. Oh, wait a minute, I wasn't giving them any anyway.

How about I let Sun continue to lose money providing and supporting Java? That would be even worse than boycotting it, wouldnt it?

Also, beware of IBM bearing gifts. They are supporting OSS right now because they see the strategic value. But if their opinions change, watch them change their mind. It's like Oracle: they support linux as a way to keep OS costs down, but are against OSS database solutions. If (when) an OSS database gets to the point that it threatens Oracle or DB2, I could imagine both companies changing their stories about the value of OSS.

Re:Won? (2, Interesting)

ultrabot (200914) | about 10 years ago | (#8768449)

Also, beware of IBM bearing gifts. They are supporting OSS right now because they see the strategic value. But if their opinions change, watch them change their mind.

Of course, and IBM are in the lucky position of having the "right thing" as a strategy. Microsoft and Sun are not in that position.

It's like Oracle: they support linux as a way to keep OS costs down, but are against OSS database solutions. If (when) an OSS database gets to the point that it threatens Oracle or DB2, I could imagine both companies changing their stories about the value of OSS.

Asking companies to support OSS even if it conflicts with their proprietary interests is not realistic. It all boils down to having the right proprietary interests. E.g. selling stuff higher up on the software stack, which is what Oracle is doing.

Re:Won? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8768654)

Yes, but I don't think they see OSS as a great value anyway. There are couple of things they want to keep as open source. The operating system is one of them, and the reason is that this guy from Finland was able to come up with this operating system which pretty much emulates Unix and yet it is open without legal trouble (until SCO of course). That's where Linux become the choice. Before Linux we had bunch of different unix flavors. Now with Linux you have all sorts of advantages. There are lots of developers who can inspect the code, correct it etc... So it is a great value there. But Linux is a great value, not OSS. GNU nuts and few idiots turned this fact into open source is great type of propaganda. As we progress throughout these times we realize that, this open source thing is more about communism type of political system implemented on the software business, rather than something that has a great technical merit. Obviously nobody understands that, with all the success of the open source so far, each and every one of them comes with a reason not related to being open source directly. For example, mozilla is not a great browser because of being open, but because they funded hundrends of developers to develop it. AOL spent millions of dollars on the mozilla. It was open, but outside developers didn't make mozilla, AOL developers did. Similarly, open office is a gift from a commercial company. So, in essence we are seeing things that make open source viable from commercial companies. So somebody has to invest millions of dollars to make this software and then open it up with a purpose. Netscape proved us that open source is not the right idea. Abiword is another example. Sun might be the third company with its open office that giving up the software without a fee is not always a great thing afterall. If and when Sun goes out of business we will see that, people using open source is really doing that mostly out of desperation, and they are not getting the help they think they would out of this so called "open source community". Most of these people are teenagers lured into this communist type of propaganda, beliving that they are better than software developers working full time for a fee and that they can really change the world. The very fact that Slashdot turned into a news site constantly trying to make fun of Microsoft is a proof for the future of open source. Many slashdot monkies do not even know the technology quite well. They are more like monkies jumping up and down.

My conclusion and prediction is that, open source will lose is momentum gradually and will be a niche as it was before. People will stop thinking that open source will change anything and will realize that it is a great way of developing software, but not a way to change our lives politically. People will also turn against these GNU nuts as these GNU nuts get more desperate they will be more and more annoying and people will shout back.

OSS Not dead, but there is a blockade. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8769760)

Great, now can we finally decide on a flipping desktop, so that vendors know which one to code for (as opposed to trying to re-invent the desktop, and writing to the underlying X/Mosaic "least common denominator")?

Desktop is the primary reason why commercial software vendors are not writing commercial software for Linux (most of them do write it, but can't release due to incompatability problems against some dists, and not others).

Worse, Linux (except, now, with RedHat) makes it impossible to release software for Linux without suffering to support Linux itself... "I try to run your product but it says that it can't get permission to open X" and "Where to I get this gtk/gnome2 library that it says doesn't exist?". If you release to support RedHat WS or RedHat ES - then you can defer Linux support questions to their Linux vendor (which won't happen on a free O.S.) - even in the business world.

If OSS and Linux is dying (they are NOT mutually exclusive here) then the desktop question is what's killing it. When EVERYTHING is a choice, then there is no way to support it. Of course, OSS will never go away - but Linux (in it's current state) may die completely with a new breed of standardized distribution with a common development platform.

