8, 2004 - announcement that Solaris 10 will be able to run Linux
applications natively on x86 platforms at high performance has some interesting
In 1988 - Sun's first x86 Solaris computer - the
Sun 386i - was one of the market's best integrated Unix boxes featuring an Intel
processor - the 80386. In order to make this workstation and server more "attractive"
to customers - the OS included Microsoft DOS emulation in software. So users
could run native PC applications unmodified and even see the results on a DOS
window. Gee whiz! Unfortunately this "DOS on SunOS" feature ran like
a dog - and was the sort of thing you only tried once. "Yes it works - how
clever. But why is the window so small? And why can't we make it bigger? And why
does it run slower than on a 10MHz 286?" The feature got Sun workstations
into some companies - but as Sun dumped Intel and Motorola soon after to
concentrate on its SPARC workstations products - any marketing advantages - if
any - were short lived.
In the early 1990s - IBM's OS/2 - "A
better windows than Windows" - promised users the treat of running
Microsoft Windows applications more reliably and maybe even faster on IBM's "reliable"
true multitasking OS/2 than on a native Microsoft PC. That didn't work too well
either - because the internals of OS/2 kept changing so fast that ISVs were
being delivered a new box of disks containing the OS every month. That was
before we were all wired up to the internet... And when you did install a
working version of OS/2 - it was slow - and rubbish in comparison to the buggy
but more attractive Microsoft Windows. Like a vampire which has been walking
the earth too long - OS/2 finally got a kindly stake in the heart by IBM - and
was put out of its misery.
So - what should we make of Sun's proposed
plan to let you run Linux applications - unmodified on Solaris 10?
press release about this - promised that the applications would run fast...
Maybe - that remains to be seen. But apart from showing that Sun's software
developers can turn their hand to complicated problems - so what?
will this do for users and the market?
If adding Linux compatibility to
Solaris makes Solaris more attractive to users - then maybe they should just buy
a Linux box.
I can't imagine that this feature will make Solaris more
attractive to existing Linux users. "Why not buy a proprietary OS from Sun
- just so you can run applications from your open source OS." - That
doesn't sound like an attractive proposition.
The feature will appeal
to some systems integrators - who maybe started on Solaris - and have now moved
their main development over to Linux - but still have some legacy Solaris
code... Maybe. And to some tinkerers in university labs.
I think the
main benefit of the new so called - Janus project - which offers this dual
running will be that it gives Sun's Solaris developers some hands on experience
with Linux. That will be a useful precurser to the big job that Sun's really
scared of - releasing a full blown Sun supported Linux across the whole SPARC
And before you say it - I did get a reliable report
from a neighbor that he saw a pig flying past his window this morning. I'm
checking that out later.
- No Not the Warrior Princess|
|Editor:- take a look at the
article - called - Surviving
the Solaris x86 Wars.|
Sun's commitment to making Solaris open
source means the phony marketing war for Solaris x86 is over. It lasted 18 years
and Sun retreated 3 times. The real marketing war will take place during the
next several years. ..read the article,
SPARC Product Directory