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Dell CIO Says "Unix is Dead" 656

Posted by timothy
from the too-few-necks-to-choke dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I thought this might spur some good discussion on this board, including jabs at Dell and MS, which I always enjoy reading. Dell's CIO believes that the end of Unix is here, in fact his opening slide in a recent presentation was "Unix is dead." Specifically, he talked about the savings he claims in moving Dell's Oracle databases from Solaris to Red Hat.
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Dell CIO Says "Unix is Dead"

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  • since 1980.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Doug Merritt (3550)
    I've been hearing that "Unix is dead" since 1980. Pundits are idiots.

    For those of you who came in late, Unix and its workalikes (Linux etc) have grown in use exponentially since 1980.

    • Re:since 1980.... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by wirelessbuzzers (552513) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:28PM (#5419345)
      For those of you who came in late, Unix and its workalikes (Linux etc) have grown in use exponentially since 1980.

      Exactly. The point of the article is that Unix has fallen behind its workalikes, specifically Linux in this case.

      And no, *BSD trolls, he did not say that *BSD is dying.
      • Re:since 1980.... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by uk_greg (187765) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:51PM (#5419512)
        The other issue here is cost.

        Some background on Randy Mott, Dell's CIO. Before joining Dell, he was the CIO at Wal*Mart. Both Dell and Wal*Mart are kings of supply chain and operations management, especially cost reduction. This guy is very good at squeezing cost out of corporate IT infrastructures while delivering first rate solutions to his internal corporate customers. Any hyperbole aside, if Randy Mott speaks, he knows what he's talking about, and he knows what he's doing. It may not be right for every organization, but I guarantee it'll be right for Dell.
      • Re:since 1980.... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by chono (229972) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:58PM (#5419539)
        In short, he did not say Unix is dead, I think he said Solaris is dead. Of course, Dell sells server, and Sun sells server.
        • Re:since 1980.... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Billly Gates (198444) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @08:38PM (#5421259) Journal
          I was just at Dell's website and found this. [dell.com]

          They want to sell packaged solutions with dell hardware of course. Notice the fast track to Linux [dell.com]is there. They have whole classes on Unix to Windows or Linux migration. They are doing quite a good job of marketing themselves as a supperior solution. Its all about profits and taking as much as they can from Sun.

    • Re:since 1980.... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Subcarrier (262294)
      For those of you who came in late, Unix and its workalikes (Linux etc) have grown in use exponentially since 1980.

      What you say is true but basically the article is just saying that Linux and the other free Unix lookalikes are eating into the cake of the commercial Unices. I've seen enough Solaris workstations replaced with Linux machines to know that this is happening. The Unix culture is going anywhere, though. Quite the contrary.
    • "I've been hearing that "Unix is dead" since 1980. Pundits are idiots. "

      I wouldn't pay it a lot of attention, the author of this article was, by his own admission, trolling. Check out this line of the article:

      "I thought this might spur some good discussion on this board, including jabs at Dell and MS, which I always enjoy reading..."

      I'm surprised Slashdot gave him airtime.
    • Re:since 1980.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BigFootApe (264256) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @07:55PM (#5421050)
      Two problems with this article:

      1) By many popular definitions, Linux and BSD are unices. The announcement that "UNIX is dead" is too sweeping a term to be safely used.

      2) We have no way to quantify what differences in performance are attributable to software rather than hardware in the given example, nor does one anecdotal application constitute a complete comparison between Solaris/SPARC and RHL/ia32.

      This article seems to have more to do with squabbles between Dell and the traditional iron peddlers over market share in the enterprise sector than anything else.
  • by dsb3 (129585) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:24PM (#5419295) Homepage Journal
    Gee ... you think he'd at least be able to SPELL B-S-D.

    (it's funny, laugh!).
  • by JiMbOb_ka (232846) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:24PM (#5419305) Homepage
    With HP-UX and Solaris based projects getting ready for launch in the next few years I imagine that Enterprise Unices will have a long life to live.
    • And to banks (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bonker (243350) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:27PM (#5419343)
      Large financial organizations are typically *just* moving away from COBOL based apps running on VMS and SCO to Java and C apps running on Solaris on Sun Hardware.
      • Re:And to banks (Score:5, Interesting)

        by begatesau (654427) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:51PM (#5419510)
        No, I don't think so--OpenVMS still sits quietly in the back corner of financial institutions, chugging away at its COBOL based applications with real fault-tolerance quite nicely thank you! Why would a soul use Java on slowaris? http://developers.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/0 2/09/1347215&mode=thread&tid=108 Besides, OpenVMS also has java and netbeans. But then again, why would anyone spend the money to migrate from COBOL to java when everything works just fine and there are great migration products like BridgeWorks available? http://www.openvms.compaq.com/commercial/bridgewor ks You speak as if you had the power to make migration decisions, but low and behold you're probably just some troll developer with a strange opinion.
        • Re:And to banks (Score:5, Interesting)