Massive R&D (5, Interesting)

wytcld (179112) | about 10 years ago | (#8768116)

Saw an academic's analysis of Sun lately along the lines of "Sun is spending massively on R&D. Why is Sun doing this instead of copying the successful strategies of HP and IBM? Sun should pull the money out of R&D and immediately better its bottom line while lowering the costs of its products."

And I think, didn't Sun get to be where it once was by catching the front of the wave of network computing (become Internet)? Isn't their core skillset being able to ride such a wave well? Isn't their future in getting out ahead of the next one so they can apply that skill again?

R&D is always risky, but as a long-term investor, shouldn't you be buying R&D? As corporations put less and less into it (as most are) what's left becomes potentially even more valuable when and if it pays off. Of course, you don't want to go into the equivalent of the old Xerox or AT&T which never properly capitalized on their best inventions ... but Sun's record is a bit better than theirs in this.

Youe've just answered a question of mine. (1)

MisanthropicProgram (763655) | about 10 years ago | (#8768222)

I was wondering if SUN is relevant, at all, these days. I'm seeing more and more companies skipping them by and implementing some sort of x86 solution. Mostly because their products can be approximated with someting much cheaper.
That's were their R&D will prove to make or break them. Without it, they, I think, will become less an less desired in the market place. They'll need to come up with breakthrough tech in order not to be replaced by GNU/Linux, BSD or MS.

Re:Youe've just answered a question of mine. (1)

Allen Zadr (767458) | about 10 years ago | (#8769864)

Don't forget, Sun Sells Linux x86 servers. Sun is a hardware vendor first and a software company second.

The post above is close, but not quite right. Sun was the first vendor to have Ethernet and a TCP/IP stack built-in on every computer they offer. Thus their computers from the very early 90s were fully internet ready. They took an existing standard, and marketed it.

Sun is doing much the same now with the Linux Hardware that they are selling. Everything they have done was initially an attempt to boost hardware sales (even Java). Now they need R&D because their Hardware quality (always their strong suit) is slipping. If they loose that, then they loose everything - and Java tech will become a spin-off in the dust of Sun's collapse.

Re:Massive R&D (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8768371)

Commercial R&D has to be targetted towards end products to justify it. Suns problem is that it has too many R&D programmes like juxta, asynchronous CPUs, etc. that cost a lot, but have no end products and hence generate no income. I'm not saying that these investments aren't useful for basic research, just that they aren't financially a good thing to do, and they should probably partner with universities and other companies to get stuff like that done cheaply.

I can see it now... (2, Funny)

dj245 (732906) | about 10 years ago | (#8768165)

In an effort to make its version of Linux compare more favorably to Sun Microsystem's flavor of Unix, Red Hat plans in coming weeks to again begin selling its Linux operating system through a flat fee model.

Sun is in quicksand (3, Interesting)

BoomerSooner (308737) | about 10 years ago | (#8768167)

They will slowly lose more and more to the PPC based systems and better OSes (Linux/MacOS X). The Apple offerings won't make a large dent, the expected IBM systems will.

I would sell any shares in Sun you still have (I left long ago).

Re:Sun is in quicksand, could jump out with... (1)

slash_fossils (698785) | about 10 years ago | (#8768299)

MacOS X on Sun hardware. I've heard lots of the geeks at Sun have bought Apple notebooks because OS X is Unix and they love it. So, why not?

Re:Sun is in quicksand, could jump out with... (1)

BoomerSooner (308737) | about 10 years ago | (#8768407)

Why not? SPARC, SPARC, SPARC, SPARC.

SPARC costs a bunch more than PPC from IBM and it's slower (1/2 the speed). Not to mention it would require recompiling every app. Won't happen. An Intel based switch would be more likely but I think it's out of the question with the new PPC's that are out (IBM has 2.5 GHz at 90nm available now).

Re:Sun is in quicksand (2, Informative)

El_Ge_Ex (218107) | about 10 years ago | (#8768465)

Sun only offered Linux as a cave-in to shareholders who wanted to see the costs of machines drop so that sales would increase. Only the costs stayed near as bad and Sun's support was half-assed so sales didn't increase.

