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Sun to Make Solaris More Linux Like

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the imitation-is-the-sincerest-form-of-flattery dept.

Sun Microsystems 400

ramboando writes "In an effort to spur adoption of Solaris, Sun Microsystems has begun a project code-named Indiana to try to give its operating system some of Linux's success. Sun has been trying for years to restore the luster of Solaris, but that since has faced a strong challenge chiefly from Linux. Sun wants to embrace some Linux elements so "we make Solaris a better Linux than Linux," said Ian Murdock, Sun's chief operating systems officer, quoting Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen, whose latest start-up, Ning, uses Solaris. But it's a tricky balance to adopt elements of Linux while preserving Solaris technology and advantages such as the promise of backward compatibility. "As we make Solaris more familiar to Linux users, we don't [want to] lose what makes it more compelling and competitive.""

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I'm frightened already. (3, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19062935)

Not to say that some of the Solaris tools couldn't use a good sprucing up with newer and fresher versions, but I tend to get nervous whenever Sun codenames something. It usually means that they're about to start on something that isn't a bad idea per se, but will be guaranteed to be aborted prior to any real commitment or follow-through. What state that will leave Solaris in is anyone's guess.

*shudder* I still remember Mad Hatter. Such promise. Such failure to follow up,

Re:I'm frightened already. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19063125)

Yeah, that project codenamed Oak was pretty much a bust.
 
/sarcasm

Re:I'm frightened already. (2, Informative)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063177)

I have to laugh at your comment.

Just the other day, I saw Solbourne. That was the company that was created in Colorado to sell sparc systems. They were the ONLY takers of this at a time when Sparcs were not doing so good. Well, as soon as Sparcs came on a bit, McNeally cut them off. It turned out that it had a funky clause in there, that ultimately allowed them to cut Solbourne's OEM access to the chips. IOW, he pulled a bill gates.

But keep in mind that was with McNeally in control. This is a wew era. So lets give them a bit of time to see if they are as flaky as ever or if they have truly turned a new leaf. While I have been very harsh on Sun, I remain hopeful. Besides, if Sun adopts Linux API and makes it possible to simply slip in a new OS, that will not hurt OSS. In fact, I think that it will help push Linux everywhere.

Ning (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19063301)

Ning [ning.com] by the way is yet another piece of do-nothing get-a-life-ware...

First Java open-sourced, now this... go Sun! (5, Insightful)

koreth (409849) | more than 7 years ago | (#19062947)

I've liked many aspects of Solaris for a long time, but the #1 thing that turns me off it is the userland tools.

Yes, I know they ship a DVD with lots of GNU tools, but the fact that the built-in make, vi, grep, etc. are still basically unmodified from the early 1990s (if not longer) is not, to me, a feature. Those hoary old versions should be the ones on a supplementary DVD for those who need perfect backward compatibility with 15-year-old shell scripts and so forth.

It sounds like that's a focus of this project, so I say fabulous. If I can get ZFS and DTrace plus a modern toolset out of the box, Solaris will start to look much more attractive.

Re:First Java open-sourced, now this... go Sun! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19063085)

"but the fact that the built-in make, vi, grep, etc. are still basically unmodified"

Who cares? Do they work?

I expect vi to be the same from platform to platform. grep as well. Make????

Re:First Java open-sourced, now this... go Sun! (5, Interesting)

uncreativ (793402) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063227)

Have you used old versions of vi? There's a reason that linux old timers used to argue over who's text editor was better (i.e. emacs versus vi). I personally am a fan of vim, but once in a while run into using some crufty old version of vi that is just painful to use. I can't speak to changes in grep or make, but there have certainly been significant improvements in userland tools since the 90s. I remember first trying to install and use linux on a machine in the 90s and found using it to be a most painful experience. Today, I use linux all the time and fine that all the software tools have improved significantly.

Re:First Java open-sourced, now this... go Sun! (4, Insightful)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063275)

"but the fact that the built-in make, vi, grep, etc. are still basically unmodified"

Who cares? Do they work?
That depends on your measure of "work". They do the raw bare minimum one would expect from such things, but the GNU versions tend to come with a lot of comforts that you start taking for granted after not very long. Its nothing you can't technically live without, but it does start to feel awfully spartan. A good comparison might be Solaris grep [sun.com] and GNU grep [ed.ac.uk] , or perhaps Solaris diff [sun.com] and GNU diff [ed.ac.uk] . Nothing wrong with the Solaris versions, but the GNU versions have some useful extra options, and more flexible regexps.

Re:First Java open-sourced, now this... go Sun! (4, Funny)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063821)

damnit man you don't NEED a command line, why aren't you using punch cards or dip switchs to program the thing!

Re:First Java open-sourced, now this... go Sun! (2, Interesting)

Skrynesaver (994435) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063843)

A more frustrating case is tar GNU tar has support for long pathnames whereas Posix/Solaris tar only supports 99 chars.
This can be an irritant if, for example you're installing tomcat on a client's vanilla Solaris box. Yes Solaris has some truly fantastic features, however the GNU userland is just an easier place to inhabit.

Re:First Java open-sourced, now this... go Sun! (5, Informative)

SnowZero (92219) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063331)

Who cares? Do they work?
In a 100% Solaris environment, sure. In a multi-platform environment with several *nix systems, with user account portability between machines, it most definitely does not work. At my university I used Linux, Solaris, IRIX, Tru64, and HP-UX. Linux and IRIX were nice to use Tru64 was decent, but Solaris required much tweaking to keep scripts running. The compiler was also a piece of crap in the 96-99 timeframe, though eventually it caught up. Admittedly, HP-UX was much worse, so I avoided it like the plague. Sun started beating out other vendors, so it was impossible to avoid using Sun boxes.

