Monday Aug 06, 2007

An opening for Solaris?

There is a sea change under way in desktop computing that could be an opportunity for Solaris. Eric S. Raymond (esr) and Rob Landley wrote a very perceptive essay last year that argued that every time desktop computers have increased the number of bits used to store memory addresses, the dominant platform dies and a new one takes its place. They argue that BASIC was the lingua franca of 8-bit computing (regardless of OS), that the advent of 16-bit machines brought in MS-DOS dominance, and that 32-bit machines brought in Windows.

Now, with 64-bit desktops just coming in, Rob and esr speculate that whatever OS best handles 64 bits, and that has a big enough community writing device drivers, will come to dominance. They also argue, based on history, that this platform will continue to dominate until the next big paradigm shift occurs, which they think won't happen until at least 2050.

I happened to read their essay a few days ago, and thought it interesting, but highly speculative. Then I happened to read this article on CNET that seems to back up their conclusions! Naturally, esr and Rob are hoping that Linux becomes the new dominant paradigm, but why couldn't it be Solaris? Nobody knows more about 64-bit computing than Sun, and we now have a very active driver-writing community. Why not Solaris?

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davidleetodd

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