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Ian Murdock Joins Sun

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the long-time-admirer dept.

Sun Microsystems 123

RLiegh sends us the second piece of news today featuring Debian founder Ian Murdock. In an entry on his blog, Murdock announced that he is joining Sun Microsystems as their chief operating platforms officer. As he put it in his opensolaris post, this "...basically means I'll be in charge of Sun's operating system strategy, spanning Solaris and Linux." In all likelihood one of his first priorities will be "closing the usability gap" between Solaris and Linux.

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What usability gap? (2, Insightful)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#18408883)

Im not sure where Murdoch is coming from here.

GNU tools are on one of the CS's that Sun ships, and I install gnu tools anyways. It's there and easy to use. Sun supports its SunOS well.

Unless Murdoch is reffering to the wonderful "usability" of old and haphazardly done Debian packages, well erm.. let Sun take care of themselves. I like relatively new user-based programs (like, not from the early 90's).

Typed on a Debian Testing machine. Debating to go with Ubuntu..

Re:What usability gap? (4, Insightful)

good soldier svejk (571730) | more than 7 years ago | (#18408987)

I presume he is talking about package management. Do the current SunOS/Solaris versions ship with modern package management? Because the stuff that came with 2.8 and was crap.

Re:What usability gap? (1)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409127)

I dont know about Solaris 10 to tell you the truth, Solaris 8 and 9 were terrible Debian package management is still the best around

Re:What usability gap? (3, Interesting)

Curtman (556920) | more than 7 years ago | (#18410929)

I really hope Sun takes advantage of the work Nexenta [gnusolaris.org] has done. It's Ubuntu on OpenSolaris. Hopefully Ian will do something very similar with Solaris.

Re:What usability gap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18411249)

Ian is a perfect match for Sun Microsystems. Who better than someone with years of experience in a pointless organization that is tied down in process and moving glacially while the rest of competition catches up and surpasses you to work in a company like Sun?

Re:What usability gap? (1)

cheshire_cqx (175259) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409283)

Blastwave [blastwave.org] .

Blastwave is a collective effort to create a set of binary packages of free software, that can be automatically installed to a Solaris computer (sparc or x86 based) over the network. Blastwave has a substantial build server farm for the use of the software developers and maintainers in the Solaris community. All software is built and tested in a standardized build environment using Sun ONE Studio 8, Sun ONE Studio 10, Studio 11 tools as well as GCC.

Re:What usability gap? (4, Insightful)

McFadden (809368) | more than 7 years ago | (#18408991)

Maybe I'm just a cynic, but when I read "In all likelihood one of his first priorities will be "closing the usability gap" between Solaris and Linux." - I genuinely wasn't sure which one was supposed to be ahead of the other,

Re:What usability gap? (1)

vhogemann (797994) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409213)

Perhaps he is talking about the desktop?

Maybe porting DBUS and HAL to Solaris... A recent KDE and Gnome wouldn't hurt either.

Re:What usability gap? (3, Informative)

cheshire_cqx (175259) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409331)

Nexenta [gnusolaris.org] .

Re:What usability gap? (2, Insightful)

AaronW (33736) | more than 7 years ago | (#18410841)

I am running KDE 3.5.6 on Solaris at work. It was painful to compile due to all the missing libraries, but I have most stuff working, including sound (video doesn't work well since the Ultrasparc system is way too slow). There are binary versions available for download for Solaris which are actively maintained.

The Solaris kernel needs a *lot* of work. It has some cool features like D-trace, but don't expect anybody to be able to jump in and write stuff for it since it is very poorly documented. I don't think most Sun engineers know what comments are for. Also, device driver support is poor at best. Opensolaris kernel development looks like it is moving very slowly, with little traffic on their mailing lists. ZFS also sounds like it needs work and may be a bit overhyped. The ZFS code is rather difficult to follow, again due to the lack of any comments or meaningful variable or function names.

With the Linux kernel, I can easily jump in and find what I'm looking for and can easily make changes. The code is fairly well organized and generally well documented.

The command-line tools often are missing many of the features one finds in the Linux tools, like decent help. Manytimes very useful features are just plain missing.

Sun's X Windows also leaves a lot to be desired. At least on Sparc, Xorg is not supported and Sun doesn't have proper working render support as far as I can tell, let alone font support. Also, any open source libraries that Sun does provide are often years out of date, and they don't make it easy to download various source packages. If you want just the kernel code, good luck. Everything is in one huge repository.

For servers, Solaris is generally rock solid. For a desktop system, it sucks badly. Linux generally works, unless you're stuck, like I am, with a POS ATI card on a POS HP desktop computer. The desktop computer only has PCI-e 1x and the only cards that will fit it and drive two monitors are ATI and Matrox. I'd throw it off a cliff if I could and replace it with a computer half the speed with an nVidia card any day. This is better than Solaris, though, which has much worse driver support than Linux.

