Sun Microsystems has moved one mailing list posting closer to explaining how it plans to mimic the Linux distribution model with OpenSolaris. Developer Glynn Foster, seen here molesting a beer, has described Sun's so-called "Project Indiana" in mostly coherent detail. Sun plans to back a more elaborate delivery mechanism for …
It's About Time
As an outsider to the Solaris community that's been interested in trying it out, let me say that it's about damn time this happens. If you go to the OpenSolaris web site, all bright eyed and eager to download a new operating system, you will walk away in bitter disappointment. Sure, it says the word "open" in two dozen languages on the web page, but when you go hunting for an installer disk to download, suddenly you are cast into a maze. Nevada builds? What the hell is Nevada? Oh, it's what they're calling the OpenSolaris code base. You'll need to download these components and build them. Well, how do I install it? Oh, you can't do that, you need to have a Solaris machine up already to build on. But you can get started if you go to Sun's site and download their Solaris Express Enterprise Pro Champion Edition (after dutifully registering), and then enjoy that pleasant install experience. And when that's done, you still have the work ahead of you of getting ON (what the hell is that? Oh, OS and Network. Sorry, I don't work at Sun) built and updated. Did I miss anything? We haven't gotten to packages to make the system usable yet.
I just want an ISO that says OpenSolaris and installs THE OpenSolaris system. In a usable state. Then I'll be able to test my apps against it and claim they work. "Well, it runs on Belenix" doesn't quite feel the same, does it?
Ashlee Vance, always the senseless Sun critic (sometimes rightfully so, but more often not) misses the point, as usual, in eagerness to bash Sun. I look forward to downloading this disk when it is available.
If they're going to imitate an OS...
...can it have Debian's package management please? That'd be nice :)
Debian package tools
In answer to Robert Grant, it should only have Debian's package manager when crap like aptitude doesn't crash every other time it's run.
It would really help if the article was more structured, sentences shorter, and overall if it made sense.
I'm a user of OpenSolaris Community Edition and just a little aware of Indiana. But this article doesn't make any sense to me.
Ashlee, if you want to make a point to other people rather than just to yourself, then it helps to explain things and maybe to say less but more clearly.
Yes, it's long overdue...
I agree with the first poster, and it is for this reason that I have stuck largely with the "proper" Solaris versions, which are free to download. They're somewhat behind on hardware support (but they *are* the stable versions, to be fair, and you don't want cutting-edge, untested code in a stable tree).
I think Red Hat has an appropriate mantra: "First, they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win." Sun has taken a while to wake up, and the fact of the matter is, having an OS that can be installed by someone who doesn't have a Sun certification is important - especially when the competition (Linux) does, particularly when it comes to easy-to-try distros like Ubuntu/Kubuntu that combine the flexibility of Knoppix for those who want to give it a try without mucking around with installers, but with an easy-to-use installer for those who want to install it properly.
Mindshare is an important thing, and Sun's management has been asleep at the wheel for some time. It's all very well to focus on customers with millions of dollars to spend on big iron that does hardware redundancy and failover, but you never know whether some new technology will come along in the future that makes their business model redundant. Never say never - look at the music industry if you need a proof of concept. In the meantime, the familiarity with Linux will have grown to a point where *it* is now mainstream, and the cost of training people to use Solaris will weigh heavily against Sun when the business justifications for the OS are made. People go with what they know, and if you make your product hard-to-reach, expect it to fall by the wayside.
There are plenty of good OSes besides Solaris and Linux. But how many people do you know running their business on QNX, for example? Or a BSD? They exist, sure (I know a certain well-known AV vendor whose name means "clever" in Greek, who runs on BSD) - but these businesses certainly don't represent the majority. Most people will run Windows, because it comes with the PCs they buy, or Linux - because it's easy to set up and use. The BSDs have typically been less user-friendly to set up (particularly when it came to graphics support), and as a result Linux has stolen most of the free OS thunder. It wasn't the first free, open-source OS to grace the planet - no, but it was the first to enter peoples' conciousness. But it took Linux a good 15 or so years to get that momentum.
Sun doesn't have 15 years. When Linux is 30, it will be more than a force to be reckoned with - it will probably be the de-facto standard in computing. With the "advent" of Vista, Microsoft has sown the seeds of its own downfall: When people realise that an ancient Mac Plus beats Windows XP and Vista in more than 50% of tests (but with a pathetic fraction of the memory, CPU power and hard disc space available), people will wonder why they are continuing to pay Microsoft more money to make their PCs slower, more expensive and less functional then they used to be. Linux isn't the paragon of efficiency (BeOS/Haiku is closer), but it's way better than Windows.
If they're going to imitate an OS...
...might as well get Arch Linux's package management, Pacman. Actually, why waste time on anything else, just get Arch. Yes, I love it, and yes I think I have finally found a distro worth sticking with.
"First, they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win."
Red Hat might be using this, but it's actually attributed to a certain famous Indian lad...
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