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Solaris vs Linux Continues

Hemos posted about 10 years ago | from the the-real-server-battle dept.

Linux Business 361

raffe writes "Solaris Kernel Developer Eric Schrock is bloging more about the Solaris vs. Linux issue and linux kernel moneky Greg is answering on his blog. Eric's first part is is also still up and Greg's answer " Another reader also submitted reviews of the Linux desktop vs. Solaris 9. User reviews are welcome; please note that ITMJ is part of OSTG like Slashdot.

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Not much longer (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10362558)

Solaris vs Linux Continues: =5y

Re:Not much longer (1)

grifmon (798957) | about 10 years ago | (#10362748) &q=l&c=

Re:Not much longer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10362954)

context [] is everything...

Re:Not much longer (1, Interesting)

Moderation abuser (184013) | about 10 years ago | (#10362993)

Yah yah, if you start at the Y2K spending and silliness it does look like the stock has tanked, but if you think of Y2K as a blip it looks more like reasonable growth.

Re:Not much longer (2, Interesting)

Alex (342) | about 10 years ago | (#10363106)

Especially when you consider stock splits.


Re:Not much longer (4, Interesting)

iabervon (1971) | about 10 years ago | (#10363164)

It's up 45% against 2 years ago, so it looks from the stock that Sun didn't quite die a few years ago and is recovering now.

Re:Not much longer (1)

grifmon (798957) | about 10 years ago | (#10363352)

That was kind of my point for posting the Redhat stock. Its apples and oranges. The two companies sort of complete on one product line but that is pretty much it. Posting the Sun stock performance for the last five years really isn't revelant to the conversation nor is Red Hat. Both companies have had their ups and downs.

Re:Not much longer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10363216)

Solaris 9? (2, Insightful)

Power Everywhere (778645) | about 10 years ago | (#10362576)

Why are we not seeing Linux vs. Solaris X?

Re:Solaris 9? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10362606)

Linux vs. SolarisX?

What is this Linu OS you speak of?

Linux versus X (4, Informative)

Ruie (30480) | about 10 years ago | (#10362804)

Just to cover various "Linux versus X" topics, here are some links, obtained by Googling, without RTFA: And, most importantly: Linux Versus Linux [] . (No you can't actually read it..)

Ok, this was the first page.. I got bored copy'n'pasting afterward.

Re:Solaris 9? (2, Insightful)

Gadzinka (256729) | about 10 years ago | (#10363023)

Why are we not seeing Linux vs. Solaris X?

For the same reason we don't see much Linux vs Longhorn articles?


Re:Solaris 9? (4, Insightful)

smc13 (762065) | about 10 years ago | (#10363212)

Why is this insightful? Solaris 10 isn't out yet so there is no comparison between it and Linux.

Kernel Recompile (1, Insightful)

superpulpsicle (533373) | about 10 years ago | (#10362579)

If linux can figure out a way to be built with NO Kernel Recompiling EVER, and have the kernel update as easy as swapping out 1 file, then linux will dominate the market for good.

Re:Kernel Recompile (3, Informative)

StuartFreeman (624419) | about 10 years ago | (#10362607)

apt-get install kernel-image-X.X.XX

Re:Kernel Recompile (1)

Stevyn (691306) | about 10 years ago | (#10363167)

But what if a vulnerability pops up and you can't wait for your distro to update the kernel. I think knowing how to download the sources, patch them, and recompile your kernel is important for running a solid system.

Re:Kernel Recompile (1)

benjcurry (754899) | about 10 years ago | (#10363327)

Well in that case you could always build a package yourself...

Re:Kernel Recompile (5, Informative)

Nos. (179609) | about 10 years ago | (#10362621)

I really don't think kernel recompiling is the biggest thing keeping Linux from dominating any market. Ease of use is a big thing. Another is simply the myth that OSS is unsupported and/or unreliable. You can point to a thousand studies showing Linux is as good as (or better) than alternatives, but that won't change some peoples minds.

Re:Kernel Recompile (4, Informative)

chez69 (135760) | about 10 years ago | (#10362672)

i've used linux for exclusively for over 7 years at home and I've never recompiled my kernel.

properly packaged distros usually do not require a kernel compile.

Re:Kernel Recompile (3, Funny)

Harry8 (664596) | about 10 years ago | (#10363049)

Oh Dude!
You're missing out. Why would you want to recompile your kernel? Because you can.
If nothing else you can watch all those cool compiler messages fly by enhancing your innner sense of 1337ness :)

Re:Kernel Recompile (1)

SCOX_Free (806174) | about 10 years ago | (#10363289)

properly packaged distros usually do not require a kernel compile.

That is unless say you are using RedHat and want something as insane as, I don't know, Nvram support or maybe Reiser Filesystem...

Re:Kernel Recompile (5, Insightful)

ceeam (39911) | about 10 years ago | (#10362745)

You know, when I first encountered Linux back in 1997 (IIRC) I managed to successfully build/install my own kernel within an hour of first booting the CD. And I had no UNIX background back then. It's the _easier_ (and well documented) part of finding your way through the system. Setting up Samba, for example, IMHO is more complicated.

Re:Kernel Recompile (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10362983)

Back in 1997?? You are a fucking liar, or just very smart.

