OpenSolaris vs Windows

Handicapping the Windows 7 Alternatives: "OpenSolaris has the pedigree to be a real challenger to Windows." -- Randall Kennedy

Nice to see our shinny new distro being compared to Windows in these early stages. Who knows, maybe after a couple of revs this year we'll start gabbing some share from Microsoft. Imagine that. And they said we'd be dead by now.

Microsoft right now has their OS hands full. Not to pill on but Vista is a failure. They are having to force people now to use it and that is in poor taste. People who do have to use it think it's a pathetic OS and most of these people are not the ones who usually complain about Windows or even have an opinion about an OS.

I really don't like Vista in that it is very hard to do anything, you have to click and click to get to the setting only to find out they moved to to make it easier?

Right now there are a few other options for people, MacOSX is ripe for the picking and loads of people are moving to Apple for solutions. Not only in the iPod and iPhone space. Problem is Corporate type companies have built the entire desktop and in some cases server infrastructure on Windows. It's going to take a firm hand to move them from what is a failing OS road map with no real solution in site.

We are currently at a cross-road in IT and not many people are recognizing it. CIOs are really in denial and while the highly technical and well-read people in IT can see the writing on the walls, the managers and C level contacts would rather ignore it. While of course this is not true everywhere it's more common than not.

Ubuntu, OpenSuSE, and OpenSolaris are getting better with each release and we should see some real traction in the up coming years with all of these products. While I still think they have problems, they are not so great they can't be overcome. In the end it's going to all boil down to simplicity. The OS has to be simple . The Open projects also have to stop placing so much focus on Microsoft and really focus on simple, I know that sounds simple, but simple will get you more traction than just trying to beat Windows. If you stand for something that will make more impact than trying to unseat the incumbent!

Posted by David Vasta on June 17, 2008 at 03:43 PM JST #

"OpenSolaris has the pedigree to be a real challenger to Windows."


I think that OpenSolaris is better than Windows and MacOSX. I am saving money to build a desktop dedicated to OpenSolaris and not pirated Windows or Hackintosh. A friend at the lab asked me one week ago why not converting to OSX and buy a Mac since Windows are dead. (I am dual-booting FC9/PCBSD1.5.1).

My simple answer was : With Solaris open sourced "Into the Wild" Win/Mac is a NO-GO!!!!!!

PS "Into the Wild : A fantastic movie with the most profound social message. I will not tell you. Jut watch it."

Posted by Vasileios Anagnostopoulos on June 17, 2008 at 07:11 PM JST #

Oh my, the fantasy starts again. I love (Open)Solaris as much as anyboedy else out there. But to dream that Solaris is a replacement for my desktop, nah. Ain't going to happen. I just hope and pray that (Open)Solaris community doesn't waste too much time on this 'jihad' instead focussing on the server side. It'd be a waste of time to pursue the desktop.

Posted by Anantha on June 17, 2008 at 10:42 PM JST #

I bet you know how many Sun Employees use MacBook (Pro) as primary computer for daily work.

Why not OpenSolaris ?

OS X is a much better one as an alternative.

Posted by Wilson on June 18, 2008 at 12:50 AM JST #

1. I don't think MacOSX is apart of the problem that Windows is.
2. Stop calling it Hackintosh. It muddies your argument and seems childish.
3. The Desktop is important, but you have to have servers to manage it, and deliver everything MS offers, only better. While I suggest you not pay any attention to Windows you still have to fill the void.
4.I think Mac is a nice demonstration in what an OS that is UNIX based should start to look like. SIMPLE. Keep the OS Simple.

Thanks for the good comments. It's nice to read other people who like OpenSolaris and get the challenge that is ahead for IT.

Posted by David Vasta on June 18, 2008 at 02:39 AM JST #

> The Open projects also have to stop placing so much
> focus on Microsoft and really focus on simple, I know
> that sounds simple, but simple will get you more
> traction than just trying to beat Windows. If you
> stand for something that will make more impact
> than trying to unseat the incumbent!

I totally agree with this, David.

Posted by Jim Grisanzio on June 18, 2008 at 05:40 AM JST #

Vasileios ... thanks for the movie tip. :) And I agree that with OpenSolaris out there now it could change things in the market, especially since guys like you are noticing that. OS is better in some ways, but we still have much work to do in other areas.