Re:What usability gap? (1)

cryptoluddite (658517) | more than 7 years ago | (#18411077)

The Solaris kernel needs a *lot* of work. It has some cool features like D-trace, but don't expect anybody to be able to jump in and write stuff for it since it is very poorly documented.
This guide sure seems like a good start on dtrace:
        http://www.sun.com/bigadmin/content/dtrace/ [sun.com]

Not to mention that dtrace isn't a just kernel tool. It can obtain information from the kernel but it also does probes within user space programs and across programs.

I don't think most Sun engineers know what comments are for. ... With the Linux kernel ... The code is fairly well organized and generally well documented.
I've done a fair amount of kernel programming across major unix systems and they are all weak re: documentation and comments. The Linux kernel code is just not well documented. I would say it is slightly better than *bsd and solaris but only because of the random information you can pick up on the google, definitely not for the in-code comments. And Sun engineers are great with comments when it matters, for instance look at java's src.zip.

ZFS also sounds like it needs work and may be a bit overhyped. The ZFS code is rather difficult to follow, again due to the lack of any comments or meaningful variable or function names.
The source for pretty much any filesystem in Linux kernel is 'rather difficult to follow'. If there's a universal constant that's it. Seriously you probably put a lot of time and effort into your post, but it sure comes off sounding like uninformed fanboi trolling. I'm a little bit surprised you went off on all that ranting stuff and didn't even mention where the control/caps key s were.

Re:What usability gap? (1)

AaronW (33736) | more than 7 years ago | (#18411313)

In general, the parts of the Linux kernel I have looked at are far better documented than Solaris. As for file systems, I took a quick glance through the EXT3, XFS, NFS and Reiserfs code in the Linux kernel and found that generally it is far better documented than ZFS, though Reiserfs and NFS seem worse than the others. Even where not well documented, the function names are often much more meaningful, making it much easier to pick up the code. Similarly, the networking code in Linux is generally very well documented compared to Solaris, where very little of the internals are documented. Trying to find out how to interface a streams protocol stack to UDP was rather difficult to figure out, with comments being generally non-existent anywhere I looked other than a couple of articles on the web which did not go into detail. Thankfully Sun was quite responsive to my questions and I was able to sort it out relatively quickly. If I were to rate the quality of documentation on what I have seen from 1 to 10 with both kernels, I would give Linux a 6 and Solaris a 3.

As for D-trace, sadly I have not been able to play with it since the system I work on has to run Solaris 8 due to using an older version of ClearCase for version control. It would certainly make life easier. (Note that the code I looked at was resent OpenSolaris code, though it's not that much different than the Solaris 8 code).

I can't comment much on BSD since my only experience with it is the old BSD TCP/IP stack used in VxWorks, which is a mess, though fairly well documented.

In my case, what I list as "good" documentation is relative. IMHO I should be able to glance at the beginning of a file to see what functionality it provides, and similarly at the beginning of each function. I also believe describing inputs, outputs and return values is important, since it makes it easier for other programmers to interface to an API. It also helps when I suddenly have to return to code I haven't worked on for several years and can immediately figure out why I did things the way I did. If something is rather complicated, I will try and describe the thought process as well so I don't come back later with WTF was I thinking. It also makes code reviews much easier since other people who are completely unfamiliar with the code can quickly follow what it does and why. It may take longer to write well documented code, but invariably saves time when debugging at some later point or when somebody else has to pick up the project.

As for the control/caps lock keys, I prefer where Sun put them and in fact use Sun keyboards on my Linux PCs. Java is well documented, in part because all of the API documentation comes from using javadoc. I have done the same thing with DOxygen, which is also an excellent tool.

I'm not saying everything about Solaris is bad. It generally is quite stable, but is missing a lot of drivers and features available on Linux. I often get a Linux crash every month or so on my new desktop. My older Linux desktop went 6 months without a reboot. I think I've only had a couple of crashes I can attribute to Solaris on that desktop (though every time we reboot our NFS servers we have to reboot all of our Solaris desktops).

I would love to see D-trace ported to Linux and some areas cleaned up. The ZFS filesystem sounds interesting with the snapshot and other features.

Re:What usability gap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18412425)

you have no single clue of the stuff you're talking about.

Re:What usability gap? (1)

lanc (762334) | more than 7 years ago | (#18412499)

You have compiled KDE on Solaris? Go, shame yourself. After that visit the Blastwave [blastwave.org] repository.

Solaris isn't linux, don't try to use it that way. That's one of the major mistakes any linux-guy trying Solaris can do. It is hard to explain since linux is pretty widespread among the home users and the curious - but there is a complete unix world that you might not see, hence linux is not the standard. No, I'm not saying Solaris is it, but I also don't try to use linux on a solaris way. And no, I don't want Solaris on my desktop. (okok, I do, but that's my freak business, and I dont keep complaining about X rendering...)