Re:Kernel Recompile (1)

ceeam (39911) | about 10 years ago | (#10363088)

Well, those were the jolly days of 2.0.x kernels with 1.x, a.out systems still around. Convinced? ;)

Re:Kernel Recompile (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10363110)

(different AC)

No, IIRC you'd have been pushed to complete a kernel compile in an hour on normal '97 hardware. Or maybe you're just stinking rich.

Re:Kernel Recompile (1)

ceeam (39911) | about 10 years ago | (#10363256)

Bwah!! Not at all. On 486/66 it took only around 20 minutes, on K6-233 4-6 minutes depending on options. Taking into account the much smaller codebase (complete kernel was circa 5 megs compressed) and much faster / less optimizing GCC 2.x.x (don't remember).

Re:Kernel Recompile (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10363295)

What "normal" '97 hardware? The 486 you kept from '91? I know I could easily compile a kernel in under an hour back then.

Re:Kernel Recompile (4, Interesting)

iabervon (1971) | about 10 years ago | (#10362906)

The actual compilation step is no big deal; it doesn't actually require any user interaction, and it's reasonably quick. Chances are that you'll spend longer downloading than compiling. The hard parts are configuring and installing the new kernel. Installing is a bit tricky because you want to be able to switch back if the new one doesn't work. Configuring is tricky because there isn't a non-expert tool for it. There really ought to be a configuration tool which would start with a distro-specific configuration, check the devices you have installed, ask you to plug in each USB device you use in turn, check the filesystems in your fstab and detected on your devices, and generate a configuration that supports everything.

All of this is easier in 2.6 than in 2.4 and before, because the kernel developers decided that they really wanted the build process to be efficient and accurate (which they care more about than people who don't do it constantly) and they wanted the configuration system to be consistant and well-specified.

Re:Kernel Recompile (3, Insightful)

Alioth (221270) | about 10 years ago | (#10363195)

I've not had to recompile a kernel for my desktop Linux systems in a long time - the one that comes with the distro is fine, and gets updated by the distro's tools just fine too.

The only kernel I have to recompile is the rather specialist one for one of my servers which runs a heap of virtual machines. That is expected on an experimental system. If you couldn't recompile the kernel it wouldn't be much good as an experimental system.

I've not had to compile a kernel for a 'production' system in years.

Emphasis (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10362586)

Eric's first part is is also still up

More emphasis on is is not going to make us RTFA!

Solaris vs. Linux Round X (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10362587)

And the war business vs. open source continues... Many more to come...
Stay tuned!

as bad as freddy vs jason (5, Insightful)

emptybody (12341) | about 10 years ago | (#10362590)

Why do people feel compelled to do these things?

Two excellent tools - hammer, screwdriver.
Both can be used to install fasteners. (nail/screw)
Each tool has its place. And sometimes you can use one tool and its parts in place of the other with no adverse results.

It doesnt make them better than each other.
Just different.

Re:as bad as freddy vs jason (5, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 10 years ago | (#10362670)


To summarize this article:

So Solaris is designed around high availability, easy problem diagnosis, and fault recovery. In exchange it sacrifices speed and kernel size.

Linux is built to be lean and fast, and sacrifices some high availability and problem diagnosis features to reach that goal. There are five gazillion patches if you want to make Linux something like Solaris, albeit not as integrated.

Soooo.... what is the problem here? The two systems attempt two different goals. That doesn't make them better or worse, it only makes them different. Let the consumers decide what it is they want from a system.

Re:as bad as freddy vs jason (4, Insightful)

liquidpele (663430) | about 10 years ago | (#10363015)

The problem is that people don't like Sun acting like it's playing nice when they think It'll try to stab linux in the back later.

Granted both are good systems, but it's the "Sun's going to turn into SCO" fear that this is about I think.

Re:as bad as freddy vs jason (5, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 10 years ago | (#10363098)

My problem is that people always assume that's what Sun is going to do when they have ZERO history of pulling that sort of crap. In fact, things get very frustrating because Slashdotters first say "We want company XYZ to support Linux!" then bitch, "Did you see how company XYZ is making money off of Linux?! Evil! Death to them!"

The only loophole in this screwed up logic is if Slashdotters feel that someone is playing defender for them in their favorite spectator sport: court proceedings.

"Wow, IBM is defending themselves against a baseless lawsuit! They're protecting Linux and all that is good, true, and just!"


Re:as bad as freddy vs jason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10363148)

Yes. Life is a circus. With hot chicks if you're lucky.

Re:as bad as freddy vs jason (4, Interesting)

Freedom Bug (86180) | about 10 years ago | (#10363094)

You're missing a crucial point in your summary.

A lot of the argument comes down to "Sun hardware is more reliable and has really cool reliabilty features that PC hardware doesn't."

Nobody's going to argue with that.

The other big contender for bullet proof software, (IBM's big iron) runs Linux inside a VM. The VM has the neato bullet-proof stuff, so IBM didn't need to add it to Linux.


Re:as bad as freddy vs jason (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 10 years ago | (#10363191)

Actually, he was arguing the software in his blog. i.e. Kernel debugging tools, software fault recovery features, maintenance logging, etc.

Not that Sun hardware isn't part of why the machines are usually stable. I can only wish that PC hardware was designed so well. The ability for the hardware and software to specifically complement each other is something that the consumer market has never known in anything other than game consoles and (to a limited degree) Macs. Most consumer hardware consists of off-the-shelf components which make very few special allowances for the software. Thus systems that are part of the Sun hardware design must be emulated in software.

