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Sun Microsystems Businesses Operating Systems Software Unix Hardware

After the Sun (Microsystems) Sets, the Real Stories Come Out 166

Posted by timothy
from the best-logo-too dept.
Tekla Perry (3034735) writes "Former Sun executives and employees gathered in Mountain View, Calif., in May, and out came the 'real' stories. Andy Bechtolsheim reports that Steve Jobs wasn't the only one who set out to copy the Xerox Parc Alto; John Gage wonders why so many smart engineers couldn't figure out that it would have been better to buy tables instead of kneepads for the folks doing computer assembly; Vinod Khosla recalls the plan to 'rip-off Sun technology,' and more."
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After the Sun (Microsystems) Sets, the Real Stories Come Out

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  • by Eravnrekaree (467752) on Saturday May 31, 2014 @02:50PM (#47137347)

    I thought the sun had already set on Sun long ago, when Oracle bought. Doesn't it still exist, though, to a degree, in the divisions and products that continue inside Oracle.

    In its last days, the contributions of OpenOffice seem to have been most beneficial for providing real user control and freedom, hence not being locked into proprietary, centralized software development where users of software could not see or control any of the code that controls their computer.

    • Sun exists after the sun sets, in well, the same way the sun still exists after the sun sets. It goes out of your line of sight.

  • Facebook (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dan East (318230) on Saturday May 31, 2014 @03:04PM (#47137417) Homepage Journal

    Facebook intentionally left a few Sun signs up when it took over the former Sun campus in Menlo Park to remind people of what can happen to a company

    Let's hope Facebook's successor doesn't bother doing them the courtesy. After all, at least Sun left a legacy of something tangible behind.

  • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Saturday May 31, 2014 @03:23PM (#47137525)
    So the Sun workstation being inspired by the Alto is "the real story coming out"? I'd rather call it "slow news".
  • Unsurpassed.
    I still use it, hooked up to a self made PS2 adapter, to my Intel box running Linux.
    Why?
    It has keybeep!
    I know it's a security issue.
    But what the heck.
    I need the audible feedback.

    • by TeknoHog (164938)

      Unsurpassed.

      But will it survive a swordfight against a Model M?

    • by Misagon (1135)

      The innards are regular Fujitsu rubber dome. Nothing special. Quite mushy and horrible to type on.

      But it is sure one of the most beautiful keyboards in the world. I love the colour scheme and font choices. It sure has style.
      The attention to detail, the size of it and the layout feels professional - this is a workstation keyboard indeed.
      I bought one just to have to look at.

    • by dbIII (701233)
      That's inspired me to dust a couple off and get them out of storage. I've always used them in noisy places so didn't even know about the keybeep.
  • by theNAM666 (179776) on Saturday May 31, 2014 @03:38PM (#47137595)

    Roger Gregory tells a good story of making the first private (non-government entity) order from Sun as COO of Project Xanadu (XOC).

    In Palo Alto, Roger hears of the Sun 1 via word-of-mouth and trade journals, raises the cash, fills out the form and sends in his order. And invoice comes back, with instructions to pay via bank (wire) transfer and an estimated delivery date.

    About a month after the date, Roger and others are eagerly awaiting the machine, which has not arrived.

    Roger gets on the phone and calls the number for Sun in Berkeley. Bill Joy answers the phone and, after some back-and-forth, says he will need to transfer Roger to the “accounting department.”

    Bill sets down the phone and it becomes clear to Roger, who can hear the background noise, that Sun likely only has *one* phone line at this point. Shortly, Vinod Khosla picks up the phone with a "Hey, Roger!"

    After about three minutes of chat, Vinod explains “Oh! We were wondering where that $40,000 in our account came from!” and promises to get the machine to XOC ASAP.

    The Sun 1 shows up at XOC’s offices about two weeks later, as I remember. The machine is still in Roger’s basement last I knew.

    We attached it to the Internet and ran a simple webserver for a short period in mid-’99 or so. Around that time, Bill stopped by for breakfast and offered a six-figure sum to buy the machine back, which Roger declined.

  • Here is one person's plan:

    Alan Butler, employee number 530, who at age 18 was once Sun’s youngest employee, mused somewhat wistfully: “We should have charged $1 a seat for every Java license” and that would have generated billions in cash annually, perhaps saving the company. “There's a fine line between doing good for the community and doing too good.”

