HP iron still haunted by ghost of Compaq
Solaris does ProLiant. Not HP-UX
Comment Hewlett-Packard might have been the acquirer when it merged with Compaq back in May 2002, but when it comes to server operating systems, the Compaq inclusionary philosophy usually prevails even if it does take some time to be turned into action. Like something akin to a decade in the case of Solaris.
Yesterday's announcement that HP would become an OEM partner for Sun Microsystems' Solaris Unix variant is really a Compaq announcement, not an HP announcement. The evidence: Solaris is only available on the ProLiant and related BladeSystem server platforms, which were Compaq's flagship server products and which constitute the bulk of revenues and shipments in HP's server business since HP bought Compaq.
The ProLiant rack, tower, and blade servers are all based on x64 chips from either Intel or Advanced Micro Devices. Sun came to its senses with the launch of Solaris 10 back in November 2004 and decided to not only support x86 and x64 servers from its rivals, but to embrace the idea. Sun mothballed its x86 variant with Solaris 9 during the dot-com bust - a reflexive and stupid decision that let the Linux genie into the Sun data centers of the world.
The earlier Solaris 8 did run on x86 machines and had built up a following, particularly among Compaq shops since Compaq was the volume leader in x86 servers. And a Solaris 9 variant that was open source and available on x86 and then x64 gear might have helped Sun preserve some accounts even if it had to take revenue hits during the last IT downturn.
HP's Integrity server line - the kickers to HP's PA-RISC Unix servers and the machines that are now based on Itanium processors from Intel - were not part of the Solaris love-in yesterday. It's something Mark Potter - who holds the unwieldy title of senior vice president and general manager of Enterprise Storage and Server infrastructure software and blades at HP - was at pains to point out a few times to people listening to the webcast.
And that is a very un-Compaq thing to do, considering that the Integrity machines run HP-UX (HP's own Unix variant and the main alternative to Sun's Solaris and IBM's AIX), Windows, Linux, OpenVMS (the former DEC proprietary operating system), and NonStop (the former Tandem fault tolerant clustering environment). Compaq ate Tandem in 1996 and then DEC in 1998 in an effort to go enterprise with its servers, but in the end, everything ended up at HP. Except the idea that the flagship HP platform should support the same operating systems that the volume systems do. One set of systems should feed into the other, in theory.
Solaris can certainly run on the Itanium processors. A decade ago, as Intel was crawling like a wounded World War I veteran in Verdun battlefield to the initial "Merced" Itanium launch, Sun booted Solaris on these Itanium chips, and three years later, as the bottom dropped out of the IT market and Sun was trying to circle the wagons around Solaris on Sparc, the company was blaming the death of Solaris on Itanium on Intel.
With HP and Intel, the main proponents of Itanium at this point, both being partners with Sun with regards to Solaris, the revival of Sparc on Solaris would seem to be long overdue. Microsoft has relegated Windows Server 2008 on Itanium to a role as a SQL Server engine. Meanwhile, Intel, Sun, Fujitsu, and now HP aren't interested in getting Solaris on Itanium Couple all that with the impending "Nehalem" Xeon EP server announcements and the high-end Xeon EX server announcements later this year, and Itanium is only relevant to a relatively small number of suppliers and customers.
Next page: Itanium Bashing
@Matt Bryant, part the second
(Again, I tried posting this, or something similar yesterday. I wonder what I'm doing wrong.)
"You all need to learn Linux - fast!"
Not necessarily Linux, but rather FOSS. The kernel is immaterial in this context.
Distributions will come and go, and it doesn't really matter if they are based on Linux, BSD, Plan9, Minix, ai/x, hp/ux, solaris, osx or whatever. Or even WinDOS[tm][c][r], for that matter. All are going to eventually go away (except Slackware, which will live on forever of course <sfsf>). But by its very nature FOSS will be around indefinitely. Folks who ignore this fact are already falling behind the technological curve. Like it or hate it, FOSS has real, mature solutions for corporate computing. And it continues to get better, unlike some Corporate OSes I could name.
Is FOSS usable by John and Jane Q. Public? The answer is a highly qualified "maybe".
For example, I was constantly summoned to my Aunt's house (93-year-young family matriarch) to "Fix my Windows, please" ... I got tired of it, and tried to convince her to try the cut-down version of Slackware that I built for my mom. She wouldn't have anything to do with it. So I cleared some space in her home office, and setup the Slack box, just to see what would happen.