Posted by Jim Grisanzio on June 18, 2008 at 05:45 AM JST #

Anantha ... oh, there's no jihad in the OpenSolaris community. Not even close, actually. In fact, our community is remarkably detached from such competitive issues for the most part (which I think is good), and so is the Solaris market. That's one of the characteristics of this market/community. There are some exceptions, of course, but in general the leadership of the community is distributed widely, so that decreases the changes for big movements focused on one competitor or another. The Sun engineers are focused on building the best product based on the strengths of Solaris but where another OS is strong we need to look at what they are doing so we are not missing out on an important idea or segment of the market or trend. And Sun will be competitive, surely, just as any company would be and I support that totally. However, I pointed to the article above because I was surprised that the writer put OpenSolaris in the same comparison as Linux, Mac, and Windows. That's extremely rare. Usually we are seen as strong on the server side but dismissed on the desktop. I view that is a gigantic leap forward in changing perceptions -- primarily because the product itself is now pretty competitive even in these early stages. I stress that it's very early, though. The target market for the OpenSolaris distro is clearly higher end users and application developers, but if we move into others areas as a result of some of the innovations coming along so much the better. (None of this changes our server strategy, however, but I'm really only involved in OpenSolairs at the moment.) I've been waiting for MS to attack OpenSolaris. Thus far they have ignored us because we have not been a threat, but who knows, maybe that will change this year. :) I'm specifically looking for attacks to come from Steve Ballmer, too. I've talked about this before.

Posted by Jim Grisanzio on June 18, 2008 at 05:58 AM JST #

Wilson ... many people have Macs here, sure, but that's to be expected. The technology is quite good, and that will attract a user base in any engineering company. Also, some OpenSolaris technologies have been ported to the Mac (DTrace, ZFS), so there are now community engineering relationships developing. That's all good. And most of the Mac users I see have OpenSolaris on there running in virtualization. I see Windows here too, but to a lesser extent. Also, remember a lot of our software runs on these other platforms, and in the case of Windows we have some new relationships with MS where our our servers run Windows and we support it. I'm not really that familiar what those operations, so I can't say much, but I have no problem with multiple OSs around. Personally, I run OpenSolaris on my laptop. Every few months or so, I switch to Linux and run that as my main laptop OS, and at home I use Mac.

Posted by Jim Grisanzio on June 18, 2008 at 06:08 AM JST #

I'll believe in progress when I see the Sun crew stop hauling Mac kit around. Of course, we hear the OpenSolaris is targeted for the so-called "developer". Last I checked, developers are consumers too, and they like to play DVDs out of the box, edit and maintain their photos, download music, find an installable FireFox 3 on download day, etc. Oh sure, the Mac faithful within Sun will pay some lip service to OpenSolaris by dutifully pointing out that they run 2008.05 inside VirtualBox or something on their nifty Mac. But, in fact, the key indicator I'm watching for is when they switch to OpenSolaris on bare metal. It's a class system, sort of. You "developers" want to watch DVDs on OpenSolaris? Great, go have your fun downloading mplayer or xine, building it, fixing the compile errors and removing all of the Linux assumptions in the code, chatting on IRC about why some codec isn't recognized, going back and forth on the mailing lists for days, until finally you may be able to get a command line version going that will play a DVD for maybe 30 minutes before dying with a SEGV. After all, that's what you developers like to do, right, and we hear that you actually enjoy this sort of thing! The rest of us, err, will just revert to core MacOSX functionality whenever OpenSolaris doesn't meet our needs. That would be for things like web browsing, email, multimedia, chat, photos. Not stuff, of course, that any real developers would want.

Break, or least make some inroads into the artificial and contrived developer vs. consumer barrier, and I believe OpenSolaris will have a chance.

Posted by Pete on June 18, 2008 at 06:43 AM JST #

Pete ...

You make a lot of good points. I guess I think that if someone is using a Mac and it's easy for them to also use OpenSolaris then that's a plus. One step at a time. Although I don't have a problem with people using Macs here, there are many people at Sun who disagree with me and it pisses them off to no end.

Remember, when Solaris 10 shipped it was extremely difficult to install and use and if anything went wrong you had to be smart to figure it out. General usability was not focused on back then; the advanced technology was and that was the higher priority (and rightly so). OpenSolairs is very much different, though, so at least we are moving in the right direction to engage user markets.

