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Unix Vendors Get Creative Against Windows & Linux

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the keeps-waking-up-from-sleep-earlier-and-earlier dept.

Unix 166

coondoggie writes "As x86 servers become increasingly capable, IT managers are taking a closer look at their Unix installations to determine whether a move to Linux or Windows might make sense, analysts say. "The defensible hill for Unix is the big, vertically scaling, mission-critical application, which is usually some type of database serving," says Andrew Butler, a vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "But increasingly, the appeal of Windows- and Linux-based systems running on cheaper, commodity hardware is becoming more and more compelling.""

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Solaris runs on x86, free as in beer (5, Interesting)

axus (991473) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905014)

Linux beats it in hardware support, but Sun has the whole overpriced reliability image which some might find attractive. If you're paying the big bucks you can get a good response from Sun, though I'd suspect people working on Linux could make those bucks go further.

Re:Solaris runs on x86, free as in beer (5, Informative)

BrianRoach (614397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905312)

Linux beats it in hardware support, but Sun has the whole overpriced reliability image which some might find attractive. If you're paying the big bucks you can get a good response from Sun, though I'd suspect people working on Linux could make those bucks go further.

Have you actually looked at what Sun is doing these days?

Not only are they offering AMD Opteron (And soon Intel) server and workstation solutions running Solaris 10 x86 (which is damn near feature-for-feature as Solaris 10 on Sparc), their prices have come down.

I'm typing this on an Ultra20 Opteron workstation that I bought last year under one of their offers. 3 year service and support (Hardware and software including the dev tools) for $1k, and they bill my credit card for 3 payments over that time, no interest, no BS.

- Roach

Re:Solaris runs on x86, free as in beer (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905808)

I'm typing this on an Ultra20 Opteron workstation that I bought last year under one of their offers. 3 year service and support (Hardware and software including the dev tools) for $1k, and they bill my credit card for 3 payments over that time, no interest, no BS.
You paid for $1k of support for a *workstation*? Why? Ok, maybe the hardware might break and you need a replacement, but is an extended warrantee really worth $1k? What kind of "support" do you think you'll possibly need? Maybe I'm just overconfident about my mad IT skillz, but I simply can't remember the last time I've actually had to call the vendor for support besides to report a genuine bug (which they shouldn't charge you for at all). You say no "BS" but the whole deal sounds like BS to me. If I were you, I wouldn't be proud of getting billed over 3 years.

-matthew

Re:Solaris runs on x86, free as in beer (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17906080)

Yes, he payed $1k for support and got the workstation for free.

Read it again (1)

compact_support (968176) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906104)

I'm pretty sure the GP was talking about paying 1 k$ for the box + hardware warranty + software support. That's a pretty damn good price for an opteron workstation, especially one with a name like Sun on the front.

Re:Read it again (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906356)

If that is true, then I admit that it is a good deal. But note that it was a special offer. Let's hear what everyone else would spend.

-matthew

Special Deals (1)

compact_support (968176) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906430)

Computer companies have special deals every other week. I'm sure you could pick one up for the same price if you didn't mind waiting a month or so.

Re:Read it again (1)

Aptgetupdate (1051164) | more than 7 years ago | (#17907296)

http://www.sun.com/desktop/workstation/ultra20/ [sun.com]

"... dual-core workstation that provides blazing x64 performance ... Starts at a list price of U.S. $895 (single-core) or $995 (dual-core)" -- that's the standard deal, apparently. They know how to compete, at some level.

Re:Read it again (2, Informative)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906866)

That's a pretty damn good price for an opteron workstation, especially one with a name like Sun on the front.
It's OK, I wouldn't go so far as to call it "good". It wasn't bad for the time (I bought an Ultra 20 a year or so ago), but you could get comperable performance with an Athlon board for ~20% less money. The Suns did have the nice features, though -- SATA drives, PCI-X, ECC memory. I actually went with the mid-range system, which added an nVidia graphics board (NVS280) and a full gig of memory. I haven't priced Sun's new systems lately (they now have "M2" models which feature dual-core Opterons), maybe they're a little more competitive. One thing that honked me off was the fact that Sun pre-announced these workstations waaay in advance. I think I ordered mine around the end of April (when there weren't too many Opteron systems available), and it finally shipped mid-August. By then, there were a few more choices available, and I might not have gone with the Sun. Oh well, that was my lesson on dealing with a "big-iron" vendor.

Re:Solaris runs on x86, free as in beer (1)

stfvon007 (632997) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906144)

From what hes saying, the 1k included the computer itself.

Re:Solaris runs on x86, free as in beer (2, Informative)

BrianRoach (614397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906934)

"You paid for $1k of support for a *workstation*?

Sorry - re-reading my post, it was worded badly.

The $1k included the workstation.

I don't know what the current pricing is on them (You could look at sun.com), but they are now always running some sort of special on various hardware.

- Roach

Re:Solaris runs on x86, free as in beer (1)

Daemonstar (84116) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905822)

Have you actually looked at what Sun is doing these days?
Yes, I have. I have Solaris 10 x86 running in a VM at work and (was running) on my machine at home; however, like the OP said, it lacks in hardware support. Comparing a simple task to Kubuntu (since that's what I am dorking around with at the moment), if you plug in a USB stick, it pops up and asks what I want to do with it. Solaris just sits there. Solaris 10 didn't recognize my NIC at home, either (it's an nForce board, AMD64). Can't do much without a network connection these days. :) Solaris 10 has issues with Microsoft Virtual PC, but that's not necessiarly a Solaris problem (works fine under VMWare), unless VPC is all you have and you want to try out Solaris.

The Java Desktop is much better than CDE, IMHO, but it is still a bit difficult to work with (something as simply editing the Launch menu isn't as intuitive as it should be, to me anyway). I got KDE installed which made things easier to work with. I do see that it has come a long way since Solaris 7 (had to have it for some billing system several years ago), but I think it still has a ways to go. I could probably make it work, but Linux works better for me (especially hardware) when I use it for desktop purposes.

Re:Solaris runs on x86, free as in beer (1)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906274)

Comparing a simple task to Kubuntu (since that's what I am dorking around with at the moment), if you plug in a USB stick, it pops up and asks what I want to do with it. Solaris just sits there.
Huh, that's funny, when I pop in a USB stick, I get a Nautilus window (and an icon on my desktop). Which release are you running? I'm on 6/06 (the latest from Sun), my box shipped with 5/03, and it had some issues...

Solaris 10 didn't recognize my NIC at home, either (it's an nForce board, AMD64)
That's stranger still, since the Ultra20 is an nForce board (nForce 4, it's a tweaked Tyan S2865). Was it the built-in network card it didn't find, or a separate one?

