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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}


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




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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