Re:What usability gap? (2, Insightful)

Tiro (19535) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409229)

That's exactly what I was thinking. I downloaded Solaris last summer and set it up for fun on a quad boot machine. Solaris systems administration definitely has a steep learning curve for nonprofessional Linux users like me. Murdock should try to catch up with OpenBSD. In oBSD the user isn't coddled as much as with say Ubuntu's gui admin tools, but the answers are always on hand with the great documentation. I'm sure Solaris is nearly well-documented, but not in an easily accessible form like OpenBSD. Just visit Solaris.com and see how many things are in PDF.

Sun getting a friendlier face (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 7 years ago | (#18410129)

I reckon this is part of Sun's attempt at looking friendlier to Linux-o-philes.

Maybe they should change their company name to something more old-fashioned and homely, like Murdoch & Sun - Makers of software and other intangibles.

Re:What usability gap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18412215)

Hopefully he's talking about command implementation; when I have to walk a client at my job through a simple thing as using 'ps' to sort for CPU usage I've found that it's less of a one-to-one correspondence to Linux than between FreeBSD and Linux (both of which I know), so it has taken much longer to walk them through it.

Replacement Gap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18409079)

The issue is a replacement gap: the time until Linux replaces Solaris. Due to Linux being open-source software (OSS), Linux absorbs the best features of all available operating systems.

Solaris has already been eclipsed by Linux. Sun hired Murdoch to help Solaris' customers to migrate to Linux.

Never underestimate the power of OSS and determined technoid geeks smoking marijuana.

Re:Replacement Gap (5, Informative)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409167)

You people are really confused. Solaris actual userbase are happy with their stable/established workstations and servers. An OS not installed at your geek neighbour doesn't mean it is "dead" or "eclipsed".

You speak like Solaris Desktop was considered an alternative home desktop OS and Linux took all userbase.

Solaris is alive and well doing number crunching/CAD/Medical/Military work around the World. It is just not too easy to see it running in neighbourhood.

Re:Replacement Gap (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 7 years ago | (#18410951)

You people are really confused. Solaris actual userbase are happy with their stable/established workstations and servers. An OS not installed at your geek neighbour doesn't mean it is "dead" or "eclipsed".

Is it "eclipsed" if I install an open source IDE on it?

Re:Replacement Gap (4, Insightful)

Kymermosst (33885) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409181)

Yeah, except I'd pick Solaris to run a mission-critical app over Linux any day.

I started off as a Linux admin. Today I am a Solaris admin and I like it that way. Yeah, some of the user-land utilities could be improved, but overall Solaris is a solid operating system that handles some of our hefty applications admirably. Sun also has the best support money can buy. Our x86 vendor is a pain in the ass and there is nothing quite like your Linux vendor and your hardware vendor blaming each other while you wait to get your problem sorted out.

Re:Replacement Gap (1)

cheshire_cqx (175259) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409201)

Zones, ZFS, D-Trace, real ability to use multiple cores and lots of RAM. Some awesome stuff there.

Re:Replacement Gap (1)

Kymermosst (33885) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409511)

Oh yeah.

I had the opportunity to be the first in our company to employ T2000s and Solaris 10. Awesome to work with and the performance with our applications running on them is incredible.

I can't wait for the Niagara 2 processors... twice as many threads running in parallel and one FPU per core... that'll let us branch out to stuff that is more FPU-heavy.

Re:Replacement Gap (1)

cheshire_cqx (175259) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409597)

And power efficient?

Re:Replacement Gap (1)

wwwillem (253720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18410785)

And power efficient?


Did you know that some electricity companies are giving a rebate when you by a Sun T1000/T2000 server, because saving electricity that way is for them cheaper than building a new power plant.

Re:Replacement Gap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18409525)

Which is why you buy your Linux x86-64 hardware from Sun. And never look back.

Re:Replacement Gap (4, Interesting)

geniusj (140174) | more than 7 years ago | (#18410389)

As an experienced admin with both OSes, I'll sum up what I think the biggest abstract difference is between the two.

Solaris assumes you know what you're doing. Linux, to a much lesser degree.

Linux has been open source since its inception, but as an admin on a Solaris box, the system definitely feels more 'open' to you. More is possible, more data is gatherable, more settings are tunable. A Solaris admin generally has more power over the system without digging into source code than the Linux counterpart. That's the major difference I've always seen. If you want both flexibility and stability, it's hard to beat.

I will say though that Solaris' defaults are generally less reasonable than the enterprise linux distributions' are. There is more tuning and such to do before you'll have your Solaris system running the way you want it to. At least there's Jumpstart.