I expect vi to be the same from platform to platform. grep as well. Make????
grep, and many other programs, would be missing lots of options, or have incompatible options. The shell would have lots of subtle differences requiring many "if solaris" options in my setup. I consider make unusable if it doesn't support gmake's extensions. If you don't have gmake, you need to use things like automake, but if you are going to install those why not just make gmake the default? Sun's cc was terrible when compared to the MIPS or Alpha compilers that came with their respective unices. On the bright side, the man pages were far and away the best IMO.

I have always thought of Solaris as an awesome kernel paired with a userland that was only an afterthought. Kernel features are nice (low latency, scalability, etc), and the trend continues with ZFS and DTrace, but I wish they wouldn't neglect the userland. After all, where does a user spend his time?

Re:First Java open-sourced, now this... go Sun! (2)

Nuno Sa (1095047) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063129)

If I can get ZFS and DTrace plus a modern toolset out of the box, Solaris will start to look much more attractive.
Nexenta? http://gnusolaris.org/ [gnusolaris.org] Peace, Nuno

Re:First Java open-sourced, now this... go Sun! (1)

darrylo (97569) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063587)

Unfortunately, nexenta development appears to be glacial. The last alpha release was what, six months ago??? Now, "six months" might not seem to be too bad -- this is an OS that we're talking about. However, when you consider that the competition (e.g., Ubuntu) comes out with unstable releases every month or two, then, well, nexenta doesn't look too good. This is especially important, as hardware support is a problem with solaris.

PCI IDE controllers? Last I heard (a few months back), there really wasn't any support for them, although some could be made to work with some patches. I don't imagine that this situation has changed (and I've love to be wrong, here), but an old box with several IDE drives would make a very nice raid-Z server. Unfortunately, you apparently can't do that with PCI IDE controllers.

Right now, I'm stuck using linux for virtualization. If solaris ever supported decent virtualization, I'd drop-kick linux and love every moment of it (because I'd really like to use ZFS and dTrace). Unfortunately, solaris doesn't really have good virtualization: xen is about it, and xen progress appears to be as glacial as nexenta (last blog update was at the end of April, but the previous entry was last August!).

Re:First Java open-sourced, now this... go Sun! (3, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063811)

solaris is REAL enterprise sector stuff. they don't give a shit about lastest and greatest, they care about stability and basic functionality.

try running ubuntu on a fortune 500 companys network and see how you fair.

Re:First Java open-sourced, now this... go Sun! (5, Informative)

Greg Koenig (92609) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063133)

I have recently been engaged in a serious effort to learn about Solaris 10, and have been very pleasantly surprised at what I have found. While there may be valid reasons that some Linux users may dislike Solaris, I cannot agree that the criticism you cite about the userland tools being "basically unmodified from the early 1990s" is one of the valid reasons. Most of the GNU userland tools that you describe as missing are actually installed under /usr/sfw/bin in the *default* Solaris 10 install that you get right from the standard DVD. This is in addition to the same non-GNU tools being present in other locations on the default install. You simply need to adjust your PATH accordingly if you want the GNU tools to be found first.

If you want to prefer Linux over Solaris that's fine, but make sure that what you are criticizing is actually true. Otherwise you are misleading yourself and possibly missing out on some really cool technology. You point out the cool technology in ZFS and DTrace, and I agree that they are really fantastic reasons to use Solaris. In fact, I am right now thinking that Solaris offers a lot of technologies that Linux can't touch without giving up a lot of the characteristics that make Linux useful. Give it an honest chance and you might be surprised at what Solaris 10 can do!

Re:First Java open-sourced, now this... go Sun! (1, Interesting)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063801)

.Give it an honest chance and you might be surprised at what Solaris 10 can do!


Did that and I didn't even get to the part were I was supposed to get 'surprised'. The biggest drawback of Solaris 10 when it comes to just 'trying it' is hardware compatibilty. Unfortunately it doesn't even come close to Linux. My graphics card's 3D accel, audio, wireless and SATA controller did not work. I can live without 3D on a server and without audio but no hard drive and network connection!? -- Sorry. I had to pass.


Oh I know, I know, I need special hardware 'blessed' by Sun. But I will not spend thousands of dollars buying a new machine just so I can 'play' with Solaris. Linux became popular exactly because geeks and nerds could 'play' with it at home....

ATTN: SWITCHEURS! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19063145)

If you don't know what Cmd-Shift-1 and Cmd-Shift-2 are for, GTFO.
If you think Firefox is a decent Mac application, GTFO.
If you're still looking for the "maximize" button, GTFO.
If the name "Clarus" means nothing to you, GTFO.

Bandwagon jumpers are not welcome among real [imageshack.us] Mac [imageshack.us] users [imageshack.us] . Keep your filthy, beige [imageshack.us] PC fingers to yourself.

Re:First Java open-sourced, now this... go Sun! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19063213)

The #1 thing that turns me off is the lack of colors in ls, and that 'ps ax' doesn't work, i have to reach for the stupid dash key.

Re:First Java open-sourced, now this... go Sun! (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Sniper (113827) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063305)

Ahem,

Install the whole companion disc, and then put "PATH=/opt/sfw/bin:$PATH; export PATH" into your .profile. Voila, you've got your new-fangled vim.