With computer components being as cheap as they are, this could change. All that's needed is a decent replacement to the PC BIOS infrastructure. Something like OpenFirmware would significantly improve the ability for the software to interface with the hardware.

Re:as bad as freddy vs jason (1)

Too Much Noise (755847) | about 10 years ago | (#10363316)

If you read the reply you'll see the argument that Linux suns on some hardware that does not provide diagnostics/recovery capabilities. When it's possible, Linux tries to implement it (that also depends on the spec availability in a GPL-compatible form). It's probably true that Sun does a better job at it, as they control what hardware goes into their boxes and thus all the details about error recovery information available. Also, consumer PCs don't really need a high-availability server's degree of soft error recovery.

Yes, it's not a lot of the argument, but still an important part.

Re:as bad as freddy vs jason (4, Interesting)

Pharmboy (216950) | about 10 years ago | (#10363317)

I think part of it is also because Linux runs on off the shelf hardware which is by design, not as reliable as Sun hardware. A PC will never be as reliable as a Sparc server, because the average user doesn't want to pay three to four times more for the hardware. Even a really good PC.

Google runs thousands of off the shelf servers in a way that makes failure a non issue, by having so damn many PCs that you can't tell if a few hundred fail. Its a different type of redundancy that is more cost effective in that particular application.

OpenFirmware may help in some ways, but it will not automatically allow you to hotswap memory, hard drives and even CPUs the way Sun servers can. These features will probably NEVER be included on any x86 type box because if you need those features, then x86 is the wrong architecture for the job. Instead, multiple PPC or Sparc would be the right tool.

I read the article and found nothing that I really didn't already know. Different tools, different jobs. I will continue to use Linux for my servers, but if we ever got to a point where we needed better than 99% uptime and availability then I would be looking at Sun or more likely, Big Iron. Interesting, probably will start a flamewar, but still obvious information. Even the comments on GPL were right on.

Re:as bad as freddy vs jason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10362682)

Have you ever tried to use a screwdriver for a long period of time? Your wrist will give up long before you have to reboot a Win 95 machine. Use a drill.

Re:as bad as freddy vs jason (1)

k2nysis (764646) | about 10 years ago | (#10362715)

I dont really believe that somebody is trying to distinguish the best tool. Something like that could be understood if the products have been tested by a well recognised body, but in this case there are just to well known participants in each product teasing each other. Just have a look at their comments, because both of them try to promote the strong points of each product, which i believe is something useful to know about. Regards

Re:as bad as freddy vs jason (2)

BabyPanther (813124) | about 10 years ago | (#10362725)

They aren't completely mutually exclusive as your analogy indicates. A basic example might have both running web servers. The questions then become:

Which is best for the jobs that they both can accomplish?

In what areas are they mutually exclusive so that this arguement can be held moot for those points?

Re:as bad as freddy vs jason (1)

laughing!oni (807947) | about 10 years ago | (#10362770)

To me the linux vs. solaris comaparison is a lot more interesting than the linux vs. windows one. They are both Unix like operating systems, and they are both getting much of their comercial value by being used as server OSes (now a days at least). Looking at how this pans out might in the long term (whether solaris continues to thrive), might let us see the benefits and limitations of open source in a more real way than comparing it to windows.

Re:as bad as freddy vs jason (1)

grifmon (798957) | about 10 years ago | (#10362780)

Agreed here too. Unfortunately there are a lot of folks who have turned the technology they use into a religion. Just watch the religious wars begin on this very topic.

Cameras (4, Interesting)

Feminist-Mom (816033) | about 10 years ago | (#10362599)

I'd like to hear from people what their experience is with camera and video drivers for Solaris.

Re:Cameras (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10362998)

why one earth would a datacenter operator care about cameras or video drivers? this question makes it look like you don't really know where solaris is really valuable...

Re:Cameras (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10363112)

I'd like to hear from you what is your experience with 16 CPU servers and other enterprise equipment.

Re:Cameras (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10363319)

he's obviously trying to make the point that, for home use, linux spanks solaris....propeller heads....geez...

No contest (1, Interesting)

SlashdotMirrorer (669639) | about 10 years ago | (#10362604)

The contest was over before it began, and any true bearded terminal hacker would tell you as such. Even with Solaris's stack protection and pipe extraction techniques to improve security, the Linux kernel tends to shine in performance comparisons. What I would like to see however, is a detailed analysis of how much the Sun filesystem drivers tendency to examine inodes twice per operation affects this. It could be an easy fix.

Re:No contest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10362700)

After reading Eric Schrock.
" What did he say ? "

Solaris. Linux...bzzzzz. BeOS.

What is up with you armchair kernel hackers? (5, Informative)

808140 (808140) | about 10 years ago | (#10362815)

I mean seriously. We have a debate about the relative merits of Solaris and Linux, and you come out and say, "LOL no context haX0rs@!!~ OMFG linux is so wei faster than Slowaris lol!"

I mean, did you even read his blog entry? I know, I know, this is Slashdot. But come on. He isn't comparing Linux and Solaris as gaming platforms. Yeah, your FPS for Doom 3 is probably faster on Linux (LOL d00d don't you know Doom 3 doeznt run on Slowaris haha you fail it!) but what he's talking about is no downtime, ever.