    I'm not sure how that would have worked.

    • Well, On one hand $1 isn't much and would have prevented Sun from having such a stupid idea as applets. But I doubt it would have been as widely adpoted. Without the ability to run Java on Linux now, I think Java would be dead.

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        And a $1 fee prevents you from running Java on Linux how? Just because Linux users refuse to pay for anything? Not an actual fact, but most slashdot fanboys won't pay for shit, so I'm guessing thats your life of reasoning?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Paradise Pete (33184)
          The difference between free and $1 is enormous. Not just to Linux users, to humans in general. Free is hypnotic. $1 is just a low price.
          • Also once you start having pay for licenses you have to start tracking said pay for licenses, even if they are so cheap that the license cost itself is a rounding error the cost of tracking those licenses, ensuring software can only be downloaded/used by people who have licenses and so-on often is not.

        • No, you misunderstood $1.00 wouldn't stop me from paying for a license to Java, if it were widely used and a viable programming language.

          But at $1.00, it would prevent me from trying a new language that wasn't very interesting or used by many people.

          At $1.00, it never would have been the success it was.

          • Re:License Java (Score:4, Interesting)

            by dublin (31215) on Monday June 02, 2014 @03:38PM (#47149423) Homepage

            Like they say about people telling Woodstock stories, you obviously weren't there...

            I was at Sun doing market development in the healthcare and petroleum "verticals" when Java came out. I'm telling you, the interest was staggering. I once spoke on Java at a local JUNIOR college weekend CS/Internet interest forum to nearly a THOUSAND people, including top IT staff from NASA and all the major oil companies. I just broke the awesome oceangoing coffee mug they gave me about a year ago.

            I can tell you that although we all realized Java was a good implementation of some great ideas, we were pretty much taken aback with the Java frenzy that ensued, and quickly moved to leverage it for all it was worth. (With a couple of decades in the rearview mirror, it's easy to forget how revolutionary Java really was at the time, and how hungry the world was for what it offered - namely the most open cross-platform platform and programming environment anyone had ever seen. It didn't hurt that the Java wave lined up really nicely with the 64-bit UltraSPARC architecture's amazing price/performance.)

            It worked - Java was HUGE for both reestablishing Sun as a power player in technical and scientific computing, but also breaking into other lucrative markets we'd been frozen out of, including finance and healthcare - Before Java, Data General had far better name recognition than Sun - I literally met with a BIG heatlhcare CTO who's first question was, "So you're with Sun OIL?" He didn't even know there was a computer company called Sun. Shortly after, he was leading a transition to Sun hardware and software across his entire company. We got him hooked up with the right talent to integrate several critical Java-based products and he saved millions the first year, even after all the switching costs.

            Trust me, we could have sold Java seats, no problem, although being free certainly helped its popularity and stood out from other "enterprise-capable" languages. The big mistake was when the programmers took over and turned a great system focused on cross-platform results and networked computing into something that tried in vain to check every box on the academic CS geeks' wet dream list, and the simple but vital stuff (like say, nailing down a single place where one could expect to FIND a JVM/JRE of a particular version on any given OS platform, to name one example of thousands) fell by the wayside.

            Sadly, Java's never really recovered from the bloat it acquired in trying to be everything to everyone, but it did blaze the pathway for others, including what we called "Java with semicolons": the JavaScript that rules the web now and for the foreseeable future...

            Sun was an amazing company with amazing people doing amazingly innovative things (NFS, YP/NIS/NIS+, Java, same binary desktop-to-supercomputer with transparent 64-bit support (compare Sun's 64-bit transition to IBM/HP/DEC's 64-bit cluster foxtrots - Sun's thinking here continues to fuel the current ARM revolution). There were some stinkers, but overall , we'd all be better off with Sun's innovation still pushing things forward. In a lot of ways, Sun was a better Apple than Apple when it came to "doing it right", especially back in the Java days, when we passed on actually buying Apple...

            • Yeah, I was still in high school when Java was first announced. But, you do have to make languages, even revolutionary great ones accessible to the masses who play with stuff for fun. I mean for myself and my friends, by the time we graduated we essentially had 5 years of experience with the platform. So when large companies were looking at what to use for their large cobol replacement language, well every one knows Java and they don't teach cobol anymore so... Java it is.