Meantime, stop being a linux fanboy.

Re:First Java open-sourced, now this... go Sun! (5, Interesting)

koreth (409849) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063579)

Meantime, stop being a linux fanboy.

Ha ha. That "don't add child directories' disk usage to the parents'" option in the Solaris "du"? Yeah. Um, I wrote that when I worked at Sun. Along with a bunch of other things, e.g. the first CD player app (WorkMan) that could pull track listings over the network. That existed on Solaris years before anyone ported it to Linux. I think I've earned my opinion on Solaris, thank you very much.

Although you're right that one can install the companion disc (and then go to sunfreeware.com to pick up the stuff that's missing or out of date) it still remains the case that, e.g., if I log in as root on one of the random Solaris systems at work (where I have superuser privileges but not unilateral control over what root's environment looks like) I get a nasty old Bourne shell with no history, no completion, etc. If I were to change root's shell to bash or zsh, I'd run the risk of breaking system admin scripts that assume I'm using the default shell.

If in your book it makes me a Linux fanboy to want Solaris to improve in the areas where it's currently behind Linux, then so be it, I don't really care what name you put to that. My interest is in seeing Solaris improve because I think it's fundamentally a pretty good piece of software.

Re:First Java open-sourced, now this... go Sun! (1)

Kymermosst (33885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063789)

If I were to change root's shell to bash or zsh, I'd run the risk of breaking system admin scripts that assume I'm using the default shell.

What kind of admin writes a shell script without a shebang line?

Re:First Java open-sourced, now this... go Sun! (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063613)

For one shining example of the age of these things consider that tcopy (a tape copying program) can not copy files larger than 2GB from tape to disk.

If they want it to be successful... (1)

What Is Dot (792062) | more than 7 years ago | (#19062963)

...they should name the project Purdue instead. =)

Err.... (2, Insightful)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 7 years ago | (#19062967)

Or you could just run Linux on Sun hardware?

Sun is hemmoraging cash. Their hardware is fairly standard (in an enterprise way) and all the functionality of Linux has jumped ahead of Solaris... So what do they have to offer? Nothing. I can't see what they can do in this regard to gain back market share. making a "better linux" than Linux is not it.

There are probably other paths that they can take that would be more effective than this one. But I don't know what they are.

Re:Err.... (4, Informative)

koreth (409849) | more than 7 years ago | (#19062985)

and all the functionality of Linux has jumped ahead of Solaris...

ZFS? DTrace? Zones?

Re:Err.... (1)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063093)

ZFS? DTrace? Zones?


I thought you could already use DTrace on Linux, and if they GPL their stuff, it will all be ported to Linux. The article says that it would be hard, but you know it would happen. I don't really see them having a separate code base alongside linux. I think it would be rapidly absorbed, and then you would have Sun Linux. And all other flavours with similar kernels and tools if it was fully GPLed. And again, then no advantage after going GPL to them.

Re:Err.... (4, Insightful)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063335)

I thought you could already use DTrace on Linux, and if they GPL their stuff, it will all be ported to Linux. The article says that it would be hard, but you know it would happen.
Linux does not have DTrace. You're right that it will probably happen. Eventually, after much work. And ZFS isn't looking like it'll be an easy addition either. There doesn't look to be an equivalent of Zones either -- Linux has some nice security module hook in the kernel thanks to work by the NSA, but right now it is largely unused (even distros that enable SELinux have very lax policies, and fairly basic management). Again, that might arrive, at some indeterminate time in the future. Considering that your original post was proclaiming:

...and all the functionality of Linux has jumped ahead of Solaris...
arguing that Linux may eventually catch up with these powerful Solaris features is a little disingenuous don't you think? Linux and Solaris are both worth having, depending on what you need. I look forward to what this project, and the OpenSolaris project, can put together.

Re:Err.... (1)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063387)

You have a good point. I remember something about brandz and dtrace for linux though.

Solaris does have those powerful features that Linux does not, but I find myself often having to install extra GPL'ed tools for solaris from sunfreeware, and I personally feel that those tools should be there from the start. But you are right, there are some things that it has that are superior to the current state of Linux.

Re:Err.... (4, Informative)

nxtw (866177) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063529)

BrandZ isn't for Linux... it is Linux, running in a Solaris Zone.

If you want a GNU-like system for Solaris, try out Nexenta [gnusolaris.org]

Re:Err.... (5, Informative)

this great guy (922511) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063173)

ZFS? DTrace? Zones?

May I add: Fault Management Framework [1], Crossbow [2], pNFS [3], stable device driver interface (one of the biggest point driver developers complain about in Linux). Clearly the GP has no idea about the number of technological advances Sun is pushing in OpenSolaris.

[1] http://www.opensolaris.org/os/community/fm [opensolaris.org]
[2] http://www.opensolaris.org/os/project/crossbow [opensolaris.org]
[3] http://www.opensolaris.org/os/project/nfsv41/pnfsd emos/basics [opensolaris.org]

Re:Err.... (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063377)

ZFS? DTrace? Zones?

Get Nexenta [gnusolaris.org] - basically Ubuntu running a Solaris kernel. /home is ZFS by default - not sure if each homedir is a filesystem or not.

Re:Err.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19063621)

ext4? kprobes? KVM?

Re:Err.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19063105)

show me someone else who has 48 drives in their case. Sun is King of I/O on the IBM sponsored x86 platform.