He's talking about kernel debug utilities. About hardware hotswapping. About being up 24x7x365 doing 1000s of database transactions per minute. We aren't talking about your mom's basement here, with your little network, or even the nice little RAID setup you have going at work that saved your employer a pretty penny. We're talking about big iron. Speed is not the issue here; reliability is. One of the reasons Solaris is slower than Linux is because it checks everything. It is one extremely anal system, and it never ever goes down.

Now, I'm a big Linux fan (typing this on my Debian box), but no one who has seriously admined Solaris boxes can say that the two are even remotely equal on big servers. No contest indeed; Solaris kicks the shit out of Linux.

I don't think this will be the case forever. Unlike the anal blogger referenced in the writeup, I think Linux is catching up faster than Solaris is improving. While he makes good points about Linux's lack of sysadmin accessible kernel debugging tools, traceability, etc, people attempting to sell Linux to big vendors will provide those tools.

But Linux isn't ready for the big iron machines Solaris dominates yet. Don't say IBM, please. IBM runs multitudes of instances of the Linux kernel in parallel on their machines, so that if one fails, it doesn't take the whole system down. Those big iron Sun machines run one kernel, baby. Just one.

I tell you, if they open source Solaris (yeah right) we're going to be looking at some pretty amazing code. Some of the best hackers ever have hacked that thing.

Re:What is up with you armchair kernel hackers? (1)

SlashdotMirrorer (669639) | about 10 years ago | (#10362907)

And how, pray tell, are they going to use those admin-accessible tracing utilities when there are obvious problems with terminal i/o speed on solaris consoles?

I know. (2, Informative)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | about 10 years ago | (#10363150)

That still bothers the FUCK out of me.
I mean, it's easier to set the terminal speed of the real serial port in the firmware to a decent speed, and use that over a minicom session to a nearby linux box. Set your consoles to ttya, boys; never mind that extra $500 Radeon 7000.
Christ on crutches!

Re:What is up with you armchair kernel hackers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10363304)

"And how, pray tell, are they going to use those admin-accessible tracing utilities when there are obvious problems with terminal i/o speed on solaris consoles?"

Have you ever even worked with Solaris? SlashdotMirrorer is obviously and idiotic troll.

Re:What is up with you armchair kernel hackers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10363054)

Hand me that big iron.

" The Solaris ? " This is for all the marbles.
Sun Microsystems. Damnable. Indefatigable. Robust. Stability
upon an in-house SPARC hardware platform. Hot swappable memory. Made. And manufactured. Under the Sun.

Good shot.
Thanks for the clarity.

Re:What is up with you armchair kernel hackers? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10363082)

It is one extremely anal system, and it never ever goes down

I had a boyfriend with a similar attitude. Not for long though.

Re:What is up with you armchair kernel hackers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10363126)

no downtime ever solaris is way behind vms.

no downtime == vms
that simpel

Re:What is up with you armchair kernel hackers? (4, Insightful)

hackstraw (262471) | about 10 years ago | (#10363138)

One of the reasons Solaris is slower than Linux is because it checks everything. It is one extremely anal system, and it never ever goes down.

No contest indeed; Solaris kicks the shit out of Linux.

I disagree. I would say that Linux and Solaris in terms of stability are about equal and both _very_ stable. Using the "latest and greatest" of both OSes is not recommended. There have been some issues with Solaris on Sun's lower end servers with IDE drives where the IDE driver was buggy and it would cause the system to freeze. I havn't had a production Linux system crash unexpectedly in over 6 years or so. And Linux does a pretty damn good job of "checking everything" as well. I've had Linux systems stay running with 1 of 2 processors frozen, and I've seen Linux carry on with about every hardware failure possible, and when Linux has found one of these hardware failures, it reports it, and keeps running as much as it can.

I tell you, if they open source Solaris (yeah right) we're going to be looking at some pretty amazing code. Some of the best hackers ever have hacked that thing.

Hmm, I guess you havn't heard [] about solaris going open source.

I would say that all of the big kernel hackers are pretty damn good, beit AIX, *BSD, Solaris, or Linux. Although Linux is the baby of the bunch, they are all proven systems. I've worked with all of them. They all have plusses and minuses, and they are all pretty slick.

Re:What is up with you armchair kernel hackers? (0, Flamebait)

huge (52607) | about 10 years ago | (#10363234)

Intel+Linux is for those who cannot afford real computer.

Mod me as troll, but that's just how it is in real life.

Re:What is up with you armchair kernel hackers? (1)

1qa2ws3ed (662567) | about 10 years ago | (#10363290)

"Don't say IBM, please. IBM runs multitudes of instances of the Linux kernel in parallel on their machines" but apparently sgi doesn't, with up to 512 cpus managed by a single linux kernel.

Re:No contest (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10363277)

Why do you continuously refer to bearded terminal hackers when you make points that are completely idiotic? Look at your post history [] . Also, in what comparison does the Linux kernel shine compared to Solaris? Please show us some benchmarks or proof of what you are saying.

Anybody else tried Solaris Express 10 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10362611)

since last week, because I doubt much has changed since the last Solaris story.

GNU OpenSolaris (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10362613)

Will we see GNU / OpenSolaris? Basically all the GNOME / KDE desktop stuff of Linux runing on solaris kernel.

