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James Gosling Grades Oracle's Handling of Sun's Tech

Unknown Lamer posted about 8 months ago | from the a+-for-killing-solaris dept.

Sun Microsystems 223

snydeq writes "With the four-year anniversary of Oracle's Sun Microsystems acquisition looming, InfoWorld reached out to Java founder James Gosling to rate how Oracle has done in shepherding Sun technology. Gosling gives Oracle eyebrow-raising grades, lauding Oracle's handling of Java, despite his past acrimony toward Oracle over Java (remember those T-shirts?), and giving Oracle a flat-out failing grade on what has become of Solaris OS."

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Oracle's JAVA (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45947909)

Yep, they have done so well with it that everyone turns JAVA off in their browsers. Gotta love the lack of security it gives.

Java in the server, in the client, in the browser (5, Insightful)

gwolf (26339) | about 8 months ago | (#45948185)

Are three very different things. Java in the server and in the client is alive and very very much healthy. Ugly and slow applets in the browser thankfully are almost dead — Because HTML5 delivered way better. But applets dying off does not in any way mean Java is any less healthy!

Re:Java in the server, in the client, in the brows (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45948433)

The problem is Java in the client has tainted perception of Java on the server. Many execs (ie the ones the write the cheques) see Java as something untrustworthy and dangerous and really I can't blame them, If they make such braindead decisions on the client side what is to stop them doing equally dumb shit on the server end.

Re:Java in the server, in the client, in the brows (1, Troll)

davester666 (731373) | about 8 months ago | (#45948465)

I wish java apps would die, along with the people who wrote them, because they NEVER follow the native platform UI. They are all kind of a native app, only a little more sluggish, and the windows don't look quite right, and the menu's aren't organized properly. All in the name of saving a buck making a cross-platform version or using those highly training Indian programming group that only knows java.

Re:Java in the server, in the client, in the brows (2, Interesting)

imthesponge (621107) | about 8 months ago | (#45948509)

Sometimes reliability is more important then having a pretty UI.

Re:Java in the server, in the client, in the brows (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45948523)

And that's where Java really shines... ah no, wait...

Re:Java in the server, in the client, in the brows (4, Funny)

djdanlib (732853) | about 8 months ago | (#45948551)

It reliably dumps a longer stack trace than my scrollback can handle, anyway.

Re:Java in the server, in the client, in the brows (1)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | about 8 months ago | (#45949069)

You can have a native platform UI with Java if you use SWT instead of Swing or JavaFX. There is some benefit to be had from Java applications looking uniform across all operating systems, however.

Re:Java in the server, in the client, in the brows (1)

melmut (968751) | about 8 months ago | (#45949333)

Since a few years (java 6u10), it's quite easy to have native look-and-feel for everything. No need for SWT, which is an outdated hack. All java apps that I've been used for years (IDE's, various clients) have a native look-and-feel, you can't tell it's not native.

Re:Java in the server, in the client, in the brows (1)

xelah (176252) | about 8 months ago | (#45949315)

I'd agree that Java UIs are not as good as native ones. But, in the niches where you typically see Java clients such as enterprise apps, what do you do? You can write web applications, which are often not better if they're anything more than a simple or one-off interaction. You could use Flash/Adobe AIR, which is also not better in UI terms. (My favourite gripe is that neither handle keyboard interaction well, but it's far from the only one). Or you could encourage your IT department to write a native application and get something of similar quality and for Windows only.

What's happening with mobile devices is leaving an interesting situation here because the OS makers seem to be rather discouraging non-native apps. That might water down the advantage of (standard) Java. But I think there's still always going to be high demand from 'enterprise' software developers for a way of writing one client they can run across many devices. I very much suspect that the alternative will be to shove everything in a web app instead.

Re:Oracle's JAVA (5, Informative)

hlge (680785) | about 8 months ago | (#45948261)

Dhu, The main usage of Java is on the server side, where it's fairly popular. Java skils is still the most sought after skill when it comes to developers. There are a few popular desktop applications written in Java, Minecraft comes to mind :) And of course we have the slightly modified version of Java that powers every Android application. So Java is still around and kicking..... As to the big Reds handling of Java, out of the gate it was pretty bad in it's interactions with the Java community. Not surprising as they axed most of the folks that where doing that part back at Sun...... But they actually got better with interacting with the Java community lately, could improve more but still kinda on the right track.

Re:Oracle's JAVA (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45948423)

Nope. Andorid is not powered by Java. That's what Oracle would want you to believe. It's like claiming that anything containing flour is a derivative of "bread". Dalvik isn't anything like Java.

Re:Oracle's JAVA (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 8 months ago | (#45948507)

If a VM uses a register base instead of a stack base, does that change the entire VM altogether, rather than simply make it more efficient?

Re:Oracle's JAVA (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 8 months ago | (#45948617)

If a VM uses a register base instead of a stack base, does that change the entire VM altogether, rather than simply make it more efficient?

It changes it altogether, op codes, and the lot. Its like a different CPU (e.g. Arm or Intel) programs have to be compiled differently to run on them and some things may be more efficient on one and other on the other.