Re:Err.... (2, Informative)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063137)

show me someone else who has 48 drives in their case. Sun is King of I/O on the IBM sponsored x86 platform.


But here you are talking hardware, not software. The parent article is about Solaris, not sun Boxes, which are close enough to other enterprise boxes. Yes, they are different. But so are others in their own ways.

Re:Err.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19063321)

Who modded this tripe insightful ?

Sun shows solid profit and has done so for the last 8 quarters or so. They are one of the few companies that actually produce some interesting hardware for servers (along with IBM) since SGI, HP/COMPAQ/DEC fell for Intels flatulent Itanic powerpoints.

And although Linux is a nice operating system, Solaris certainly has it's benefits as well. Besides already mentioned zones, zfs and dtrace, the stable kernel is a definite plus if you are stuck with proprietary, binary only apps.

Suns problem has never been hardware nor software but the marketing department sure is retarded.

Re:My plan (0, Troll)

slickwillie (34689) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063489)

1. Switch Solaris to FreeBSD
2. Linux Compatibility
3. ...
4. Profit!!!

Is it going to be free? (2, Funny)

Macondo (836066) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063025)

The only reason I might change is if Solaris was made open source (and free). Thats the reason Linux is superior. Better support, design etc. flows from that.

Re:Is it going to be free? (4, Informative)

laffer1 (701823) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063053)

Solaris is open source and free. http://www.opensolaris.org/os/ [opensolaris.org]

Also consider that some of the better solaris features have been added to FreeBSD recently. dtrace and zfs are available for FreeBSD 7 current.

Business model? (4, Insightful)

Urusai (865560) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063029)

Sun is a for-profit entity. How do they expect to make money off of their OS? They should GPL Solaris, let the code monkeys snatch the best bits for Linux, and forget about wasting their money developing Solaris. They can write a "shim layer" on Linux for people needing backward compatibility so they don't alienate long-time customers. They need to figure out where they plan on making money, and scrap the parts that lose money. Open sourcing Java was an indication of desperation; we saw plenty of companies open source their product during the dot-com bust, either because they didn't want their work to die, or because they thought it would magically boost market share and generate revenue. It doesn't.

Re:Business model? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19063289)

Hardware company dingus. They sell their Sparc machines with their OS and support. Where the fuck have you been when they sent the memo out?

Backward Compatibility?! (3, Interesting)

NitroWolf (72977) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063031)

What the hell are they talking about "...promise of backward compatibility."? I guess it depends on how you define backward compatibility... but I manage about 1500 SUN servers, from old Sparcstations to enterprise class servers, and they are about as backward compatible as putting a stone wheel on your Honda. Sure, it might fit, but you sure as hell don't want to drive anywhere with it.

Most of my users on various boxes are afraid to even apply Sun patches because it breaks applications left and right. Granted, we are development segment of my company, but still... the Solaris operating system is barely backward compatible within it's own major release, much less between versions. Simple tools will run just fine, of course, but the more complex the application, the less likely it is to run between major versions, and likely going to cause some sort of havoc between minor revisions within the same version. I see it happen daily.

They really don't need to worry about their "backward compatibility," when trying to make Solaris more Linux like... I'm glad they are doing this - I absolutely hate administrating a stock Solaris system. It feels so archaic and like something straight out of the late 80's or early 90's, back when I was logging into the beasts on my 300 baud modem. The only worse offender in this area is HP-UX... though I will admit that with Solaris 10 and HP-UX 11 there have been some minor inroads into the monolithic, archaic feel to both OS's, but they both have a very, very, very long way to go.

Just to clarify - I understand why those OS's are that way, but it doesn't mean I like it nor want to use them. If they can retain the stability of Solaris and make it more comfortable to use, I'm all for it.

Re:Backward Compatibility?! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19063089)

Seriously, have you actually used "Solaris 10" or tested backwards compatibility of binaries? We've moved some pretty complex Solaris 2.6 programs to Solaris 10 zones without any modification. Administration of Solaris 10 is way ahead of Linux as well.

Re:Backward Compatibility?! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Sniper (113827) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063319)

Excuse me?

I just migrated an entire system from Solaris 7 to a Solaris 10 Zone - How? I tarred up /home and /usr/local, and a few other directories, and copied the relevant entries from /etc/passwd and /etc/group. Copied whole applications, their environments, etc.

Solaris 7 is from 1999, and this is 2007. Try that on an 8 year old redhat box and see what happens. Good luck with that.

Re:Backward Compatibility?! (1)

BRSloth (578824) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063369)

What the hell are they talking about "...promise of backward compatibility."?
Probably the fact that their tools don't work like Linux/GNU tools.

I remember a friend that was configuring an Apache installation on a Sun and, once finished, decided to restart the process with a "killall httpd", like he would do on a Linux machine. The problem here is that the machine was also working as a gateway to the internet and Sun "killall" actually kills every single process, not the one named in the parameters. Five seconds and all the phones start ringing, with people asking what the heck was wrong with the internet.

Also, it is an interesting thought when you ask yourself what "better linux" actually means. Will they offer things like iNotify and other kernel APIs or they meant the whole GNU/Linux stack?

Re:Backward Compatibility?! (1)

BRSloth (578824) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063513)

Just trying to save my back here: The article mentions mostly userspace tools (ls, deb) and NOT kernel tools.

I guess Ian meant "A better GNU system than the GNU system".

Making Solaris more Linux-like... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19063035)

...is like making caviar more vegemite-like.