Upcoming GPL3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18410069)

When the GPL3 is released, it *is* going to cause a major split in the FOSS world and rumors are high that solaris will go with it.
I know I'll jump, because the latest novell/MS deal has clearly shown that the GPL3 is more than needed, and the linux kernel is going to stay stuck at version 2, because linus is a great coder but a lousy long range tactician. He uses the ostrich head in the sand technique for stratergerizing, which...never works of course. Along with the dev tools, etc, going to GPL3, this will be quite an interesting year.

And I doubt Ian is unaware of these things, in fact, I bet that is one of the reasons he is at Sun now, because they need a visionary and someone with strategic big picture long range planning skills.

Now I am purely guessing, I have zero insider knowledge, but watch and see if I am right a few months from now.

Re:Upcoming GPL3 (1)

lokedhs (672255) | more than 7 years ago | (#18410245)

It's possible they eventually will. However, for now it's been rejected by the Solaris community board [cbronline.com] .

"There is little, if any, benefit to dual-licensing OpenSolaris with CDDL and the yet to be approved/upcoming GPLv3 license - aside from possible short term good press for the project," it continued. "There are significant downsides to dual licensing, including, but not limited to, license complexity, confusion and the possibility of long term bad press from any exception language that such a license would inevitably require."

Re:What usability gap? (2, Interesting)

cmdr_tofu (826352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18410283)

I don't know too much about solaris 10 (although I don't think it's improved much), but whenever I
get stuck on a solaris 8 machine, I get annoyed by some of the commands. tar xvzf does not work,
I have to gunzip -c | tar xvf -. Why can't I "du -sh", or "df -sh", and what is wrong with bash?

Bash is a great shell and it should certainly be the default over csh! Well I guess Solaris is rock
solid and has a lot going over Linux (like easy ACL support over NFS), and certainly bash and other free
software can be installed on Solaris machines, but I do recall having to compile LOTS of software by hand
and recompiling it all when certain zlib vulnerabilities were made known.

However, from my limited experience after using an easy-to-use distro like Debian GNU/Linux, working on a
Solaris system can be incredibly frustrating and maddening. If Debian/openSolaris solved all these problems
would I switch to Solaris x86? Maybe. It would certainly occupy a virtual machine image!

Re:What usability gap? (1)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 7 years ago | (#18411923)

I don't know much about Linux, but I get annoyed by some of the commands. tar xzvf does not work on bzip2 compressed tar files. As for bash, it supports POSIX incompatible extensions by default and adds nothing of significance over ksh. Only someone with limited experience would have to compile GNU stuff themselves, as knowledgable users go to the Blastwave or the Sun freeware websites. Again, only a numpty would statically link against zlib, meaning they have to recompile all their software that depends on it rather than updating a single shared library.

Re:What usability gap? (1)

naChoZ (61273) | more than 7 years ago | (#18412063)

tar xzvf does not work on bzip2 compressed tar files.

Since bzip2 compressed tar files are not gzip compressed tar files, this behavior should be expected. tar jzvf, on the other hand, works just fine on bzip2 compressed tar files.

Re:What usability gap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18410581)

Well, lucky Ian. I guess he'll be the one remaining engineer existing in America at Sun seeing as how they've outsourced the rest overseas. Not going to believe the whole "linux-friendly" crap either since they paid less than even lipservice to linux for so long and when they did have anything to do with it they just rebranded redhat until they finally got around to making their own crappy gnomeish java desktop system (that is actually not java at all).

In related news (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18408889)

Steve Balmer was of heard saying, "We cannot let their be a mineshaft gap!"

Re:In related news (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409465)

At which point he stood up and threw his wheelchair at the wall.

Linux Rising To Dominance Vs. Microsoft's Rise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18408911)

It's been so long that Microsoft has had the computing world locked into Windows and their formats that I think I've just gotten use to assuming that whichever OS/company is on top will mean that everyone else is locked out.

With Linux code and formats so open who's to say in a few years Solaris won't be on top - at least on the server side. It's not like the Samba guys toiling away to unlock Microsoft protocols and scrambling to keep up with every monkeywrench Microsoft throws at them. It's all right out in the open. Kind of hard to get use to that concept.

Not saying Solaris is going to take over the world anytime soon...

Does it follow? (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 7 years ago | (#18408963)

Didn't he recently talk down about debian?

Not that he wasn't right, but being the founder... doesn't that say something about what we might expect of him at SUN?

What, again?!??!?? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18408981)

That's twice today!

Shooting too low, again. (0, Troll)

jcr (53032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18408983)

He wants to make Solaris as useable as Linux? Um, what about shooting for the best usability in the industry, champ?

-jcr

Re:Shooting too low, again. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18409017)

He probably forgot that Apple still makes computers and operating systems.