Re:Oracle's JAVA (1)

melmut (968751) | about 8 months ago | (#45949337)

They both use the Java language.

Re:Oracle's JAVA (2)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | about 8 months ago | (#45949075)

Maybe the guts of it aren't. To a developer though, Dalvik is 95% Java.

Re:Oracle's JAVA (1)

Cramer (69040) | about 8 months ago | (#45948499)

Even better... Chrome won't even run the java plugin 9 times out of 10. (even then, you have to OK it's running of any applet)

Forgetting OpenOffice.org (4, Insightful)

jordanjay29 (1298951) | about 8 months ago | (#45947931)

Even though it's since transitioned to Apache, Oracle still deserves to be graded on their handling of OO.o.

Re:Forgetting OpenOffice.org (2)

bhcompy (1877290) | about 8 months ago | (#45947953)

Which is what exactly? I never had any problems with their handling of OO.o. It was free, it wrote files in formats that were easily accessible, it didn't have ugly ribbons, it was intuitive to reformed Office users, it loaded faster than Office, and it handled everything school, home, and most of what work threw at me without issue. For a freeware product, what more could you ask for? Sounds like a good grade to me.

Re:Forgetting OpenOffice.org (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45948037)

I will give you everything except "it loaded faster than office", as a user of both for work the speed of OO is one of its worst features.

Re:Forgetting OpenOffice.org (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 8 months ago | (#45948089)

It actually does (did?) load faster than MS office, if one tweaks their system to prevent the pre-emptive loading of MS office, or allows the OO.o pre-emptive loader to run.

Haven't seen QuickStarter in awhile though. Maybe they did away with that.

Quickstarter still exists (3, Informative)

robbak (775424) | about 8 months ago | (#45948431)

It is still there as an optional item in the installer, not selected by default (because that is the way it should be).

Re:Forgetting OpenOffice.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45948315)

OO doesn't have the advantage of preloading some of their code into memory like Microsoft does. Unless, of course, you're running the quick launcher at start up.

Re:Forgetting OpenOffice.org (5, Insightful)

Rennt (582550) | about 8 months ago | (#45948055)

You are taking about the product itself, not Oracle's handling of the project.

Yes, OpenOffice could open your documents fine. It did all that stuff before Oracle came along, alienated the developer base and ran the project into the ground.

Re:Forgetting OpenOffice.org (1, Insightful)

armanox (826486) | about 8 months ago | (#45948135)

My understanding was the developers simply left because Oracle acquired the product, not because of anything they did.

Re:Patent MAD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45948379)

Sued Google!

Re:Forgetting OpenOffice.org (2)

MrBigInThePants (624986) | about 8 months ago | (#45948925)

Then you would be wrong.

There was much written about their views at the time.

Re:Forgetting OpenOffice.org (3, Informative)

R.Mo_Robert (737913) | about 8 months ago | (#45947999)

Even though it's since transitioned to Apache, Oracle still deserves to be graded on their handling of OO.o.

Gosling didn't "forget" to grade OpenOffice.org; he was the (co)creator of Java. That's why this article is treating his assessment of Java as special. You wouldn't get that with OO.o.

and Hudson automated build system (2)

coder111 (912060) | about 8 months ago | (#45949033)

AFAIK authors had to fork and rename it to "Jenkins" after Oracle filed for trademark for original name "Hudson".

I hate Oracle with passion, although they seem to be doing OK job with Java.

--Coder

That James Gosling fella is of no consequence... (4, Interesting)

bogaboga (793279) | about 8 months ago | (#45947941)

While I applaud James for his contribution to Java, I am afraid he's of no consequence to its direction now.

It would have been better if he proposed some kind of direction Oracle should have taken with Java.

Re: Proposed direction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45947987)

He did propose a direction—the same direction that Oracle actually did indeed take.

Re:That James Gosling fella is of no consequence.. (1, Flamebait)

cold fjord (826450) | about 8 months ago | (#45948115)

That James Gosling fella is of no consequence...

The views of those that have achieved something great or useful tend to be solicited repeatedly, especially if they had a string of achievements.

Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie? Yep.
Woz? Yep.
Gosling? Yep.

Bogaboga? Unless you are the originator of the "death by booga booga" joke, maybe not. Of course you could be holding out on us.

Re:That James Gosling fella is of no consequence.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45948139)

Wow, what an ass-kissing fan-boi douche bag...

Re:That James Gosling fella is of no consequence.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45948173)

That's a nice attempt at self-promotion, but don't flatter yourself, you aren't that great. You probably need a lot of work to actually reach the "ass-kissing fan-boi douche bag" level.

Re:That James Gosling fella is of no consequence.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45948271)

Ken and Dennis didn't accomplish anything. The US government putting restraints of trade on Bell, meaning they could only give Unix away to universities was all it took to get Unix seeded all over the world. And what damage it has done.

Unix combined with propagandists like ESR has doomed us to generation after generation of defective operating systems. The awful defects that still exist in unix/linux systems started out as compromises for small computers with less memory and slower clocks than I might find in my washing machine. Over time they have been immortalised in standards like POSIX and defactions like BSD and Windows.