              But yeah, I agree with you on the

  • Escape from MicroSun (Score:4, Informative)

    by AtariDatacenter (31657) on Saturday May 31, 2014 @03:56PM (#47137703)

    Some additional nostalgia from 1997...

    Escape from MicroSun [ifiction.org] (aka "Friday Afternoon") is a text adventure (written by a Sun Microsystems employee) where you play the part of a programmer for "MicroSun" and have to escape the office by 6pm for a date.

  • Cool Technology (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 31, 2014 @04:32PM (#47137893)

    Facebook intentionally left a few Sun signs up when it took over the former Sun campus in Menlo Park to remind people of what can happen to a company) the people inside will still be working on cool technology.

    Oh god! Comparing those two companies is like comparing McDonald's with a five star French restaurant.

    SUN created cutting edge hardware. Invented new technologies. Actually added value to society, the economy and science.

    Facebook is a dipshit consumer data pimping and advertising site that not only adds nothing to society but has actually hurting society by making its users even more isolated and keeping them in front of the modern Boob Toob. People are using Facebook as a substitute for real human interaction.

    I'd be proud to have worked for SUN and I'd be ashamed to work for Facebook.

    I hope every programmer, developer or JavaScript "engineer" that walks past that sign looks at it and asks themselves, "Why the fuck am I wasting my life at this worthless place contributing nothing of value to the World?"

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      SUN created cutting edge hardware. Invented new technologies. Actually added value to society, the economy and science.

      So does McDonalds. It may not be in food quality, but logistics and real estate are McDonalds strong points at this stage of the game.

      Just because you don't have the slightest idea what it takes to make an organization like McDonalds work doesn't mean you're qualified to make silly statements about how worthy their contributions to the world and existence are.

      • by Osgeld (1900440)

        cheap shit food on cheap shit land and cheap shit advertising

        I would say the comparison is fair

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Research at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/publications

      Open source at Facebook: https://code.facebook.com/projects/

      Your assertion that Facebook does not provide any external value overall is stronger than the evidence suggests. I would be less quick to condemn without knowing.

    • Seems you don't understand facebook then.
      FB is great for (semi) closed communities to organize events and promote them.
      I for my part practice Aikido, nearly all my facebook 'friends' are practicing Aikido, too. Or are teachers and organize seminars.
      Promoting seminars is easy with facebook and straight forward. That is basically the only thing I do with FB except sending birthday wishes and commenting here and there on a photo.

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Saturday May 31, 2014 @05:21PM (#47138143) Homepage Journal
    There was a guy one cube over who apparently did nothing other than talk on the phone all day about how he was a certified process black belt. It took a 12 page form, including your diffs, to unlock version control for a check in. And the project I was on did all their user authentication (in java) using static classes, because they didn't want to be bothered with instantiating classes. Worked great until two users tried to log in at the same time.

    Shortly after the user authentication problem I got stuck behind a group of their engineers walking to the cafeteria, having a loud discussion about the poor quality of the Linux kernel code. Having just seen some of the coding going in in Sun, it was pretty hard not to tell them scornfully that I'd seen Sun code and they didn't have any room to be talking about anyone else's. Admittedly our project was after Sun was hacking up blood. They sold a few months after I left.

    It was interesting to see the difference between IBM and Sun. IBM had process, but they didn't let it get in the way of their work. At IBM you always felt like someone actually knew the big picture and every product was made to be sold to customers. Sun had more of a underwear gnome business plan of making cool stuff and somehow money would magically appear.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In 1997, I also contracted at Sun. And I was already working with Linux. I told the team I was working with at the time that Linux was going to eat Sun's lunch within 10 years given it's continued improvement, growth and community. They laughed. Sun only lasted 3 years longer than my prediction and was hobbled badly by 2003.

      • by Greyfox (87712) on Saturday May 31, 2014 @10:39PM (#47139307) Homepage Journal
        Intel took all the workstation vendors by surprise, but it was their own fault. The prevailing attitude at IBM while they were doing OS/2 was that the PC was a toy and if you wanted to do REAL multitasking, you bought an AIX workstation at a minimum. They were convinced that Windows wasn't going to go far and were positioning OS/2 as a glorified terminal to their larger machines. And it was actually pretty damn good at that, but I digress.