This settlement also has more to do with what's left of Sun's shareholders and very little to do with who's at fault. The lawsuit was seen by investors as getting money from a competitor back when it started (almost 8 years ago!). Since then it has cost Sun much more money than what even the settlement brings. They are just cutting their losses and doing what they should have done back in 2000: Release a Sun machine with Windows to appease customers who demand it.

-B

Re:Sun is in quicksand (5, Insightful)

mrm677 (456727) | about 10 years ago | (#8768673)

They will slowly lose more and more to the PPC based systems and better OSes (Linux/MacOS X).

Better OSes? Solaris is arguably the best Unix OS in existance. If you think that Linux is "better", and it may be for your needs, I urge you to think again. The key to Solaris is its scalability. It scales to hundreds of processors. This is key for throughput computing, and you will see Sun come out with chips that have a dozen or so UltraSparcs on the same core in the near future.

Yes pundants, point me to the links about Linux running on 500 processors. I frankly don't beleive that a single Linux kernel image can run on 500 processors. I mean it still uses test, test-and-set spinlocks!

Re:Sun is in quicksand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8768934)

Just because you don't see a linux box with >500 procs, does not mean it doesn't exist.
There have been at least two systems I know of at 512 procs in a SSI. Several at 128 and 256 running in an SSI.

Subscription model == customer lock-in (5, Insightful)

morelife (213920) | about 10 years ago | (#8768171)

And customers don't like it. Do you think they're stupid? Generally subscription models mean the customer pays more, for not necessarily more service or features.

People are in general moving away from RedHat, not toward it. RHEL means lock-in, with less features. It may be OSS, but if you change the code - is Red Hat going to support your changes? No.

So this is the model Sun wants to emulate? Sun is already perceived as too expensive in general for a Unix. The people that have stuck with Sun tend to be those running specialized platforms they couldn't migrate out of too easily. Sun's best bet is the Chinese desktop deal, not trying to compete with Linux here in the States..

Re:Subscription model == customer lock-in (2, Informative)

leomekenkamp (566309) | about 10 years ago | (#8768656)

People are in general moving away from RedHat, not toward it.

Numbers please, anyone can shout something like this. Last I heard was that RHAT had about 87500 subscriptions, of which 4000 entered last year. Read it today somewhere, but can't find the link anymore :-/
This does not sound like people moving away from RHAT, but it's your word against mine.

Re:Subscription model == customer lock-in (1)

morelife (213920) | about 10 years ago | (#8768806)

Numbers please, anyone can shout something like this. Last I heard was that RHAT had about 87500 subscriptions, of which 4000 entered last year. Read it today somewhere, but can't find the link anymore :-/

Numbers please, anyone can shout something like this.

It seems like you're not holding yourself to the standards you impose on others.

No matter. We don't need "numbers" to substantiate the fact that the community is vastly unhappy with Red Hat's move to the enterprise subscription model, which is causing financial and logistical pain. Your "numbers" will show up soon enough.

Re:Subscription model == customer lock-in (1)

leomekenkamp (566309) | about 10 years ago | (#8768933)

*sigh*
Why do you think I typed a :-/ and said it was basically your word agains mine?

We don't need "numbers" to substantiate the fact that the community is vastly unhappy with Red Hat's move to the enterprise subscription model, which is causing financial and logistical pain.

What community? Is the community buying subscriptions? AFAIK companies are buying subscriptions; the community is free (pun intended) to use fedora. Why should the community be vastly unhappy by that?

This migh not be a smart move for Sun (2, Funny)

Pan T. Hose (707794) | about 10 years ago | (#8768186)

Why do I think that this idea has something in common with killall(1) implementation on Solaris, considering its possible destructive effects? Funny jokes aside, I really think this migh not be a smart move for Sun. I think they should think about it before they finally roll it out.

Re:This migh not be a smart move for Sun (1)

rivaldufus (634820) | about 10 years ago | (#8769259)

Yes - they aliased killall with "reinvent." I remember my first solaris experience - coming from FreeBSD and Linux. I tried killall inetd on a QC Oracle database machine. Imagine my joy as every process was killed off, till I lost my terminal.

