Subject: Re: A few thoughts.
From: apharris@burrito.onshore.com (Adam P. Harris)
Date: 22 Aug 1998 17:15:32 -0400

"Robert A. Bruce" <rab@cdrom.com> writes:
> But I have never advised someone to use Solaris.  There is nothing
> that the Free Unixes cannot do more cost effectively.  The only
> reason for anyone to use Solaris is if they have some legacy
> application, and in that case they won't be shopping around in the
> first place.

I would disagree with you.  As an active Debian GNU/Linux developer,
as well as a Sun reseller, I have given some thought to this issue.  I
can't answer much on the state of the *BSD's, but there *is* a pretty
sizable difference between the market served by Linux and the market
served by Solaris.  Namely,

* Solaris supports SMP much better than Linux does
* Solaris supports RAID better as well, more robustly
* Solaris offers a logging file system (Vxfs, third party from
  Veritas; man, Sun was stupid not to buy that company)
* Solaris is much more broadly supported by the big vertical and
  horizontal software markets (Oracle, BEA, etc.)
* Solaris/Sparc is the best "java on the server" platform by quite 
  a margin

So, I still recommend Solaris for a lot of situations.  But I agree
with you that probably, within 12 months, most if not all all of these
reasons will be history.

> Linux may eventually kill off Microsoft, but it will kill off the
> commercial unixes much sooner.  I think Sun is in big trouble, and
> I hope I am right because I am shorting their stock.

I agree with you, but I would argue that Sun is in trouble because of
their inability to really take stock of the meaning of Linux, and to
incorporate this into their business plan.  SCO thought giving away
their OS would help them; AFAIK, it didn't.

I think Sun's position is an interesting one, and instructive to this
group.  Obviously, Sun is deeply entrenced in the proprietary Unix
camp.  On the other hand, they have always been as open as possible
when it comes to their hardware.

If Sun asked me for a strategy they should pursue to deal with Linux,
I'm not even sure what I could tell them.  Maybe a few radical ideas
here, which seem highly unlikely:

 * re-focus on hardware; market Sparc hardware better; active assist
   the Linux/Sparc camp; try to benefit from the success of Linux to
   sell more hardware (they seem to be doing this now to some extent)

 * consider repurposing SunService (enterprise support options) to
   give enterprise-level Linux support?

Really what's Sun's advantage over Linux right now is the comfort
factor of Sun to middle managers etc.

.....A. P. Harris...apharris@onShore.com...<URL:http://www.onShore.com/>