Re:Making Solaris more Linux-like... (4, Interesting)

Timtheenchanted (899695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063403)

Not necessarily a bad thing, vegemite is much more palatable than caviar

Start (1)

Nick_taken (1090721) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063041)

They can start by shipping my solaris cd like Ubuntu did.

Re:Start (1)

mmdog (34909) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063127)

Here here!

While I'm sure it sounds petty, I was certainly unimpressed when I got a confirmation email saying it would be sent but never actually received the CD.

Re:Start (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19063209)

This AC got his Solaris discs sometime around February/March....never installed it though. :/

Re:Start (1)

AI0867 (868277) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063311)

I did receive it, it took more than a month though (I'm not sure how many, I'd stopped expecting it and it showed up in the mail one day)

Re:Start (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063517)

Seconded.

Re:Start (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19063313)

Try replying to the Big Admin newsletters with this complaint..I did for two months and got the dvd pack around end of April

Re:Start (1)

sp1k3 (1100181) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063435)

Got my Sun disks no problems but have seen a trace of the ubuntu ones.

Re:Start (0)

ir (104) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063595)

download it

Better Linux than Linux? (3, Insightful)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063043)

Yeah, and OS/2 was a better Windows than Windows. Anyone remember how that worked out?

-matthew

they could start with (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19063065)

shipping me those solaris disks they said they ship for free. I really wanted to try it without sitting here downloading the stuff myself on this poor connection..

m10

Re:they could start with (0, Offtopic)

laddy (159448) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063279)

I got mine last month. It didn't seem like it took that long, and I don't even live in the US.

About time (4, Informative)

caseih (160668) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063131)

I'm currently struggling to implement a Solaris server right now. The user space is archaic, obscure, and seems to be difficult for the sake of being difficult. Things like updates are still done the way they were done 15 years ago, often requiring a drop to single user mode (as bad as a reboot in my opinion), and often require a system reconfigure. Solaris' kernel is cutting edge and, in some ways, way ahead of Linux. But in the ways that count, Solaris lags far behind.

Just to make the system usable requires a ton of third-party software that sun does not ship nor support. In the end my path has nearly half a dozen bin folders in it, by the time you could /usr/bin, usr/local/bin, /opt/sfw/bin, /usr/sfw/bin, /usr/ucp, etc. I frequently find that I have to compile things from source just to get basic functionality. For example, Sun ships Samba with solaris, but it doesn't support LDAP. They also ship some hacked kerberos libraries, based on MIT, but if you need to build anything that depends on kerberos, you have to compile and install a separate set of MIT Kerberos libraries. Some apps are available in package form (solaris packages) from sunfreeware.com that you can pkgadd. But PKGs don't seem to be a complete packaging system like deb or rpm is. The pkg-get utility from the aforementioned site is very useful, though.

The init system is currently in a disorganized state. Most things are migrating to svcadm, which under the hood is very much like launchd. But there are still init.d scripts, but they don't always work right. Maybe Linux should move away from init.d, but at least on redhat, they are very full-featured and quite easy to work with.

Sun's biggest strengths right now are zones, zfs, and dtrace. However, if you don't specifically need these features, Linux is a better choice in many circumstances. And Linux is gaining features in these areas. xen can do a lot of what zones do, albeit much less efficiently. dtrace functionality is coming, I hear. ZFS, well the kernel developers seem to be suffering a bad case of NIH syndrome. The only reason I'm using solaris right now is ZFS. But I'm taking a big risk deploying it on a 12 TB disk. I have yet to hear of a failure, and Sun assures me that it's enterprise-ready. Sun's assurances do carry a lot of weight; they've had a lot of experience in these things. But I'm only a silver-level support customer. It's taken two weeks and some 20 phone calls to get issues sorted out with our sunsolve account and updatemanager. Our assigned support group only wants to talk over e-mail, which is annoying. Turnaround time on trying out their suggestions is hours if not days. This certainly isn't quite the same Sun as in the olden days.

Anyway, talk to any Sun jocky and he'll tell you that none of my complaints about Solaris are weaknesses. They are strengths. Cryptic commands are second nature. Besides, they separate the real sysadmins from the wannabes. Sound familiar? I think I've talked the same way about Linux to my Windows friends. I'm glad that Ian is going to work to improve Solaris' user space (which is what he means when he says make Solaris more like Linux, right?). On the other hand, Solaris reminds me not to get complacent with the state of linux. Every complaint I have about Solaris could easily be echoed by a Windows refugee trying to make sense of Linux. Both Linux and Solaris are powerful, cryptic, and archaic OSes. They both have a lot of room for improvement. We'll have to see. I told my RedHat friend the other day that his company has nothing to worry about from Solaris. Hopefully Ian will change that.

Vitruozzo = OpenVZ = Zones (1)

Macka (9388) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063701)

xen can do a lot of what zones do, albeit much less efficiently
I've read a few other people stating that Zones are a solaris strength Linux doesn't have.

Unless I'm mistaken; Virtuozzo [swsoft.com] which is based on OpenVZ [openvz.org] gives you the same functionality on Linux as Zones.

 

Okay, call me a noob. (3, Insightful)

NeuroManson (214835) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063147)

But what exactly makes Solaris worth using to begin with? What open source or commercial software makes it worth having? What makes it more than just a fringe system? Linux is finally approaching the point where it stands a chance at competing against Windows in the consumer market, does it really need competition from a fairly mainstream corporation?

