Intel and Sun

Jeffrey asked some questions about what the Intel/Sun agreement means to me, so here are my thoughts.

The short answer is that the agreement with Intel isn't really about supporting 32-bit Intel CPUs, since Solaris has been doing that from the beginning.  It's more about supporting the "white-box" computers that Intel sells.

I have tried using Solaris on my home x86 machines several times over the years, and the driver issues
are usually enough to keep me from making a habit of it.  I don't have the time and patience to
maintain my own OS'es.  Windows is point-and-click enough for me, but Solaris isn't.  I think the
graphics card support is good enough these days, but the wireless networking drivers are still a big hassle.  I'm hoping that the new partnership with Intel will help Sun get more up-to-date drivers. There's several ways that could happen (all 100% speculation on my part):

  • Intel pressures Sun to add support for chips that Intel uses in its white boxes
  • Sun gets help from Intel to support new chipsets we didn't support before.
  • The deal with Intel makes Sun look more legitimate (ie popular) ...
    • This then causes chipset makers to supply drivers for Solaris alongside their Linux/Windows drivers.
On another topic, yes, the new Sun IDE is based on the Netbeans platform.  So was the previous version.  But previously we had our own custom version of Netbeans, and now we're using a "stock" version. This is good from the point of view of us not needing to maintain our own special version of Netbeans.  But it's a learning process for us internally because we have to coordinate bug fixes and release schedule with Netbeans.  And in this one area, Netbeans is definately the dog, and the Sun Studio IDE modules are definitely the tail.  (That is: "the dog wags the tail")

Comments:

"chipset makers to supply drivers for Solaris alongside their Linux/Windows drivers" -- Won't you run into the same thing Linux is starting to run into with drivers, the closed source drivers not compatible with the liscence "stuff"? What I've been hearing that more and more companies want to have those drivers out, but due to liscense issues they can't and won't put them out. Then again, I might be hearing wrong on that? Though, if it results in Solaris getting good drivers, that would just rock.

And overall I hope your thoughts pan out correct, that would be really awesome in the end. As for the netbeans thing, whats your opinion on writing modules for netbeans? Or have you been outside of that world working on the tools netbeans interfaces with? I heard some speculation that there would be some heavy java optimization from Intel as well, which could make netbeans even better in the end.

Sorry for so many questions. Thanks Chris!:)

Posted by Jeffrey Olson on January 23, 2007 at 04:46 AM PST #

Some Linux distros won't include binary drivers which are not derived from open source. It's a philosophical objection. Some Linux distros are willing to include proprietary drivers built by the chip vendor. --- I personally don't work on the Netbeans modules that implement our debugger and analyzer extensions, so I can't say much about that. --- I'm hoping that the open sourceing of Java has a big impact on the amount of outside contributions Sun gets, and that could help platform specific optimizations.

Posted by Chris Quenelle on January 23, 2007 at 04:56 AM PST #

Chris have you seen this: http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2007/01/threads_conside.html I haven't read the paper yet, but thought you might be interested in it.

Posted by Jeffrey Olson on January 24, 2007 at 10:18 PM PST #

I've read about google's MapReduce design pattern, and agree with the paper you pointed at, because I agree that functional programming languages should be giving us a way out of the parallel programming mess. I've also read about one called Scala that seems very interesting to me. I think there are two things a functional language needs to be successful in the modern world. It has to easily interoperate with other popular languages (like Java and/or C++ etc) and it has to look fairly procedural like so that it doesn't scare people away, and learning curve is short to get started.

Posted by guest on January 29, 2007 at 02:10 AM PST #

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