          by radish (98371) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @05:29PM (#5420358) Homepage
          I am a senior developer at a major international bank (one of the worlds' biggest). We are building the vast majority of new enterprise systems on Java/Solaris. Most legacy systems are C++/Solaris, 2-tier scripting & database (a surprising number) or COBOL/mainframe (tiny minority). There's virtually no other Unix platforms (there may still be a little SunOS around, and there's a bit of Linux just coming in). Desktops are all Windows, server rooms are virtually all Solaris on Sun hardware. Email is Exchange (*cough*) but hey, nothing I can do about that ;)
  • by xintegerx (557455) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:24PM (#5419307) Homepage
    If that's truly the last remaining solaris web server, we just slashdotted it.
  • To make such a strong statement, I think he's growing fearful in the face of growing linux use in both the home and server market . . . or he's just B.S.'ing everyone, which kind of works in the business world. It's just a polite way of sucking c0ck.
  • Dell Trolls (Score:5, Insightful)

    by smoondog (85133) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:25PM (#5419321)
    Isn't this a little like those trolls that post obituaries on /. for people who aren't dead yet? Anyway, I sort of agree with him, moving to Linux makes the most sense for traditional UNIX vendors that want to keep up with the market.

    Anyways, so what?

    -Sean
    • Re:Dell Trolls (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Amiga Trombone (592952) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:47PM (#5419485)
      Anyways, so what?

      If I had any mod points, this would get moded up as "Insightful". Really, this is irrelevant. I admin Solaris, HP-UX and AIX systems, and I'd have to say that Linux isn't significantly any differnt from them than they are from each other. Arguably, Unix as a single, discrete OS expired decades ago. There's never been a time when you run out and buy a "Unix" application, throw it on J. Random Unix System and have it run. Other than in a legal sense, that is, copyrights on the name and some specific software, the term Unix hasn't had any real meaning in years. It's become a generic term, like Kleenex or Xerox.

      If it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck...
    • Re:Dell Trolls (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gilesjuk (604902) <giles.jones@NOspam.zen.co.uk> on Sunday March 02, 2003 @03:03PM (#5419573)
      How can anyone listen to opinions of a company that is too scared of Microsoft to dare to ship their desktops with anything else? even their FreeDOS bundled machines still include the Microsoft license fee.
    • Re:Dell Trolls (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hackstraw (262471)
      I'm all for commercial UNIX vendors going to Linux. But for that to happen, they have to get Linux up to speed. Can anyone say Trusted Solaris? Does Linux have the auditing capabilities of systems like Solaris or NT? Although I havn't seen the later, post 2.4.9 kernels with the newer VM, under heavy load while paging, but in my experience Linux plain sucks under these condition.

      IBM is starting to come around by embracing and supporting Linux. HP is doing the same, especially with the Itaniums. That leaves us with Sun and Solaris. Sun is behaving kindof erratically here lately. With their Cobalt cubes, their own flavor of linux, and their blade systems that run Intel or AMD chips. Sun has a lot to offer, but I think its time for them to either get their Sparc archetecture up to speed, or ditch it and just become and integrator with comodity parts. Solaris is rock solid, and has been for years. I would love to see some of the maturity of Solaris folded into Linux, but I would imagine that this would be a very difficult thing to do.

      I hate to say it, but I kinda agree with this guy. But as it stands right now, unless commercial UNIXes do something drastically different, this will not be a big win for Linux, but rather a win for that other little company from Redmond. Because as it stands, Linux is not ready to assume all of the functionality of mature UNIXes.
      • Re:Dell Trolls (Score:4, Interesting)

        by thanasakis (225405) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @06:18PM (#5420575)
        get their Sparc archetecture up to speed

        You may find this article interesting:

        Sun has two surprises in store for users [infoworld.com]

        Basicaly, what they are trying to do is embed tens of processor cores inside one chip. If they can pull this off sufficiently early, they may completely overwhelm their SMP competition as both IBM and Intel are at the point of embeding only a couple of cores in one die. Plus, their software has excellent SMP characteristics which may prove quite usefull.
    • Re:Dell Trolls (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Billly Gates (198444) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @08:30PM (#5421221) Journal
      However with a Unix Sun box:

      1.)I have hot swapable drive support. HP is working on this for w2k but does dell have this?

      2.)I can upgrade the hardware while the system is running!

      3.)I have 64 bit memory access and integers for workstation cad apps as well as database access. Type double in C/c++ does not allow enough precision. Int64 ?? I can use larger numbers with more decimal points.

      4.) I have a scalable server that has supperior clustering software that NT and Linux lack

      5.) With up to 128 processors I can have one fast mutha.

      6.) World class stability. Linux has serious VM problems and the filesystem has been known to corrupt under large disk loads. Ask any database admin who uses oracle in Linux. Real servers need 24x7 support and linux is close and is very stable but has some rough edges in heavy server use. A reboot could be disasterous and cost tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. May god help you if your wharehouse database crashes or if your factory goes offline for a system reboot.