Re:Solaris runs on x86, free as in beer (1)

Daemonstar (84116) | more than 7 years ago | (#17907258)

Built in; it's a DFI LanParty UT nF3 250GB. I did have to get the latest nVidia drivers even for XP x64 Pro to work correctly. The USB port was on a multi-card reader extension for the MB; that may have had something to do with it (didn't try the ports on the back). Everything else seemed to work fine, though. I actually kinda like it; I just don't care much for the default desktops. It looks really nice, just not very intuitive in some places (menus, GUI package management).

VMWare Tools didn't install correctly, either (mouse support); had to do a little tinkering, but they work fine now. :)

Re:Solaris runs on x86, free as in beer (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17905946)

I'm typing this on an Ultra20 Opteron workstation that I bought last year under one of their offers. 3 year service and support (Hardware and software including the dev tools) for $1k, and they bill my credit card for 3 payments over that time, no interest, no BS.

So when will sata_nv be in Solaris 10? Right now the U20 does PATA-emulation in Solaris 10, and I'm not about to go installing a non-production OS on my box (which I may use to build Solaris x86 pkgs).

It's kinda pitiful that Linux has better support for Sun-branded hardware than Sun does..

(also, Sun x86 stuff uses 20+ year old BIOS junk, not EFI or OpenFirmware. And the ALOM is a PITA)

Re:Solaris runs on x86, free as in beer (4, Informative)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905986)

Have you actually looked at what Sun is doing these days?

Yes :) And Sun is refinding themselves (if that makes any sense).

Sun used to only have a few products that were relatively expensive, but very good.

Look at there offerings today. They have _many_ products in all shapes and sizes, and there prices have really come down in price. I've been critical of Sun for years, and they really seem to be adapting to the market by offering everything from an E15k to inexpensive x86 boxes at about commodity prices with better engineering than your COTS junk.

Things like the x4500 [sun.com] are really turning heads (even here on slashdot [slashdot.org] ).

Today's market requires more disposable and inexpensive computers. Why pay $10k for a server today that will last for years, when in 2-3 years it is way outperformed by a $1-2k server? Answering this question took Sun a few years, but now they seem to have answered that question.

Re:Solaris runs on x86, free as in beer (1)

dosius (230542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905686)

While I prefer Linux, Solaris has a big advantage. Solaris is Unix. Linux is not Unix.

Actually, of all the freenixen out there, the closest to Solaris in Unixness is, I think, NetBSD. (So I've been porting the NetBSD userland to Linux in hopes of getting that "authentic Unix feel" on Linux.)

Anyone know how far away NetBSD is from qualifying for UNIX certification, were someone to shell out the ca$h?

-uso.

Re:Solaris runs on x86, free as in beer (2, Interesting)

thsths (31372) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906332)

> Solaris has a big advantage. Solaris is Unix.

So? What is Unix anyway? It is only a name, and a code base developed in the 70s and 80s.

POSIX is what people want (although it is just a bunch of specs written by a committee). Some places suck badly, but others are quite useful. Of course most systems are POSIX nowadays, including Windows.

Just my 2p.

Software Support more Important (1)

xzvf (924443) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906092)

With x86 Solaris its more important which applications run with it. The propritary Sparc Solaris apps might not have been ported by the vendor to x86 Solaris because of lack of demand. Vendors are more likely to port to Linux because of the greater installed base.

Re:Solaris runs on x86, free as in beer (4, Insightful)

segfaultcoredump (226031) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906116)

I've been using linux since '95ish (slackware something or other installed from floppies). I've been using solaris since '97 (2.5.1).

On the topic of servers, if given a choice of what to run on x64 hardware, its Solaris 10, hands down. Device management is much easier, kernel modules are a snap to deal with (no recompile with each kernel upgrade), folks dont change schedulers as part of minor patch releases, stable API's, etc, etc. Toss in things like zones and dtrace and I'm sold (and no, uml and strace are not the same). I usually dont need crazy hardware support on my servers, just fibre channel and AMD cpu's, so the "better hardware support" of linux does not buy me anything. These are servers, not toys in my basement. When they go down, I have 1000 people calling me and yelling. Its not worth the $250 savings to go with an off-brand NIC or anything other than a qlogic FC card.

Now, on the desktop, its linux. There availability of destop apps and hardware drivers for strange things that just work are much better (acrobat, firefox, flash, etc).

To make things even more interesting, if you want support, Solaris is actually cheaper (compared to redhat). Dont need support? Then they both cost the same.

I'm in the process of moving our Oracle environment from Solaris SPARC to Solaris x86/64 on a mix of Sun x4200's and HP 585's (or Sun x4600's if I can torture the sales rep enough). It involves about 60+ oracle instances that will be moved onto 4 systems. I know that solaris can deal with the load of 1000 procs all running at the same time.
 

Re:Solaris runs on x86, free as in beer (4, Informative)

E-Lad (1262) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906750)

folks dont change schedulers as part of minor patch releases

As an aside, you can actually run different schedulers concurrently in Solaris... each process or process group can be assinged a specific scheduler other than the default one (which is Time Share, or the "TS" scheduler).

For example, you can run your Oracle db processes with the FX (fixed priority) scheduler, and/or another set of processes with the RT (real time) scheduler. See the priocntl command man page on how to manipulate this and details on which schedulers are available.

Re:Solaris runs on x86, free as in beer (1)

teflaime (738532) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906392)

Sorry, but Linux is no where near as mature an os as Solaris. I work on Solaris, HPUX, AIX, and 3 flavors of Linux in the environment I'm in right now, and only Solaris and HPUX cause us no OS problems at the moment. Our most stable servers are running Solaris 10 'x86 on HP DL560 servers. Our least stable machines are either IBM or Linux...IBM due to hardware and Linux due to OS issues.

Re:Solaris runs on x86, free as in beer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17908058)

Linux beats it in hardware support, but Sun has the whole overpriced reliability image which some might find attractive.
Solaris is free. Period.

You can get the full source at OpenSolaris, but you can also download the CD/DVD images of the "closed" versions without paying anything, just like you can with Fedora; you can then use it just about however you want, but if you want to be able to call and yell at someone you can pay Sun (just like you can with Red Hat or SuSE).

I agree that Linux can support a wider range of hardware, but if you're talking about an important production environment do you really want to get $2, used NICs that you found in some bin? HP (for one) offers full support and drivers for Solaris (both 32- and 64-bit, depending on the server). I'd rather spend some time looking at an HCL upfront then wondering why things aren't working properly later (potentially at 2am).

For some of us reliability is worth quite a bit.

So please stop with the FUD-like comments.

ha (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17905020)

anything as long as I dont have to buy that shit, overpriced SGI crap

Linux is a pile of shit! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17905082)

Do you want a turd sitting in the computer room?

Get UNIX. Nothing less.

