Musings on IT, data management, whitewater rafting, and backpacking

Monday, February 28, 2011

Oracle has ruined Sun

Paul Krill at InfoWorld recently wrote that Oracle has saved Sun.

From my perspective – Oracle has ruined Sun.


We've been Sun customers since before Sun existed. We ran 2.x BSD on a DEC PDP 11/34, and 4.x BSD on a DEC VAX 11/750 in the early 1980s. Both operating systems were written in part by Bill Joy (a Sun co-founder) while he was a grad student at UC Berkeley. We purchased two Sun 1/100 workstations, serial numbers 170 and 171, picking them up at Sun's first location in Mountain View. SunOS 1.0 was a direct port of 4.x BSD. We've used Sun servers for over 25 years, and we were pretty happy for most of that time.

But now we are migrating to Red Hat Linux. Why?

  • Our application vendors have abandoned Solaris. The biggest shift happened during the prolonged acquisition of Sun by Oracle, which created too much FUD.
  • Oracle has made it clear that their future customers will buy Sun hardware only to run Oracle applications. We have no use for Oracle applications. Obviously, ISVs have gotten the same message.
  • Oracle has bungled our support contracts. We are current on all contracts, but Oracle doesn't think so. We have had serious problems open for several months without resolution.
  • Before Oracle bungled our contracts, we couldn't get a useful answer to several serious problems. The old Sun would escalate problems until they got solved. When Oracle support reaches the end of their canned script, the case is closed whether our problem is solved or not, with no escalation and no appeals.
We are getting no love from Oracle.

I am quite sad at this development. Solaris is a much better designed and engineered operating system than Linux will ever be. Hold your flames, you won't change my opinion.

I've watched this cycle in the IT industry before. I spent many years as an application programmer on Multics, a well-designed, well-engineered, and secure system. We switched to Sun because Multics was a marketplace failure. For years afterward, my Sun root password was "unixsucks".

Current password rules won't let me use "linuxsucks". Too bad.

Would I be happier if Sun had gone bankrupt? No.

But the current situation doesn't make me any happier.

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