The "right" ideas of computing like data schemas, transactions, checkpoints, have all been crammed into a rotten mouldy middleware sandwich with two stale slices of bread: unix and web standards.

What a disgusting mess.

Re:That James Gosling fella is of no consequence.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45948445)

> The "right" ideas of computing like data schemas, transactions, checkpoints,

Haaahahahahaaahahahaha. Gee, you know a couple of buzzwords. Where did you learn those, your first year computer science class?

"Guys, hey guys, listen! I have this awesome idea which I call 'computing done right'. I'm a genius, guys. We'll have schemas and transactions and checkpoints. Bet you didn't think I could come up with something so brilliant, did you?"

What a joke. You really are a master comedian.

Re:That James Gosling fella is of no consequence.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45948435)

And that line of thought is a fallacy, even recognized in the old Rome. Any idea or argument should be evaluated on its own merits, blindly buying into something because "famous person X" said it have probably lead to more misery than any other human trait in history.

Re:That James Gosling fella is of no consequence.. (3, Funny)

cffrost (885375) | about 8 months ago | (#45948187)

I think it's too early to tell, as James Gosling just lacks the experience most people are used to from those like him — there's still a lot left for him to learn from his father, industry veteran Jim Goose. Once his father retires, though, I think James will get to chance to really spread his wings, and we'll probably see some very good ideas of his take flight. For now, though, I think he's just a bit green around the beak.

Re:That James Gosling fella is of no consequence.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45948437)

I think the proper phrase is yellow around the beak.

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45948937)

I am afraid he's of no consequence to its direction now.

It would have been better if he proposed some kind of direction

Judging by your replies you meant something but for the life of me I can't work it out. What do you mean by those two statements? They seem to contradict.

Re:That James Gosling fella is of no consequence.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45949105)

And, apropos of nothing at all... Writing that "InfoWorld reached out to... [Gosling]" is just awful. Can we please all agree to do away with this ugly bit of pretentious jargon?

If anyone at the office says he'll "reach out" to me, I tell him I will defend myself, then call HR.

hard to fault Oracle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45947961)

for ignoring solaris in favor of linux

I admined solars for years and it was always a confusing blend of bsd and system v, it is hard to imagine how much cruft could have built up over the past three decades. It is not difficult to see how focusing on linux would seem appealing

Ignoring their x86 servers in favor of selling pricey sparc gear (because the sales reps made bigger commissions) was part of the reason that sun passed away in the first place

Re:hard to fault Oracle (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45947989)

Solaris has actually been quite good since Solaris 10. They have a very worthy replacement for init (the service management framework), a very advanced infrastructure for application debugging and probing (dtrace), and a revolutionary filesystem (ZFS) to name a few things. The only thing that (IMO) sucks is the reliance on the sysv style package manager (which they've since replaced with IPS in Solaris 11; not too familiar with it since our company has largely abandoned Solaris thanks to Oracle, but I am of the opinion they should have went with rpm/yum or dpkg/apt).

The tech is stellar and arguably better than Linux in many respects, but I agree that with the failure of Sun and Oracle to find addressable market with SPARC and no real chance of displacing Linux on x64 that it really is a dead end now. It's too bad Oracle won't invest any time to port some of the better aspects of Solaris to Linux.

Re:hard to fault Oracle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45948035)

I can see how solaris can be appealing in a lock-down telecom environment, their security is probably more mature than we see in a linux distro. One of my tasks, pre-millenium, was to run oracle backed web apps in solaris and I found it to be pretty straight forward. Around the same time, my friends that were admining porn sites were all using freebsd because it was highly secure as a default, not begging you to install every whiz-band add on, with their associated weaknesses. ZFS was pretty exciting back in the day, along with solstice, but I still do not see their advantages over other san and backup solutions

Re:hard to fault Oracle (1)

armanox (826486) | about 8 months ago | (#45948159)

Solaris is appealing in environments that you don't want to change or break. It's very stable.

Think of ZFS along the lines of RAID - it's not a backup or disaster recovery solution. It's performance and disaster prevention (like Shadow Copies in Windows).

Re:hard to fault Oracle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45948287)

I was comparing zfs to san solutions like emc, storageworks, clariion and 3par (and solstice to tivoli) which I have used with sparc (and other) servers since the mid 90's. Maybe there is some appeal in getting that functionality out of your os, but I never really saw the appeal in stuffing a server full of disks over fc fabric

Re:hard to fault Oracle (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 8 months ago | (#45948535)

Solaris is relevant only in environments where one is stuck w/ a legacy SPARC based environment. Particularly since the OSs that support SPARC have dwindled - right now, it's just Debian on the Linux side, but all the BSDs - F/O/N on the BSD end.

Otherwise, if one wants ZFS, one could go w/ FreeBSD on either Intel (x64 OR Itanic) or POWER or MIPS.

Re:hard to fault Oracle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45948245)

It's too bad Oracle won't invest any time to port some of the better aspects of Solaris to Linux.

Why the fuck would they want to port Solaris' better aspects to their competitor, when Solaris is still a billion dollar business for Oracle?

SPARC highend machines are currently the best. Until POWER8 ships, and it's not clear that will be faster than an M5. Five years ago I would have declared SPARC dead, with POWER so far in the lead, SPARC looked like a joke. No more.