        So there we are in 93 or 94, the 386 just taking off, OS/2 and Windows are still pretty much children's toys compared to UNIX and mainframe OSes, the only commercial Intel UNIX is $1200 for the base OS and the fuckers want another $1200 for a C compiler, you can take your chances with a bunch of BSD tapes and I'd just heard about this nifty new Linux thing coming on the scene.

        Almost overnight PCs weren't toys anymore and most of the UNIX workstation vendors are going down in flames. In the late '90's I attend a Linux con in Denver. SGI's there, and their marketroid is telling us their company's betting on Windows NT and storage solutions. I didn't have the heart to ask him why I should buy a storage solution from him when I could get one from IBM and know they'd still be there in 5 years. A few months later, SGI declared bankruptcy. Now my phone's more powerful than their old machines.

        Of all the old UNIX workstation vendors, I think IBM is the only one left. SGI's still around, of course, they have an office within walking distance of my house. Dunno what they do these days. At least those fuckers who wanted $1200 for a C compiler also went out of business. Damn I hated working with their UNIX. You couldn't wipe your ass without them wanting to charge you for it. That very first slakware distribution that I downloaded onto 26 floppies was better than anything they'd ever done.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Of all the old UNIX workstation vendors, I think IBM is the only one left. SGI's still around, of course, they have an office within walking distance of my house. Dunno what they do these days. At least those fuckers who wanted $1200 for a C compiler also went out of business. Damn I hated working with their UNIX. You couldn't wipe your ass without them wanting to charge you for it. That very first slakware distribution that I downloaded onto 26 floppies was better than anything they'd ever done.

          Technically, HP is still selling HP-UX. I wouldn't honestly recommend it, but it does exist and you could buy it if you really wanted. They even still use the Itanium processor, just for extra futility.

        • by Phroggy (441)

          SGI's still around, of course, they have an office within walking distance of my house. Dunno what they do these days.

          The company currently calling itself "SGI" [sgi.com] was originally called "Rackable Systems" before they bought SGI's assets in 2009.

        • by dkf (304284)

          So there we are in 93 or 94, the 386 just taking off, OS/2 and Windows are still pretty much children's toys compared to UNIX and mainframe OSes, the only commercial Intel UNIX is $1200 for the base OS and the fuckers want another $1200 for a C compiler, you can take your chances with a bunch of BSD tapes and I'd just heard about this nifty new Linux thing coming on the scene.

          At that time there was 386BSD but they were tearing themselves apart for some reason which I never bothered to get to the bottom of (I think the corpse of that became FreeBSD, but I could be wrong). Linux was not as polished at all, but did a few things reasonably. In particular, it had shared libraries, greatly reducing the memory requirements at a time when memory was expensive, and it had built in floating-point coprocessor emulation. (This was back when programming on DOS/Windows still meant using a seg

          • by stoploss (2842505)

            Linux was not as polished at all, but did a few things reasonably. In particular, it had shared libraries, greatly reducing the memory requirements at a time when memory was expensive

            Talk about a Faustian deal. The shared libs approach is like the legacy of a chemical waste dump... it's there, it seemed like a good idea at the time, and there is not a whole lot anyone is doing to deal with the problems it causes simply by existing. Memory and disk space are no longer expensive, but catch-22 shared library hell is forever.

            Give me statically compiled binaries any day (naturally YMMV on embedded platforms).

            • by dkf (304284)

              The shared libs approach is like the legacy of a chemical waste dump... it's there, it seemed like a good idea at the time, and there is not a whole lot anyone is doing to deal with the problems it causes simply by existing. Memory and disk space are no longer expensive, but catch-22 shared library hell is forever.

              The original Linux shared library system was the toxic waste dump, being basically impossible to use if you weren't a distribution maker (every shared library had to have its own unique address in memory because code was just mmap()ed in without relocation). What we've got now is better, with just the problems of ensuring that versioning across effectively-independent software products works (and that's just plain hard for everyone).

              Memory and disk have only recently become effectively too cheap for anyone

              • by stoploss (2842505)

                Still, I would much rather have a binary that I can move to another installation and have it "Just Work(tm)". Dependency hell sucks, and I am sick of yak shaving simply to get a basic client binary to run. Besides, the promise of shared libs "fix once, fixed everywhere" doesn't really pan out aside from trivial cases. More frequently it's "shared library is patched, dammit... that broke several consumers. now what?"