Like 97 percent of the rest of the computing world.

Re:Shooting too low, again. (2, Insightful)

kad77 (805601) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409093)

They "rest of the computing world" would sure wake up to a cold shower if Apple Computer licensed a few reference designs and developed an "Office Suite" as high quality as OS X.

Re:Shooting too low, again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18409159)

Dammit, we have macslash [macslash.org] for posts consisting of nothing but wanking over Jobs, you fucking fanboys.
Now go and spend your pink pounds on the new version of some apple fashion accessory that's almost the same as what you already have.

A low shot. (1)

kad77 (805601) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409589)

AC, thanks for the first "Mac fanboy" tag I've ever gotten. Your people skills are top notch!

Your ad hominem misses the fact I don't own a recent Mac or OS X. I recycled my 604 powermac clone (but kept the scsi drive with BeOS and System 7) some time ago. I did recommend a late model MacBook to my mid-fifties parent without a second thought however. She enjoys it.

I'll stick with cheap x86 hardware (and wish it was inexpensive PowerPC), thanks. I enjoy the wide range of capabilities of the most common platform.

Get on ruling the world with your laughable OpenOffice and awful attitude. Don't let me hold you up-- a few linux distros have enough sense to take some cues *from* Apple's philosophy, and are doing well because of it. I applaud them!

(someone has to soothe the savage zealot, hope your blood pressure is lower buddy)

Re:Shooting too low, again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18409977)

A little too cold, eh?

http://www.apple.com/appleworks/ [apple.com]

Re:Shooting too low, again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18409461)

Oh, they know. They just don't care.

Re:Shooting too low, again. (4, Interesting)

caseih (160668) | more than 7 years ago | (#18410127)

I think Sun should buy Apple and rename themselves as Apple. Then Mac OS X gets a much better kernel, and Sun gets all of Apple's nice unix userspace (Solaris 10's userspace is awful). Mac OS X server becomes Solaris 11 and all of apple's good ideas like OpenDirectory, their management GUIs for open source apps, etc become a part of solaris. Already technology transfer is happening. My local Apple rep said a lot of core technologies are being licensed from Sun including ZFS.

It would be a clear win for both companies. Apple gets instant access to the enterprise, and Sun will make sure the acquisition means that Apple's technologies will get the enterprise-level support they deserve. Currently Apple's so-called enterprise offerings are really not very serious, although they have improved their support with Tiger. Sun can finally sell desktop machines sporting an amazing OS and desktop (under the Apple Macintosh brand) and have a server OS that's powerful and easy to setup and administer and with the better BSD userspace that Apple has.

Re:Shooting too low, again. (1)

kad77 (805601) | more than 7 years ago | (#18410303)

Interesting mix of experience. I was thinking about Apple's recent ZFS addition after I posted. What other Sun tech are they licensing? Sounds like potential for both...

Re:Shooting too low, again. (2, Interesting)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18410653)

What other Sun tech are they licensing?
I don't know about licensing, so much as just using since it is open source now, but Leopard apparently has DTrace and Apple is providing a GUI tool to visualise data from DTrace instrmented code called Xray (scroll down to find info on XRay) [apple.com] .

Re:Shooting too low, again. (1)

chris_eineke (634570) | more than 7 years ago | (#18411367)

I think Sun should buy Apple and rename themselves as Apple.
No man. Golden Apple.

Re:Shooting too low, again. (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 7 years ago | (#18411401)

Apple is severely crippled on the desktop as well, their remoting sucks...

Re:Shooting too low, again. (2, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18411427)

I think Sun should buy Apple and rename themselves as Apple.

You're a couple of years late with that idea. Sun's worth $22.4 billion Apple's worth 78.54 billion.

It would be a clear win for both companies.

Nope. Sun's not what it used to be. If they have anything left that Apple wants, Apple can buy it for a lot less than 22 billion dollars.

-jcr

Re:Shooting too low, again. (1)

PenguinBoyDave (806137) | more than 7 years ago | (#18412609)

I think Sun should buy Apple and rename themselves as Apple. Then Mac OS X gets a much better kernel, and Sun gets all of Apple's nice unix userspace (Solaris 10's userspace is awful). Mac OS X server becomes Solaris 11 and all of apple's good ideas like OpenDirectory, their management GUIs for open source apps, etc become a part of solaris. Already technology transfer is happening. My local Apple rep said a lot of core technologies are being licensed from Sun including ZFS.
If Apple's Mac OS X is such a superior kernel, why isn't it everywhere already? I regularly work with Fortune 50 customers or better, and I have yet to see a Mac server anywhere in the environment. Linux...lots of places. Mac...not so much.

Re:Shooting too low, again. (4, Insightful)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409109)

He wants to make Solaris as useable as Linux? Um, what about shooting for the best usability in the industry, champ?