Intel coherency just doesn't scale, there are some "large" x86 machines from SGI (and others?), but the limitations of present coherency protocol in Intel Xeons means they just won't perform anything like POWER or SPARC on contentious workloads like databases.

Re:hard to fault Oracle (4, Informative)

thogard (43403) | about 8 months ago | (#45948339)

ZFS is on the right path but it still isn't quite where it needs to be. For example I can't tell it not to reallocate blocks on write so I can't force overwrites of sensitive data -- which is required in several industries that Sun used to be strong in. Someone in ZFS land needs to create an ioctl/fctl to fix that. The boot system also needs to be clear if it is trying to mount a ZFS or UFS disk since that is a bit tricky when the disk looks like both. They should also fix the fsck stub so it knows about ZFS and have a /usr/lib/zfs/fsck even if it is just a link to zfs status.

How is SMF better than init? They even bothered to break init so you can't pull SMF out the system if you don't want it. They now link init and smf to a number of libraries that have horrible security records. Do you want the main process in your system linking in libraries that need security updates on a monthly basis?

I know how SMF is worse, it is slower to start up, it is indeterminate in its start up state and order, it keeps its data in unauditable binary files an it takes far longer to shut down. It also isn't very good at what init was, which was making sure programs always ran. Solaris 11.1 turns off auditing, then syslog before killing off all user processes which means you have no idea what a rogue process did when it was told the system is shutting down. That appears to be a result of someone at Oracle deciding all the disks need to be mounted before starting syslog, which requires lots of extra crud to be running like NFS, RPC and whatever YP is called this decade and it appears that stuff is all trusted to shut down cleanly without the need of logging. At least with init, you could have two different syslog entries for the different run levels so you could make sure everything was logged and audited.

The number of bugs in Solaris 10 is far worse than Solaris 9. You can't build a light weight Solaris 10 or 11 system. Under 10, you could build a Solaris 9 container which would only run a bare number of processes but not any more since that feature was pulled out of 11. I have a number of Solaris 9 systems that are running less than a dozen packages but I'm one of the people who feel that if there isn't any unneeded software on a system, hackers can't use it hack the system.

Solaris 11 also has managed to break decades of sanity of using ifconfig to build network stacks. Now there are other tools that do part of the job and then can allow ificonfig to finish the job.

At least with Solaris 11.1 they created a tool to create smf xml files which means they are now no longer hand crafted which means a tool can be written to turn them back into rc.X scripts and they can be put back where they belong. Now if I could just remove svc.* without installing a fake to keep the contract open, I would be back up to the integrity level of a Solaris 9 system.

Re:hard to fault Oracle (2)

dbIII (701233) | about 8 months ago | (#45948577)

For example I can't tell it not to reallocate blocks on write so I can't force overwrites of sensitive data

I know that you have such requirements forced on you by others, but with respect that one is quite ridiculous and appears to be a rule from tape or other removable storage or disk disposal that has been badly misapplied to filesystems possibly by accident or teenager writing Quality Assurance rules. If someone gets to your drives at a block level via root on your system or by physical access to the server you are pretty well fucked for a dozen reasons anyway.
IMHO overwrites are something to be done when media is about to leave a "secure" area so not something a filesystem, even one like ZFS, should be bothered about.

Re:hard to fault Oracle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45949297)

There were law enforcement types that wanted a PC to be able to save and archive as much information as possible eg. file modifications and not simply "lose them" with overwrites. Then there was another problem with some blocks ending up being used more than others. So the algorithms were designed to cycle through the disk drive blocks. I wonder how much influence this requirement has had over file system design.

Re:hard to fault Oracle (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 8 months ago | (#45948517)

I don't agree. I need local sockets and their performance is atrociously bad on Solaris 10 (no, I cannot use shared memory or the other alternatives). Linux performs something like 30 times better. Thread creation, memory management, etc. are also pretty bad. Unfortunately my customer cannot migrate to Linux at the moment, but they are thinking about it pretty intensely.

Re:hard to fault Oracle (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 8 months ago | (#45948525)

The tech is stellar and arguably better than Linux in many respects, but I agree that with the failure of Sun and Oracle to find addressable market with SPARC and no real chance of displacing Linux on x64 that it really is a dead end now. It's too bad Oracle won't invest any time to port some of the better aspects of Solaris to Linux.

The issue he had was w/ Oracle's pricing of Solaris, and the pricing of their support to the OS, which has effectively killed it. Since Gosling himself had to convert to Linux due to that. He wasn't commenting on any technical aspects to what Solaris now is.