I subscribe (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8768201)

to the GNAA newsletter

Write Them Off (1, Troll)

Virtucon (127420) | about 10 years ago | (#8768211)

Sun as it once was will be no more. Essentially throwing in the towel with MSFT has gotten rid of the only thing Scott McNealy can blame for their failures. In a truer sense, Sun needs to open source Java and J2EE, their only techology play that they still have a good stake in. They've sold their high end server business, they're now trying to be an "also ran" in Linux and unlike HP they don't have a PC market. So, IP is about all they have left. Sure Sun has made great contributions, but anybody remember Digital Equipment Corp anymore? It wasn't so long ago DEC was #2 in the computer industry, now they're just a memory. Sun unfortunately will most likely be the same.

Re:Write Them Off (3, Insightful)

haggar (72771) | about 10 years ago | (#8769149)

I would totally agree with your post, except that it's all wrong, without a shred of truth to it and even offtopic.

In a truer sense, Sun needs to open source Java and J2EE
That's your opinion. It can be argued efficiently against it: Sun has released and well documented all of the API. It has nothing to gain from opensourcing Java, except making happy a few Slashdot readers.

They've sold their high end server business,
Of course, this is totally your imagination and it has no bearing to reality.

unlike HP they don't have a PC market.
They definitely do, and apparently, a strong one, with JDS deals in China and with Wal-Mart.

It wasn't so long ago DEC was #2 in the computer industry, now they're just a memory. Sun unfortunately will most likely be the same.
Sun, compared to DEC:
- has a better financial position
- is selling a much larger volume of UNIX servers
- is more flexible in terms of hardware(just released excellent 1,2 and 4-Opteron servers and 1 and 2 opteron Blade servers)
- delivers a desktop OS upon which they have complete control (Gnome + StarOffice + Gaim...)
- has a detailed CPU roadmap for the years to come

Interestingly, your post has no connection with the topic at hand (Sun introducing software subscription model). You just though it would be a good opportunity to bash Sun, and you went for it. After all, this is Slashdot!
So I will try to bring this thread closer to the main subject: seeing the other two biggest software manufacturers that do use a subscription model - RedHat and Microsoft - making a sweat profit, I don't think Sun's decision is a mistake.

Sun Had to Choose "Between Shame and War" (1)

NZheretic (23872) | about 10 years ago | (#8768221)

In a hard-hitting analysis of the Sun-Microsoft settlement [linuxworld.com], David Mohring [blogspot.com] argues that - aside from the monetary payoff - the gains for Sun from the terms and conditions "do not make any sense for Sun in the long term."

Re:Sun Had to Choose "Between Shame and War" (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8768350)

Mohring writes [sys-con.com] that that - aside from the monetary payoff - the gains for Sun from the terms and conditions "do not make any sense for Sun in the long term."

He continues:

"Sun's agreement to Microsoft Communications Protocol Program represents a real sellout by Sun. Until now, the only major vendors to sign up to the protocol agreement have been Cisco and guess who, The SCO Group ( only after the "investment" by Microsoft ). Even the U.S. Justice Department expressed concern that Microsoft has not completely lived up to its agreement. Just as with the SCO Group, it appears Microsoft has effectively paid off Sun to accept this agreement. "

Policing Solaris subscriptions (1)

Debian Troll's Best (678194) | about 10 years ago | (#8768273)

There are obviously financial advantages to a subscription model of software sales for a company like Sun...subscription revenue is received at known times, and in known amounts. It is not like the 'lumpy' type of revenue that is commonly associated with Sun's business, such as the sale of high-end servers, which occurs sporadically and is not easy to predict. So a move to subcription-based revenue will be of benefit to Sun in accounting terms.

But along with the benefits come disadvantages. Discounting customer objections, the biggest one is how to ensure that all Solaris installations are currently running on an up-to-date subscription license. It may be possible to have the Solaris servers 'call home' to check on licensing status, but some corporate servers are behind strong firewalls, and this may not work. Another method would be to have the central package manager control subscription licenses for individual pieces of sofware, including the Solaris kernel.

Basically, a company would purchase their Solaris subscription, and licenses for a number of other applications they wished to run. A packaging system, possibly something like a customised version of GNU/Debian's apt-get could be used to then manage the installation and tracking of the subscribed packages. apt-get would monitor the usage of the pieces of software against a crypt() encoded database of expiry dates and times. If an access was attempted to be made after the subscription period had expired, apt-get would automatically un-install the software, and the client would need to contact Sun to renew their subscription, and Sun would then send them fresh program tapes or diskettes. What do current Solaris admins and users think of this scheme? I look forward to hearing the community's response!