Unix to Windows?!? (5, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905098)

I've worked on some huge Unix systems (mostly for databases) and never once did anyone mention Windows without laughing. No way are people with truely large-scale critical Unix servers considering switching to Windows. When you already own the hardware, paid for the software, and have huge support contracts, consider expansion with Linux. Windows is only intruding on the smaller scale Unix installations.

Gartner is known for sometimes putting out some fluff but this just sounds silly.

Re:Unix to Windows?!? (3, Interesting)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905150)

hen you already own the hardware, paid for the software, and have huge support contracts, consider expansion with Linux.

Or expand with UNIX -- BSD and Solaris both do fine on commodity hardware. And are cleaner setups than either Windows or any Linux distro that isn't stripped down.

-b.

Re:Unix to Windows?!? (2, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905188)

Yes, that's a very good point. The largest systems I've worked on were based on Solaris anyway. So now that it's cheap and supports commodity hardware it would be a natural expansion.

windows in the front, party in the back (2, Interesting)

teh_chrizzle (963897) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906916)

I've worked on some huge Unix systems (mostly for databases) and never once did anyone mention Windows without laughing.

i would imagine that is the case in many large datacenters. to paraphrase the great philosopher jules winnfield: mission critical enterprise applications are not in the same ballpark as windows and linux on x86. it's not even the same sport.

the one big shop i worked for in central ohio used mainframes, unix, and windows. mainframes for a lot of legacy data (like stuff from the 70's and 80's) unix for all things oracle, and oddly enough, windows for the front end web hosting. so all of the customer facing web front ends were windows based, but the data itself was hosted and served up from sun gear. inside the firewall, the company itself was seriously MS centric, being used for a number of MS case study/whitepapers on replacing X and Y with stuff from microsoft. i haven't worked there in several years, but i would imagine they are still all MS until you get to the data itself.

there was also a big project in the mid to late 90's to replace the aging development workstations. the sun workstations were replaced with windows NT4 running eXceed. again, windows on the front end, but the serious work is in unix. the support costs for having a sun on the desk for development and a wintel for office and email were offset significantly by replacing both with a powerful (for that time) PC and host emulation software. in all of the "unix substitutions" that i had seen, not once was the proprietary data hosted on anything but IBM mainframes or SUN unix.

No way are people with truely large-scale critical Unix servers considering switching to Windows. When you already own the hardware, paid for the software, and have huge support contracts, consider expansion with Linux. Windows is only intruding on the smaller scale Unix installations.

IBM will occasionally hit the IT trade rags with ads and op-ed pieces about "server sprawl"... a kind of out of control proliferation of low-end (in IBM's opinion) servers or even clusters that handle one or two tasks instead of running everything from a handful of multi-million dollar godlike servers. i would imagine that sun will eventually take the same approach.

i think that larger and more well established datacenters will always feature commercial unix at their cores thanks in large part to the investment and contracts that you mention. but i think newer companies will focus on large numbers of commodity servers (ala google). i think that is where MS and commercial unix will fight a pitched battle with linux.

Re:Unix to Windows?!? (1)

jayp00001 (267507) | more than 7 years ago | (#17907626)

they are considering windows when they take a look at the costs of upgrading the old RS6000 running AIX with a new p5 (and a new version) versus the same (or similar) windows software with similar support. I don't think the adoption rate is huge (unless there is also a staff turnover) but once the x86 hardware is "sold" as a cost saver, it's not a giant leap to consider windows.

Commodity hardware (4, Informative)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905110)

"But increasingly, the appeal of Windows- and Linux-based systems running on cheaper, commodity hardware is becoming more and more compelling.""

Last time I checked, both BSD and Solaris (which are UNIX not Linux) run just fine on commodity x86/64 hardware. Sounds like somebody missed everything from 1999 on.

Cheers, -b.

Re:Commodity hardware (2, Interesting)

laffer1 (701823) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905320)

Please review what UNIX is... http://www.unix.org/what_is_unix.html [unix.org]

Many BSDs have not been tested officially to use the UNIX name. If you simply look at the specification, IBM has done a lot of work with Linux to make it pass. This is a big gray area. The GNU is not UNIX but Linux slowly is becoming an implementation of the standard...

Almost everything runs on ia32 now. People have a choice which is what open source is all about. My personal belief has always been that each OS has an advantage for a specific task or series of tasks. That makes all systems relevant.

As for databases, I think SQL Server isn't that bad but for very large deployments there are a few other options that make more sense. Most people don't need Oracle, SQL Server or DB2. MySQL or Postgresql are adequate. You can get them to run on almost anything.

Re:Commodity hardware (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906322)

Please review what UNIX is... http://www.unix.org/what_is_unix.html [unix.org]

That defines what UNIX(tm) is, but not what Unix [catb.org] is. Please realize the difference:

Some people are confused over whether this word is appropriately 'UNIX' or 'Unix'; both forms are common, and used interchangeably. Dennis Ritchie says that the 'UNIX' spelling originally happened in CACM's 1974 paper The UNIX Time-Sharing System because "we had a new typesetter and troff had just been invented and we were intoxicated by being able to produce small caps." Later, dmr tried to get the spelling changed to 'Unix' in a couple of Bell Labs papers, on the grounds that the word is not acronymic. He failed, and eventually (his words) "wimped out" on the issue. So, while the trademark today is 'UNIX', both capitalizations are grounded in ancient usage; the Jargon File uses 'Unix' in deference to dmr's wishes.

So in other words, UNIX is a trademark, while Unix is a style of operating system. And Linux is Unix. So is UNIX. So is *BSD.

As for databases, I think SQL Server isn't that bad but for very large deployments there are a few other options that make more sense. Most people don't need Oracle, SQL Server or DB2. MySQL or Postgresql are adequate. You can get them to run on almost anything.

If SQL Server is the answer, it must have been a stupid question. Not because there is actually anything wrong with mssql itself, but because it only runs on Windows :P

Seriously though, MySQL and Postgresql are missing some features and do not scale as well as all of the alternatives. Luckily you can run DB2 or Oracle on Linux as well.

The first person who figures out how to make a SQL server that clusters, automatically replicates, and blah blah blah to make a cluster perform and behave in most cases as well as a monolithic database server is going to be a hero to all. Of course it won't fit all types of data. But right now that's a horribly hard problem and one of the applications really keeping big iron going.

OBDISCLAIMER/ADDENDUM (2, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17907708)

I just want to explicitly state that the main paragraph in my comment above was copied from the URL. I wrapped it in <q> tags, forgetting that slashdot doesn't permit them for some reason. But then the

behavior that drops all text styles is fucking retarded too... What's happened to slashdot's CSS? It's utterly nonsensical. Anyway, just please note that while it was not blockquoted nor placed in quotes, it's not my text. Thank you.