Re:hard to fault Oracle (1)

Cramer (69040) | about 8 months ago | (#45948571)

IMO (shared with many of my peers), Solaris 10 is when it died. And it's entirely because of SMF. It has too much of a Windows Stink(tm) to it... want to change a service configuration, run the SMF equiv of "regedit". The init system has a database -- it replicates ("rolling backup") at startup -- instead of clearly defined, easy to understand, and trivial to edit configuration files. While SMF does add one or two notable features -- automatic dependency trees, parallel startup, error handling... Most of it has already been done with the existing (shell scripted) init framework. And parallel is one of those things that looks good on paper, and sounds good in the conference room, but when actually done just makes a mess. (one any windows users should be very familiar with... the complete inability to use a system for several minutes post-boot because 87 applications are thrashing the disk all trying to start at once. Yes, it's annoying having to sit and watch the machine do nothing for a minute waiting for sendmail's dns lookup to timeout to finish booting, but the start-almost-everything-at-the-same-time alternative is *worse*)

Solaris packaging options (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 8 months ago | (#45948639)

The only thing that (IMO) sucks is the reliance on the sysv style package manager (which they've since replaced with IPS in Solaris 11; not too familiar with it since our company has largely abandoned Solaris thanks to Oracle, but I am of the opinion they should have went with rpm/yum or dpkg/apt).

A better option would have been FreeBSD's combination of Portsng and PBIs

Re:hard to fault Oracle (1)

_merlin (160982) | about 8 months ago | (#45948307)

What? They were doing a pretty good job of pushing you to their AMD servers by making the price/performance ratio of the SPARC gear shit for years.

Re:hard to fault Oracle (1)

hlge (680785) | about 8 months ago | (#45948355)

A few comments.

Oracle isn't ignoring Solaris for Linux, they are actually putting a fair amount of resources behind Solaris, the issue is licensing cost for non Oracle HW and maybe even more the way the treated the budding OpenSolaris community early on, when they closed the doors on Solaris.

One more thing is kinda where they are focusing their efforts, rather than going after new developers, the focus is on Oracle on Oracle. So even if Oracle are investing in Solaris, they are primarily doing so to run the Oracle stack.

If you "admined Solaris for a few years" a few years back, you should take Solaris 11 for a spin, it's surprisingly fresh and the CLI env can either be configured to use GNU tols like most Linux dists does or old school "Solaris", You might like it.

Solaris fees & SPARC (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 8 months ago | (#45948553)

Are you counting 'Sun' as non-Oracle hardware? B'cos the only vendors who really sold Solaris were SPARC based vendors. HP, Dell or any x64 vendor offers only Linux. But the only people who were left high & dry by Oracle's licensing fees were SPARC owners: others could easily go to Linux or any of the BSDs.

Right now, isn't Solaris really a SPARC only OS, since Oracle supports x64 w/ OEL?

Re: Solaris fees & SPARC (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about 8 months ago | (#45948687)

I can't speak for oracle Solaris but all the opensolaris community forks that are based on illumos are pretty much exclusively amd64 now.

Re: Solaris fees & SPARC (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 8 months ago | (#45948733)

Schillix is the one OpenSolaris fork done purely for SPARCs - the intended replacement. How does one replace Solaris on systems where it doesn't exist? Or is the purpose of OpenSolaris to compete against Linux or the BSDs? A futile exercise, since Linux has the traction, and the BSDs the high end features. There is nothing that OpenSolaris offers x64 users not offered by either of the other 2.

Gosling's Solaris alternatives? (2)

unixisc (2429386) | about 8 months ago | (#45948495)

From Gosling's Solaris grade of F-

I have had to convert all my Solaris systems to Linux. I weep'.

What has he done - gone w/ Debian? Since Red Hat seems to have stopped supporting the SPARC ages ago, and I'm assuming that Gosling's Solaris systems are SPARCstations or similar. Which makes me wonder - couldn't he have gone w/ OpenIndiana or Schillix? Especially since it seems to have been more recent? I'm assuming that the BSDs were not an option, since he probably wants an SVR4 based Unix.

Re: Gosling's Solaris alternatives? (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about 8 months ago | (#45948701)

Probably SusE, its the best choice.

http://en.opensuse.org/openSUSE:SPARC

Re:Gosling's Solaris alternatives? (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 8 months ago | (#45949347)

What has he done - gone w/ Debian? Since Red Hat seems to have stopped supporting the SPARC ages ago, and I'm assuming that Gosling's Solaris systems are SPARCstations or similar. Which makes me wonder - couldn't he have gone w/ OpenIndiana or Schillix? Especially since it seems to have been more recent? I'm assuming that the BSDs were not an option, since he probably wants an SVR4 based Unix.

Or he could have regular x86 machines. Solaris is available on x86 as well, not just Sparc.

Re:hard to fault Oracle (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 8 months ago | (#45948857)

for ignoring solaris in favor of linux

I admined solars for years and it was always a confusing blend of bsd and system v, it is hard to imagine how much cruft could have built up over the past three decades. It is not difficult to see how focusing on linux would seem appealing

But didn't Sun move away from BSDisms when they moved from BSD based SunOS to SVR4 based Solaris?

Ignoring their x86 servers in favor of selling pricey sparc gear (because the sales reps made bigger commissions) was part of the reason that sun passed away in the first place

But had they gone w/ x86 servers, they'd have been trampled by the likes of Dell, HP/Compaq/DEC, IBM - all of who were far more established in that space. Besides, had they gone w/ x86, they'd have been right up against Microsoft Windows Server as well. So it made sense for Sun to stick w/ SPARCS.

