[linux-elitists] Sun + MSFT

Don Marti dmarti@ssc.com
Fri Apr 2 15:52:44 PST 2004

As long as we're doing the World War II thing...

    -- sign at a London newsstand, 1940

begin Karsten M. Self quotation of Fri, Apr 02, 2004 at 01:51:29PM -0800:

> Any further reads on how this bodes for Sun?  I'm nonplussed.

Well, first of all, there are smart and capable
people at Sun who love freedom.  If we see some of
them doing an Opinder Bawa, that's a bad sign. 

Second, for a little background on
Sun's situation, have a look at this:
"Harris Corporation Announces Release Of
Linux-compatible OS/COMET Satellite Network Control

That makes the second OS on which the software will
run -- Solaris was the first.

Harris is an ISV whose customers are putting big
rockets into space and running 24/7 satellite network
control centers.  The cost of a Solaris box and
license versus an x86 box and a copy of Linux isn't
even noise to these people.  But if you're putting
in a new installation, you want to go with the OS
platform that has a future, not the one that has been
steadily getting its lunch eaten for seven years.

Consensus reality check, via Google:
"solaris to linux migration" 3030.
      "to solaris migration"  424.

Jonathan Schwartz may not be a "visionary"
but he's at least not an idiot.  Linux beat
UnixWare faster than anyone thought it would:
http://www.linuxjournal.com/article.php?sid=5406 and
nobody has a good reason why it won't do the same
to Solaris.

Thanks to SCOX, Sun had an opportunity last year to
drop Linux entirely, join the hue and cry about Linux
and "Intellectual Property", and go whole hog for
Solaris x86.  They actually floated a trial balloon in
that direction when they dug up the rotting corpse of
that OS.  But the plan didn't fly -- probably because
of the "oh, grow up" factor from the customer base.
They rapidly pulled the "IP safe" claims off the
Solaris x86 section of their web site.

One more reason why Solaris is doomed -- Sun doesn't
have the people or the money to keep up with the
diversity of hardware in the PC-architecure market,
and the hardware vendors don't make Solaris x86
support a priority, either.

"Currently Save-Solaris-x86.ORG is running
Solaris 7 x86 while AMI (now LSI Logic) corrects
problems with their driver under Solaris 8."
http://www.save-solaris.org/about.html (Oh, yeah, the
PC hardware makers are all over that customer demand
for Solaris x86 drivers, you betcha.  Current Solaris
version: 10.)

So if Sun does have a future it's as the Java platform
company.  Being a successful platform vendor means
interoperating nicely with everyone one level down
(OSs) and everyone one level up (apps).

I see this as one more OS vendor initiating what they
hope will be a graceful exit from the marketplace
-- it's worth at least a short to medium-term pop
for Linux.

Don Marti
http://zgp.org/~dmarti                          Learn Linux and free software 
dmarti@zgp.org                            from the experts in California, USA 
FOAF: http://zgp.org/~dmarti/foaf.rdf     http://freedomtechnologycenter.org/

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