I also agree that developers are users. However, users aren't necessarily developers. That's why there is a distinction in my position here. And, of course, there are many different types of developers. I'm not in marketing, so I don't have this all split up and segmented out. I use the term developer more as a catch-all to mean technical people, basically. I'm not one of them, too. I'm a user. Period. I may be more technical than the average user, but I'm certainly not an engineer and would never describe myself as a technical guy. That's why I use a Mac at home for my photography and videos and such. Same deal for my wife. However, I can see that I probably will not need a Mac in the future since I hear the engineers talking about all the same things you are talking about, so I bet that OpenSolaris will be my home computer eventually. And when that happens, it will be a demonstration that you are right that developers are consumers. :)

Posted by Jim Grisanzio on June 18, 2008 at 08:14 AM JST #

OpenSolaris right now, today in 2008 is the flip side of what Ubuntu is in Linux. It's the next great desktop OS. I think we all can agree to that. Where Ubuntu is Linux based, and OpenSolaris is UNIX based.

The difference is significant, and while we have given Linux the last 15 years of our attentions and such, it really is still a bit short in the pants. Not like it used to be but let's just be honest. I would have moved to Linux long ago, but instead I run a Mac for all of my stuff at home because it works. Keep that in mind, it works.

Can I use my Mac at work? I can not. It does not run the Windows based applications I need to do my job and that is of course a crying shame. Today if you are building an application you would be wise to build it on Linux or Mac and then deploy it to Windows. I don't see the Windows platform being as strong as it once was and the developer kit is a bit pricey. For someone like me who will never create a grade A application but tinkers the xCode software or Eclipse is a gods plenty.

OpenSolaris needs to focus on these things:

Desktop Management - Ability to push patches, remote desktops and remote admin all desktops from a centralized location.
Server - We need simple servers that are on one CD.
-Application Server - for things like CRM/ERP
-Terminal Server - Dumb Workstation Server

If you nail that down people will start to look. Also really start to focus on hardware and making sure it will run. I know this is easier said than done, but If you take all the SUN Servers and make them OpenSolaris Approved, then move onto DELL Servers and make them OSA. Then pick a few laptops and desktops and before you know it the dominos all start to fall and you own the world, of course I left out all the details but you can fill them in.


Posted by David Vasta on June 18, 2008 at 04:18 PM JST #

For anyone that's remotely interested, I've got an Ultra 80, I think it's 7+ years old, it has 4 CPU's, 4 x 21" CRT Monitors, Crystal Eyes Stereographics, dual XVR-1000's, 4 Gig Ram, LSI SAS controller and 4 x 2" SAS harddrives, USB/Firewire. I've also got a Winfast 2000 XP expert TV card, which works on Solaris sparc too (but don't want to remove the USB / Firewire card to make room maybe I'll put it in the Sun Blade). By the way Ogle is the best player for DVD's on Solaris, its lean, mean, plays at 25FPS in full screen and never skips or misses a beat. Yep, its got flash and all the other stuff too.

Better yet, it's never locked up, frozen, blue screened etc.

I've got a Vista tablet (2 months old), which I use with Sun Secure Global desktop to access my desktop remotely, however I find Vista slow and frustrating in comparison to the Ultra 80.

My Wife and 10 year old Daughter (who also has an EeePC) use the Ultra 80 on a daily basis too.

The Solaris Kernel Driver API should potentially make it easier to support multiple distro's with the same drivers too.

In the mean time, I'm waiting for Sun to bring out the next great Ultra Sparc Workstation, could be waiting a while for a decent one though.

My thoughts, the desktop, yeah bring it on baby!

Posted by Peter on June 20, 2008 at 11:22 AM JST #

I use Open Solaris as my primary desktop distro, and I love it. Well, technically SXCE 127 SPARC.

I use Audacity to edit audio, mplayer to play most of my video. Compiling was painful, but the spec files help. I've got libmtp on here, but I've just switched to an Iriver mp3 player with UMS support, which works great with rhythmbox. The only shortfalls that I run into are 1)gstreamer is slow, 2)flash is slow (but not as slow as linux), and 3) Besides opera, browsers are scarce beyond firefox.

Now, without the spec files, I'd be screwed.


Posted by Adam Yarter on January 14, 2010 at 11:42 PM JST #

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