Sun's fundamental problem (3, Interesting)

heironymouscoward (683461) | about 10 years ago | (#8768275)

Sun has a fundamental problem, one it shares with Microsoft. Both firms live by selling a premium product in a commodity market. Operating systems are no longer rare and valuable enough to pay for. Linux has demonstrated the feasability of a single, free, standard OS for all hardware, and despite ferocious resistance from many quarters, makes inexorable progress towards becoming the eventual standard.

Sun will die if they do not reinvent themselves away from selling proprietary OS products. Moves like the Sun Java Desktop are a sign of hope: Sun must adopt Linux and FOSS and become a services company selling value-added solutions. Then it can survive.

But changing a company like this is incredibly hard and there are few cases where it works. Most likely, Sun is doomed.

Forget software, Sun (2, Flamebait)

kindbud (90044) | about 10 years ago | (#8768460)

Do like IBM does. Every X330-class machine we buy comes with 3 years onsite service. There are no extra support contracts to sign, no extra expenses to track, everything we want in a hardware purchase comes with the machine, one line item on the invoice for everything.

Screw the software. Solaris is little more than Oracle-OS anymore. Make the hardware easier to buy and to support.

going down the wrong road? (1)

motorsabbath (243336) | about 10 years ago | (#8768483)

Sun could have gotten a lot by helping Linux in the computing space - any Unix is a good Unix relative to Windows in the datacenter (compatibility is a good thing). Sun has chosen to work with Microsoft to quash Linux instead of the other way around.

McNealy has become a liability, like Saruman. There is only one Lord of the Ring. Sun is doomed.

Sun -- used to have great technology, now plagued with dated hardware and poor business choices. Decent opsys, though, too bad it's stalled.

I like Sun -- but they are in trouble (3, Interesting)

fmaxwell (249001) | about 10 years ago | (#8768763)

Sun made its money selling expensive hardware that was rock-solid and fast -- and if you wanted to run Solaris, you bought a Sun box with a SPARC processor. Now Solaris is out for the x86 and hardware reliability and speed can be had at a fraction of the cost in x86-based servers from Dell, Compaq, IBM, and others. There is no longer a compelling argument to buy Sun boxes for most applications. Sure, there are some exotic, massively multi-CPU servers from Sun, but that's not bread and butter sales and there are nott enough of them sold to support a company the size of Sun (hence the layoffs).

We've seen this before with IBM. To the Slashdot youngsters who may not remember: It was IBM who created the x86 PC back in the early 80's. They were trouncing "hobbyist" venders like MITS (Altair), Imsai, and Cromemco. They owned the PC market as far as business was concerned. Then the smaller companies like Compaq hit the scenes aiming at the business market with equivalent, or better, performance at lower prices. When is the last time that you saw a new IBM brand PC for sale?

Next to take a hit: Cisco. Companies are seeing the cost advantage to going with simpler, less-expensive routers and firewalls wherever possible. Why pay for "Cisco-certified" personnel when they can buy an SMC router, some switches, and have their office up and running at a fraction of the cost? Again, there are niche areas where Cisco is still king, but that won't support a Cisco-sized company.

Interpreting Sun (3, Informative)

zz99 (742545) | about 10 years ago | (#8768843)

A few weeks ago a group from Sun on tour visited our office. They were showing their new road maps and answering questions. I asked some general questions, giving them an opportunity for some sale talk.

They seemed to be intrerested in selling two things:
1. development software (i.e. compilers and development environents)
2. servers (i.e. bigger machines that they earn more money

I asked them about workstations, and they hardly bothered to answer. My guess is that a Sun Blade 1500 doesn't give much profit at all.

They pushed hard for their C/C++ complier and their Java IDE, and all its new features, and how easy it is to use for those that are skilled in Visual Basic.

...Well they might have said more, but that's what I remebered :)

My conclusion was that they wantet to sell licences for software and servers most of all.

same old same old (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8768960)

The article didnt have enough details. DOes th subscribtion cover maintenance cost or only right to use. If the maint cost is included we have been on subscription forever, they just called it maintenace? Does the OS stop if you dont pay next years subscription fee? If not I dont see any differance in the old vs the new.