For that matter, sure, the machines look cool on the outside, but why do so many people consider them worth buying (even models up to 10 years old) today, and for that matter, what makes them worth switching over to? Is it sheer geek chic, or do they actually provide some form of useful function, as opposed to Windows/Mac/Linux's growing trend towards multipurpose multimedia machines?

Re:Okay, call me a noob. (5, Interesting)

5pp000 (873881) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063415)

I'm using Solaris because the data mining application I'm building (in Lisp) brings the Linux kernel absolutely to its knees. Solaris runs it just fine on the same hardware. (We're talking 30+ GB of heap -- Linux is dead meat after 3 to 4 GB.)

A friend of mine says this is because the Linux kernel hackers optimize for the common case, not for extreme cases. I suspect this is correct. To put it another way, they are more into cycle shaving than analyzing the time and space complexity of their algorithms -- just as one might expect from smart hackers with a relatively weak computer science background.

The result is a kernel that does great on normal workloads, but just falls over when subjected to unusual stresses. Unless and until this is corrected, there will be a need for Solaris.

Re:Okay, call me a noob. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19063795)

I'm using Solaris because the data mining application I'm building (in Lisp) brings the Linux kernel absolutely to its knees.

Tell that to google.

Re:Okay, call me a noob. (4, Insightful)

Skrynesaver (994435) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063915)

You should look at you kernel parameters ulimit -a As shipped Solaris is intended for big iron in a way that most Linux distros aren't

Start by making bash the default shell... (1)

mkcmkc (197982) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063149)

How many years has it been since "csh considered harmful" was published? There is simply no excuse for its continued use as a default shell--bash is the current best practice that newbies should be steered toward.

Re:Start by making bash the default shell... (2, Insightful)

Asmodai (13932) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063885)

Oh please. Lay off the bash fanboyism already. I personally get sick and tired of scripts that assume bash to have been installed under /bin. At least use a more portable hash-bang sequence like #!/usr/bin/env bash to make them semi-portable. Make the default shell a normal bourne again shell and allow users to switch to their own preferred one.

Also if the bash manual page says this:

BUGS
              It's too big and too slow.

Then you just know it is a bad choice beyond even other considerations.

It was suggested years ago... (2, Interesting)

nicc777 (614519) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063155)

I am now reading the book Rebel Code [amazon.com] and it is interesting to notice that exactly this was suggested years ago [landley.net] . If the heads at Sun listened to the "sourceware" suggestion back then, they could have been miles ahead by now...

Smells like a corporation in decline, to me (2, Insightful)

JonathanR (852748) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063163)

Sun has been trying for years to restore the luster of Solaris, but that since has faced a strong challenge chiefly from Linux

"As we make Solaris more familiar to Linux users, we don't [want to] lose what makes it more compelling and competitive."
If it is "more compelling and competitive" [than some other OS, whichever that is], then why the obsession with following after Linux? If Solaris is on the decline, then why not suspend further Solaris development, and launch their own Linux distro along side?

Re:Smells like a corporation in decline, to me (1)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063401)

If Solaris is on the decline, then why not suspend further Solaris development, and launch their own Linux distro along side?
Because Solaris still has a lot of features, and can do many things, that Linux can't. More importantly, a lot of those features are either very hard, or well nigh impossible to port to Linux. Getting ZFS included? Over Andrew Morton's dead body. Get DTrace for Linux? Requires quite a lot of messing around with the kernel that you'll have to get all parties to agree to. How about Zones? Not any time soon. How about a stable driver interface? When hell freezes over. The list goes on.

There is still a lot that Solaris has to offer, so don't write it off just yet.

Re:Smells like a corporation in decline, to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19063439)

The old "Solaris in decline" rumor could may have been valid during the Solaris 7/8 era, but certainly isn't valid in the age of Solaris 10.

As someone who has worked professionally with both OSes for years, I can see that Solaris 10 is a state-of-the-art OS and is really going to slow the adoption of Lunix in the enterprise.

not helpful to change it (4, Interesting)

drDugan (219551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063169)

Anyone who has managed very high load webservers already knows that solaris has significant advantages. a much better effort would be a grass-roots effort to educate the Linux community of why 10+ years of professional development lead to significant performance benefits on multi-core, multi-processor systems.

Solaris serves a niche in the market that is growing like crazy now, and most web developers who are building apps today should look into it seriously, IMHO.

The real question is... (1)

Storlek (860226) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063193)

Are they making CDE less butt-ugly?

Re:The real question is... (2, Informative)

k1980pc (942645) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063269)

I thought they are transitioning off from cde to gnome. All our dev and production boxes already run on gnome as default wm(we are on Solaris 9).

Re:The real question is... (1)

Greg Koenig (92609) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063291)

I'm not sure that they really care much about CDE except for supporting legacy users. The default window system that Sun seems to be pushing now is called the Java Desktop System which is simply a repackaged version of an open source desktop management system called Gnome (http://www.gnome.org/). I myself am typically a fan of KDE but decided to give JDS a try and it seems to have its own merits that make it worthwhile. To that end, it hasn't been a big enough deal to me so far to spend the effort necessary to replace JDS with KDE on my Solaris 10 machine. I've also gained some perspective in allowing myself to get exposure to another desktop environment.

Re:The real question is... (1)

Max Littlemore (1001285) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063293)

Are they making CDE less butt-ugly?

I was actually thinking about this issue just last night. Why is it that every UI sun comes up with on their own looks and feels like a hat full of arseholes? I just recently had my first play on a Java Desktop (Solaris with gnome2) and even there they have somehow managed to use a theme that shows Gnome in its ugliest possible light. I've used their Dev tools and the are ugly and irritating to use. Why, Sun, why do you put so much effort into making human interaction with machines so unpleasant?

