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Sun Microsystems Portables Hardware

Toshiba To OEM Laptops With OpenSolaris 226

ruphus13 writes to tell us of Sun's latest attempt to drive OpenSolaris adoption. The company has inked a deal to pre-install OpenSolaris on Toshiba laptops. "Slowly but surely, major laptop vendors are taking to the idea of shipping systems with pre-loaded open source operating systems. The latest case in point is Toshiba — one of the longest-standing players in the market for portable computers — and its new plan to pre-install Sun Microsystems' OpenSolaris on its laptops. The machines are supposed to ship in early 2009."
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Toshiba To OEM Laptops With OpenSolaris

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  • by Yvanhoe ( 564877 ) on Friday December 19, 2008 @10:09AM (#26172091) Journal
    That is called competition. A thing that has lacked for too long in this field.
  • by QuantumRiff ( 120817 ) on Friday December 19, 2008 @10:24AM (#26172223)

    But the CHOICE is the important part. I don't care if they offer linux, Open Solaris, freeBSD, or even Darwin, its great to see that OEM companies are realizing that having a choice is a good thing. We've seen what happens when there is only one choice. OpenSolaris will only get better on laptops over time with this. Because it is "Open" it will drive competition (and hopefully share new features) with linux. This will drive having more compatible hardware, and better drivers, and companies will realize its nice to not send a chunk of every sale to MS.

  • yeah riiight. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by apodyopsis ( 1048476 ) on Friday December 19, 2008 @10:29AM (#26172263)
    the next obvious move?

    MS to scrap the OEM tax and instead install an OS that is free for 30 days and then asks you to did into your wallet and type in a credit card number.

    MS will never allow this to continue without a fight, they drop the prices or allowed older operating systems anywhere they can to ensure machines are shipped with their OS.

    It seems clear that threatening OEMS with more a expensive windows tax if they do not cooperate is becoming less effective these days.

    They might even give the OS away free if they have no choice at all and get money back on cloud, upgrades, applications and web services. But I cannot see them ever willingly accepting PCs sold in large numbers without windows.
  • Wonderful... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Brad_McBad ( 1423863 ) on Friday December 19, 2008 @10:30AM (#26172283)
    But I have a feeling it won't last long... OpenSolaris is even more niche that FreeBSD. Once it's obvious the cost of giving people the choice is more than the the extra business it brings in it'll get dropped like a stone.
  • by jhines ( 82154 ) <john@jhines.org> on Friday December 19, 2008 @10:34AM (#26172331) Homepage

    This is kind of a BS argument, in that other than the kernel what is different between the two? Both Linux and Opensolaris run the same open source desktop, and applications.

  • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Friday December 19, 2008 @10:52AM (#26172523) Homepage Journal

    It's "open" but it's not one of those operating systems that people are going to WANT to switch from Windows.

    Why? The only serious issue with OpenSolaris I can think of is a lack of third party support, which is because OpenSolaris doesn't have a wide install base. If some major manufacturer, say Toshiba, of, say, laptop computers was to provide it pre-installed, then that might change.

    OpenSolaris has a number of differences to, say, Ubuntu, which are very attractive, notably the ZFS file system. For Enterprise use, where all the critical applications (the Apache suite and virtually everything that runs over it, Kerberos, OpenLDAP, Samba, Various IMAP daemons, various MTAs, etc) are all supported natively, and it works well as a Xen domain, the support for ZFS makes it arguably a superior option to RHEL, and having the option of having it run as a desktop environment helps administrators use the same tools locally and remotely.

    There's no legitimate reason to suggest it's not something people would want in preference to Windows. It's a solid operating system with a strong pedigree, a decent level of support, and some extremely nice features.

  • Re:yeah riiight. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by enharmonix ( 988983 ) <enharmonix+slashdot@gmail.com> on Friday December 19, 2008 @10:55AM (#26172543)

    They might even give the OS away free

    Frankly, I've always wondered why they don't.

    • Most users aren't really clear on the concept of an operating system. They know Windows is on their PC, but don't really understand what it does (and what it doesn't do) or that there are alternatives. They probably don't even realize they're paying for it when they buy a computer.
    • It's a platform, and platforms generally have a low barrier to entry. Java is free. .NET is free (as in beer). The web is free. Console makers sell consoles at a loss (at first, anyway) because the real money is in software sales. MS never charged me for my Xbox dashboard update, so why would I want to pay for the same thing on my computer?

    Who knows, if Microsoft can't convince people to move on from XP, it very well might end up free. Of course, I would also like to see Windows open-sourced, and that's never gonna happen, so hey. In a perfect world, anyway...