As somone mentioned there is a CPU license on USED servers but that has always been included with new servers.

.EDU Pricing? (2, Informative)

pjdepasq (214609) | about 10 years ago | (#8768968)

I skimmed the article but saw nothing about .edu pricing. I would think it would be interesting to see what they are going to do with schools.

My department has been wary of Sun's long term stability and is thinking of getting into different *NIX boxen. I'm pushing Apple, others like moving to Linux. The latter we can do by recycling our older PCs as they come out of the labs.

If Sun starts subscription pricing in the acaemic markets, they may lose some of their installed base in the university setting.

get over it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8769002)

Sun, Microsoft and Oracle are going to be around for a long time. Whether people like it or not, all companies make mistake. Some worse than others. Is Sun on it's way back? No one knows for sure, but atleast Sun has realized it needs to change. That in itself is the biggest improvement. How they implement changes to get back to profitability has very little to do with the perception of being successful. Whether this new licensing model is a road back to health is questionable, but atleast Sun is actively trying to get back in the game.

Who cares? (5, Interesting)

Eloquence (144160) | about 10 years ago | (#8769064)

There are those of us who have been saying that Java is crappy technology for years. There are those who have been saying that Java is the best thing that ever happened to programming. The latter group consists of the same persons who also felt that Sun would not betray Linux, that Sun was a bulwark against Microsoft, etc. They only told us good things about Sun. Many of them were paid to write these things -- as Java developers and Sun employees, or as active astroturfers.

I never believed the official party line with regard to Sun. I saw great ideas devoured by Java -- as even most Java-lovers realize, it is absolutely unsuitable for desktop applications, yet it was marketed for them, and it was used for them. Remember JXTA? That was Sun's peer-to-peer initiative. I saw JXTA come and go and hundreds of peer-to-peer developers with it. Peer-to-peer and Java -- truly a winning combination.

Nor did I believe that this was merely a coincidence or gross incompetence. When the internal Sun memo the Java problem [internalmemos.com] was released, where Sun engineers complained that Java was too slow even for internal use on Sun's operating system, it was clear to everyone what had always been clear to me: Java was never intended to be a fast, powerful programming language. It was intended to be a way to sell big hardware, and to tie people to a single company: Sun. They sucked up a lot of mindshare. Neither proprietary nor truly free, Java existed in that same state of justifiable coercion (by means of copyright) as, say, MacOS X. But both Apple and Sun have as their goal the same thing as Microsoft -- to become the only vendor that matters, to create a monopoly. Microsoft is just better at it.

If you want a powerful, truly free, cross-platform interpreted language, try Python or Perl. Just because your PHB hasn't heard about them because there are no glossy brochures doesn't mean they can't kick Java's ass any day, even (or especially) in "mission-critical" application. Both are modern, object-oriented languages, idiosyncratic to be sure, but scalable no less. This very website is probably a larger application than most of the stuff that runs in your company. When did you last lose a comment on Slashdot? And Slashdot's code is ugly and hackish.

Now it turns out that Steve Ballmer and Scott McNealy are on the same football team. Their common enemy: Linux. Well, you know what? Linux can kick Sun's ass, and Linux can kick Microsoft's ass as well. And that's not because "Micro$oft sux0rZ!" It's because Linux has behind it not just governments and corporations, but the power of thousands of unimaginably creative volunteers. It's because Linux is free and will always remain so. Technology is not just about gadgets. It's also about freedom, and in the long run, freedom will prevail. Say about RMS what you want, but sometimes being a little overzealous can be a good thing.

Are corporations like Sun and Microsoft evil? Of course not. They are amoral (that also goes for IBM, by the way). They will do anything if it's good for their bottom line. If corporate murder was legal, every corporation would immediately start murdering people, other than by exposing them to toxic chemicals and unsafe workplace conditions. That's because if the current CEO doesn't like murdering people, they will simply be replaced by someone who does - shareholder value.

Linux is a little bit of everything. It incorporates elements of socialism (sharing your work, writing software in your free time), capitalism (being paid to program), of dictatorships (Linus coordinating the development process), of democracies (various associations with elected representatives), of meritocracy (those who develop, lead), of plutocracy (those who have money can get stuff done). This is in many ways a model for society. There is no single way to run a complex world. You need to combine the elements in a smart fashion.