-jcr
Does Solaris userbase (real ones, the ones paying millions to Sun hardware or running mission critical) want "Usability enhancements" or do they want to race with Ubuntu or OS X? I know a genetic engineer who spends her life on Solaris, I didn't see her complaining about usability at all. In fact she lives actual problems on Windows XP desktop since she is not used to it.

Same went for Debian, some actual admins spoke their mind saying they want peace of mind and a stable OS instead of Ubuntu racing, Digg headlining Desktop.

Re:Shooting too low, again. (3, Interesting)

nicolaiplum (169077) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409611)

If I'm going to run my company's mission-critical code on Solaris, I need to have the developers running Solaris too, which means I have to have a nice desktop environment they will want to use. If Solaris gives me that, my life is much easier. If I have to spend a lot of time making gnome-whatever, all the Java tools they love, etc, run on Solaris, then my life is much harder. If the tools aren't shipped for Solaris, I'm SOL.

Re:Shooting too low, again. (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 7 years ago | (#18410959)

Usability enhancements might mean making the Solaris /proc system as usable as it is on Linux, thereby cutting the size of the Oracle installation guide by an order of magnitute....

Everyone always wants usability enhancements. They may not agree on *which* ones they want however.

Re:Shooting too low, again. (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18411439)

I know a genetic engineer who spends her life on Solaris, I didn't see her complaining about usability at all.

Your friend needs to get out more. I know biologists who switched to Mac because of the price/performance advantage, and were just blown away by the ease of use. They had no idea what they were missing.

-jcr

Re:Shooting too low, again. (2, Insightful)

cheshire_cqx (175259) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409161)

Real apt-get with dist-upgrade for Solaris would be great. Blastwave seems like a stop-gap in comparison. Reinstalling from the DVD every time is a pain, and BFU isn't as comprehensive. In this respect OpenSolaris can learn usability from Debian, and I'd love to see it.

Re:Shooting too low, again. (1)

mikaelhg (47691) | more than 7 years ago | (#18410725)

Yes, I'd love see Sun learn all they can from RPM, DEB, apt and yum, and come up with a package format and delivery system that blows the doors off of what's available at the moment.

Heck, I'd love to do the job myself.

Re:Shooting too low, again. (2, Informative)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18411327)

Nexenta [gnusolaris.org] may be of interest to you, then.

Re:Shooting too low, again. (1)

Baloo Ursidae (29355) | more than 7 years ago | (#18410559)

He wants to make Solaris as useable as Linux? Um, what about shooting for the best usability in the industry, champ?

And the difference is?

Incredible. Really. Tell me more. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18409033)

yawn...

Well that sucks (5, Funny)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409097)

I was hoping for a Solaris 11 release in my lifetime.

Was It Really Him? (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18409133)

Earlier today, following the other Debian story, someone replied [slashdot.org] to the story as Ian. I wonder if it really was him.

Well, nobody can complain about Slashdot being slow in this case.

Re:Was It Really Him? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18409499)

Yes.

-ian
--
Ian Murdock
http://ianmurdock.com/ [ianmurdock.com]

Re:Was It Really Him? (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 7 years ago | (#18410003)

Heh, posting anonymously isn't going to prove much.

But assuming you're telling the truth: Why don't you try to clarify what you meant by 'usability' as mentioned in other threads on the topic?

Here's what I'd like to see: A simple, elegant GUI with full 3d acceleration (perhaps beryl/compiz based) without gimmicky, useless eye candy. (Some gimmicky eye candy is useful). Perhaps with a GNUStep back end for running Cocoa applications like TextMate. And a great package management system. Something like a cross between apt and portage would be fantastic.

Sun has the resources to make this happen. Hop to it! :-)

Re:Was It Really Him? (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#18410165)

Here's what I'd like to see: A simple, elegant GUI with full 3d acceleration (perhaps beryl/compiz based) without gimmicky, useless eye candy. (Some gimmicky eye candy is useful)

Enlightenement is cross platform and modular - you can turn the bits you don't like off and still keep the acceleration from the video card via evas.

Shoot for the stars (3, Insightful)

Graham J - XVI (1076671) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409183)

How about closing the usability gap between Solaris and OSX instead? ;)

Re:Shoot for the stars (1)

Kymermosst (33885) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409227)

Yeah, and then Solaris will be good as a server OS like OSX is!

Re:Shoot for the stars (1)

Graham J - XVI (1076671) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409321)

First things first - I was obviously talking about their desktop.

Re:Shoot for the stars (1)

Kymermosst (33885) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409471)

Obviously. However, I'm not sure who is trying to run Solaris as a desktop OS anyway.

I have built and/or maintained hundreds of Solaris servers over the past year. If getting a pretty desktop with fancy widgets means any tradeoff on its strength as a server, then I'd rather Sun not invest in Solaris as a desktop OS.

