back to article Five years of Sun software under Oracle: Were the critics right?

Back in 2010, critics worried that Sun Microsystems' software portfolio would wither on the vine once Oracle got its hands on it. Five years on and the worst fears have proven baseless, yet former Sun diehards have had plenty to be disappointed about since Larry Ellison & Co gobbled the former server heavyweight. Although Sun …


    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Solaris was already loosing market share to Linux by the time Sun open sourced Solaris. It was almost a last throw of the dice to keep Solaris relevant (and alive)

  1. btrower

    Yes. The critics were right

    For my money Java, MySQL, OpenOffice and VirtualBox all suffered. Sun machines and Solaris used to be fairly common in places I traveled, but no more.

    Oracle is a company bent on serving Oracle/Larry to the exclusion of anything else. It seems to be a culture that values 'winning' regardless of whether or not it diminishes net wealth all round.

    I am mystified as to why people stick with Java when it is *clearly* encumbered by Oracle. A proprietary programming language cannot and should not have a future.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Yes. The critics were right

      I disagree on the MySQL bit. I don't like it much as a database but I have one project which is dependent upon it and there's no doubt in my mind that Oracle's stewardship of MySQL is better by far than MySQL's own where being fast seemed to trump being reliable.

      Of course, the big winner out of the takeover has been Postgres with companies like EnterpriseDB picking up lucrative contracts from those fleeing Big Red.

      Picking a fight with Google over Java was stupid. Android finally gave Java the mass market of developers it had been craving. And now that market will go wherever Google leads it.

      1. A. Lloyd Flanagan

        Re: Yes. The critics were right

        "where being fast seemed to trump being reliable."

        But that's exactly the niche MySQL was designed for -- things like web applications where an occasional data failure could be tolerated but high performance was a must. If it sacrifices performance for reliability, it's playing catch up to PostgreSQL, and it has a long way to go.

    2. smackbean

      Re: Yes. The critics were right

      "I am mystified as to why people stick with Java when it is *clearly* encumbered by Oracle"

      So I'm developing say a web application with a Java back-end. How is Oracle 'ecnumbering' any part of the process I go through?

      If you are 'mystified', you probably have not used, do not know Java - or failed to use it correctly when you did.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yes. The critics were right

        ""I am mystified as to why people stick with Java when it is *clearly* a sluggish PoS with more security holes than an sieve?"

        There, fixed it for you...

  2. PowerBenny

    These things take time and 5 years is a blink of the eye

    In large corporations the 5 year time frame has not yet given enough time to see the effects of Oracle's stewardship. Many of us are signed up for multi-year subscription deals and it is only as those come to an end that any thought of departure will arise. Once it does it then takes years to plan an execute the migration.

    For myself we're just at the start of what will be a long journey away from Oracle WebLogic and onto open source middleware. It has taken until recently for regulators, auditors and high-up decision makes to get comfortable with the idea of using open source application servers for mission critical platforms in highly regulated financial industries. Now that we are happy with this move then Oracle will shortly be receiving the unwelcome news that we are not going to be renewing the multi-million pound contract.

    I'm sure we can't be the only ones who are only just getting to this position?

  3. asdf Silver badge

    wait a minute

    A SUN/Oracle article and no posts by everyone's favorite self appointed expert Matty B?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: wait a minute

      "self appointed expert Matty B?"

      Nah, she's up there a few posts above yours.

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: wait a minute

        Wasn't there when I posted originally but yeah some things are predictable.

  4. Blue Pumpkin

    Whatever ...

    Having been through DEC, Sun and others (not Oracle thankfully), still nothing comes close to VMS clusters ...

    Never underestimate the power of crappy operating systems and databases in large numbers ...

  5. Phil Koenig

    VirtualBox is the only clear winner, to me

    I hated what Oracle did with a lot of the Sun products, including pulling support and even the ability to download a BIOS ROM for old workstations without buying a pricy service contract - but VirtualBox has become (remained?) probably the most useful Oracle software product to me, particularly because it is still accessible to anyone without having to pay a king's ransom, and it works well.

    On the other hand, every single time I install a Java JRE update, I am reminded of how much I hate Oracle, since they provide "fake" options to disable various annoying features which, like clockwork, re-enable themselves without notice every single time you do a bugfix update, or even before then. (One of my long-held pet peeves: SW that wants to "pre-load" itself and suck up continuous resources on a computer when it is not being used, simply because it makes the SW look less like a sluggish albatross when you eventually actually have a reason to use it and 80% of it is already sitting there in memory, playing "memory sponge".)

  6. ImpureScience

    Somewhat Pleasantly Surprised

    When Sun was for sale I was hoping against hope that IBM would buy it instead of Oracle. I was in corporate IT when Oracle was young, and we knew them as a bunch of, well, tellers of things not intended to be taken as true statements, while at least IBM has amazing engineers if questionable management and strategy. I'm happy and a bit surprised to see that Java and MySQL have survived, since I spent a large part of my career working with them, especially Java.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just because some Sun people left, including some prominent ones, doesn't mean everyone left behind is a moron... it is insulting to many engineers who have been working on Solaris for many years and delivered (and still do) many interesting features. Then Oracle has been hiring in Solaris Engineering and the team is now bigger than during the Sun days.

    Also, to suggest that Solaris is stagnating is pure ignorance (or worse). Under Oracle there's been a continues stream of improvements and new features. The main difference is that all of it is happening behind a closed doors so there is much less (almost nothing) talk about them in OSS communities. Which is a shame. If anything it is Linux still catching up to Solaris (both x86 and SPARC) in many areas. BTRFS is still years away to be in position to compete with ZFS (and see how ZoL is popular), apart from Oracle's Linux there is still no DTrace equivalent on Linux - yes, there is a bunch of other tools which can get the same job done, but usually it is much harder to use them and most importantly still risky in production environments. Solaris Zones (and now Kernel Zones as well) are still ahead of Linux containers. SMF is still much better and mature than SystemD. There is still no Linux equivalent to Boot Environments which are great (fast, reliable OS updates, etc.) nor to FMA, Solaris does fast reboot in a safe way and most Linux distros (commercial) do not have kexec (which is similar), etc.

    Having said that in the foreseeable future the commodity market for server OS is down to Linux and Windows, and iit is not clear that it is Windows loosing the battle in enterprise... but if you need additional features then Solaris is often a better choice than Linux, and in most cases it is cheaper. You can run it on the same x86 HW as Linux and support cost is similar to RedHat.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      " and iit is not clear that it is Windows loosing the battle in enterprise"

      The Windows share of the Server market is still growing in fact.

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Java doing fine?

    Well, sort of if you ask me... On one hand there is indeed quite a lot of enterprise software - on the other though you see more and more home-user machines - especially Windows ones - which do not even have JRE installed and do just fine without it. The fact both Java 7 and 8 runtimes are still somewhat glitchy GUI-wise under Linux doesn't help either.

  10. A. Lloyd Flanagan

    Java is the new COBOL?

    That's a pretty good comparison, actually. A huge base of installed software and siloed programmers, on top of a language that was long ago surpassed by a number of alternatives. Desperate attempts to stay relevant which are not gaining converts (anybody remember Object COBOL?).


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