Re:Commodity hardware (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906372)

Yeah, but the summary and the article aren't talking about UNIX(R), the all-caps trademark of the Open Group used for System V derivatives. Rather, they're talking about Unix, which is the name everyone uses to refer to the family of operating systems that are derivative of the design of the earlier Unix v7, and generally compliant with POSIX.

While "UNIX(R)" excludes the BSDs, "Unix" includes them, as well as including Mac OS X and probably arguably Linux too.

But even ignoring that, the whole premise of "UNIX(R) on big iron vs Linux on commodity hardware" is a false dichotomy anyway. You can run UNIX(R) on commodity hardware as Solaris, and you can run Linux on an IBM System z mainframe. It should really be an article about big iron vs multiple commodity x86 boxes, the whole OS question is orthogonal and largely irrelevant.

[Opinions mine, not IBMs.]

Image is still something...but learning curve... (3, Informative)

otacon (445694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905162)

When I think of Sun, I think of reliable, mission critical, just like the article says...Sun has this big business image that "if you want it to run, you should be using Sun", but it also comes with a steeper learning curve. Whereas Linux's image is building and linux has an attitude like "anything you can do, i can do better, and if i can't yet, i will soon" and also comes with less of a learning curve...however still a lot more of a curve than your run of the mill windows server guy would like, I've met so many bleeding heart MS guys that would use/try Linux if they didn't have a misconception that it is infinatley harder than windows...

Re:Image is still something...but learning curve.. (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905392)

Sun has one of the most unmanageable patching system among all of unix. IBM's aix should be the #1 corporate choice. Their device support are top notch, they already have a hand in the linux cookie jar, their numbered patching system is superior. Redhat advanced server is priced at $2500 per system last I checked. So don't think it is quite free.

Re:Image is still something...but learning curve.. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906362)

Redhat advanced server is priced at $2500 per system last I checked. So don't think it is quite free.

But nothing is stopping you from running White Box Linux, which is the same thing but without the expenditure of cash - or the support, of course. What you are buying with Redhat is support. You're not really buying Linux.

I might agree about AIX, but it's been a long time since I used it. Last time I used it, it was almost unbearable. On the plus side, smit is sexy (mostly because it tells you what command it's executing) and having a unique error code for every error on the system is beautiful and wonderful. But I'd rather just run Linux, which eventually will rule them all and in the darkness emulate their every damned feature.

Re:Image is still something...but learning curve.. (1)

muirhejs (968962) | more than 7 years ago | (#17908054)

Mod parent up.

I work in a large financial institution; our mission-critical systems are either AIX or Solaris, with heavy emphasis on AIX.

AIX seems difficult for many because it is (IMHO) so much more mature than anything else out there. Clustering, performance tuning, etc. are decent with some other vendors (i.e Veritas Cluster on Solaris). Smit makes things elegant and simple, but also lets you (Esc-6) see what commands it is running in case you want to script things.

You have to consider so many things that other OS's really neglect- hardware firmware/microcode versions, patching, etc. AIX really tackles all of them, and in a mature way.

I don't think there are that many options for a very good midrange operating system when you are talking about $500k/hour downtime. For me, in order- AIX, Solaris, and HPUX.

Re:Image is still something...but learning curve.. (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905452)

Linux and Solaris have a similar learning curve if you're coming from a non-UNIX(like) environment, one isn't any harder to learn then the other. On top of that when you are used to only Windows, Linux is harder. Everything you don't know is harder then what you do know.

Re:Image is still something...but learning curve.. (1)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 7 years ago | (#17907290)

when you are used to only Windows, Linux is harder. Everything you don't know is harder then what you do know.
Amen! I come from a Unix background, and I sometimes have problems on Windows trying to figure out which menu item on which control panel controls the feature I want to change. And it's rare you can find a control panel that shows you settings or values that it doesn't allow you to change (c.f. the Network control panel and "ipconfig /all"). And heaven help us if MS decides to move the control panels around again (like when they merged "Services" into "Administrative Tools")!

Of course, it's not just control panels, but they seem to cause me the greatest frustration. I much prefer the Unix philosophy of "You asked for it, you got it" to the Windows "What you see is what you get" one.

Re:Image is still something...but learning curve.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17905506)

If what they want to do is special windows-centric stuff, like talking to an exchange server or participating in a windows domain, then ofcourse they will have a hard time, because that stuff doesn't exist in Linux (note Samba however).

Re:Image is still something...but learning curve.. (1)

danpsmith (922127) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905718)

When I think of Sun, I think of reliable, mission critical, just like the article says...Sun has this big business image that "if you want it to run, you should be using Sun", but it also comes with a steeper learning curve. Whereas Linux's image is building and linux has an attitude like "anything you can do, i can do better, and if i can't yet, i will soon" and also comes with less of a learning curve...however still a lot more of a curve than your run of the mill windows server guy would like, I've met so many bleeding heart MS guys that would use/try Linux if they didn't have a misconception that it is infinatley harder than windows...

I think there's a stigma attached to Linux within Windows users aware of it. In all honest truth, I think it might be the MS FUD, but either way, when you are running Windows you get the impression from all angles that Linux is going to be infinitely hard to learn, is only for the most hardcore of hackers and that it doesn't support anything in the hardware department. All things obviously false.

Re:Image is still something...but learning curve.. (3, Insightful)

X_Bones (93097) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905806)

linux [...] comes with less of a learning curve...however still a lot more of a curve than your run of the mill windows server guy would like, I've met so many bleeding heart MS guys that would use/try Linux if they didn't have a misconception that it is infinatley harder than windows...

Wait, what? Linux has a steeper learning curve than Windows, yet Windows admins have a "misconception" that Linux is harder for them to use?

Either it's easier to use (in which case the learning curve isn't as steep as you claim), or it's not (in which case there's no misconceptions, only reality).

Re:Image is still something...but learning curve.. (2, Informative)

jguevin (453329) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906382)

No conflict in gp: he says they have a misconception that it's _much_ ("infinitely") harder to use, but that in fact Linux has a lot more of a curve than a windows server guy would like. I'd agree--many do have an overblown sense of how hard Linux is to learn/work with, but in fact it is _somewhat_ harder to learn than Windows.

Re:Image is still something...but learning curve.. (0, Offtopic)

hyfe (641811) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906734)

Only on slashdot...


Claim 1: Linux has a slightly steeper learning curve than Windows

Claim 2: Windows zealots claim Linux is infitabely (*sick*) harder than Windows.


+4 Insightfull Poster*: Those statements are totally contradicting eachother. You're stupid and I'm smug!


* FULL DISCLOSURE: Quote may have been slightly paraphrased.