                Just give us statically compiled binaries and do a Google Chrome-style binary diff upgrade sy

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Of all the old UNIX workstation vendors, I think IBM is the only one left. SGI's still around, of course, they have an office within walking distance of my house. Dunno what they do these days. At least those fuckers who wanted $1200 for a C compiler also went out of business.

          Didn't sun want up to $1000 for their compiler for SPARC? I don't remember what we paid for it back in the Slowlaris 2.5 days, but I know it was plenty. I presume the x86 guys you are badmouthing were SCO? Their Unix was shockingly bad. There was also BSDi, though, SCO wasn't actually all alone. :)

          • by Greyfox (87712)
            Yeah SCO. IIRC they even broke nroff/troff out to a billable component and wanted something for that. I think I sat down and worked out that it'd cost over $10,000 to build fully functional UNIX system. I was never involved in ordering a Solaris system, so I didn't know how the billing for other UNIX systems worked. Most of their clients seemed to wise up within a couple of years.

            I forgot about HP and HP/UX, which someone else mentioned here. I guess they're still around, seemingly despite their best effo

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              The only place I ever saw HP/UX was while working at IBM building printer drivers. It was almost as annoying as SCO to work with.

              The only place I ever saw HPSUX was on that 8-way Itanic that I saw used to replace a 4-way alphaserver because it was required for continued support. I set up IPSEC on it. The examples in the documentation are backwards. Once I switched which end got which commands, the commands worked. On my way there I discovered that every OSS component they had pulled in was disgustingly, dangerously out of date.

        • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Sunday June 01, 2014 @09:32AM (#47140909)

          Damn I hated working with [SGI] UNIX. You couldn't wipe your ass without them wanting to charge you for it.

          Guess you never worked with Banyan Vines... you couldn't do anything without a hardware dongle attached to the parallel port on the back. If you wanted to enable multiple features, you daisy chained multiple dongles off each other. I recall seeing servers with 5-6 dongles hanging off the same parallel port like some sort of unicorn horn.

  • Their contributions to modern society can never fully be comprehended.

  • rot in pieces (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lophophore (4087) on Saturday May 31, 2014 @06:48PM (#47138441) Homepage

    There were a lot of Sun people who celebrated the demise of Digital Equipment Corporation.

    Well, what goes around comes around eventually. Sun got theirs, let them rot in pieces. They never made the impact that Digital did.

    (and no, I'm not bitter about Sun. I'm waiting for HP's turn. It's coming...)

    • by mikael (484)

      HP already became a "box integrator" back in the 1990's when Microsoft went on their "UNIX is legacy, Windows NT is the future" rampage. HP caved in, dumped HP-UX, started packaging Windows workstations, and ended up competing against Dell and other companies.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Well, what goes around comes around eventually. Sun got theirs, let them rot in pieces. They never made the impact that Digital did.

      Are you sure about that? I've only worked in two places that had DEC machines and each one only had one of them, and it was only there because of inertia. When I was leaving one of them was being forced onto itanic because it was the upgrade path from their Alphaserver.

      • by lophophore (4087)

        You're not very old, are you?

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          You're not very old, are you?

          Nope. But while Digital clearly was a massive influence in its day, in Sun's day Digital spent most of its time whimpering in a corner trying to come up with a response to everyone and their mother eating their lunch with this new thing called UNIX that Digital was never very good at.

          • Right, but UNIX (all varieties) is rancid dog shit as an OS, compared to VMS. Everybody bitching about Windows burying Unix/Linux even though Windows is shit - the same relationship applies to VMS and Unix.

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              Right, but UNIX (all varieties) is rancid dog shit as an OS, compared to VMS.

              Right, that's why VMS is all but gone and Unix has taken over handling basically everything that's important to anyone. It's all so clear!

              • by bmo (77928)

                It all has to do with pricing and being "good enough" - not absolute quality.

                Unix (Linux these days) taking over basically everything is because VMS was never Free or free, and if you thought "Unix Pricing" was expensive, you never saw "VMS Pricing" or "IBM Pricing" ($5,000 to snip a "blue" wire to enable a feature.) The latter two things are the driving force behind all these clusters of adapted off-the-shelf microcomputers in racks to used as "mainframes."

                Unix (and now Linux) is "good enough" - it does t

                • by drinkypoo (153816)

                  if you thought "Unix Pricing" was expensive, you never saw "VMS Pricing" or "IBM Pricing" ($5,000 to snip a "blue" wire to enable a feature.)