      7.)WOrld class support. If a chip fails you can have an engineer from Sun with a replacement part be at your office within a matter of hours if your a gold member!

      Ya Unix is dead. Not.

      I know Brown associates 4 years ago did a study that pissed off alot of slashdotters giving linux a very poor review. Basically the remarks were the 7 I stated above. Its not just about a stable workstation but managability and vendor support as well as hotswapable hardware. WindowsNT4 also got a shitty review to make things fair.

      Funny that Dell is weak in these area's described above except for support. But its hard to match suns gold memember. Its also funny that they want to compete agaisnt sun right when the the CIO says "Unix is Dead". He says its dead because he wants it to be true. Say a lie enough times and it becomes fact according to Stallan.

      Thanks to the AMD and Intel race, sun's and sgi's are now slower then pc's. However Sun is planning the sparcIv and sparcV later this year and late next year which will catch up and surpass Itanium and the pentiumIV. Sun had chip fabrication problems which delayed the sparcIII and Iv which hurt them. But they are now in fast gear to be the fastest machines on the planet.

      Once this happens many customers will consider Sun again. Customers like bang for the buck and this is the only advantage of Windows2k. If you need results Unix is still the only option.

      • Re:Dell Trolls (Score:3, Interesting)

        by router (28432)
        Rebuttal:

        1. Ok, well, yeah, but the drives cost more than 1U dual PIII servers.

        2. Yeah, you can, but try upgrading the firmware on an A3500FC on the fly. Would you now trust hitting the disk array with your database at the same time? I wouldn't....

        3. Solaris doesn't have 64 bit memory access. Its like 38 or 48 bit. Check their UltraSparc docs.

        4. Sure, and for things that need "decent" clustering, its one of a few options. Most things, however, don't need "decent" clustering.

        5. No current Sun product supports 128 processors, and if you need a loaded E15k you have very specific needs indeed.

        6. Again, how many UltraSparc II/III processors have failed on you in the past month? If you deal with lots of them, they die depressingly frequently. Especially considering the cost.

        7. Anybody can and does provide support like this. Sun premium support (gold/platinum) is really freaking expensive.

        Sun will continue to have fabrication problems, since they are relying on TI to fab for them. Sun has so many supply vendors that they run into the same problems white box vendors do, but they can hide it better. When push comes to shove, they are selling enormously expensive servers that are justified for about 1% of server duties. And that will shrink as Linux gains the features to compete in those corner cases. At which point, Sun will die. Period.

        andy
        • Re:Dell Trolls (Score:5, Informative)

          by nbvb (32836) on Monday March 03, 2003 @02:19AM (#5422400) Journal

          1. Ok, well, yeah, but the drives cost more than 1U dual PIII servers.

          That's right, and a Mercedes costs more than a Fiat.

          2. Yeah, you can, but try upgrading the firmware on an A3500FC on the fly. Would you now trust hitting the disk array with your database at the same time? I wouldn't....

          True enough, but anyone worth their salt knows the A3500 was a flaming piece of ....... that Sun OEM'd from LSI.

          Now, take an E10k. I can dynamically add/remove processors, memory, SBus cards, PCI cards, etc.

          In fact, I just replaced 4 SBus I/O mezz's each on 2 of my E10k's with PCI ones. All while the system was up. And the database was running. And the data was processing. And not a single hiccup.

          Now _that_ is what I call hot-swap hardware.

          3. Solaris doesn't have 64 bit memory access. Its like 38 or 48 bit. Check their UltraSparc docs.

          Errr.... check the Solaris docs.

          4. Sure, and for things that need "decent" clustering, its one of a few options. Most things, however, don't need "decent" clustering.


          OK, you tell me how to keep an Oracle database highly available without decent clustering.

          Yes, a parallel DB is still technically a cluster.


          5. No current Sun product supports 128 processors, and if you need a loaded E15k you have very specific needs indeed.


          True enough, max. CPU in an SF15k (They're _not_ part of the Enterprise line), is 108.

          However, it's not a "very specific" need; I see lots of places where running several domains on SF15k's would be ideal. I also have some E10k's that run balls-to-the-wall, 64 CPU's, 64gb RAM in one domain. We're trying to determine exactly what our performance gains would be if we migrated off of the pair of E10k's mentioned above to a single SF15k. Honestly, I don't think a single 15k would handle the load. The application in question seems to like more processors at a (relatively) slower speed than fewer procs at faster speed....

          6. Again, how many UltraSparc II/III processors have failed on you in the past month? If you deal with lots of them, they die depressingly frequently. Especially considering the cost.

          The US-II chips were very unreliable until the Sombra modules became available. They got seriously reliable after that.