Re:Image is still something...but learning curve.. (3, Insightful)

Stormx2 (1003260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906794)

Wait, what? Linux has a steeper learning curve than Windows, yet Windows admins have a "misconception" that Linux is harder for them to use? Actually that is fine. Initially, linux can have a steep learning curve (first week or two) but after that it is easy. Windows admins have to misconception it starts difficult and stays difficult.

Re:Image is still something...but learning curve.. (1)

8-bitDesigner (980672) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906858)

Driving has a high learning curve, but I doubt any of us would call the morning commute particularly taxing

What exactly do they smoke? (1)

thona (556334) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905180)

::The defensible hill for Unix is the big, vertically scaling, ::mission-critical application, which is usually some type of ::database serving, No, it is not. It is a way to temporarily survive. When I looked at my first Vvery large database it has like 12gb of data. It was very large by then's standard, and you had problems finding a vendor for multiple pentium processor servers. Intel had one that could handle up to 6 pentiums, and I think 512mb ram or so. That was considered hugh. Today I can get eight opteron processors with 128gb ram from stock hardwre. Dual opteron (4 cores, soon 8) with 32gb ram is something that I get from a distributor. Database sizes have not necessarily increased like that. I am not saying I need big iron hardware - but the island defended is getting smaller. In my experience databases are not growing in a similar speed like hardware is anymore, and standard x64 (forget x86) hardware is vextremely scalable today for the vast majority of cases. I remember when SUN told me years ago that I needed a SUN Server to boot javastations I wanted to buy. We had like 30 customers. Their argument why I should use a SUN was: Windows / Intel does not scale (ignore the fact that no, I acutally do not need a scalable server to BOOT 30 thin clients, damnit). Today that WIndows / INTEL/AMD combo has eateen the majority of the market share - they STARTED to scale, AND theiy offer a better deal (thanks to the number of processors pushed). Assuming you can defend on "we scale more" does not work - they better start finding a way to match the price, too - like SUN Did, offering opeteron based servers. Otherwise you hope that data processing needs rise at least as much as hardware speed, and for the majority of uses that simply is not the case. The market IS there, but it is getting smaller.

Re:What exactly do they smoke? (2, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905316)

the island defended is getting smaller. In my experience databases are not growing in a similar speed like hardware is anymore

My experience contradicts this. Companies are analyzing more and more information and using larger data warehouses. Where in the past I'd see a variety of small databases spread throughout financial firms I now see more cosolidation into data warehouses. It aids in analysis, cuts some costs, and increases security. Even many web sites are now growing huge databases.

Re:What exactly do they smoke? (1)

thona (556334) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905520)

BUt is this relevant? I see something similar, but I have two counter-arguments: One: databases get smaller compared to hardware. Like 15 years ago a very large database was 10gb+ and a large server under x86 was 512mb - that is a factor of 20. Today, a very large database is 100+gb, and a normal server can have 128gb. So, the database fits into ram. Second: sure some databases get a LOT larger, but is this as hugh a market? I mean, my normal environment are online shops, ERP systems etc. Where in the past I often had to buy a SERVER to handle the load, today I can safely put that into a stock desktop machine. The database got bigger - but the hardware a LOT faster. The market is there ,but I think it is loosing size compared to the rest of the stuff around.

Re:What exactly do they smoke? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17905950)

Today, a very large database is 100+gb

I beg to differ. Here where I work, our main customer database (which is OLTP, NOT a data warehouse) just crossed over the 20TB mark. Our data warehouse is up in the hundreds of TB range, and growing very quickly.

Like all things with technology, as things progress and get larger and faster, people find ways to use that new power.

There is a _large_ market for high end systems. We're talking 32+ processors and TERABYTES of RAM. Commodity hardware has increased in power and flexibility, but the big Iron has as well.

Re:What exactly do they smoke? (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906398)

Like 15 years ago a very large database was 10gb+ ... Today, a very large database is 100+gb

Nooo. 12 years ago I started my career on a 4TB database (custom supported by Sun and Oracle). Seven years ago that database grew to 20TB. Today I see medium size corporate databases weighing in at 200 to 500 GB. Even some relatively simple web sites I work with have over 50 GB of data.

Re:What exactly do they smoke? (1)

segfaultcoredump (226031) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906524)

15 years ago 10GB db's were not the norm, they were huge. Today 100GB DB's are 'mid sized'. Large databases run 1TB or higher. Database benchmarks like TPC start at 100G and go up from there (to 10TB, and I've seen larger ones than that). Mid sized databases continue to run 10-20x the size of the 'commodity' hardware, and probably always will (otherwise nobody would need the latest greatest, thus the vendors would have stopped making larger boxes at 4 cpu and 16G of ram due to lack of demand). As soon as you give a DBA a bigger box, they tell the customer who then fills it with more data that they didnt want to put in before because the box could not deal with it. (and that is why I'm looking at a 1+TB ESRI SDE database in the next 6 months for our GIS group)

You will not find many X86 boxes that can hold a TB of ram (yet). Given that you cannot 'superchache' the database, you have to focus on things like Disk I/O, PCI bandwidth, memory interconnects, memory latency, etc. You will find large unix boxes (Sun 25K, HP Superdome, IBM who knows what) that can deal with that sort of load. The biggest "commodity" X86 box that I know of (that actually scales) is a Sun x4600, with up to 128G of ram and 8 Opteron CPU's. (the 32 cpu unisys version didnt scale very well and were very expensive so it was hard to call them commodity) It pales in comparison to the 72 CPU and 1.16TB of memory. (For some database loads, clustering a bunch of small x86 boxes actually decreases performance, no matter what the Oracle sales rep tells you). Besides, when you look at the cost of a 72 CPU oracle license, the hardware is no longer your highest priced item.

Re:What exactly do they smoke? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17907138)

You will find large unix boxes (Sun 25K, HP Superdome, IBM who knows what) that can deal with that sort of load. The biggest "commodity" X86 box that I know of (that actually scales) is a Sun x4600, with up to 128G of ram and 8 Opteron CPU's. (the 32 cpu unisys version didnt scale very well and were very expensive so it was hard to call them commodity) It pales in comparison to the 72 CPU and 1.16TB of memory.

Uh...why doesn't the Unisys count? Because it's not a commodity server? Neither are F25K's, HP Superdomes, or any server that can hold 72 processors and 1.16TB of RAM.

http://www.liquidcomputing.com/product/product_pro duct.php [liquidcomputing.com]

- 80 Opteron processors per frame
- 64GB per computer module x 12 = 5.12TB RAM
- Etc

Re:What exactly do they smoke? (1)

kconfig (752340) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905700)

There is still plenty of need for larger iron - However it is waning, as IA32&64 systems get larger (8+way, 64+ GB RAM) and they get better I/O. This is an area where x86 servers have typically lagged. I work with many large databases (750GB+, up to 10TB) and the I/O backplane on IBM/HP/SUN servers still beat anything by Dell and HP's x86. To those that say they run large databases on a IA-32 box is laughable.