If making Solaris more Linuxy means they'll get the hell away from UI design and leave it to competent people, like say those at Canonical, that's great. A decent free audio architecture would get me interested too. But zfs and a bunch of legacy legacy is nowhere near enough for me to switch on the desktop. zfs on the server is a different story......

Are they sure this is what they want? (1)

Whuffo (1043790) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063203)

Let's see here; Sun wants to make their proprietary operating system more like the one that's given away for free. I may be a little dense, but I don't see a valid business model here...

Is it only me... (1)

copdk4 (712016) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063235)

I m seeing so many news stories from Sun in past few days... JavaFx, JDK source code, Sun "iPhone", and now this "Linuxolaris"? Is this some sort of media manipulation game? for example, in 2005s every other day you heard about Big G releasing a new fancy toys..

Re:Is it only me... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19063417)

No baby, it's just because of JavaOne 2007 - Java Developers Conference which makes successive new product and technology announcements.

Re:Is it only me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19063491)

Solunix??

Just give us more drivers.... (2, Insightful)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063247)

that's all we want... the current list of supported x86 hardware is ridiculously small... oh and put some effort into Gnu/Solaris... that project has effectively stagnated for ages now and nothing appears to be happening...

Re:Just give us more drivers.... (1)

nicc777 (614519) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063295)

I can second that! The last update of GNU/Solaris [gnusolaris.org] was Alpha 6 on 17 October 2006. I am still battling to get this version to work properly.

Re:Just give us more drivers.... (3, Insightful)

giarcgood (857371) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063297)

oh and put some effort into Gnu/Solaris... that project has effectively stagnated for ages now and nothing appears to be happening...


Yes Sir! Anything else you would like for free?

More Linux Like? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19063283)

They can start by making the man pages suck.

Sun jumping the shark? (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063333)

Rational decision aimed at grabbing the loot, even if a disingenuous marketing strategy... linux is reaching full buzzword status. Not only will it help Dell sell more computers, but apparently, its going to help sell competing operating systems. But they've seem to miss the point... its ubiquitous because its free, not because its trendy.

Have they completely lost the plot? (4, Interesting)

thogard (43403) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063347)

I've been using sunos and Solaris and sun hardware since '86. I can build a very security solaris 9 server that ends up with about 5 packages and a few things from a few other packages so it results in a nice simple stripped down system that is just enough to run the application and its great for systems that live in data centers.

Then sun comes along with Solaris 10 and adds in a ton of complexity with out providing any additional services. The new things like zones and zfs don't need all the new extra crud but its nearly impossible to build a lean system with solaris 10. There are also a number of issues that are just plain wrong and reeks of security the Microsoft way. Why does live update look inside zones? If its in a zone, its not to be trusted outside the zone. Thats covered in Security layers 101 so back to school guys. (you can purge one file inside a zone that breaks doing patches in the global zone). The new admin tools remove the rc scripts... except that most of them are just moved and hidden by layers of config files. Then it uses a binary file to figure out what to run at shutdown, and it keeps changing the file when servers start and stop and you can't get an accurate picture of the data its going to use when it shuts down the system. Since the file is a binary file, you can't checksum it and you can't dump it so you've got no clue if someone has put a Trojan in it. The data in the file could have just gone in a nice plane text file but I guess the coders missed the Windows registry too much. The appear to be handing the keys to the source castle to any old hack. Someone "fixed" telnetd and added a new feature in one of the worst security lapses I've seen in a long time.

I just bought 3 new netra 210 because 1) they run SPACR Solaris 9, 2) they fit in my racks and 3) are one RU. I'll stop buying Sun hardware the day I can't run Solaris 9 because there is no way I'm putting Sol 10 on a production machine.

Re:Have they completely lost the plot? (2, Interesting)

vilain (127070) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063717)

You aren't the first shop to dump Solaris because of the massive difference between Solaris 10 and all prior versions. My last contract just stopped updating their Solaris 2.6 systems and won't migrate to Solaris 10 because it's so different. They'll probably shop around for replacement applications that can run on another architecture (MRP, document management, engineering drawings, Netscape mail+calendaring). A former employee mentioned IBM, but they refuse to run anything open source (running Linux on your desktop can get you fired on the spot).

I do note that many Linux sysadmins post to the Solaris news groups whining about an automounted /home being the default or Linux' crontab syntax not working. Maybe some of what Sun will be doing to Solaris will help this effort. Since Solaris is Open Source, maybe they can dump the older versions of the userland tools and replace them with GNU stuff. It will make answer questions like "How do I have a shell script run on the last day of the month?" or "How do I figure out tomorrow's date?" (easy with GNU date, not so much so with Solaris').

Nexenta (2, Insightful)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063357)

Nexenta seems to be doing things the right way for Solaris to proceed as a viable operating system. A debian-like package system and a choice of easy installable GUIs, but still without the hardware support that linux has,

I am also curious about Solaris's desire to go GPL. If that ever happened, Solaris will most likely be cannibalized into Linux - and Solaris will die a slow death. Even as we speak, the most valuable assets for Solaris (Dtrace and ZFS) are being usurped by FreeBSD (thanks to a more permissive BSD license) - which means that some people may choose it over Solaris.

Sun really has to work hard to sell us on the benefits of Solaris, and why we would choose it over other things available at the moment.