What they could have done - try proliferating the market w/ SPARC boxes at different configurations w/ different price points. Solaris for top end servers, FBSD or Linux for SPARC workstations, Linux for SPARC laptops, OBSD for routers, NBSD for consoles and so on. That would have helped the SPARC become popular. As it is, Alpha, PA-RISC & MIPS had folded, so this was a golden opportunity for Sun, and later Oracle, to try proliferating the SPARC as an alternative to x86. Particularly once Apple had abandoned PowerPC for x86.

There were some alternate SPARC vendors like Integrix & Tatung. Had they been able to run w/ Linux/SPARC, that could have been quite a viable platform.

Why bother? (0)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 8 months ago | (#45948009)

Why even read reviews such as this? We know what the pronouncement from the Great Man will be.

As Gaius Marius said, "You all suck!".

Now we know...

who cares. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45948069)

What I really want to know is, what does Ryan Gosling think about this.

Should've sold out to soneone else (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45948075)

If Sun had sold out to Google, those things would have been in much better shape. Hell, even MS would've been better stewards.

Re:Should've sold out to soneone else (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45948149)

If they had sold out to google it would have been discontinued due to google not finding a way to make advertising revenue from it. Oracle are bad, Google are worse. MS "may" have done better, or more likely they too would have let it die off. I think perhaps IBM of 5-10 years ago could have done a good job but even they have gone to shit lately.

Re:Should've sold out to soneone else (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45948341)

What a hilarious and idiotic reply. MS would have killed it or made it proprietary. That's how they role and that's how they'll meet their demise. IBM would have been the ideal steward since practically all of their middleware is dependent on Java.

Re:Should've sold out to soneone else (1)

yuhong (1378501) | about 8 months ago | (#45948547)

What is funny is that MS had a Java Virtual Machine in the late 1990s that was infamous for its extensions that led to a Sun lawsuit which eventually led to it being discontinued.

Re:Should've sold out to soneone else (2)

mark-t (151149) | about 8 months ago | (#45948161)

Google probably would have made a better offer initially if they had reason to suspect how things were going to play out with oracle. Although I'm sure that everybody realized as soon as Oracle had made an offer for Sun that Google would have been a far better choice than Oracle for Sun's IP, I don't think anyone else expected just how colossally bad Oracle was going to be with it.

I have mixed feelings about the idea of MS being a better choice.

Re:Should've sold out to soneone else (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45948317)

There's only one word that anyone needed to know to foresee Snoracle's fate: Larry Ellison. Google must have known that.

MS, despite their many failings, knows how to do languages and platforms. More so than Google, I would say.

Re:Should've sold out to soneone else (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 8 months ago | (#45948561)

There really were no others. One thing Sun could have done was try getting acquired by Red Hat. That would have made an interesting merger

ONE WORD: OLD SCHOOL !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45948109)

who cares !! Nuf said !!

Gooseling types do not sell if you only cry later !! Nuf said !!

It is ORACLE !! Nuf said !!

Go way !! Retread already !! Nuf said !!

DO SOME THING ELSE !! Nuf said !!

oracle and aquisitions (1)

PC_THE_GREAT (893738) | about 8 months ago | (#45948133)

People do not seem to notice, is that, whenever oracle tried to acquire some piece of technology specially software wise, that piece of software/tech tends to perish, notable examples are Openoffice (when oracle acquired it, luckilly now that's apache'd), MySQl (luckilly the community revived it through MariaDB). You don't hear much about these anymore. Agreed they did acquire a lot more of software out there that.. well you never hear much of.

I wouldn't be surprised if oracle has a magic algorithm to screw up fine projects, and one would have thought having such huge financial backing will just enhance products, such doesn't seem the case.

I'm still sad... (2)

gwolf (26339) | about 8 months ago | (#45948207)

That MySQL's space was/is being transferred to MariaDB, instead of just dying a relatively quick death.

Why bother with MySQL if you can just migrate over to PostgreSQL? Yes, of course, some of the weirdest bits won't work, and errors will now (for a change!) actually interrupt your work instead of silently losing information. But it seemed like a good way to kill that ugly beast!

Re:oracle and aquisitions (1)

TopSpin (753) | about 8 months ago | (#45948227)

that piece of software/tech tends to perish

Except when it doesn't. VirtualBox hasn't perished.

A colleague of mine speculated that perhaps Oracle had forgotten about VirtualBox and thus it has been spared the obligatory ruining. Perhaps there is a gang of hard core emulator developers quietly slipping in and out of the building each day, carefully avoiding notice.

Netbeans does actually suck less than Eclipse. That's a low bar, to be sure, but it appears to be acquiring more users than it is repulsing, so there's another counterpoint.

Re:oracle and aquisitions (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 8 months ago | (#45948257)

Perhaps there is a gang of hard core emulator developers quietly slipping in and out of the building each day, carefully avoiding notice.

Hey, that has worked before [youtube.com] .

Re:oracle and aquisitions (1)

PC_THE_GREAT (893738) | about 8 months ago | (#45948531)

hahaha true!

Re:oracle and aquisitions (1)

stiggle (649614) | about 8 months ago | (#45949009)

VirtualBox has a commerical revenue stream.