          Sun never introduced a Sombra-like module for the desktop-class equipment (E450 and below), _BUT_ they did replace the CPU's with IBM e-cache modules with CPU's with Sony e-cache modules. I haven't seen an e-cache parity error in a long, long time (And I support about 300 Sun machines, from Ultra 1's through SF6800's, and soon 15k's....)

          7. Anybody can and does provide support like this. Sun premium support (gold/platinum) is really freaking expensive.


          That depends on what it means to your business. If downtime costs you serious $$$, that contract is worth its weight in gold.
  • by carpe_noctem (457178) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:26PM (#5419325) Homepage Journal
    It is official; Dell's CIO confirms: Unix is dying

    One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered Unix community when IDC confirmed that Unix market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of any computer. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that Unix has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. Unix is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

    You don't need to be a Kreskin to predict Unix's future. The hand writing is on the wall: Unix faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for Unix because Unix is dying. Things are looking very bad for Unix. As many of us are already aware, Unix continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood (and when hasnt it?)

    Unix is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time Unix developers Some_Engineer#1 and Some_Engineer#2 only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: Unix is dying.

    Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

    Unix leader Linus Torvalds states that there are 7000 users of Unix. How many users of Unix are there? Let's see. The number of Unix versus Wannabee posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 Unix users. Unix posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of Unix posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of Unix. A recent article put Unix at about 80 percent of the Unix market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 Unix users. This is consistent with the number of Unix Usenet posts.

    Due to the troubles of nobody, abysmal sales and so on, Unix is going out of business and is being taken over by Microsoft who sell another troubled OS. Now Unix is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

    All major surveys show that Unix has steadily declined in market share. Unix is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If Unix is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. Unix continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *nix is dead.

    Fact: Unix is dying.

    (Sorry, couldn't resist)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Hmm, what he's missing is that Linux is the next jump in the evolution of Unix. So it's like noting the ascendency of Cro Magnon over Neanderthal, and deducing that "cavemen are dead". Nope, it's just evolution at work, and it's yielding impressive results.
  • OH PHEW!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 7-Vodka (195504) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:26PM (#5419332) Journal
    I thought he was including linux in when he said "unix is dead".
    I guess not.
    Well, I wonder if he's *ever heard* of freebsd or openbsd or netbsd. They are real unix. They won't easily die for a long time.
    • Re:OH PHEW!! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      umm, no theyre not - only the products listed here [opengroup.org] are permitted legally to use the trademark UNIX
    • Re:OH PHEW!! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dvdeug (5033)
      Well, I wonder if he's *ever heard* of freebsd or openbsd or netbsd. They are real unix.

      They aren't real UNIX(tm). As for being real Unix systems, how do they differ from Linux in that respect? Both are POSIX-compliant; with the exception of a few newcomers not known to K&R, all the commands in the C library are the same. The system commands all work the same, with the exception of a few knobs here and there there were again added since the time of the first Unix systems.
  • Unix is dead (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sql*kitten (1359) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:27PM (#5419338)
    Unix is dead, the product trademark owned by SCO, that is. Who uses UnixWare any more?

    The unix - note the lower case - family of operating systems, however is alive and well.

    Kudos to Dell for using their own servers to run their business, tho'.
    • Unix is dead, the product trademark owned by SCO, that is. Who uses UnixWare any more?

      Yes, but now that Caldera and SCO are one, is Linux now UNIX® ?
  • Considering that the base of so many things is the unix *concept* he must be either nuts, or just referring to the copyrighted NAME 'unix'.

    Either way he's an idiot. Though a rich idiot he is.....
  • Then who's alive? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FooBarWidget (556006)
    Then which OSses HAVEN'T reached their end?
    BeOS? Dead. (the open source clones/alternatives are far from ready)
    Windows? Even 2000 and XP aren't nearly as stable as Unix and are completely non-portable.

    Sorry but I don't see any other OS ruling the server market for quite some time.
    • by batkiwi (137781)
      READ.COMPREHEND.POST

      In that order, as opposed to skipping steps 1 and 2 like you seem to have done.

      He's saying the days of solaris/etc (propriatary unix) on "big iron" are gone, and the days of linux on commodity hardware are here.
      • Re:Then who's alive? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sql*kitten (1359)
        He's saying the days of solaris/etc (propriatary unix) on "big iron" are gone, and the days of linux on commodity hardware are here.

        Quad-xeon Dell PowerEdge 6600 8Gb RAM, with RedHat Advanced Server and 4 HDs: $31,168

        SunFire V480, quad-UltraSPARC, 8Gb RAM with Solaris and 2 HDs: $43,995.00

        In the grand scheme of things, that's not a big difference, especially given the high build quality of Sun hardware. It's too early to say that Dell have a distinct advantage.
  • RIP: UNIX* (Score:2, Funny)

    by plurrbat (589706)
    [fineprint]UNIX was a trademark of Bell labs.[fineprint]
  • nice one timothy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rnd() (118781) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:28PM (#5419353) Homepage
    Despite the provocative headline, I don't think Unix can be dead if Linux is alive. Despite the different origins, they are functionally very similar.