Re:Shoot for the stars (1)

Graham J - XVI (1076671) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409715)

Not AS a desktop OS, but since it does have a desktop, it might as well be intuitive right? One of the reasons that Windows Server is so popular (I know, I shudder at the thought too) is that it's easier to use and administer than most *nix flavours. There's no reason a server OS can't have an intuitive interface, and IMO OSX's is the most intuitive there is. I guess I should have elaborated more in my initial post :)

Debian on Solaris? (3, Interesting)

Dara Hazeghi (1076823) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409191)

As the Debian GNU/kFreeBSD [debian.org] project has shown, it is possible to port the Debian userland (including the excellent apt-get package management system) to other kernels besides Linux. I would like to see Debian/Solaris project come out of Ian's endeavors. If not that, then at least an upgrade of the current Solaris userland to make it more Linux-like.

Re:Debian on Solaris? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18409245)

> If not that, then at least an upgrade of the current Solaris userland to make it more > Linux-like.

That's an "upgrade" the world can do without. Why does everything have to end up looking like linux? If you want linux, use linux. --if --you --like --Solaris --with --all --those-annoyingly-long-gnuish-options take a look at nexenta. It's got a solaris kernel,
but they've managed to wrap the linux unusability 'features' around it for a really, all around, horrid experience.

Re:Debian on Solaris? (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409549)

--if --you --like --Solaris --with --all --those-annoyingly-long-gnuish-options

1. The commonly used options almost always have short versions.

2. Long options are still better than some stuck-in-the-1970s old-school Unix utilities which annoyingly lack many useful options altogether.

3. The option to use long options is really great for writing scripts where readability is much more important than brevity.

Already is one. (2, Informative)

Penguin Programmer (241752) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409405)

There already is one. It's called Nexenta [gnusolaris.org] and it's a melding of Solaris with the Ubuntu userland. They have a LiveCD you can try out and everything. Worked pretty nicely when I tried it back in September.

Re:Debian on Solaris? (4, Interesting)

kindbud (90044) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409579)

If not that, then at least an upgrade of the current Solaris userland to make it more Linux-like.

You mean it would have all the inconsistencies and inscrutability of the System V and BSD userland inherited from SunOS, PLUS all the additional inconsistencies Linux has contributed? I can hardly wait.

Do I use a dash or a double-dash? Will the man page refer me to the info docs? Or will it refer me to the command line help? Or was that --help?

One of the things I dislike about Linux userland is that it is such a bastard of every other userland out there. Cacophony cannot be emulated, it can only be shouted down.

Re:Debian on Solaris? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18412165)

> Do I use a dash or a double-dash?

Well, that's solved to a larger degree on linux, whereas solaris
is all over the shop.

Off-hand, only "find" on linux takes single dash for long options,
and everyone knows "find" sucks donkey's balls.

Ian Murdock doesn't like democracy (-1, Troll)

burnitdown (1076427) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409203)

Get Sun's hands off of him and get him into the White House! Democracy (spit) has gotten this country one liar after another as president, and we finally got a real dummy. Democracy (spit) gets us Windows on every PC, garbage television pre-empting "Dr Who" reruns, and the idea that a football player is MORE IMPORTANT than a genius programmer in high school. Democracy (spit) is more concerned with abortion, gay marriage and Iraq than saving our collective human assDemocracy (spit) is closed source. Intelligent dictatorship and eugenics is truly the best winning, and is the only open source alternative to democracy (spit).

Re:Ian Murdock doesn't like democracy (2, Insightful)

Valar (167606) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409361)

In other words, democracy has given people exactly what they want. Oh no, boo hoo, the largest portion of the population is comfortable and happy.

Who are you to say a football player is less important than a programmer? Typical geek chauvinism. Only our kind of talent counts. The world should bow to OUR agenda (witness the "you shouldn't be licensed to use a PC until you understand how one works crowd). And DAMN IT, Dr. Who is better than other TV, even if everyone else says otherwise. I say so, and I am so smart that I must be right.

You know what though? History has shown that dictatorships and eugenics don't advance the best and brightest, they advance the middle and average. Why? Because every dictator needs the support of a mob. Mobs only support people like them. And by definition, every mob member is on average,well, average.

Re:Ian Murdock doesn't like democracy (1)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409989)

There's a difference between having a democracy as a form of government and a democracy as a form of project administration.

In other words, it works for the former and sucks for the latter.

If Apple or Microsoft or the Linux kernel were run by democracies none of them would be as successful as they are today.

Re:Ian Murdock doesn't like democracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18411959)

Really? I see it the other way around:

In (modern) government, everyone has to be allowed to play the game. Everyone from the lowliest illiterate to the degenerate to the ignorant is allowed to vote. The proof is in the results.

