Re: Even x86 is an option for legacy SPARC, these days
One of the reasons I use SPARC is because it can't run code on its stack. That makes it immune to a class of attacks that can bypass firewalls. It is much harder to write Return Oriented Programming exploits for SPARC (and MIPS and ARM and POWER) than it is for X86.
It is also a much smaller target than x86 for hackers so they often just skip the systems.
Code development is just like Linux. Linux has always copied many things from Solaris and while Linux supports far more hardware, is it still catching up with 10 year old features from Solaris such as ZFS and Dtrace and Basic Security Modules. I can get an Linux system to audit every system call but the machine will be so busy doing audit work, it won't be able to do any real work. Any program that will compile on FreeBSD and Linux will most likely compile on SPARC without issue except for the coders that don't understand the "all-the-world's-a-VAX syndrome".
The disadvantage of SPARC today is that I simply don't need the new hardware. I figured their current 1RU offering is something on the order of 4 million percent faster than the $70,000 Suns we had in the mid 90s. Their newest 1RU box would replace a rack and a half of the last new 1RU SPARCS we bought new for the price of 4 of the those machines. I need more than one box for hardware failover, and my load isn't close to stressing the thing out.
I don't see SPARC increasing share unless they come out with a low cost appliance server but I can't see Oracle doing that.