(2\*B) || !(2\*B) Linux under the hood?

I wasn't at JavaOne to hear what John Loiacono said about the future of JDS on linux. But the only quote I could find was:

"You're going to see less of an emphasis on JDS on Linux," Loiacono said. "The strategy has changed slightly."

Tech news writers are jumping to some wild conclusions based on these 17 words. First of all, Sun certainly isn't abandoning the open source applications and libraries above the kernel that non-technical folk seem to think of as Linux. And Sun just introduced a slick new desktop workstation and a slick new laptop, so they will certainly need a desktop (few of us would recommend polluting it with that expensive but popular O.S.) Sun continues to make Sun Ray server software (SRSS) available for Solaris X86/X64, Solaris Sparc and several flavors of linux. And, especially with the help of Tarentella, Sun Ray clients don't care what O.S. you want to display on your desktop (even that expensive one, it's your money!) So the question remains, does a long term refocus on Solaris and Open Solaris necessarily mean the end of a linux kernel based desktop? Smart business leaders are still looking for alternatives to expensive desktop operating environments and Sun has the technology for several viable alternatives. But whether Solaris, Open Solaris, Linux or something else best meets the needs of Sun customers is something Sun customers will decide. Solaris 10 is now available for X86/X64 and Sparc. Solaris has some awesome enterprise class provisioning, instrumentation, scalability and stability. Solaris's performance is close to (or surpasses) that of linux. Once drivers exist which allow Open Solaris to support most enterprise class hardware, will there still be a reason for a linux kernel under the hood? You tell me, you're the customer, I just work here.

Update: Here is an attempt to unravel the media spin and FUD surrounding the original comment. Customers will decide what "general purpose desktop" means. There are some who can't conceive of a general purpose desktop without Microsoft ABIs, but others may just want a browser, a JVM and the ability to securely run a few applications. Solaris (especially with Sun Ray) is already a cost-effective desktop for these users. On a lighter note, here is an interesting article about the origins of urban legends. It includes the legend which led Mark Twain to quip, "The report of my death was an exaggeration."

Comments:

Do you really think Sun is going to spend the time it takes to make Solaris drivers for most of the x86 hardware configurations out there. At least using the Linux kernal, there was the possibility of getting your hardware to work. Now, with Sun pushing Solaris 10 to the desktop, its going to be very difficult for a consumer to get all his hardware working. Maybe Sun doesn't care about the consumer desktop anymore, and maybe not even the conversion of current desktops. They'd rather just support Solaris 10 running via SunRays in the office.

Posted by guest on June 30, 2005 at 07:24 AM GMT+00:00 #

Yes. Compare this HCL with your favorite linux distribution: http://www.sun.com/bigadmin/hcl/data/sol It might not support every hacked together combination of dodgy X86 hardware, but it only needs to support hardware Sun customers are interested in. Given the progress in the past couple of years, I'm certain that Solaris will run on this subset of x86 hardware. OpenSolaris also has some advantages which could eventually lead to better hardware support:
1) The Solaris kernel has a stable ABI and hardware abstraction layer so you shouldn't have to recompile your kernel every time you get new hardware and you won't have to recompile your hardware drivers every time you get a new kernel. Techies might not care about this, but real end users do.
2) The license doesn't compel hardware manufacturers to release their IP.

Posted by bnitz on June 30, 2005 at 07:46 AM GMT+00:00 #

Take a breath! Solaris - OpenSolaris engineers should carefully review the latest FEDORA Core 4 'generic driver' code as it works with most x86 hardware available. My tests on INTEL and AMD ware support recent web accounts about this 'marvel' of FC4 operation. Brian, multiple SUN personnel have inquired directly about my 'DCD' appliance ware, Hope for the best!

Posted by William R. Walling on June 30, 2005 at 01:54 PM GMT+00:00 #

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