    Maybe you should have made the headline "Dell CIO Says Closed-Source *n*x is dead". Oh, wait, that might not be quite as good at causing knee-jerk reactions.
  • by t0ny (590331) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:28PM (#5419357)
    These are the kind of statements you get from a circa dot-bomb MBA. Tell him to get out of Dell for a while and see what real businesses (like some of their customers?) are using.

    When you spend hundreds of thousands to millions for custom software running on a mainframe, you arent going to be replacing the hardware every year.

  • "I thought this might spur some good discussion on this board, including jabs at Dell and MS, which I always enjoy reading"

    You'll get the latter, but did you really expect the former to happen?
  • by ink (4325) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:32PM (#5419386) Homepage
    Specifically, he talked about the savings he claims in moving Dell's Oracle databases from Solaris to Red Hat.

    Considering that I've migrated from systems such as NeXT and AIX to Linux-based solutions with very few problems, I'd put forth the assertion that any Linux distribution would qualify as `UNIX' to most lay definitions of the term. I've even taken applications from Oracle/WinNT to Oracle/RedHat with minor issues. Computer operating systems are simply getting better; more commoditizied, which is why Microsoft is afraid of Linux right now. The "UNIX vendors" are still shipping machines, but with Linux installed instead of their "big iron" legacy UNIX systems. I think that he should have said "Operating Systems are Dead" instead -- which is how it should be; the computer should simply get out of our way and let us get jobs done in an efficient manner.

    What used to be home-user shops, such as Dell, can now ship high-quality UNIX solutions thanks to Linux and BSD. Quibbling over the proper definition of UNIX seems silly. If it looks like UNIX, acts like UNIX and runs the source found on "legacy" UNIX systems, well, what is it?

  • I've got to agree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by arvindn (542080) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:33PM (#5419390) Homepage Journal
    IMHO, There is one factor which is going to make it rapidly more difficult for Unix to exist, and I haven't seen mentioned anywhere.

    Tomorrow's sysadmins and software chiefs are mostly today's CS students. Considering the enormous popularity of Linux with students (for obvious reasons), these new faces will enter the field with much more programming experience and familiarity on Linux than [insert properietary UNIX here]. So, except for very specialized scenarios, I don't think Unix stands a chance.

    Just my 2 cents.

    -- A humble CS student.

  • by LippyTheLip (582561) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:33PM (#5419394)
    Hmm... Could it be that Dell has an interest in actively killing enterprise-class unix, given that Dell doesn"t manufacture any serious unix hardware. (I know you can installed various flavors of unix on Dell servers and workstations, but Dell has clearly and intentionally linked its own success to Microsoft's.)

    This is about as surprising as Microsoft claiming that open source software is crap.

    To me, This just smacks of wishful thinking and marketing.
  • enjoy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by suhit (171059) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:33PM (#5419395) Homepage
    John C. Dvorak writes "Unix is Dead! Wanna Fight??" [molgen.mpg.de].

    Also, here is a funny comeback from http://www.superhero.org [superhero.org] "Windows 95 is finally out, and I keep reading in all the consultants' columns that UNIX is dead. I believe them, of course--they're paid well to make such pronouncements--but UNIX seems pretty lively for a corpse. Whenever a hardware vendor brings out the latest hot box, it seems to be running UNIX; the telecom industry still likes UNIX pretty much; and there sure seem to be a lot of UNIX users out there on the Internet. If UNIX is so old, how can it be producing offspring like that little scamp, Linux?
    "Maybe these consultants are confusing dying with age. UNIX is old, a lot older than the other operating systems that have long since passed on. In spite of its twenty-six years, however, UNIX continues to crunch numbers while younger systems can only gum them till they're mushy. What explains this mysterious longevity?

    "I have a theory. UNIX survives because, unlike other operating systems, it lacks doubt and guilt. UNIX does just what you tell it to, as quickly and efficiently as it can, and then it waits for more work. It doesn't worry about whether what you asked it to do was fair, beneficial, or even sensible. It just does it.

    "By contrast, Windows frets about you. It offers you hints and choices and dialog boxes. Help is everywhere (for what it's worth). And if you ask Windows to do anything of consequence, it asks you to confirm your request, and then it tells you what it did. Delete a large number of files, and Windows is exhausted. It's not the work, it's the *stress*. It's no wonder that Windows systems tend to freeze up where a UNIX system would crash.

    "UNIX snorts at Windows-style solicitude. UNIX doesn't ask you to confirm--if you didn't want it to do what you asked, why did you ask it? Similarly, it won't annoy you by reporting the consequences of what you did. Why would you enter a command if you don't first know its consequences?"

    Suhit
  • Message: Never believe any predictions from someone who has something to gain ($$) from them becoming true.