Re:GNU OpenSolaris (2, Interesting)

hattmoward (695554) | about 10 years ago | (#10362960)

Exactly! I know they've updated to more modern command-line tools (they've actually grabbed some of the gnu ones) in 10, but Solaris userspace feels so ancient compared to modern linux. Despite what Sun and other proprietary Unix vendors may have you believe, command line tools have been evolving over the last 10 years. (I would bitch about wanting bash or zsh, but I'm pretty sure bash made it into 9.)

editors asleep at wheel... (4, Funny)

VAXGeek (3443) | about 10 years ago | (#10362617)

raffe writes "Solaris Kernel Developer Eric Schrock is bloging more about the Solaris vs. Linux issue and linux kernel moneky Greg is answering on his blog. Eric's first part is is also still up and Greg's answer " Another reader also submitted reviews of the Linux desktop vs. Solaris 9. User reviews are welcome; please note that ITMJ is part of OSTG like Slashdot.

New words of the day:


Moneky bloging!

Re:editors asleep at wheel... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10362727)

Everybody's got something to bloge except me and my moneky....

What About SCO ? (1)

island_tux (803586) | about 10 years ago | (#10362783)

What's SCO's point of View Of all This ?

Re:editors asleep at wheel... (3, Funny)

Maljin Jolt (746064) | about 10 years ago | (#10362808)

Well, now who is so bold to register "Moneky Bloging" as a Slashdot nick?

Re:editors asleep at wheel... (2, Interesting)

djdavetrouble (442175) | about 10 years ago | (#10362861)

a prime candidate for a google whack !!!!!
As guessed, it returned 1 search result .
gugel [] great link too, funny asian / english sign enclosed. (only offensive if you really passionately love vegetables.)

I thought we had gotten over this already (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10362622)

Solaris on x86 is a joke and nobody would use it unless they have a very special need. So, on x86 (and opteron) Linux and BSD are the way to go. Now, we all know that Solaris scales very well and you'd be crazy if you replaced Solaris with Linux on your shiny new E15k. And, really, that's it, run Solaris on your Sun-branded big iron. If you buy from SGI and IBM you might be running Linux on high end hardware. I don't see why people waste time discussing this. The $25,000 RISC workstation is dead, even more so since the AMD64 was announced, get over it.

Turbo Smorgreff []

Re:I thought we had gotten over this already (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10363227)

Solaris on x86 is a joke and nobody would use it unless they have a very special need.

Please explain ... why is it a joke? What experience do you have with it?

Re:I thought we had gotten over this already (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10363323)

Solaris on x86 is a joke

True of Solaris8, and Solaris9 on x86. Definitely NOT true of Solaris10 on x86.

Showdown: Solaris vs. Linux (2, Interesting)

tecman84 (815301) | about 10 years ago | (#10362695)

What do we all think of this? "Sun's primary focus continues to be on Unix -- the Unix product portfolio," says IDC research director Al Gillen. But that may be a risky strategy. "As Linux grows, if Sun's not riding that wave fully, they leave themselves open to losing part of the market."

What about... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10362716)

Wow... (3, Funny)

solive1 (799249) | about 10 years ago | (#10362720)

It's tough for me to believe that people can argue on the internet without it turning into a flame war. Apparently, according to this article, it can happen.

Re:Wow... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10362897)

You're talking out of your ass, moron.

Sun, Needs To Get A Clue (3, Interesting)

The Lost Supertone (754279) | about 10 years ago | (#10362726)

Sun needs to seriously stop trying to piss people off and simply be a company. The hating Microsoft thing was fun and quite funny. This new Anti-linux thing is just dumb. Make your money off your freaking Hardware, if AMD, IBM and Intel are beating your procs, USE their's I'm sure they'd sell to you.

Re:You, Needs To Get Some Grammar (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10362853)

I'm afraid I was Too distracted by Your grammar and Random capitalization To take serious Your uninformed opinion About how capitalizing on Sun's part Should be limited to that of Proprietary Hardware. It's all Anti-Linux, Man.

Re:Sun, Needs To Get A Clue (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10362877)

Sun is not anti-Linux. Sun sells Linux too. They claim that Solaris is better and cheper than Red Hat. You can custom make a Linux distro that is better than Red Hat and approaches Solaris. Sun does not address that. I'd say it's good competition. Linux has a lot going for it. Red Hat though has to learn to live with competition and behave more maturely. They were eating the Sun accounts quietly but when Sun turned around ready to compete, Red Hat started behaving like a teenage winer.

Two Points for Debate (4, Insightful)

cthrall (19889) | about 10 years ago | (#10362749)

* "Reliability is more than just "we're more stable than Windows." - anybody else remember the eCache problems? At a former employer, we applied every patch and none of them fixed the issue. The machines were still spontaneously rebooting when I left six months ago. Sun's response was "upgrade to new hardware at full price."

* "we need to be able to solve the problem in as little time as possible with the lowest cost to the customer and Sun." - a co-worker spent a month corresponding with Sun to get them to admit there's a bug in SunOne AppServer (it compiles JSP pages even if they existed on the server in jar files).

Again, it took him a month to enter a bug into the system. They're not going to fix it, but they've admitted it's a bug.

Re:Two Points for Debate (1)

eric_ste (446052) | about 10 years ago | (#10363056)

Yes, I remember the scrubber patch... But sun's sales rep kept saying that this problem was neither one of design or manufacturing... ;)

Crash dumps a "feature" in Solaris?! (-1, Flamebait)

Maljin Jolt (746064) | about 10 years ago | (#10362763)

For me, there is a big diference between Solaris and Linux: massive kernel debug facilities in Solaris versus lack of them in Linux. Because it signifies good codebase quality of the Linux kernel versus lack of it in Solaris. They are simply not needed for Linux.