In a project, people you don't like can be kicked out with ease.

Re:Ian Murdock doesn't like democracy (1)

scrondle (805647) | more than 7 years ago | (#18410191)

Taking this a bit seriously are we? It's freaking SOFTWARE. Equating a person that thinks that a software engineering project might come off better if it is not done by a committee with a eugenicist? Get a grip.

Re:Ian Murdock doesn't like democracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18411955)

In other words, democracy has given people exactly what they want. Oh no, boo hoo, the largest portion of the population is comfortable and happy.

Democracy has enabled people of mediocre intelligence to rule where only the gifted and talented once ruled. What do we have now? Incompetent governments and corporate dictatorships ruling the people who think they are truly free.

Who are you to say a football player is less important than a programmer? Typical geek chauvinism. Only our kind of talent counts

A mentally retarded child is equal to Plato. To say otherwise would be an affront to progress and democracy.

You know what though? History has shown that dictatorships and eugenics don't advance the best and brightest, they advance the middle and average. Why? Because every dictator needs the support of a mob. Mobs only support people like them. And by definition, every mob member is on average,well, average.

Successful dictatorships do not need to appease their peasants and never did. Dictators promote those who are capable to positions of power around that dictator: knights, nobles, lords, and etc. The average people remain subjects.

Eugenics is not a form of government, therefore its inclusion into your argument is rather silly.

why is this news? (1)

nanosquid (1074949) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409209)

If Sun hopes that Ian will somehow make Solaris more attractive to the open source community, I don't think that's going to happen. Solaris is what it is, all the technical and legal arguments have been made, and people have made up their minds. Unlike golf-playing IT managers, people who pick open source software are generally not going to be swayed by figureheads.

What Ian can do, however, is effect changes inside Sun. For example, if he can convince Sun to drop dual licensing for Solaris, it could more easily become a mainstream open-source platform.

see (1)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409347)

I knew chaos theory had a future in computers.

Nepotism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18409393)

We all know he only got the job because his Dad's company OWNS the newspaper.

moRd up (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18409463)

Offtopic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18409479)

Excuse me for being offtopic, but did anyone get their free solaris cds that were offered a while ago yet?

Re:Offtopic (1)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 7 years ago | (#18410065)

I ordered the media kit dvd on the 2nd and got it in the mail today.

Re:Offtopic (2, Funny)

caffeine_high (974351) | more than 7 years ago | (#18410207)

I did about 5 or 6 years ago. I was running it on an old pentium pro machine.

The server was stolen on Christmas eve, including an old keyboard and 14" monitor. The thief was so dumb, he did not notice the 2 new IBM desktop machines still in their boxes, or the 17" monitors also in their boxes in the same room and climbed back out the broken window next to the door that was not deadlocked.

Must have been an exciting Christmas morning for some kid, getting a solaris server.

Debian isn't the best model for usability (2, Funny)

nicolaiplum (169077) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409583)

Debian isn't the best model for usability for non-technical users; glacial release schedules and lack of desktop environment coherence to offset your stability is, well, what you get with Solaris already.
Sun should poach Mark Shuttleworth if they want someone who can make a solid OS into one that you can give to random people to use without it blowing their minds.

Re:Debian isn't the best model for usability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18409767)

Debian is utter shite!.

Re:Debian isn't the best model for usability (1)

dondelelcaro (81997) | more than 7 years ago | (#18409897)

Debian isn't the best model for usability for non-technical users; glacial release schedules and lack of desktop environment coherence to offset your stability is, well, what you get with Solaris already.
Considering the fact that Ian Murdock isn't currently even a Debian Developer [debian.org] I don't know what Debian is currently doing (or according to you, not doing) has to do with him at all.

Tubgi8l (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18409691)

Greener Pastures Where the Grass.... (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 7 years ago | (#18410099)

At least appears greener than Debian.

I wonder if he'll be a capable exec though. The politics is rough and we don't know what kind of authority/reach he has. For example, budgets? hire/fires? or is it more.... Figurehead type meet-and-greeter. Every organization that can afford them has a stable of ponies just for this purpose.

Good luck to him. I really hope it works out considering the disparaging remarks posted earlier today.

Re:Greener Pastures Where the Grass.... (1)

Hieronymus Howard (215725) | more than 7 years ago | (#18411803)

He founded Debian and led the Linux Standards Base. I expect that he's used to rough politics.

FROST PiST (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18410853)

its readers and Usenet. In 1995, Goodbye...she had

Mr President! (1)

tabby (592506) | more than 7 years ago | (#18412283)

We cannot allow a usability gap!

Apologies to the late Mr Kubrick.

MACGYVER!!! (1)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18412567)

Sorry. I see the word "Murdock" and I have to yell the name. Or act crazy and fly a helicopter.
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