(2\*B) || !(2\*B) Linux under the hood?
By bnitz on Jun 30, 2005
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."