                  That's not the half of it. The original service contracts said that any software you wrote on the system became the property of IBM.

                  Anyone claiming that any flavor of Unix is better than VMS is either talking out of his asshole or never used VMS and Files-11.

                  It's "better" in the sense that it's a better fit for nearly everyone. If Unix will do what I need and VMS won't, and what I need can include a cost consideration, then Unix is better for me. And as it turns out, Unix is better for almost everyone. If that weren't true, VMS would still be a thing that wasn't EOL'd.

          • by lophophore (4087)

            Sun stood on the shoulders of giants.

            That 68000 processor that Sun used? Modeled after DEC microprocessors. That ethernet wire they connected to? They don't call it Digital-Intel-Xerox Ethernet for no reason. That "new thing" unix Sun used? And the C language? Built on DEC PDPs. Your terminal emulator? Emulates a DEC terminal. USB? A consortium, including DEC. That X-Window System sun used after NeWS tanked? Yep. Came from Project Athena, sponsored by DEC. MIT & IBM.

            One of the many reasons th

  • by tarpitcod (822436) on Sunday June 01, 2014 @08:15AM (#47140583)

    I'm going to have a go at explaining to readers how it 'felt' to use a workstation. I have a friend who experienced the same thing working on Apollo workstations too.

    There was this feeling - I can best describe as being like what many people report they had as kids with home micros. You woke up and here was this awesome machine that just begged to be played with, have hardware added to etc. It's an awesome feeling of discovery and exploration and possibilities. It's like the feeling you can have if you grab a nice big piece of blank paper and a pen. You can write whatever you want on it, draw on it, calculate something on it...

    For me - and other folks who had access to workstations it was just like that feeling. Suddenly you had this machine that was fast, had a great display, a great operating system - SunOS 4.1.3 . the machine was there and all that compute + display + disk was there for YOU. It wasn't locked up in some server some other place and you weren't competing with everyone else.

    Later on Sun came out with some really cool things too. Anyone else remember NeWS? That was pretty cool....NFS for as many problems as it has is still actively used all over the place.

    Why did Sun die? They died because they stopped doing what they started doing. The actual model for Sun in the early days was they would take a standard Unix and build a workstation (or server) wrapped around it. They actually used to say that they weren't going to lock people into their system - they would make their system open - and compete based on having the best product. Think about that for a minute. They were saying 'We wil build the best damn workstation, and you will buy it because it's the best damn workstation'. Now you can argue if the SPARCStation 1+ was better than an Apollo or a MIPS but as a business strategy it's hard as a consumer to complain about it. It was a massive departure from what DEC did.

    • by pooh666 (624584)
      I get this, a little bit, although I didn't get to have the same experence. About 10 years ago I was shopping for servers and started talking to some people at Sun. One thing that amazed me is that they were all so happy. The other is just that I increasingly got the feeling that I didn't really know shit about servers because of my only having experence with PC/Intel type hardware. I know the mainframe type people say the same types of things, hot swap everything, machines that could run for years and were
      • by tarpitcod (822436)

        Definitely true for the mainframe folks. Lots of people don't realize that virtual machines have been around for ages. Take a look at CP67. There's actually piles of cool and interesting architecture stuff to read with really interesting ideas that were tried.

        One thing to remember about Sun is that on the server-side they really got a huge break when SGI (Who had just bought Cray) sold off the Cray 64 SPARC processor server to Sun. That became the Sunfire 10000. Which seems kindof insane in retrospect

  • Opensource GNU/Linux software emulated much of the fabulous SunOS. Sun could not compete in hardware price.
    My current company has always used the UNIX platform sinc eits start in thel late 80s First we used IBM PowerPC, then that plus Sun, then Sun plus Linex, and finallung Linux64 alone.
    • My first *NIX-like experience was on Solaris 7 (university rooms full of X11 terrminals connecting to a handful computers, among them an 8-CPU Sun box).
      Yes, linux does pretty much the same things, sometimes better ("man tar" was hilariously long on Sun, with boatloads of crap relating to old tapes drives). But Solaris could run old binary stuff, like ancient ports of Doom and Quake. GNU/Linux is incapable of doing it. Given that sorry state of things, I guess Solaris would be a better gaming OS than linux -

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