After about a month of no support calls from her, I dropped by to see what was up. The Windows box had gotten fouled up, and she was expecting some email from her sister in Finland ... so out of desperation, she tried the Slack box. Seeing as she only uses a word processor, a picture viewer and a web browser, those are the only icons on her desktop. She already used Mozilla on Windows, a word processor is a word processor (for most people) and the same for a picture viewer, so the change was fairly easy for her.
That was over a year ago now. A couple months ago she asked me to get rid of "that dratted old thing" ... I couldn't convince her that I could install the same variation of Slack on her old box, with it's faster CPU, more RAM, bigger HD etc. ... She is absolutely convinced that the hardware & software are somehow married & the old box was a lemon ... but she's completely in love with "this new version of Windows that my nephew gave me" ...
In a nutshell, Linux CAN be used by folks with little or no knowledge of how it works ... but only if the box is setup by someone who understands their needs AND their lack of technical ability and is willing to put in the effort to create a FOSS solution for that user.
(I tried posting this, or something similar yesterday, but it seems to have gotten lost in the aether)
"I'm predicting hordes of frothing Sunshiner mobs with, torches and pitchforks, converging on Bryant Street right about now..."
Whatever. As a founding father of the vi/EMACS wars, and later pretty involved in the C/C++ "debates" on Usenet, I don't have time to be religious about technology anymore. It's just a big waste of time ... Basically, this old fart's opinion is that whatever kit is right for the job is the correct kit to apply to that job, regardless of brands & logos.
"... I often wonder what the origin of the Slowaris tag is, someone told me it came out of IBM marketing back in the day. I'd be interested if anyone knows for sure."
Back in the eighties, I worked for a company that supplied hardware for the backbone of IBM's internal voice & data network. We shipped Sun workstations along with our kit, for network monitoring and statistical analysis of network traffic. (Yes, IBM used Sun computers internally, it was the only platform our network software ran on at that time.) We were a cutting edge company, and we worked with other cutting edge companies to ensure "in the field" compatibility. We were a pilot-build test site for the likes of cisco & Sun. As a result, we often had IBM and Sun and cisco engineers in the building.
In the mid-late 1980s, Sun rolled a rev on SunOS and asked me to be a Pilot site for their new product ... The OS went from 4.0.x to 4.1.x ... along with the rev came a new handle; it was nicknamed Solaris. It also brought usable Sparc boxen into the fold (the SPARCstation 1 running SunOS4.0.3c was a useless POS). I do not remember if any of the documentation was labeled Solaris, but that was what the Sun guys (and gals ... Hi, NancyN!) were calling 4.1.x.
The early Sparcs running 4.1.x were absolute pigs compared to 4.0.x or 4.1.x on Motorola, and within a couple weeks, maybe even a couple days, everyone was calling the "new" OS+Sparc "Slowaris". Even the Sun reps. Did it start at my company? I don't know. But it wasn't marketing ... it was engineers that started it. I don't think IBM marketing even knew it existed at that point. The 2/, 3/ and 4/ machines were always called "sun stations", and never negatively.
Come to think of it, after all these years, Sun was probably working on Sun5.0 "Solaris" at the time ... I'll bet somebody in Sun marketing got wind of the new 5.0 OS, and jumped to the conclusion that when 4.1.0 was released it was the new Solaris release ... But we'll probably never know for sure.
The dates above are from memory, and I might be concatenating time again ... but the events are as described. Again, if anyone recognizes me, please keep it to yourself ... or feel free to get in touch. You know how to find me.
RE: Matt Bryant - Suffering from Old Timer's Disease...
Now, do you remember what I posted about the Sun sales tactic, the one where they would avoid a technical showdown by trying to belittle anyone that didn't toe their line....? Looks like the resident Sunshiners are suffering from that same old Sunshiner lack of new ideas that has driven Sun down to a shadow of the company it once was.
PS: Jake - Slackware is great if you have an accomplished admin to configure it for you, whereas even most grannies can cope with Windows out of the box. My preference for complete PC noobs and the blue-rinse set would be Xandros or Linspire. If they really have the WIndows bug already then maybe a Slackware-based XP clone like Darkstar Linux might be an idea.