Disgruntled Solaris x86 Users Turn Up Heat on Sun

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2002-09-09 Print this article Print

Sun's refusal to release Solaris 9 for non-Sun x86 hardware could backfire and drive developers and users to Linux or even Microsoft Corp. platforms.

Sun Microsystems Inc.s refusal to release Solaris 9 for non-Sun x86 hardware could backfire and drive developers and users to Linux or even Microsoft Corp. platforms, users said.

Disgruntled x86 community developers and customers charge that Suns refusal to reach a compromise is effectively making their investments in non-Sun x86 hardware obsolete. Supporters are so irked by Suns intransigence that last week they placed an open letter in The Mercury News, of San Jose, Calif., accusing Sun Chairman, President and CEO Scott McNealy of taking the developer community for granted.

"Sun has now obsoleted [my] x86 hardware investment," Al Hopper, president of Logical Approach Inc., of Plano, Texas, told eWeek last week. Hoppers company bought several dual-processor x86 systems from Advanced Micro Devices Inc. last year. "We cant afford to scrap our hardware infrastructure just because Sun decides [Solaris on x86] wasnt a viable product or that they could make more money elsewhere."

Alan DuBoff, president of consultancy Software Orchestration Inc., also of San Jose, and one of the "secret six" community representatives negotiating with Sun over the Solaris-on-x86 issue, said he supports the anti-Sun campaign. "Unless we get a stand-alone product for non-Sun hardware, we will be hard pressed to use Solaris x86 in the enterprise," DuBoff said.

Others agreed. John Groenveld, the author of the open letter and an associate research engineer at Pennsylvania State Universitys Applied Research Lab, or ARL, in State College, Pa., warned that Suns refusal to release a stand-alone Solaris 9 "is forcing us to consider our long-term Sun view."

ARL, with customers in the government and private sector, runs Solaris 8 on 12 servers at the edge of the network, as Web or workgroup servers, and as development machines. It also runs high-end Sun SPARC systems.

"I now have to decide whether to stick with Sun over the long term or move to solutions like Red Hat [Inc.] on Dell [Computer Corp.], [Hewlett-Packard Co.] or IBM. While Im skeptical about Linux, Sun is forcing our hand," Groenveld said.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at www.eweek.com.


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