3, think that number (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19063799)

3 think gpl 3. If sun goes for 3 for everything-we'll see a huge surge of interest. It won't take all of the linux devs-not by a longshot, but *thousands* will switch.
Licenses *do* matter. Code is important, but the whole idea of FOSS is based on licenses, what they say and what they do.

Solaris is dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19063375)

Solaris is dead. Thank your mother and get over with it.

A Better Linux (2, Funny)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063395)

A better Linux than free Linux is a Linux they actually pay you to use. Are you listening, Sun?

You could have this today! (2, Informative)

stox (131684) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063577)

People are interested in Solaris technology such as DTrace, which lets administrators peer deeply into running software to uncover performance bottlenecks, and ZFS, file system software designed to make storage systems more reliable and easier to manage. But good luck to Linux fans trying to kick the tires.


FreeBSD current has ZFS and DTrace now! Why wait? Run, don't walk, to your nearest FreeBSD dealer ( ftp.freebsd.org ). Let's face it, Sun just hasn't been the same since AT&T strong-armed them away from BSD into the void of System V.

Disclaimer: Your mileage may vary. May cause increased bandwidth charges. Offer not valid in Lichtenstein on odd days of even months during leap years.

Easy as pie! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19063583)

They want to make it more Linux-like? Just relicense the whole thing under GPL. Then sit back as the kernelgeeks merge the two, taking the best bits of both and creating an OS which is both Linux and Solaris, and better than either.

Double edged sword (1)

Macka (9388) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063651)


The more they make Solaris like Linux, the easier it will be for people to move off Solaris onto Linux as the environment fill be more familiar and the skills barrier lower. So Sun are taking a bit of a gamble.

 

simple! bash! (1)

doktorjayd (469473) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063685)

for god sake,

just make the default shell bash! ( a recent one would be bonus points )

Solaris is becoming a Linux distribution (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19063689)

As some have said the last couple of years.
Solaris will just be another Linux distribution...

four words for ya... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19063705)

apt-get update; apt-get dist-upgrade

G++

Compelling and Competitive? (4, Interesting)

leereyno (32197) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063733)

"As we make Solaris more familiar to Linux users, we don't [want to] lose what makes it more compelling and competitive."

If Solaris was compelling and competitive, they wouldn't be trying to make it more like Linux.

Solaris is something that we use as a legacy OS where I work. We have well over 700 Linux systems in the school of engineering. At last count we had maybe 35 systems running Solaris still lingering here and there in places where they either cannot be replaced or there is no economy in doing so. There has not been a NEW installation of Solaris deployed in at least two years. We've also got five Tru64 systems, two HP-UX systems, three Irix systems, and I think 4 VMS systems that a dedicated die-hard won't allow to expire.

The bottom line is that the unix wars are over, Linux has won, and whatever contender eventually does take the crown from it will NOT be one of the has-eens of the past.

I'm long past caring what Sun does or does not do with Solaris for the same reason that I don't care what E-com does with OS/2. Both OS's may or may not be configured with fancy new features in the future, but it doesn't matter because they've already lost.

Game over dude, and no you don't get your quarter back.

Kernel and OS (1)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063803)

The thing is, there are hundreds of different GNU/Linux distributions. Solaris isn't competing against Linux, nor against GNU. It is copeting against Debian, Gentoo, Redhat, Ubuntu, Mandriva, Slackware, Suse ... etc What does "making it more Linux like" even mean? Will it be more like Gentoo? More like Debian? Unless they are actually talking about the kernel I really don't see what they are planing to do, and if they are then you may consider that Debian is being ported to FreeBSD, NetBSD and GNU Hurd. This sounds more like marketing than actual policy to me.

Re:Kernel and OS (1)

GnuDiff (705847) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063875)

Well, for one thing I wouldn't mind Solaris default utility programs having better functionality and accepting GNU style arguments without having to install GNU versions.

Maybe this is already the case (I was doing some work on Solaris boxes a couple years ago), but I remember it was a PITA to do grep and awk and find on Solaris due to things missing, since the bank I worked at had a policy of not installing 3d party utilities on production servers.

It's all about not having a GUI (1)

Yay Another Nickname (901071) | more than 7 years ago | (#19063815)

I'll prolly get flamed but I guess we're talking about servers here cause I don't think I would use with Solaris or Linux as a desktop/workstation because Windows and too a less extent Mac's are some much more accessible at the moment - I will say though it's a pain to have to deal with all the problems that come with Windows - but less of a pain than not having all the nice GUI applications that I am used to.

I'm not so fussed Solairs becomes more Linux like - the tools are fine and as mentioned above you can use gnu tools without too much trouble if you prefer. How did you learn them on Linux, man pages - how do you learn the different tools on Solaris - well it's pretty much the same thing.

I guess the biggest similarity is the desktop because both Linux and Solaris do not have desktops built in you can install your favorite one - no problem at all.

There is nothing to much wrong with Solaris as it is - Sun have done a great job with the OS and having it around has benefited everyone. If they want to make it more of the same as Linux then fine but at the end of the day I am quite happy with using either Solaris or Linux - it's not much effort to switch between them.

When is Linux going to become more Solaris like - I know zones are not there yet but I am sure they would be useful in the Linux world. I don't think either OS should really be knocked as they are both available for free and all it takes is a little time and effort to get familiar with them - keeps your mind open. I'm not sure but isn't this a similar situation between Windows and Mac's variety is the spice of life?

Anyways - Solaris is a great free offering - long live Solaris
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