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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:

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}


from: xaprb
date: Feb. 21st, 2008 12:14 pm (UTC)

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)

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)

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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