  • by scubamage ( 727538 ) on Friday December 19, 2008 @10:56AM (#26172553)
    Layer 8 types have heard of Solaris, and Sun Microsystems. Its more marketable than 'pure' linux because there is a large company supporting it, as opposed to an amorphous community which technically doesn't have anything really tying it together beyond the OS. As anyone whose ever pushed for open source adoption to an executive board will know, that's a real fear. Yes its cheaper, but what if there's no support? What if the website for the project goes down (as has happened with thousands of open source projects) and the forums go with it. Support dissapears. Yes there is enterprise linux, but I think a lot of the outsider view is still tainted by that idea of volatility.
  • by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Friday December 19, 2008 @11:10AM (#26172729) Journal

    I think you are right. I also think that OpenSolaris on a Toshiba laptop will be as popular as the Danger Hiptop (aka Sidekick from T-Mobile) has been. There are a lot of good things to say about Sun and Solaris and some bad things. What they do seem to be doing is moving to get some market share lost to Linux. It was not that long ago that you used Sun in the data center if you wanted reliable solid servers. It's not your only choice anymore. With Linux making inroads on the desktops of the world, Sun has a chance to move in and get some share without competing directly against MS. OpenSolaris is not that bad but has some limitations. With the Gnome desktop it looks more or less like any Linux OS. I have yet to see the SunBlade on my desk crater or act up. Rock solid operation.

    If Sun and Toshiba can translate that reputation to the laptop and make it usable for Joe Public, Sun will not only be impressive, but on their way toward being a player that everyone has to worry about again. In the business that Sun is in, good is not enough. They need to be the preferred supplier of many people. That has to be their goal, to become the preferred supplier of computer products.

    Hardware got really cheap, so x86 OpenSolaris is a smart move, a necessary one. Even Apple went there. They both should have anticipated it. If they get the app development further along, and morph their support systems to more or less match Linux distributions, they have a chance of regaining significant market share. Remember that the difference between new high end laptops and a data center server are decreasing every month. I don't think that Sun has any choice but to do this.

  • by FlyingBishop ( 1293238 ) on Friday December 19, 2008 @11:25AM (#26172937)

    The point is brand dilution. With Solaris (and OpenSolaris no less) offered on laptops, the computer==windows mentality will soon be as dead as the internet=IE mentality. When you have 3 viable alternatives with the same feature set, (Star/OpenOffice, Webkit/Gecko, Unix) the idea that Windows is somehow the 'best' option begins to just be silly.

    For me, I can go to my friends and say, look, Sun, IBM, Novell, Canonical, and a ton of other companies have been pouring money into these free systems. These companies use them extensively. Have you honestly had such a fantastic experience with Microsoft that you want to stick with them when you have all these other options?

  • by digitalhermit ( 113459 ) on Friday December 19, 2008 @11:27AM (#26172965) Homepage

    Solaris is superior as a server OS. But for a desktop Laptop OS... Why?

    I loved Solaris too. Knowing SunOS paid for my first house and first car. I used to maintain multiple enterprise systems all by my lonesome self. This included a mass of 450s and a couple 6500s.

    Unfortunately, Sun seems to have lost their mojo. Solaris was once much better, much more reliable than Linux. When LVM was still trashing LVs under capacity loads, Sun had super-stable Veritas file systems. When Linux were marvelling at 4-processor systems, Sun was pushing out 64-way machines. At the time, Linux NFS was non-standard and failed under high load. Sun's NFS implementation was rock solid.

    Then PCs grew up. And Linux grew up along with it.

    There's a well-known chart that talks about the reason why Microsoft continues to add features (and bloat) to their products. The reason is competition. If they don't add features, then other products with fewer features can become "good enough" for what a user (er, consumer) needs. If Microsoft didn't continually add new features, users will ask themselves why they are paying a price premium for something they can do for free or at a much reduced cost.

    But Sun went on another track. They decided they didn't want to court that rapidly advancing Linux horde. They missed out on the low-end server market by casting doubt on the future of their x86 Solaris product. They started hoarding their IP portfolio, forgetting their history. In all this time, Linux was getting "good enough".

    Good enough, in fact, to steal away the web server market. Good enough to steal away the edge-of-network market. Good enough to steal away the low-end database market. Good enough to steal away the high-end workstation market. All these were Sun's markets. All gone. I know this because I used Sun boxes in these capacities.

    At my company the last enterprise Sun box went away almost 18 months ago. We're pushing Linux to supplement our AIX systems now. And Linux excels. It's stable. It's supported. It's cheap. And it's doing what the Sun box did for $50,000 more.

