Solaris, Linux, it is GNU folks...

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Feb. 20th, 2008 | 10:14 pm

Today I sat down and started to read the post by Amanda McPherson of the Linux Foundation on the recent brouhaha around Sun's announcement about supporting Web 2.0 frameworks:
http://www.linux-foundation.org/weblogs/amanda/2008/02/17/hey-jonathan-the-l-in-lamp-is-literal/

What struck a chord with me about the "L" word is that it really is more then just Linux.

It is GNU.

Richard Stallman's constant mantra of "GNU/Linux" is very relevant.

It is the GNU part that really establishes the platform. FreeBSD gets that, and even Apple gets that.

When you buy a Sun box, and are going to run Solaris on it. What is the first thing you do?

You download all of the GNU utilities to make it useable.

This was true when I bought my first Sun machine in 1991, and it continues to be true today.

Sun really has failed at understanding this for a very long time. With Jonathan's announcement it looks like Sun has started to understand that it is not just enough to have a UNIX kernel, you need to have the entire GNU framework that sits around it. This is good to hear.

Competition is good. Look at the reactions we saw from the FreeBSD vs Linux running MySQL post that came out last year.

What has yet to be seen is how Sun will integrate with GNU. Solaris has a tendency to be an OS that goes its own way to its detriment (/use/ccs... what is that supposed to be?). Sun is not alone in this, Apple only got this half right with OSX.

One of my first questions to Ian Murdock when I met him at our meeting after the acquisition was if Sun had plans on having Solaris adopting the "Linux Standards Base".

Adopting it would push Solaris down the road to having a reasonable GNU distribution. It would mean that sysadmins could quickly move from one platform to another with a minimum amount of training. It would make deploying applications to Solaris easier and not an after thought by ISV's.

I have yet to see the new Solaris distribution, but if Sun has adopted begun to adopt GNU utilities into its distribution then I will look forward to it. I will just hope that they have not decided to reinvent the wheel along the way :)

PS if you are reading this and you package "ps" on Solaris, please fix the arguments... Solaris being different in this is obnoxious. I don't care about the history, I just want it to work the same way it works else were :) Thanks!

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Comments {8}

Konstantin Osipov

(no subject)

from: kostja_osipov
date: Feb. 21st, 2008 09:59 am (UTC)
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+1

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Amen

from: xaprb
date: Feb. 21st, 2008 12:14 pm (UTC)
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I agree. I make a point of saying GNU/Linux when I talk about a Linux-based operating system. And to those who object because they think saying GNU/Linux lends credibility to Richard Stallman and they don't agree with him, I usually reply that it's also a convenient way to make it obvious whether you're talking about a kernel or an OS.

Maybe I should start saying GLAMP. But then again, I rarely talk about LAMP anyway.

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Brian "Krow" Aker

Re: Amen

from: krow
date: Feb. 21st, 2008 02:20 pm (UTC)
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To me lending credibility to Richard is not the point, to me saying "gnu" acknowledges the platform. The same can be said of LAMP as well.

It is not the kernel that makes the difference, it is the environment that you work in.

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Re: Amen

from: xaprb
date: Feb. 21st, 2008 02:45 pm (UTC)
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Right -- I was just thinking about that because the main argument I've (personally, face-to-face) heard *against* mentioning GNU is some disagreement with RMS, which is an argument I'm not going to get involved in. I'm not interested in debating a person's intrinsic/extrinsic worth: it's not mine to judge. But I'm entitled to an opinion on GNU's value.

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awfief

(no subject)

from: awfief
date: Feb. 21st, 2008 06:25 pm (UTC)
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/usr/ccs

and

/usr/xpg4

and we all use gcc instead of Solaris cc anyway.

I wholeheartedly agree with the ps comment. Dude, Solaris' tar doesn't even have a -z option. What stone age are they living in?

Still, the toolkit is not the operating system. I wouldn't call it Gnu/Linux any more than I'd call it iostat/Linux. Gnu deserves it's own damn letter. As for giving RMS credibility, I couldn't care less either, and I have to say I've avoided him in person because I didn't want him to ask if he could touch my breasts. (the answer would be no, but it's just rude to ask that of a stranger when he just asks it of every woman!)

Anyway.....seriously, though, it's not Gnu/Linux any more than it's binutils/Linux. And it's completely unfair not for Gnu to be on its own....are you going to call it Gnu/Solaris? No. Gnu tools are essential, but they're not the operating system.

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killer Solaris project

from: dmarti
date: Feb. 21st, 2008 06:43 pm (UTC)
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If Sun really wanted to push OpenSolaris to developers working on Linux, they'd do an OpenSolaris kernel release with Linux "kernel personality" and filesystem support, that would build on Linux and install into the Fedora or Ubuntu GRUB menu. No making an extra partition, just build an alternate kernel and boot.

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Re: killer Solaris project

from: ucc_journal
date: Feb. 22nd, 2008 07:09 am (UTC)
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Not quite what you're asking for, but "The lx brand enables Linux binary applications to run unmodified on Solaris, within zones running a complete Linux userspace. The combination of BrandZ and the lx brand will be productized as Solaris Containers for Linux Applications." http://opensolaris.org/os/community/brandz/

It currently emulates a 2.4 kernel, but some work has been done for 2.6 support http://opensolaris.org/os/community/brandz/todo/linux_2_6/

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Brian "Krow" Aker

Re: killer Solaris project

from: krow
date: Feb. 23rd, 2008 07:03 pm (UTC)
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Now that is an interesting idea... too much reliance on /proc though. I see that as one of the issues that would get in the way of this (and that is just off the top of my head).

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