Andrew Morton on OpenSolaris

Linux kernel maintainer allays fears about forking: "Meanwhile, Morton did not put much stock in Sun's rival OpenSolaris project. 'From where I sit, I don't hear much about it. I don't see much evidence of people switching over,' or seriously considering OpenSolaris, said Morton. Sun should have moved off of Solaris and onto Linux, Morton said. 'They've fragmented the non-Windows operating system world and they continue to do so,' he said. But he acknowledged he did not see much chance of Sun moving away from Solaris." -- Andrew Morton

Oh, well. I guess not everyone has to love you, right? I wonder, though, why the jab now? Linus was critical of OpenSolaris recently, too. Anyway, I actually put a lot of stock in Linux -- especially Ubuntu because it's so open to non-technical users like me.

He shouldn't be so quick to write off OpenSolaris. Only a few years ago, his comments could have easily been said about Linux. As the hurdles around participation (especially for developers) continue to be overcome, I think things will get a lot more interesting. A lot of progress on this front has been made, but I think most would agree it needs to continue to improve (which appears to be happening). I suspect some people might be frustrated with the speed at which it's happening, but I view it as the tradeoff for getting things right (as much as that makes sense for the current environment).

Posted by Jason on August 07, 2007 at 05:18 PM JST #

I think the point is more about joining forces against Windows. The efforts in the non-Windows OS camp are split up ("fragmented"). Morton would have preferred Sun to contribute valuable parts of Solaris to Linux (as IBM did with AIX). That way you have a product with the advantages of Solaris and those of Linux.

Instead, now people are talking about what lincense Sun could give Solaris so that code exchange with Linux is possible. Sun wants Linux' drivers, Linux wants ZFS and DTrace. The obvious route would have been to donate ZFS and DTrace to Linux, but then Sun would have lost too much control over the OS, which is a bit of a problem if you position yourself as a systems and solutions provider. Or is it? IBM seems to be doing quite well...

Posted by Stephan Jaensch on August 07, 2007 at 05:55 PM JST #

@ Stephan Jaensch:

"Sun wants Linux' drivers"

No Sun doesn't. Linux drivers won't do Sun any good. The code is almost completely unusable from a driver perspective. I hear this excuse repeated over and over again, and yet no proof.

In fact, if you read the mailing lists on, you will see that many Sun folks have stated that Linux drivers won't do us any good.

The real fact of the matter is that the GPL world enjoys cannibalizing the best parts of every other world, but won't give back any changes under the original license (BSD, etc.).

They would love nothing more than to pick the good parts out of Solaris, and then leave it for dead.

Posted by Shawn Walker on August 07, 2007 at 09:40 PM JST #

isn't the fact that people asked him about opensolaris enough to prove him wrong? 2 years ago nobody asked him about solaris.

the drivers issue is just not accurate, hardware advances too fast, most of the linux drivers will be only usefull for old computers in very little time and linux doesnt even have a stable api for them, that means a lot has to be rewritten each time

Posted by nacho on August 08, 2007 at 01:13 AM JST #

"Oh, well. I guess not everyone has to love you, right? I wonder, though, why the jab now?"

Maybe he's just tired of people asking "when do we get ZFS?". Or the Solaris guys constantly praising ZFS and Dtrace (which are really nice products, please don't get me wrong) and telling everyone that Linux has nothing comparable? It's the same with the \*BSDs. If you look at the Linux camp, people just don't care. I mean.. they don't compare themselfs to Solaris or BSD, while on the other hand I got the impression that Sun or the BSD camp is doing that all the time.
"Hey look, we are faster than you on this benchmark"
"Linux code quality is horrible"
"ZFS and Dtrace are the sh\*t and people using XFS on Linux are pure amateurs"
"Trusted Solaris rules and SELinux doesn't..."

And what do we get out of this? \*NOTHING\* The only one laughing is Microsoft. Anyone remembers the Unix wars?.. I think we should just stick together. As long as it's free Unix I'm fine with it.

And what I also don't get.. Sun is selling Linux servers. And from what I've heard the business with the Opteron servers on Linux is doing really great. So what about that? You've got a competitor in your own bed ;)

Posted by dennis on August 08, 2007 at 03:34 AM JST #

Quoting Jonathan Schwartz:

"Are we after your drivers? No more than you're after ZFS or Crossbow or dtrace - it's not predation, it's prudence. Let's stop wasting time recreating wheels we both need to roll forward."


Posted by Stephan Jaensch on August 08, 2007 at 10:37 AM JST #


Sorry, but Jonathan doesn't know what he's talking about. He isn't a programmer and obviously doesn't know that the Linux drivers mean nothing to Solaris users. I still maintain that Sun is not after Linux drivers despite what Jonathan says.

Sun engineers have made it very clear that they would be essentially worthless to us, and that is the only view I'm interested in.

Quote away, but your quotes are meaningless.

Posted by Shawn Walker on August 08, 2007 at 03:06 PM JST #

The latest comments from this guy (Morton, I mean) are pretty shrill. He doesn't sound too happy that he's being asked about OpenSolaris. Heck, get used to it, dude! :) We are asked about Linux every day! It's part of the media game. And that's what I write about a lot ... that we in the OpenSolaris community are sometimes distracted by all the focus on Linux. I've always praised the Linux community for their community-building and felt that we could (and should) learn from their efforts. I'm beginning to feel differently now.

Posted by Jim Grisanzio on August 08, 2007 at 03:39 PM JST #

The distinction that needs to be made is between compatibility and feature. The Solaris team (and the OSol Community) would love to have the breadth of hardware compatibility that Linux has, not specifically the drivers that Linux has. There is nothing specific about the Linux features that make the drivers exceptionally desirable, just that they already exist. On the other hand, the Linux world would love to have ZFS and Dtrace, because they represent features and technologies that the Linux community cannot itself develop.

Posted by Stephen Potter on August 08, 2007 at 05:51 PM JST #

"Oh, well. I guess not everyone has to love you, right?"
I would just say - Chemistry happens.

Posted by mikey on August 08, 2007 at 07:12 PM JST #

I don't think linux and solaris merging will do any good to either linux or solaris. The goal of the linux or solaris comunity should be to satisfy their custommers and not some nonsese like "crushing windows".

I think microsoft can take zfs and dtrace and incorporate in windows, now that would be interesting ... But probably "not invented here" is a disease that quite a few people have over there...

Posted by zoly on October 03, 2007 at 08:57 PM JST #

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