By eschrock on Sep 27, 2004
So my last few posts have sparked quite a bit of discussion out there, appearing on slashdot as well as OSNews. It's been quite an interesting experience, though it's had a significant effect on my work productivity today :-) While I'm not responding to every post, I promise that I'm reading them (and thanks to those of you sending private mail, I promise to respond soon).
I have to say that I've been reasonably impressed with the discussion so far. Slashdot, as usual, leaves something to be desired (even reading at +5), but the comments in my blog and in my email have been for the most part very reasonable. There is a certain amount of typical fanboy drivel (more so on the pro-Linux side, but only because Solaris doesn't have many fanboys). But there's also a reasonable contingent on Slashdot fighting down the baseless arguments of the zealots. In the past, the debate has been rather one-sided. Solaris is usually dismissed as an OS for big computers for people with lots of money. Sun has traditionally let our marketing department do all the talking, which works really well for CEOs and CTOs (our paying customers), but not as well for spreading detailed technical knowledge to the developer community. We're changing our business model - encouraging blogs, releasing Solaris Express, hosting discussions with actual kernel engineers, and eventually open sourcing Solaris - to encourage direct connections with the community at large.
We've been listening to the (often one-sided) discussion for a long time now, and it shows in Solaris. Solaris 10 has killer performance, even on single- and dual-processor x86 machines. Hardware support has been greatly improved (S10 installed on my Toshiba laptop without a hitch). We're focusing on the desktop again, with X.Org integration, Gnome 2.6, Mozilla 1.7, and better open source packages all around. Sure, we're still playing catchup in a lot of ways, but we're learning. I only hope the Linux community can learn from Solaris's strengths, and dismiss many of the Solaris stereotypes that have been implanted (not always without merit) over the course of history. Healthy competition is good, and can only benefit the customer.
As much as I would like to continue this debate forever, I think it's time I get back to doing what I really love - making Solaris into the best OS it can be. I'll probably be focusing on more technical posts for a while, but I'll revive the discussion again at a future point. Until then, feel free to continue posting comments or sending me mail. I do read them, even if I don't respond publicly.