Re:What exactly do they smoke? (1)

Flodis (998453) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905994)

To those that say they run large databases on a IA-32 box is laughable.
I may have misinterpreted this comment, but I have a feeling Google might have some objections to it.

OT: Dude! Paragraphs! (2)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906060)

Paragraphs will help people read what you have to say. <p> .... </p>

Re:What exactly do they smoke? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17906326)

Hey Thona,

I believe that bill gates has gotten increased his server share not because of any cost reductions one will obtain, but because

1) managers who make purchasing decisions are familiar with microsoft, from their own desktops

2) software developers - most applications target the huge desktop market, and most developers are bill gates developers.

Unlike fantasies of cost reduction, the above are two very real, very huge forces at work. After you factor in the expense of carrying around a heavy GUI in every server (regardless of need), the cost for microsoft specific license related issues (BSA audits and keeping paperwork for them, volume license agreements, license key management, activation issues, needless difficulty of cloning systems, software assurance, etc...), the cost of virus protection and other security nightmares, the cost of DLL-hell - forcing you to distribute applications each to its own 1U server (resulting in server sprawl, needless duplication of OS image overhead, power supply and other component overhead - this is finally being addressed with x86 server virtualization, but again, at a price), the HORROR that is windows DR (also finally being somewhat addressed with VMware), I could go on... What are you left with? A pretty expensive platform, certainly much more than linux/*bsd.

Now have you priced the lowish-end proprietary unix boxes? Go to ibm.com and price out a p505q. Then go to HP and price out a four processor proliant x86 server. EH?

Economy of scale (1)

Dryanta (978861) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905210)

When it comes down to the real enterprise Unices, ISVs, support, and scalability all need to be balanced. As a large corporation, deploying Linux, FreeBSD, or Solaris should really be a no-brainer. There has to be something to fall back upon whenever something cannot be figured out by your own staff. I don't particturally love Sun or Solaris, but know that if I get hit by a bus, the business will find people who can work with it in a couple phone calls. It also keeps things like certifications and knowing all the core competencies simple, by having one primary computing vendor for training, hardware, and software. Finally, guaranteed support for software AND hardware you need to run, especially stuff that scales vertically (like Sun's CoolThreads line) is awful convenient.

Re:Economy of scale (1)

Yaa 101 (664725) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905512)

If I got hit by a bus then I would care less if the world is on fire.

Loyalty has it's limits.

Remember, kids (4, Funny)

jimicus (737525) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905238)

"Anal" - backside
"Yst" - ancient Greek word, meaning "to pull ideas from"

Re:Remember, kids (1)

Aussie Osbourne (1060446) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905840)

vista -noun 1. a view or prospect, esp. one seen through a long, narrow avenue or passage.............hmmmmmm

solaris dvds ? (1)

joejor (578266) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905296)

has anyone received their free solaris dvds http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/01/14/194 1259 [slashdot.org] yet?

Re:solaris dvds ? (1)

Tellarin (444097) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905456)


Thanks for reminding me of the DVDs, I had completely forgotten about them.

I also still didn't receive them nor heard anything from Sun.

Re:solaris dvds ? (1)

tbcpp (797625) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905466)

I haven't yet, and I ordered them weeks ago.

Re:solaris dvds ? (1)

shinobiX (28155) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905472)

I haven't yet, but should soon? its been two or three weeks I think.

Re:solaris dvds ? (2, Informative)

CompMD (522020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905568)

I ordered them the day I read the slashdot article. I still haven't received them.

Re:solaris dvds ? (1)

dosius (230542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905736)

Same here but hey, nothing lost but 2 minutes of my time.

-uso.

Re:solaris dvds ? (2, Informative)

MaxPowerDJ (888947) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905582)

sadly, no... I dont expect them for a while either. The ubuntu cd's I got from them took about 6 weeks...

Re:solaris dvds ? (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905696)

I requested them mid-december I think it was. They arrived last week.

Re:solaris dvds ? (1)

solevita (967690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905970)

Like most Slashdot readers I thought "I'll have one of those, it's free!". I'm not too surprised that it hasn't shown up yet, but I got an email confirming my request.

Of course, I could have downloaded it a hundred times by now, but although I'm interested in trying it at home, I'm in no particular rush.

Windows? hah. (3, Interesting)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905352)

A place I used to work planned to move everyone from sun workstations to windows boxes as a cost-cutting exercise.
It ended up costing way more overall because all of a sudden our IT department went from a single sysadmin who was hardly ever busy, because everything just worked, to a whole department of IT staff needed to second-guess MS exchange and a now very unreliable network (even though no network hardware or configuration had changed), and Windows PC's that were always slowing up or crashing, especially after that stupid automated windows update.

Re:Windows? hah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17906490)

A place I used to work planned to move everyone from sun workstations to windows boxes as a cost-cutting exercise.

But did they stay with windows after all that?

Re:Windows? hah. (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906492)

Serves them right really, for sending a little kid to do a grown-up's job.

telco (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17905504)

I support telecom network applications and services running on unix and rh linux. I've been a pretty keen linux supporter for some time, although still think it's out of place in critical environments. I've not seen a month go by without kernel panics and reboots. RH's only solution is to upgrade - a process that is not so easy when hardware/driver development/qa etc... is involved. There are more releases and patches that are virtually impossible to support and maintain any type of version stability. Unix on the otherhand in my opinion is a powerhouse of stability. I know whenever I install these boxes that they will be up operating without problem until some power or hardware failure occurs. Telco operators of course are selecting linux mainly on pricing - poor bastards..... there goes your 5 9 bonus...
windows naturally enought doesn't even merit consideration in telco environments.. I don't actually think I've seen a single pc in the telco world..

Re:telco (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17905744)

Well, it's no wonder you're having kernel panics and reboots if you're running Red Hat -- they patch the kernel to christ and their userland stuff depends on the patched kernel. Try Slackware or Debian. They both "Just Work" with a kernel built from plain old kernel.org sources.

Re:telco (1)

frogstar_robot (926792) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906458)

Debian applies various patches to their kernels although in my experience, Debian provided kernels run well. Debian backports security and stability fixes and they aren't all that big on shoehorning functionality in; that may be difference. RedHat tries to make their kernels shiney and Debian just keeps them secure and running. If the Debian kernel isn't your cuppa, they make it not terribly difficult to build your own kernel source into a Debian package.

Migrate from Unix to unix (2, Insightful)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905528)

The big advantage that BSD and Linux have over Windows in this space (migration away from commercial Unix) is that most of what you have already learned is, as near as damn it is to swearing, directly portable. Even most of the applications you are already running, need no more than a swift recompile.