Basically when Oracle took over they went around all the departments and asked them what their revenue stream was and so justify their existance within Oracle.

Re:oracle and aquisitions (3, Informative)

Y2K is bogus (7647) | about 8 months ago | (#45948589)

This comment, and the other 3 that replied to it before me, show a huge lack of knowledge or care. Oracle isn't very transparent, but it only takes a small amount of effort to see that neither MySQL or VirtualBox are in danger of perishing. There are many people who left Oracle/Sun/MySQL for Percona and MariaDB/SkySQL, but most of those people left for their own reasons and *many* left before and Sun or Oracle influence was upon them.

I get to see it from the inside, and MySQL is growing and has more market share than either of the other competitors. The newest developments are really spectacular improvements. I get to see the walled garden from the inside, and it's anything but dying, it is in better shape as a product than it has ever been. Oracle is anything but stupid and doesn't have a track record of making stupid decisions with their products, which can't be said for some companies. Oracle is putting a lot of resources into MySQL to make it even better.

VirtualBox is a fairly decent team and they are not just working on VirtualBox, there is a reason it continues to be developed and the technology doesn't have a dead end to it.

I think that most of the comments I've read are uneducated and purely people spouting off uninformed opinions mixed with conjecture and hyperbole. The people I work with are the brightest group of people I've ever had the privilege of working with, there are some really notable folks that work on MySQL and you wouldn't know it unless you paid attention to the blogosphere.

To know Oracle... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45948157)

To know Oracle is to hate Oracle.

An Oracle Field Engineer shared the secret meaning for the name, "oracle".
One
Rich
Arse
Called
Larry
Ellison

No mention of SPARC? (5, Insightful)

kry73n (2742191) | about 8 months ago | (#45948279)

SPARC has seen more advances in the 4 years under ORACLE then in the previous 15 years under Sun. I actually enjoy reading about their tech every now and then. But unless they open up Solaris again to attract the open source community the only thing that keeps it alive is backwards compatibility of legacy software.

Re:No mention of SPARC? (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45948353)

All of the work that you're seeing now on SPARC was started well before ORACLE picked up. What happens in the next 5 will be most telling of ORACLE's influence.

Hardware, unlike software, has a very long lead time (years).

From Larry's perspective, source code is the most valuable asset. Thus they want to keep as much of it behind closed doors as possible. That's the lesson he learned from developing the database business that is ORACLE's foundation. And there is only one opinion that counts in the company: Larry's.

Re:No mention of SPARC? (2)

thogard (43403) | about 8 months ago | (#45948387)

What advances would that be? The ones out of Fujitsu? The T chips are just now catching up with workloads that they can run reasonably. I have work loads that a 15 year old Sparc IIi will out perform a few year old T2. The V100 was a $1000 appliance box yet the base T2 was selling for more than $6,000. If the UltraSparc IIIi was made at 22 nm (unlike its original 130 nm) and it would scream for most web appliance roles. It would even be a nice cpu for the Lights Out Management system and it could even run Solaris unlike their current LOM which is running Linux.

Re:No mention of SPARC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45948661)

I don't entirely disagree, but the T1 was quite a revolutionary chip - massively multi-core for the time, and the multi-threaded idea was pretty new too - I saw workloads that struggled on a multi-CPU multi-core intel box fly on a T2000 with an 8-core T1 CPU. Of course, you could flatten the T2000 by running two gzips at the same time. It was all about the workload.

The Fujitsu chips are really quite nice, too....

Re:No mention of SPARC? (3, Interesting)

unixisc (2429386) | about 8 months ago | (#45948575)

He did grade SPARC. He said that it was tough to tell, since SPARC was floundering well before Oracle took over.

SPARC is interesting, but for the OpenSPARC/sparc.org consortium. I don't see how Oracle gains squat by promoting SPARC: the only reason SPARC is alive is Fujitsu SPARC64. Otherwise, SPARC would have been EOLed, just like the SPARCstations.

I think SPARC has a limited market, since routers are now MIPS and maybe ARM, consoles were MIPS & Power and moving to AMD, servers are x64 and later maybe ARM64.

Re:No mention of SPARC? (1)

Cramer (69040) | about 8 months ago | (#45948699)

And yet, it's still a decade behind. Low clocked RISC processors are just too damned slow for many modern applications. Sure, it can run many threads in parallel, but the answer from each one will be 5x (or more) slower than their cheap, commodity Xeon and Opteron competition.

(@ 20k+ for a SPARC T4 server, I can buy a dozen (or more) x64 servers)

An F- for the handling of Solaris (2)

vikingpower (768921) | about 8 months ago | (#45948331)

is totally merited. Solaris was and still is brilliant, one of the best operating systems ever made. The scalability and reliability are legendary. I do not know of any OS that can run on a tiny PC AND on a big-mama cluster with exactly the same code. Solaris is another example of how mergers and corporate acquisitions boil down, most of the time, to sheer destruction of capital. Observed that with tiny companies and start-ups as well as with mega-mergers & acquisitions. Solaris is dead, and I concur with Gosling: I weep.

