Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: LeanTaaS Blog, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Larry Alton, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: IT SOLUTIONS GUIDE

IT SOLUTIONS GUIDE: Article

i-Technology Viewpoint: OpenSolaris, Get It While It's Hot!

Is this move going to bolster Sun, and turn around this excellent piece of engineering?

Go ahead, download the source code for Sun's amazing operating system, Solaris. It's now been released. I just downloaded it in under 5 minutes using BitTorrent. Why? I have no idea. Because I could I guess. Or because I didn't believe it would ever happen. I used to work at Sun at one point, so I have some appreciation for what it took politically, not technically, to get to this point. Congratulations, Sun.

The code to Solaris is now available to everyone. Why would Sun give up such an asset and is it too late for Solaris? Is this move going to bolster Sun, and turn around this excellent piece of engineering? It's hard for me to imagine Linux or BSD kernel hackers leaving behind their beloved code to poke around in Solaris' guts. In fact, wouldn't that make it legally hard for them to return to the BSD or Linux code bases? Aren't there IP issues involved? Or is OpenSolaris open enough that it's okay to study the competitor's implementation before designing your own? I don't know enough about their license, and there are no precedents from which to guess at an answer. My guess is that Sun has learned that it needs to let Solaris grow and influence the community, that type of stewardship will help their OS and Java businesses (such as they are) and potentially their hardware business at some point.

So I ask, "who cares?" Not because there are viable alternatives such as Linux and BSD, but because the industry is at an inflection point and this is only one of the signs of the time, not some amazing breakthrough. The release of Solaris as open source is really more about recognizing the shift toward a new reality more than anything else.

If you ask me, its now clear that UNIX has won the Von Neumann architecture award. Although it had its birth on a time-sharing machine, it's really this architecture that allowed UNIX to grow and thrive and eventually win the hearts and minds of the average computer user. Neither of these pillars of modern day computing is going away, neither is the language that gave birth to UNIX, ANSI C. However, with the release of Solaris as open source Sun is the last to admit that UNIX is a commodity, and possibly a dead end for future architectures.

Consider the latest news from our chip manufacturers. More and more we read about hyper-threading, multi-core, large numbers of specialized parallel vector units (such as in the Cell processor or the G5's Altivec), and just recently the advent of CMT (Chip Multi-Threading) techniques by Sun. I believe that Sun has realized that it has lost the advantage of RISC, UNIX, and that Java might be next. These are the foundational components of Sun's existence, if they don't find new bedrock they will die. They know this better than anyone.

Tomorrow's systems will require new languages, to complement these new systems. Today's programmers do not have the tools or the skills required to build systems able to scale with such new hardware architectures. Concurrency will be the dominant buzzword for the next 10 years. Sun knows this too. It's why Guy Steele is working on Fortress, the follow up to Fortran. Other languages like Erlang will influence new as yet unimaginable programing methods for managing concurrency much as Smalltalk led to the object-oriented revolution culminating in C++ and Java.

What is clear from this shift toward concurrency is that just as the C language led to UNIX, some other language best suited for these new architectures will lead to a new operating system design.

UNIX, ANSI C, Von Neumann, and even the notion of threads will all soon be history. Software will simply be concurrent, and somehow we'll be able to deal with that.

More Stories By Gregory Burd

Gregory Burd is the Product Manager for Sleepycat Software, now a part of Oracle. Prior to Sleepycat, he was on the business team at KnowNow, a Kleiner Perkins startup in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has many years of software development and product leadership within companies such as JavaSoft, a division of Sun Microsystems, Marble Associates, a consulting company, and NeXT Computer, now part of Apple Computer.

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Gregory Burd 06/26/05 03:42:24 AM EDT

i-Technology Viewpoint: OpenSolaris, Get It While It's Hot!
Go ahead, download the source code for Sun's amazing operating system, Solaris. It's now been released. I just downloaded it in under 5 minutes using BitTorrent. Why? I have no idea. Because I could I guess. Or because I didn't believe it would ever happen. I used to work at Sun at one point, so I have some appreciation for what it took politically, not technically, to get to this point. Congratulations, Sun.

The code to Solaris is now available to everyone. Why would Sun give up such an asset and is it too late for Solaris? Is this move going to bolster Sun, and turn around this excellent piece of engineering? It's hard for me to imagine Linux or BSD kernel hackers leaving behind their beloved code to poke around in Solaris' guts. In fact, wouldn't that make it legally hard for them to return to the BSD or Linux code bases? Aren't there IP issues involved? Or is OpenSolaris open enough that it's okay to study the competitor's implementation before designing your own? I don't know enough about their license, and there are no precedents from which to guess at an answer. My guess is that Sun has learned that it needs to let Solaris grow and influence the community, that type of stewardship will help their OS and Java businesses (such as they are) and potentially their hardware business at some point.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
"Digital transformation - what we knew about it in the past has been redefined. Automation is going to play such a huge role in that because the culture, the technology, and the business operations are being shifted now," stated Brian Boeggeman, VP of Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Among the proven benefits,...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile exhibited at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on qua...