Who cares about Sun? Who cares about Microsoft? They will die in time, they will be replaced like the dinosaurs they are. What really matters is the collective innovative force behind Linux, behind GNU, behind Wikipedia. These are the methodologies of tomorrow, not centralized corporations that will not act in the interest of the people, but purely in the interest of a fictional God of profit accumulation.

Fuck the dinosaurs. Welcome humanity.

I have a rant about Sun ... (4, Interesting)

DikSeaCup (767041) | about 10 years ago | (#8769159)

The thing I have a problem with is that in my time as a Unix Systems Admin, I've heard so much from Sun about how "Things will be different."

Here's an example of an actual sequence of conversations I've had:

"We really care about our relationship with your school and will go out of our way to solidify our reputation with you."

Yeah, but what's this about you changing the support structure for our yearly support contract?

"Oh, well, we found that most schools weren't using the contract to the fullest, ending up with blank software entitlements instead of using them all, and so we changed it. We now no longer cover things like backup software and directory services as part of your contract. Oh, and it costs more now too."

Sun lost out to Redhat because Sun (and their authorized reseller) could never get their act together, and their treatment of us bordered on abuse. When you'd pay $15K for a Sun and end up with yearly fees approaching $1K for the warranty period (since we'd have to cover OS upgrades) and then $3K for continuing maintenance, yet you could get a more powerful Dell server with better maintenance coverage and Redhat, in the long run, it was cheaper.

In other words, the TCO bug didn't just hit Microsoft - it hit Sun pretty hard, too.

hip hip, hooray (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8769170)

As a java fan, this couldn't be better news...
That 1.93 billion will go a long way towards helping Sun resolve it's money problems...

Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8769290)

I am more likely to write Sun off after the last few days. I wonder if MS had anything to do with Sun going to a subscription model. MS will trash them also.

Subscription Model, Not a Good Deal (3, Interesting)

Esion Modnar (632431) | about 10 years ago | (#8769430)

Buying the latest OS release used to be like waiting for the next Tom Clancy novel: it got released when it got released, and not a moment sooner. Sure, the publishers have their own internal deadlines, but if it takes 2-3 years between major releases, I'm not sweating it. My money's in my wallet in the meantime.

A subscription, OTOH, implies a recurring payment for goods delivered on a predictable recurring basis. Such as Playboy, for example. My subscription obliges Playboy to deliver on-time or lose my business. This seems to work for magazines, but would be a horrible idea for Tom Clancy novels: either the quality would go way down, or I would get zero product for my money.

And this seems to be the deal software subscriptioners are getting: low quality or zero product (missed delivery dates).

Times have changed... (4, Insightful)

Whatchamacallit (21721) | about 10 years ago | (#8769543)

Used to be Sun was the biggest baddest Unix platform, chosen by those who needed real power and scalability. Customers paid a premium in hardware and software as well support contracts.

Now that Linux is making huge progress on it's Enterprise abilities there are several event horizons rapidly approaching.

1. x86 hardware is getting cheaper all the time. Sun hardware is still very much overpriced.

2. IBM's PowerPC Power4/Power5 & Power 970 chips are about to go mainstream. You will be able to buy multi-processor Power4/5 racks running Linux and supported by IBM. All IBM needs to do is start selling these monster CPU's to third party OEM's and the price will drop. Virginia Tech's PowerMacG5 super cluster is evidence of the coming storm. It's scored very high and has the highest ROI achieved in it's class. Switching it over to 1U XServeG5's will reduce it's physical footprint thereby reducing cooling and location space. Apple won't be the only PowerPC dealer. Linux runs very well on Power chips. IBM will assist in further kernel optimizations.

3. What's going on with Intel? AMD and IBM appear to be mopping the floor with them lately. Looks like they need to go back to the drawing board and start over with a new core outside of Itanium.

The more I think about it, the more I realize Sun is doomed. They may never be at the top again unless they get very competitive very fast. I work for a huge corporation that has quite a bit of Sun hardware and I can tell you most of the hardware is out of date and near obsolete. We are still running Solaris 2.6 in production, that was released in 1997! Why didn't we upgrade? Because we can run Linux a heck of a lot cheaper then Solaris and we can upgrade the hardware without killing our budgets.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...