    -Sean
  • "Because Dell's systems are based on Oracle, and Oracle is available to both the Sun Solaris and Red Hat Linux environments, Mott says that Dell looked into switching to Linux. The company determined that such move would yield a configuration 89 percent faster and 41 less expensive."

    Before all the people who don't RTFA (or only read the first paragraph, he means "Old-style" Unix, not Linux. Carry on.
  • Nah. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sbaker (47485) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:37PM (#5419431) Homepage
    As the boss of Silicon Graphics once famously said: "Linux is the Future of UNIX". UNIX isn't dead - it's just had a major rewrite/cleanup. That's hardly suprising for a 30 year old software package.

    The code has changed completely - but the core ideas are exactly as they were back in 1976 when I used UNIX on a PDP-11.

    There are more people using UNIX-like OS's now than there have ever been.
  • Byte agreed.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by veg (76076) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:40PM (#5419453) Homepage Journal
    A few years ago, one of the ops at my place of work put a magazine in my (real-word) intray. It was a copy of Byte Magazine with a front-cover headline "Is NT the end of UNIX ?".

    At the time this was a common headline in the popular rags...and then I noticed the date - February 1992 :)

    This crap appears every five years along with "life on Mars" and "possible cure for cancer".

    The words "snake" and "oil" come to mind.
    • Seems like Byte should have paid more attention to its own health and let UNIX take care of itself.

      (Yes, Byte lives on in an electronic version - I even subscribe to it - but it's a fading shadow of its former self. It's a lot closer to death than UNIX.)

    • Re:Byte agreed.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kmellis (442405) <kmellis@io.com> on Sunday March 02, 2003 @04:01PM (#5419897) Homepage
      NT didn't kill UNIX, but it injured it. What Byte was reporting was the possibility of the transition from UNIX workstations to NT boxes that is nowadays commonplace. People seem to forget that it was only a little more than six years ago that the thought of porting any workstation-class apps over to NT was considered ludicrous. The idea of any important servers--database or web or whatever--running NT instead of UNIX was absurd.

      Now, I still greatly prefer UNIX or workalike to NT for any enterprise application. But the extremely expensive, huge geophysical mapping application that I once was the build manager for--which, at the time, was supported on AIX, Solaris, IRIX, and HP/UX--eventually was ported to NT and probably Linux. Also, for example, tons of enterprise-class companies--unwisely, in my opinion--use 2K and IIS and SQLserver.

      If you look at what happened in the workstation/server market that UNIX lived within, you'll see that on a market-share basis, UNIX lost an enormous amount of ground to NT/2K. So, the prediction was in a sense accurate but not precise. NT "replaced" what would have otherwise been UNIX installations. However, the overall market increased significantly such that UNIX has managed to remain significant and viable where it still is clearly (and very noticably) superior to NT/2K.

      What this reveals is that predictions of these sorts usually have built-in assumptions that are proven false over time. Often, the assumption is of a static environment. This prediction assumed a static market for UNIX and NT where, naturally, the cheaper and sufficiently powerful NT would marginalize UNIX and eventually kill it. If the entire market hadn't dramatically grown and changed in some interesting ways, this would have been true. But why assume that? A more responsible prediction would have been, "NT will replace UNIX in many applications". Which it has.

      • Sun (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jbolden (176878)
        Actually Sun has a pretty good theory of Unix relative to NT. Basically that the Unix market tends to lead the PC market by about a decade.

        So during the 1980's you had: PC's which were glorified typewriters while Unix boxes were used for real computation (the workstations)

        During the 1990's you had: PCs which were power individual workstations while Unix boxes provide network services (the servers)

        During the 2000s you will have: PCs providing workstations and small local servers while enterprise apps and enterprise consolodiated servers become key (essentially Unix as the corporate mainframe)

  • by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:43PM (#5419469) Journal
    ...that when I troll it doesn't just disappear in the mod trashcan but gets reported in the news and even appears on the fron page of /.
  • It shows (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dattaway (3088) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:55PM (#5419525) Homepage Journal
    Considering how Dell feels about other operating systems other than Windows [kde.org], I'd say its in their culture.
  • by kfg (145172) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @03:11PM (#5419613)
    We can't convince the blasted old cuss to lie down in the coffin.

    KFG
  • by briancnorton (586947) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @03:40PM (#5419774) Homepage
    What was the last thing that Dell innovated? They get on board of every industry group and use the products of that group, but they NEVER contribute anything. All the other majors drop big coin on R&D, but not Dell. That's why they make so much money. Licensing is cheap compared to research.
  • by dentar (6540) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @03:41PM (#5419783) Homepage Journal
    I've been in the computer bidness since 1988 and I have heard "UNIX is dead" at least 15 times since then. Every time, it refuses to die.

    Here's why Randy Mott, Dell CIO, is wrong:

    1: DELL only deals with Intel-based hardware. Intel is cheap-assed commodity based bargain basement garage sale type of junk. Yeah, it works and the speed is increasing more quickly than other architectures, but it's cheap and reliability among different Intel-based systems is inconsistent. Read as: Not big-money mission critical trustworthy.