And yes, I know what I am speaking of, 25 years ago crash dump analysis was my daily bread on a mainframe. And I am glad time has chaged.

Good Eric (3, Insightful)

hkb (777908) | about 10 years ago | (#10362846)

I like Eric's blog. It's probably the first Sun person's blog I've read that isn't filled with debate-class drivel. He actually lays down the facts in a technical, but concise manner which significantly eases getting his point across. Many of the other Sun-sters should take note.

Only 1 Concern in Greg's Solid Reply (5, Interesting)

reporter (666905) | about 10 years ago | (#10362866)

Greg's rebuttal to Eric Shrock is airtight and rock solid except for the following statement.

Tell us why we really need to add this new feature to the kernel, and ensure us that you will stick around to maintain it over time.

There really is no way to "ensure" the support of the developer. She has not signed a legally binding contract and could jump ship to the evil empire: Micro$oft.

Therein lies the only potential risk with open source software without the backing of a stable commercial company. The software relies on the goodwill of the developers. How do you ensure "goodwill"?

Therein also lies the reason for Linux exploding in popularity after IBM publically backed it with $1 billion. If any developer were to jump ship and abandon a Linux feature that she developed, allowing it to flounder like a beached whale, IBM would step into the picture and "own" the feature. Under no circumstances would IBM allow its own customers to suffer anything "worse" than 6 sigma reliability.

Not much of a worry (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | about 10 years ago | (#10363105)

If people use it, and the company that used to maintain it stops, either users will maintain it, or they will find something else in its place. If no one cares enough to maintain it when orphaned, then it wasn't very good or very popular to start with. This has happened quite a few times with kernel features that lost maintainers and were eventuallt dropped.

Stable, commercial companies can do it too... (1)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | about 10 years ago | (#10363190)

They just pick the features that least number of people use to drop support for. Pity the customers left in the cold.

The solution there will be the same no matter which OS you based it on; you hire a consulting firm to implement an emulation layer or stop-gap measure.

Re:Only 1 Concern in Greg's Solid Reply (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 10 years ago | (#10363311)

That is no different than a salaried corporate programmer. There are a number of scenarios that could result in any given kernel developer no longer working on any given feature. These include the team being outsourced, the programmer moving on to a different job (inside or outside the company) and the programmer retiring. And for all their talk about process, the feature will not be completely documented, will have clever programming and the programmer picking it up will not be as capable at finding and fixing problems as the guy who originally wrote it was.

In addition, if you ever think there's a bug in the code, you're going to have to beat the company upside the head to get them to admit to there being a problem (We've all been through that, right?) And assuming they admit to there being a problem, they'll fix it on their own time table. With OSS, at LEAST I can isolate and fix the problem myself, or pay someone to do so.

And honestly, what's to prevent me from hiring any given kernel monkey whose feature was important enough to me that I'd be concerned about him no longer supporting it? If the IT department can justify six-digits a month just for maintenance contracts on the big iron, why not a few grand for a developer whose work benefits the company in a similar way? Then maybe that developer would be able to spend more time working on the Linux kernel and less time flipping burgers (or whatever.)

Text of Greg KH's post (in case of /.'ing) (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10362943)

I was glad to see that Eric took the time to address my previous rebuttal to his previous comments. I welcome good technical discussions like this, in the open, without rude flames by anyone. It's fun, and lots of people get to understand things a bit better about the topic

That being said, I'd first like to address his closing comment, which was regarding my comment about Linux not going anywhere:

For some reason, all Linux advocates have an "us or them" philosophy. In the end, we have exactly what I said at the beginning of my first post. Solaris and Linux have different goals and different philosophies. Solaris is better at many things. Linux is better at many things.

I agree completely. I wasn't trying to put up any "us vs. them" type attitude, I was merely trying to explain in my message the reasons why the Linux kernel has or does not have those different features that Eric was discussing. My comment at the end was a bit glib, I agree, I was merely trying to state that Linux isn't going anywhere, and will welcome all Sun users and developers if they decide that Linux will work for them.

Ok, on to the technical stuff:

First off, thanks for giving specifics about your points of reliability, serviceability, observability, and resource management. Let's address these points.

  • Reliability - Of course reliability is more than "better than Windows." Geesh, what a low bar to shoot for these days. Linux had better be able to handle hardware failures where ever possible, when ever it can be detected. Ah, that last part is the biggest issue. Linux most often runs on hardware where such errors can not be detected, as we run on a zillion different platforms (although not as many as NetBSD). For systems that we can detect these kinds of errors, we do (like PCI error reporting on the PPC64 platforms for example.) The hardware that Solaris usually runs on also has that kind of error reporting capabilities, and so the OS takes advantage of it. So Linux and Solaris are pretty equal here. As for the claims that the ZFS people are stating, I think that Linux filesystems like Lustre and SSD do pretty much the same thing (automatic error correction for large collection of disks all without the application needing to fix it up.)
  • Serviceability - Sure, things go wrong all the time. That's why enterprise distros add the crash dump, kernel debuggers, and dprobes code to their kernels in order to be able to help service their customers. Nothing different from Solaris there (although you mentioning the ability to have a firmware dump of hardware errors is pretty cool, but again, that's a hardware feature, not an OS one.)
  • Observability - DTrace does sound like the all-singing, all-dancing solution to everything that a kernel could possibly report to a user. And if so, I commend you all for creating such a wonderful tool. As for Linux, if you want much the same functionality, use the LTT code, or the dprobes code. Again, many enterprise related Linux distros ship their kernels with these features added to them, as their customers ask for it.
  • Resource Management - That sounds pretty much exactly what the CKRM project does for the Linux kernel. Again, enterprise distros ship it, so their customers can have it. And this feature is getting fixed up to be acceptable for the mainline kernel, and will probably get merged into it within a year or so (but again, if you want that option, it's available to you.)