Re:Migrate from Unix to unix (1)

fitten (521191) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906236)

This is why Linux, since it was first being used back in the early 1990s, has been seen as first, the killer of Unix, and then maybe killer of Windows.

News at 11: if you don't innovate, people move on (2, Insightful)

iamacat (583406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905588)

X windows is 23 years old. UNIX, with trusty system calls like open() is around 38. Without radical innovation, its no wonder that customers are moving to low cost alternatives that coincidentally do open() or X-Windows just fine. If Sun wants its market back, they should have photorealistic 3D graphics, real time, robotics control, neural network security system, files presented as memory mapped data structures of type-specific format... There are opportunities, market and technologies that are still left for $1M price tag of high end Sun servers or Cray supercomputers. Its just that these companies have been overrun by management that has too much money and too little brains to care.

Re:News at 11: if you don't innovate, people move (2)

BrianRoach (614397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905780)

Or ... they could move with the market, offer an x86 version of Solaris that is the same as the Sparc version, start selling AMD and Intel server and workstation solutions, and bring themselves back to profitability (something they haven't done in years).

Oh wait ... they did that. Much like TFA states ...

- Roach

Re:News at 11: if you don't innovate, people move (3, Informative)

CompMD (522020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17907022)

Ah, the young and naive. Its not that there are people "moving on" but that more people who don't know the old stuff are entering the work force. Our company used to be a unix shop, with HP Apollos, HP PA-RISCs, Suns, SGIs, and RS/6000s. Along came the late 1990s, and some new engineers were hired. They said, "hey, look at these super Dell machines we can get! They run Windows! Everyone loves Windows! We don't have to pay for OS maintenance, and they cost $10,000 less than our current workstations!" And so the Windows migration began. We have gone through three generations of Dells in that time. Sadly, most of the old unix stations were trashed before I got here. Remaining are an SGI Iris Indigo R3000, a Sun Sparcstation IPC, and a Sun Ultra 1 C3D. Although they do not see a lot of action these days, when I do need them, they work flawlessly.

In this day and age where linux is starting to become a real engineering and commercial OS, more people are saying, "we want software on linux." With Apple slowly gaining market share, people are saying "we want software on Mac OS X." Did the people in our company ever think that once we ported our software from unix to windows we would ever be faced with the possibility of going back? Probably not. However, all these years later it isn't that far fetched now.

Radical innovation is irrelevant when you need reliable systems. If you are an IT manager that believes consistent radical innovation is key to developing reliable products, you are wasting money and should be fired. It is irresponsible to assume that something new is reliable. Who cares that X is 23 years old? Apple is using X11 on BSD and they are laughing all the way to the bank.

Where have you been the past 15 years? SGI _invented_ photorealistic 3D graphics, did you not see "Jurassic Park"? Sun systems have been able to do high-performance 3D CAD for almost as long. Heck, my two year old Dell Precision 670 runs the EXACT same CAD software as my Sun Ultra 10 C3D (UGS NX5) complete with photorendering. The Sun isn't much slower. Matter of fact, when I had Vista on the 670, NX5 actually ran FASTER on the Sun. Not bad for a computer I bought for $40. Half the software we need to run on that 670 won't run on that machine whether in XPx64 or Vista. Investing in radical innovation when we needed reliability got us NOTHING but a bill from Dell for $3,600.

For robotics control, perhaps you are not familiar with the Sun SPOT. Nifty little self contained computers, with sensors, ADCs, and communications. When they hit the market, I'm considering using them to drive a UAV.

Innovation and reliability are two completely different things. If you need reliability, why does innovation matter? When you need your data, you need it, nifty features be damned. Now, I have some FORTRAN programming to do. Time to fire up the SGI.

I can't believe people aren't talking about.... (5, Informative)

Biff98 (633281) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905734)

RELIABILITY!

Cheaper, commodity hardware does not work for all of us! There's a huge category they're missing out on.

I know the Fortune 100 (or maybe 500?) companies don't care, as they can just run clusters of cheap ass machines. But what about the millions of small to middle sized businesses and research institutions?

I've been involved in a number of smaller sized research organizations, and uptime is the utmost importance, however, we definitely aren't running "server farms", so clustering is out the window. I've relied on Sun servers running tons of GNU tools to get the job done. I think you'll find (unless you already know) there's a very large number of people doing what I'm doing. We can't rely on Dell (or even Penguin, or Monarch, or....) to deliver consistent, well thought out, easily-repairable, robust servers. Sun (and other big box makers) can! So what do I do? Run Solaris 10 (GREAT, Solid OS) and install a ton of GNU open-source tools. The result? Great open-source software, and the reliability and well thought-out hardware from Sun. It takes a bit longer to do, but the results are great.

B E A utiful.

Unix vs. Linux (2, Interesting)

ubuwalker31 (1009137) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905740)

Can somebody explain how Unix is different than Linux? Most Linux distributions are mostly POSIX, SUS and ELF compliant. Is the underlying code better somehow?

Re:Unix vs. Linux (1)

kantier (993472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17905976)

lots of $$ on it, and it's suposed to be critical in the first place so the companies who create it do it in the least buggy way that can be bought.

"linux" is usually done by nice people who want to give something away to the comunity, which is great and has been working excelent, but it can't beat commercial unixes.

Re:Unix vs. Linux (1)

kantier (993472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906010)

forgot to mention: by "linux" there I mean what people usually refer as that, not only the linux kernel.

Re:Unix vs. Linux (2, Interesting)

gmack (197796) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906528)

"linux" is usually done by nice people who want to give something away to the comunity, which is great and has been working excelent, but it can't beat commercial unixes.

Except that this hasn't been the case for some time now. Most of the developers are payed by Linux distros (Red Hat, Suse, hardware vendors(dell, AMD, Intel, Adaptec), UNIX vendors(IBM, SGI), software vendors(oracle), large companies whose business relies on Linux(Google) or a consortium of the above (Linux-foundation (formerly OSDL)).

And I'm not just talking about the kernel.

Re:Unix vs. Linux (1)

stiggle (649614) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906268)

Primarily the difference is a company to point the finger at if anything serious goes wrong.
There are others, but thats the main one. Same reason why companies use Redhat Linux instead of Debian or other community distributions.

Re:Unix vs. Linux (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906642)

The real question is how Linux is different than Unix. Unix is far older and mature than Linux. Linus (and his classmates) used Unix as a model. Without Unix there might not be Linux, or it might look vastly different. Many of the features of Linux come from one or another commercial version of Unix (or BSD) and were developed as robust, "commercial quality" (if that actually means anything) products. See UNIX History [levenez.com] for more information (scroll down for many UNIX / Linux information links).

Re:Unix vs. Linux (1)

cparker15 (779546) | more than 7 years ago | (#17907760)

To be more specific, Linus Torvalds used Minix as a model for writing Linux (a kernel) because he wanted to run Minix on an x86 machine. He was planning on spearheading an entire operating system campaign, but his "team" stopped after the kernel because they found GNU, which, coincidentally, was missing a complete kernel.