    2: Extremely large database installations running Oracle still choose HP 9000 RISC based machines running HP-UX, Sun machines running Slowlaris, SGI machines running Irix, or IBM machines running AIX. BTW, it's not Linux that isn't trustworthy, it's the chintzy hardware that it runs on.

    3: Corporations still want highly reliable iron to run their mission critical processes on. Intel based junk can do it in some cases, but the bigger iron has had better regression testing done on it, and has a better redundancy infrastructure to it, which these companies are willing to pay for. This big iron still runs UNIX, and UNIX still rules the big iron, and rightly so. UNIX -is- however, losing out in the "little iron" and is losing market share from mid-size down, but it's not "dead."

    4: Corporations are still willing to pay for all this testing and corporate support for the big iron, if that'll mean big uptime.

    5: The only UNIX that is REALLY threatened is the actual AT&T System V that is now owned by SCO-Caldera-SCO again. I used to work for a SCO dealer, and was told by SCO at the time that Unixware 7 was going to revolutionize UNIX on Intel. I told my salesman and managers not to hold their breath waiting for people to line up at the doors to get their copy of SCO Unixware 7. I was right. We sold about three copies of it in two years. We sold ten or twenty times as many of the old Open(Archaic)Server 5.0.x licenses in the same amount of time. Eventually, the new installs became mostly Linux or Winblows, but we only dealt with Intel based junk.

    Had Mott qualifed his opinion to mean Intel only, he might be getting close. UNIX isn't dead. I still have clients who would rather run a Sun or HP 9000 any day of the week over an Intel-based machine.

    • The future is redundant, distributed systems. RAIDs are an example of this already: if you build a good RAID array out of commodity drives, you get better uptimes for less money than if you bought the most high-end, gold plated disk drive around. It also has happened with web servers already: "mission critical" web servers are now often implemented as a large collection of cheap Linux boxes with fail-over: if one goes down, a couple of customers may have to start their ordering process over again, but nobody else ever notices, and you just toss the box and plug in a new one.

      The same is going to happen with databases. While there doesn't seem to be a good open source, distributed, redundant database for Linux yet, many people are already effectively building such databases out of MySQL. Yes, MySQL. You see, not only can the hardware be less than stellar in redundant, distributed systems, the software can be as well. And if you like a COTS solution for Linux, IBM already offers it.

      Scalable databases will become as simple as buying a bunch of PCs with large disks, plugging them into a high-speed switch, and network-booting them. If you need more power or one breaks or goes down, you just plug in another one.

      In the end, combining lots of redundant, cheap units gives you much better reliability for less money than the overly expensive and overly engineered "reliable servers". Because, no matter how reliable a single server may be, sooner or later it is going to break, even if it just because someone spills a comp of coffee into it. And the solution to that people are using right now? They are buying two very expensive high-end servers and use one as a hot standby.

  • by Scrameustache (459504) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @03:49PM (#5419825) Homepage Journal

    Unix is dead, Apple is dead, Apple uses Unix [apple.com], so Apple is double-killed super dead!


    Apple is deader than a hippy at an NRA convention...deader than a drunk dear on a highway, deader than a l33t coder who ran out of caffeine...

  • by zjbs14 (549864) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @03:52PM (#5419833) Homepage
    1. When I was there, they made us run Oracle on (shudder) NT. (Note: This is not an NT/MS bash, but that particular combination is not a fun time).

    2. Dell has some of the worst-managed IT projects in existance.

    3. Randy Mott is an idiot.

    That about sums it up.

  • by NineNine (235196) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @03:59PM (#5419879)
    Said Schwartz, I don't think businesses are really prepared to trust their mission critical systems to technologies where, if something goes wrong with the open source, nobody is responsible for fixing it and doing all the testing on a timely basis. With Sun, you've got a single throat to choke and we can respond instantly.

    This is exactly right. And this is why Dell is very wrong. Them saying Unix is dead is like me saying "Ford is dead" because I personally don't own a Ford. What one company uses is irrelevant. Unix is going to be around for a very long time. Companies don't change platforms willy-nilly, and those that do usually aren't around for very long.
  • by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorpNO@SPAMGmail.com> on Sunday March 02, 2003 @04:29PM (#5420068) Homepage Journal
    Linux IS Unix. Yes, I know it has no "standard" Unix code. Yes, I know Linus Torvalds doesn't have a license to call Linux a Unix. So what?

    So what makes something Unix? All of them have some differences, but there are a number of commonalities. You'd never mistake an MS operating system for a Linux system, for example. Though it's not correct to say so in some circles, I say that Unix is as Unix does. If it looks like Unix, and more importantly, ACTS like Unix, it's a Unix.