As for the comment about Solaris having these features "more polished" than Linux's, I will not disagree. But they are getting better over time, as companies realize they want these features in Linux, and address any shortcomings that these features may have.

Binary compatibility. You state:

We have customers paying tens of millions of dollars precisely because we claim backwards compatibility.

You have customers paying that much money for driver compatibility? Geesh, I didn't know drivers were that expensive... Seriously, for Linux, this argument doesn't even register. A customer does not have to worry about the huge investment they just made in hardware, and the fact that the driver they have for it better work for any future version, as they have the source to it (it's in the kernel tree.) They know that it will work with all future versions of Linux, and if something goes wrong, they can either fix it themselves, or hire someone else to fix it for them, for far less than "millions of dollars."

I really need to write a article/essay about why Linux does not have driver api stability. I touched on it in my previous post, but in reading your response, and the responses by others, you all seem to miss the main points. It's not that we don't know how to create a binary api with padding structures out, and offering up new functions, it's the fact that because we have the source to all of our drivers, we do not have to.

One minor comment though, the fact that we have the source to everything changes all of the old rules that operating systems had to live by. Backwards compatibility is no longer necessary, enabling us to move faster, and be more flexible than ever. As proof of that, look at the huge range of machines that Linux runs very well on. Everything from this tiny little gumstick the size of Darl McBride's penis, up to a 512 way ia64 box. And our drivers work on all of those platforms, with no changes needed.

So, let me bring up a few other points about where Linux is better than Solaris:

  • Device support - As I mentioned before, and as you mentioned, Linux's device support is unmatched anywhere else. We support, out-of-the-box, more devices than any other operating system. We also support them on every platform that Linux is supported on (somewhere over 21 unique architectures with lots of minor arches last I looked). That's power and flexibility that enables customers to start out with a small Linux box (running on a cheap i386 clone) and if needed, they can go out and buy a ia64, or amd64 box, and use the same investment in devices (disk controllers, etc.) and with no changes to their applications (other than a recompile) and "just work". This also enables customers to not have to rely on any one specific hardware vendor, preventing any "lock in". They can pit HP vs. IBM vs. Dell vs. the whitebox dealer down the street, or just build machines themselves (like a lot of places do, Google for example), in order to get the best service and price and support for their specific situation. That's incredibly powerful for the customer/user, and very scary for the big companies that previously had relied on the cost that a customer had spent already to tie them to that company for a long time.
  • Speed - Last I looked, Linux beat the pants off of any other operating system on the same exact hardware configuration. Both in microbenchmarks like lmbench, and in macrobenchmarks like specweb and TPC numbers. I've seen loads of unpublished results at a lot of different companies for these macrobenchmarks backing this up (unpublished usually due to the cost of publishing them, and for political reasons because the company also sold other operating systems on the same hardware, and didn't want to loose those customers in large numbers.) And, I'm sure the fact that we don't have to keep around old, broken apis, or have padded structures to keep binary compatibility might have a little to do with this speed advantage :)
  • Flexibility - I touched on this up above in the device support point, but Linux scales from very tiny to very huge systems, all based on the exact same kernel code base. We support mmuless embedded devices, and NUMA systems. No other operating system can claim that kind of flexibility that I know of (ok, maybe NetBSD, but it doesn't support the range of devices that we do...) But aside of the system flexibility, Linux's main flexibility is that if it doesn't do something you want it to do, then you can change it to do it yourself. If you are a customer, and really like Solaris, but happen to want to use it to put it into your barcode scanner, you can either try to convince Sun to do this for you, and pay them a whole lot of money, or you can find a os that can do this. Sure, I know you will say that Solaris isn't in that market, and that they are only going for the enterprise, which is a completely valid response. It's just that Linux meets the needs of everyone, not just a single market segment. It's this point that will ensure that any feature that is missing from Linux, will allow it to be easily added.

So, that's the three main points that I think Linux beats every other operating system out there on. Combine those points, and you have a very powerful system, for a huge range of people.

I welcome any responses to this post.

Question for anyone... (1)

mindstrm (20013) | about 10 years ago | (#10362982)

Can anyone cite a real life example where Solaris was used in place of linux on a new project for a valid reason? I'm sure such reasons exist.. but I can no longer think of one.

Note: Situations where the choice was made to remain on solaris rather than linux, because you had an E10k or something, I don't consider valid for this question... staying with what you already have and know is a little different.

So.. anyone got an example of some wonderful solaris feature than linux doesn't have?

Re:Question for anyone... (5, Informative)

mr_majestyk (671595) | about 10 years ago | (#10363147)

Can anyone cite a real life example where Solaris was used in place of linux on a new project for a valid reason?