Solaris name dead, but OSS code lives on (3, Informative)

Marsell (16980) | about 8 months ago | (#45948417)

While Solaris itself is no longer relevant outside of some enterprise niches, it has an actively-developed OSS fork named "illumos", developed by former-Sun hackers working at several different private companies. There are several distributions -- I use SmartOS in particular, and OmniTI's OmniOS is also excellent.

Re:Solaris name dead, but OSS code lives on (3, Informative)

unixisc (2429386) | about 8 months ago | (#45948597)

Illumos is itself an x64 only OS, which makes it worthless for most Solaris users who run it on SPARC, but there is a derivative of that, called Schillix, which is a SPARC specific open Solaris.

Re:An F- for the handling of Solaris (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45948471)

The Linux kernel actually runs unmodified on tiny ARM microprocessors (much smaller than your typical low-end smartphone); right up to the largest single-system-image machines ever made (the 4096 CPU Altix machines); and the world's most powerful supercomputers.

Now you know of another OS that does it better than Solaris.

Re:An F- for the handling of Solaris (2)

unixisc (2429386) | about 8 months ago | (#45948579)

is totally merited. Solaris was and still is brilliant, one of the best operating systems ever made. The scalability and reliability are legendary. I do not know of any OS that can run on a tiny PC AND on a big-mama cluster with exactly the same code.

How about the BSDs? NetBSD? FreeBSD? OpenBSD?

Re:An F- for the handling of Solaris (4, Interesting)

upuv (1201447) | about 8 months ago | (#45948727)

I completely agree. Solaris "was" a great OS. With some very notable monster issues. Oracle has effectively killed Solaris. I simple can't use it anymore. The licensing costs of it and the software that runs on it are more than my total IT budget. Despite it's fantastic attributes I can no longer afford to put this in my Datacenter. With on demand virtualisation I can not afford to have to worry about things like. "Am I going to violate my license conditions if I spin up X more?"

I had an Oracle sale rep try to sell my that ridiculous Oracle stack in a box Exadata/logic. I was almost crying in laughter by the end of the sales presentation. 2/3 of the way through I stood up and wrote on the white board "Tell me how this isn't vendor lock in?". I called time at the 1 hour mark. I ended the meeting with the simple statement. Everything you have shown me is all about "vendor lock in" every word out of your mouths just re-enforced this concept. I had one question for you the entire meeting and you simple could not in any way respond to it.

So I priced everything I might need on Amazon. Using free and commercial AMI's with the odd vendor SW package tossed in. My first year spend was 1/25th of the Exadata discounted opening price. Nothing on the EC2 list had anything to do with Solaris. This is how you kill something. Make it financially ridiculous.

Issues with Solaris. That should have been addressed in the Oracle years.
- Package manager was brain dead. apt, yum are far better. ( Sorry Solaris 11 was too late. Too much legacy out there. )
- Patching made no sense. You have no idea what packages are patched with a patch. Patches were just binary disk vomit that spewed crud all over the system. Impossible in the real world to build any sort of verification around them. ( Sorry Solaris 11 was too late. Too much legacy out there. )
- Zones: Are a nightmare of security and privilege. I don't care what any says a zone is just a change root jail. Which means you will only every be as up-to-date as the host system. And it means you must be compatible and tested against the host system. Which is really no different than not having zones. Zones are a horrible horrible mess.
- No dependable only repository of packages that is robust or up to date. Far to much package hunting still required to locate software for solaris. Most packages are months to years behind there linux counterparts.
- Java performs better on x64 than Solaris/SPARC. This has boggled me for years. Only recent sparc architectures let java and other highly threaded applications stacks really perform well. Why do I even have to know about processor binding for processes?

VirtualBox? (5, Interesting)

utkonos (2104836) | about 8 months ago | (#45948351)

Where is the grade for VirtualBox. As opposed to the others on the list, I would give them an A+ for their stewardship of VirtualBox so far. They have released regular updates and bugfixes. I have run into zero problems running Linux, FreeBSD, and Windows in VMs. The UI has gradually improved. The project is still open source, and they actually provide binaries for every major OS.

Re:VirtualBox? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45948393)

I'd agree. I'm a huge fan of Virtual Box and it's kept improving, all the time, no matter which company "owned" it, Innotek, Sun, Oracle. A really great job by everyone involved. I've hardly used VMWare Workstation ever, and as far as I can see, whatever lead that had over Virtual Box years ago, has vanished, in terms of features and compatibility. Virtual Box is certainly smaller than VMWare Workstation.

Re:VirtualBox? (3, Informative)

gweihir (88907) | about 8 months ago | (#45948529)

Indeed. As VmWare networking is now completely unusable, unless you are fine with not being able to ssh-in etc. in the free version, I have moved to Virtual Box, and there are simply no such stupid issues.

Re:VirtualBox? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45948585)

I agree too.

Wow, I can run VM's and I don't need to install a web server to manage them.

Re:VirtualBox? (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 8 months ago | (#45948615)

Definitely. It's great software and hopefully it'll stay that way.

solaris (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about 8 months ago | (#45948621)

Solaris is dead. Long live Solaris!

(Illumos/illumian/Nexenta/SmartOS, that is...)

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