GNU, on the other hand, directly used AT&T UNIX as a model.

See also http://www.gnu.org/gnu/gnu-history.html [gnu.org]

Conflation of hardware and OS platforms (4, Interesting)

The Man (684) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906030)

Anyone who conflates "Unix" and "large, expensive custom/proprietary hardware" in 2007 isn't worth reading. While there are indeed some Unix operating systems that only run on custom hardware produced by the same vendor, that's by no means universally true. Note especially Solaris, which runs just as well on the very same cheap and ubiquitous x86 (whether from a tier-1 vendor or homebrew) systems used by some to run Windows or GNU/Linux as it does on the big, expensive SPARC hardware that Sun and Fujitsu offer. Anyone who wants to have a meaningful conversation about the IT industry needs to start by separating the hardware options (driven mainly by economics) from the software discussion (driven mainly by technical and business factors). While there are business problems that can only be solved on high-end hardware that's often limited to a single choice of OS, those are the minority of deployments and form a distinct market from the volume space. Talking about competition between high-end and low-end solutions is pointless; either you need high-end performance, capacity, and features or you don't. If you do, you're simply not in the market for a low-end hardware platform and the OS you run will depend largely on the hardware vendor you choose. If you don't, it would be silly to spend money on high-end gear, and you'll be able to choose from among several operating systems - including those named here - based on your individual business needs and the features offered by each product. But it's a sure mark of ignorance to discuss the two as if it's all one market in which a choice of Windows/GNU/Linux/Solaris/BSD on a uniprocessor PC competes directly with HPUX on Himalaya and Solaris on Starcat. One can see why commentators are always talking about Unix's imminent demise; they fail to recognise two key aspects of the market: Unix's strong and capable presence on both low-end and high-end hardware, and the segmented nature of the server market. Not much to see here, I shouldn't think.

Linux is way too easy now (3, Interesting)

soren100 (63191) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906286)

The sheer ease of starting a business with Linux and other open-source technologies (MySQL, PHP, ruby, etc) gives Linux the the advantage over Unix. If the company grows, we will just keep using what works.

I am currently working in a 10-man startup company that delivers employment training over the Web. Our system runs off a cluster of 3 boxes in a LAMP configuration, and we never paid a dime for server software.

Linux dedicated hosting is much cheaper than Windows dedicated hosting, and there are so many tutorials and packages out there that make it really easy to learn and deploy open-source systems.

Sun and company have started their battle way too late for anything but niche deployments -- the King of "Big Iron", IBM, long ago threw in the mainframe towel in favor of Linux.

My Dad used to run a university library, and he was always very forward - looking in terms of IT. He wanted to get a Sun server to run thin-client systems for the library patrons to use rather than having to clean the Windows systems every day, and he could not get a Sun salesperson to talk to him (this was about 12 years ago).

The main library software ran on Sun servers (that they bought through the software vendor), and he was highly impressed with the stability of the Sun boxes. He was so impressed that when the time came for PC's to be installed in the library, he wanted to put 20 thin-client terminals in that ran sessions on a second Sun server. That plan ended because he could not get Sun to talk to him -- he literally could not get the sales people there to call him back to sell him the system.

The end result was that he had to install the 20 PC's and deal with the viruses, downloaded software and other daily headaches of the Windows world and Sun lost an easy sale because they were too arrogant to care.

Sun should have been fighting way back then -- Linux is way too mature now, and way too cheap and easy to deploy. In these days of Ubuntu livecd's and Macs running on top of Linux, anyone who is not a Windows person who is interested in computing will learn Linux. Sun may have a few legacy apps, it looks like they will just be a niche player at best. Sun was legendary for their stability, but our Linux boxes have all the stability we need.

I am sure Unix will have it's niches here and there, but Linux is way too strong at this point.

Re:Linux is way too easy now (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17908102)

"...and there are so many tutorials and packages out there that make it really easy to learn and deploy open-source systems."

Shudder. Yeah, that's exactly what I want my sysadmins doing. Grabbing some code off the web, reading a five-page tutorial, and then using that "knowledge" to deploy a "solution" that my company is going to depend on.

Required OS X Post (3, Insightful)

cadeon (977561) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906432)

FYI, OS X Leopard *is* Unix, it's been offically certified as such and will be marketed as such, unlike the previous versions which were 'Unix Like'

Getting ready to flame you, but you're right! (2, Insightful)

HighOrbit (631451) | more than 7 years ago | (#17907622)

I checked at unix.org (i.e. the Open Group website) and OS X is *not yet* showing up in either the 95, 98, and 03 certifications, but I then checked wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mac_OS_X_v10.5 [wikipedia.org] . Here is the apropos part:

Leopard is set to be fully UNIX compliant as Apple intends to submit Leopard and Leopard Server to the Open Group for certification. This means that software following the Single UNIX Specification can be compiled and run on Leopard without the need for any code modification.
They got that from http://developer.apple.com/leopard/overview/ [apple.com] .

Very informative. Good job in bringing that to light. I guess that also will settle the litigation issue between apple and the open group over the UNIX trademark, about which I've been very curious but haven't seen any developments on.

Increasingly, more and more... (1)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 7 years ago | (#17906442)

"But increasingly, the appeal of Windows- and Linux-based systems running on cheaper, commodity hardware is becoming more and more compelling."
Increasingly, when people just make noises to fill up their packet space instead of thinking about the language they are using, I find that I am more and more compelled to kick them farther and farther across the parking lot, and the rate of incidence is on the rise.

UNIX to Unix (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 7 years ago | (#17907204)

I know I am being redundant but, for all intents and purposes, Linux is a UNIX clone. I also know that my previous statement is an oversimplification but Linux and UNIX behave similarly with similar commands. In some cases, software is fairly portable between the two. Also what about the BSDs? I'd argue that they are actually closer to their UNIX ancestors. Look at Explaining FreeBSD [freebsd.org] for an excellent comparison and history.

Reminds me of Dilbert (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#17907504)

There was that Dilbert where Alice was put in charge of the company's booth at an expo. Alice was told to get "booth babes." Her response was to hand Dilbert and Wally pieces of string.

"What are these for?"

"It's your uniform. Wear it and stand in front of our competitor's booth.

.net is platform agnostic? (2, Insightful)

mikemcc (4795) | more than 7 years ago | (#17907850)

From the article: "especially now that Web-based applications are written in operating system-agnostic languages such as Java and .Net."

I just went to Microsoft's page for the .net framework, and it sure looked 100% windows to me. Perhaps the author is considering "multiple flavors of windows" to be "multiple platforms." My bias leads me to a different conclusion.
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