  • Re:Poor Microsoft (Score:2, Insightful)

    by knails ( 915340 ) <knailstheman@gmail.com> on Friday December 19, 2008 @11:35AM (#26173051)
    Ok, I know you're being facetious, but the Big 3 automakers really need it. I live in mid-Michigan, and I know to what extent the automakers' influence on the economy here is. If they go down, they're taking a large part of the state with them. Even if they don't go down, they've already cut large numbers of employees and cut production. This mostly due to the republicans in congress and Bush's lack of support and willingness to help pull them out. The extent of damages due to their delay has yet to be seen, but it affects literally millions of people.
  • Re:Poor Microsoft (Score:2, Insightful)

    by javacowboy ( 222023 ) on Friday December 19, 2008 @11:44AM (#26173179)

    I know this is *totally* off-topic, but why should the car companies get an unconditional bailout? They'll just burn through the cash in a few months anyways.

    Since people aren't buying new cars anymore, what we need is to use those factories to build things other than cars, like windmills and solar panels.

  • by Rutulian ( 171771 ) on Friday December 19, 2008 @01:29PM (#26174399)

    Don't get me wrong, I've been wanting to play with OpenSolaris myself, but every feature you listed is relevant to the server or workstation market. The desktop market doesn't care about MTAs and IMAP daemons. Kerberos, LDAP, and Samba are nice, but they have to be more than just present. They have to work well with minimal fuss.

    Linux, after stumbling around with this for years, is just now finally getting to the point where it can easily be a drop-in replacement for Windows on a corporate desktop (i.e: authenticating on an AD domain). Sure, it's been possible for a while, the question has always been how much tweaking you have to do to various configuration files including possible changes to the domain controllers depending on what you are trying to do. With nice config utilities and better autoconfiguration, this has recently become a lot easier (but not yet perfect).

    In addition, there is the issue of desktop optimizations. The Solaris kernel is engineered for throughput, smp, and big iron, and it is very good at those things. Linux has been through many years of flame wars, new schedulers, low-latency patches, preempt patches, rewritten vfs layers, scsi subsystems, and audio subsystems--all addressing the complicated issues of performance on the server and the desktop. The desktop part of that has really matured in the last year, but even three or four years ago desktop performance was pretty sucky. Remember, for the desktop user, latency (even perceived latency) is a much bigger issue than throughput, and the optimizations for the former are often degrading to the latter.

    So, I like the idea of OpenSolaris, but it's going to take a lot more than slapping Compiz and Gnome on it to make it into a good desktop OS. Sure, they will get there eventually, just like Linux (maybe even faster if they can use some of the same approaches Linux has), but it's not there yet.

  • by ClosedSource ( 238333 ) on Friday December 19, 2008 @10:26PM (#26180639)

    US car companies have ignored the future for 40 years, fighting every environmental and fuel economy standard that would have make them competitive.

  • by ThePhilips ( 752041 ) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @08:01AM (#26183079) Homepage Journal

    I use HP-UX and Solaris on daily basis: business software of my employer run there.

    You have to try to do something on Unix once to start seeing that Linux is not Unix and start hating Unix.

    Solaris e.g. still doesn't install any capable text editor by default. You end up with original 'vi' which was last update 1996 and still doesn't support arrow keys (actually it's worse: it interprets unknown key sequences literally). But Solaris is paradise compared to underwhelming HP-UX, where you really end up with bare minimum. Infamous messages "line too long" from awk or sed (yeah, they still do not handle strings longer than 1000 characters). Lack or recursive grep, when you have to pipe 'find' to pretty much anything - but what is not always possible.

    Default install of any Linux is quite usable. Default install of both Solaris and HP-UX is miserable torture. (*) For business software, with all its bogosities and hacks, commercial Unix is better: they provide workarounds for literally everything. But deploying (process which takes months) anything on Unix is royal pain. Using Unix daily - is even more so.

    Apparently, Unix degraded to some backbone OS: spend five minutes installing something and then just monitor it remotely. That works and works really well. But if you actually need to do something on them ... forget. It is simpler to rewrite every tool they supply in Perl and be with it. Linux on other side looks like it is actually used - actively - by all kinds of people: it is much more polished and can be used painlessly on daily basis without rewriting anything.

    (*) Most bogosities of Unix can be worked around by compiling e.g. GNU tools or any other functioning analogue. But there is a catch: Unix doesn't come with compiler preinstalled or even if it is installed it is pretty much incapable of compiling anything big (e.g. gcc). That's the way Unix vendors remind you that they also sell separately commercial compilers and you are welcome to buy them.

"To take a significant step forward, you must make a series of finite improvements." -- Donald J. Atwood, General Motors