[TUHS] Oracle euthanizes Solaris 12, expunging it from roadmap

Nick Downing downing.nick at gmail.com
Fri Jan 20 12:00:00 AEST 2017

I kind of differ here, I know I'm throwing fat into the fire but....

I had to use Solaris at uni when I started my degree 10yrs ago. It was
at Melbourne University which DID have a very good computer science
programme, you had to learn lots of low-level stuff like C and basic
Unix programming, etc. I also used to tutor, and I remember I taught a
course about MIPS assembly language using an emulator, which I believe
all CS majors had to do. Obviously there was plenty of high-level
stuff too (I taught a course on SQL relational algebra and so on), but
what I remember is you had to learn Solaris in first year, and you had
to basically know your way around the system, I recall there was a
course that included a shell programming component too.

Well much as I completely agree that graduates should be taught C and
Unix, I found Solaris to be a pretty bad platform. I guess the core of
my dissatisfaction stems from it being different to Linux, and so I
suppose Solaris religious people are going to say "GNU is an
and ALL THE TOOLS CONTAIN USELESS FEATURES" and so on... and they are
right... but nevertheless I found it much less useable and I felt a
lot of the tools had rough edges, as well as changing "mkdir
--parents" into "mkdir -p" you had to account for different behaviour
which was in most cases more naive.

So, because of this the sysadmins had installed a whole boatload of
GNU tools into places like /opt/gcc-(VERSION) or
/opt/coreutils-(VERSION), and if you had to use a specific feature of
say, "ls" or "find" or "sort" that wasn't in the Solaris tool, you had
to exhaustively list the long pathname to the GNU tool in your script.
The sysadmins did this kind of piecemeal in the system's scripts like
.profile and the result was basically a total mess, I don't know how
you would have explained all this to a naive student. Not to mention
that the directory structure of the student servers had involved into
a huge mess over a decade or more with lots of stuff installed in
weird places that was referred to in the course material that the
teachers had developed, i.e. our IP investment relied totally on this
strange Solaris installation.

I gather that the coursework has been significantly dumbed down now
with the introduction of the so-called "Melbourne Model", it was very
controversial at the time, but basically means you learn only dumbed
down stuff at undergraduate level, and to get a real degree you have
to do a Masters at least. I believe the Solaris student servers are
still running but I don't think the coursework uses them anymore, it's
all Python- and web-based now. When my sister did the course recently
all her assignments were done by logging into a website and running a
Python-based IDE via the website which would run her Python scripts
and show her the results right there in the browser. Hmm.

So I digress but anyway, I would have taken the opportunity to change
all the coursework to refer to a Linux student server with all the
normal tools installed in the expected places. I always found the
Solaris system to be pretty much like stepping back in time. And I do
not really understand why corporations would want to run Solaris when
Linux is vastly more developed. I guess maybe they have a big
investment in Solaris based tools and networks (perhaps stuff like Sun
Grid Engine), but I would think it would be easier to port all this to
Linux than to continue bashing one's head against a brick wall in
trying to get this outdated and proprietary system to become modern.
Much as I love BSD I feel that much the same argument applies to
FreeBSD as well, it will simply never be as developed/mature as Linux.

cheers, Nick

On Fri, Jan 20, 2017 at 1:40 AM, Arthur Krewat <krewat at kilonet.net> wrote:
> Let's hope they do the right thing and release Solaris into the wild again.
> ZFS in particular.
> Personally, I think they are making a huge mistake. What are they going to
> do, move to Linux? Oh, right... the "cloud" will be Linux.
> Blech.
> On 1/19/2017 3:49 AM, Wesley Parish wrote:
>> I suppose that set of rumours will lead to people shifting to the FOSS
>> versions
>> of Solaris and SPARC.
>> Wesley Parish
>> Quoting Kay Parker        <kayparker at mailite.com>:
>>> guess it is the beginning of the end of Solaris and the Sparc CPU:
>>> 'Rumors have been circulating since late last year that Oracle was
>>> planning to kill development of the Solaris operating system, with
>>> major
>>> layoffs coming to the operating system's development team. Others
>>> speculated that future versions of the Unix platform Oracle acquired
>>> with Sun Microsystems would be designed for the cloud and built for the
>>> Intel platform only and that the SPARC processor line would meet its
>>> demise. The good news, based on a recently released Oracle roadmap for
>>> the SPARC platform, is that both Solaris and SPARC appear to have a
>>> future.
>>> The bad news is that the next major version of Solaris—Solaris 12—
>>> has
>>> apparently been canceled, as it has disappeared from the roadmap.
>>> Instead, it's been replaced with "Solaris 11.next"—and that version
>>> is
>>> apparently the only update planned for the operating system through
>>> 2021.
>>> With its on-premises software and hardware sales in decline, Oracle has
>>> been undergoing a major reorganization over the past two years as it
>>> attempts to pivot toward the cloud. Those changes led to a major speed
>>> bump in the development cycle for Java Enterprise Edition, a slowdown
>>> significant enough that it spurred something of a Java community
>>> revolt.
>>> Oracle later announced a new roadmap for Java EE that recalibrated
>>> expectations, focusing on cloud services features for the next version
>>> of the software platform. '
>> http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/01/oracle-sort-of-confirms-demise-of-solaris-12-effort/
>>> --
>>>   Kay Parker
>>>   kayparker at mailite.com
>>> --
>>> http://www.fastmail.com - The way an email service should be
>> "I have supposed that he who buys a Method means to learn it." - Ferdinand
>> Sor,
>> Method for Guitar
>> "A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on." -- Samuel
>> Goldwyn

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