Here's one [] .

The reasons? Linux couldn't handle emergencies, and wasn't always available.

section (2, Insightful)

NoInfo (247461) | about 10 years ago | (#10363063)

Why is this sectioned on Slashdot in 'Linux' and not 'Sun'?

Re:section (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10363159)

Why is this sectioned on Slashdot in 'Linux' and not 'Sun'?

Uh, because there is no Sun section? It's not there on the left hand side. They have a Sun catoregory, sure, and it's in the list of five or so they've put the story in.

As Danny Devito said in Other People's Money (4, Insightful)

leereyno (32197) | about 10 years ago | (#10363095)

"They're already dead, they're just not broke yet..."

Sun is already dead, or at least their current product line is.

They'll still be able to sell extreme high end servers and mainframes to a relative handful of corporate and government clients, but everything below this level is already all but lost to them.

They're caught in quite a predicament. Their architecture is getting its clock cleaned by competitors and their OS is spartan and obtuse compared to Linux. They don't have an advantage anywhere that triple 9 availability isn't crucial, assuming of course that their stuff really is stable, robust and ages well. I can't say that it does. It may be stable, but lets see you get Veritas 3.4 running on Solaris 8 with ALL of the latest recommended patches. You can't because two of the patches BREAK Veritas and there is no fix other than backing out the patches, which leaves the system vulnerable. Sun's solution? Spend $15 to $25 thousand dollars to upgrade to the latest version of Veritas. That is just for software mind you. My solution? Replace the damned thing with a Linux server running BRU-Pro for $4 thousand that includes new hardware and software.

I work for the college of engineering at Arizona State University where I support Unix systems for the computer science department. The sun systems here are withering on the vine. Every time one is in need of replacement a Linux system is bought to take its place. I expect that within 5 or 6 years sun systems will be all but gone at ASU. Our central IT organization is going through a similar migration.

This isn't because of some edict from on high either. This is happening because every single time, Linux on commodity hardware makes more sense from multiple angles than Solaris on proprietary and extremely expensive hardware. This will not change, if anything it is going to become more and more true as time goes by.

This is why Sun is doomed if they don't find a new product to sell. Stick a fork in them, they're done.

Just another way to attack Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10363139)

Sun recently declared war on Linux, especially Red Hat. Microsoft is re-focusing its "Get the FUD" campain, trying to hurt Red Hat, too. Coincidence, or Microsoft's Java money at work?

All in all no surprises here in principle. It is just sad that a tech guy feels the need to fire shots at Linux, too. I guess someone at Sun is hoping for a promotion.

funny (2, Informative)

Neotrantor (597070) | about 10 years ago | (#10363204)

These guys brag to eachother about how cool their kernals are and trashing ms.. meanwhile my XP box has been running for the better part of a year save for an occaional shutdown to cool off (i use no sides on my case and 2 fans). If these guys wanna agree that windows is a low bar to shoot for these days then their obviously in denial.

Does Sun love Linux or hate Linux today? (5, Insightful)

EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) | about 10 years ago | (#10363242)

Today is Monday. Does that mean Sun loves Linux or hates Linux? I forget.

More then anything, Sun's demise has to do with the fact that Sun can't figure out what they are doing, and won't stick to their decision for more then a year.

- Is Solaris supported on Intel86 architecture or not?
- Does Sun sell Cobalt appliances or not?
- Does Sun resell Linux or not? Today, is it RedHat or Suse?
- Is Java a programming language or is it a more General Product? What does "Sun Java Desktop" have to do with Java?
- Can I redistrute the JDK with my own applications or not? Wait, just javac?
- Is Java called 'Java', 'Java Two', 'Java one-point-two-and-above' or 'Java Five-point-oh'?
- Where is Java installed today? /usr/j2se ? /usr/jre1.4.1_05b1? /usr/java? /usr/java1.3? C:\jdk1.4.1_03? C:\Program Files\jdk1.4.1_03??? C:\Program Files\Java\j2re1.4.2_04 ? (The last three all exist on my Windows box).

Reliability (1, Troll)

Shennan (7821) | about 10 years ago | (#10363287)

Reliability - Reliability is more than just "we're more stable than Windows." We need to be reliable in the face of hardware failure and service failure.
Ah yes, reminds me of college when a fellow student brought down the department Sun box by using the "manual" (ie, paper-clip) eject button on the CD drive when it wouldn't eject his audio CD. Perhaps Sun has gotten better in the last couple years, but this is hardly reliable.

Linaris...Solix...Laris...Soinux...? (1)

Spoing (152917) | about 10 years ago | (#10363318)

In the long term, it might not matter. Much of the tech in the *open source* version of Solaris will possibly move to Linux and visa-versa. *BSD might even benifit. The gotcha is the licence(s) Sun will choose and are they compatable with the mostly GPLed Linux kernel code.

A few links here. []

Audio interview here. []

It's typical (2, Insightful)

Estanislao Martnez (203477) | about 10 years ago | (#10363356)

It's really typical how this Greg guy doesn't actually address the points that the Solaris guy makes. Let's paraphrase:

Eric: "The core Linux developers don't see the value of features X, Y and Z, so the Linux kernel won't get those features integrated to the main tree."
Greg: "Hey, Linux has X, Y and Z! You just need to get a third-party patch to the kernel!"

'Nuff said.

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