    Basically, if it uses most of the standard Unix commands, and it uses one of the Unix shells (Bash, Korn, etc), and the OS code looks like a Unix (Kernel, Shell, Window system, etc), its a Unix. Even the Kernel isn't as thorough a guide now, as there are enough signifigant differences in "real" Unix systems to make this factor somewhat iffy (monolithic kernels vs. microkernels, for instance).

    So to say that Unix is dead because Linux is replacing many traditional Unix systems seems a little disingenous. Just my 2 cents on the issue...
  • Reality Check (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wackysootroom (243310) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @04:37PM (#5420112)
    Hmm... Lets see... a huge distributor of PC hardware makes a decree that UNIX is dead.

    Many of us know that the PC platform is unpopular as a hardware environment for commercial unices.

    Could it be that Dell's CIO is really saying "The hardware that runs UNIX, such as SPARC, for example, is dead. Buy a PC with Windows or Linux and never have to worry about having obsolete hardware."

    That's what I read between the lines anyway.
  • Ha ha ha (Score:5, Funny)

    by EarTrumpet (85772) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @05:41PM (#5420408)
    With Sun, you've got a single throat to choke and we can respond instantly.

    Wonder if by respond, they mean the response that I usually get from Sun: "That will be fixed in Solaris 12...and don't forget to renew your maintenance contract, it expires at the end of the month."

    Ha ha ha...respond instantly my ass. I'll take the open source response to bug fixes any day.

  • by bafu (580052) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @06:01PM (#5420493)

    Said Schwartz, "I don't think businesses are really prepared to trust their mission critical systems to technologies where, if something goes wrong with the open source, nobody is responsible for fixing it and doing all the testing on a timely basis. With Sun, you've got a single throat to choke and we can respond instantly."

    The thing is, that level of support comes with support contracts, not with simple purchases. Once you start making the case that the superiority of your OS is based on how you will respond to support contracts, however, you've gone pretty far down the slippery slope, IMHO. Perhaps it is impossible for a Linux distro (or some third party) to ever offer that same level of support, but I wouldn't bet money on that. What will Schwartz say in Sun's defense then? Of course, he may be working for a commercial Linux distro by that time, and will have no interest in trying to come up with a defense for Sun, anymore. Who knows?

    The thing is, I don't find that "something goes wrong" with the kind of regularity that Schwartz seems to fear. Most of the time when we have Sun or Dell out here to service a server, it is to replace a hard drive in an array. The service contract is basically a way to avoid having replacement parts around for mission-critical systems. Is that enough reason to go ahead and buy the extended warranty on your OS when you make your purchase? I guess businesses will continue to decide that over time, as Dell has.

  • poster should RTFA (Score:4, Informative)

    by geekee (591277) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @06:02PM (#5420502)
    "I thought this might spur some good discussion on this board, including jabs at Dell and MS, which I always enjoy reading"

    If you read the article, you'll notice Dell is saying Linux on Intel is killing traditional unix on Sun/HP/IBM etc.
  • by roman_mir (125474) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @06:21PM (#5420594) Homepage Journal
    Various sources show Unix market share to deviate between 2.8% market share and and 10%

    Now, let us analyze these numbers in order to form an educated opinion on the matter.
    Some of our sources tell us that Unix shipped
    roughly 1.5 million computers. Let us realistically look at this number.
    Assume
    that 1.5 million computers were shipped to 1.5 million unique customers, so there are
    at least 1.5 million Unix customers for the year 2002.

    The truth is, the way technical progress is going, most customers upgrade their computers
    at least twice a year, so now we only have 500,000 unique customers. However, if you
    spend some time on the Unix use groups, you will realize that out of 7000 people registered
    in those groups, four out of five users only pretend to be Unix users for the coolness factor.
    So, applying the same logic, gives us 100,000 true Unix users out of 500,000. The number of shipped computers does not reflect the simple reality, that about 20% of all bought computers are returned back to the company, so that makes 80,000 unique customers left. The people who buy
    Unix computers and actually use them is even lower. Only about 70% of all bought computers are
    put to some real use, which leaves us with 56000 customers. Out of 56000 50% are constantly stoned.
    28000 sober users is still a
    large number, Unix should be proud of the numbers of their true followers. Of-course, you have to
    take into account that about a third of all Unix computers are sold outside of the USA, which
    makes it impossible to say anything reliable about the customers outside of the country, so lets just
    discard these, and this leaves us with a healthy 20000 customer user base. About half of all
    computers are connected to the web, which makes them the true computer users (the rest are superficial
    and do not deserve our time) so 10000 still sound pretty darn good for a company named after a potatoe farm.

    About 10% of all Unix users leave in Texas and 10% in Utah, and since we do not consider these
    people to be civilized enough to use anything more complicated than a toaster, let's only focus on the true, sober 8000 power users. Out of these 8000 customers about 20% has switched to Microsoft
    products after success that MS displayed with their innovative and pattented UnSwitch compain.
    So we still have 6400 users. In general, Unix users are known to be very vocal in expressing their opinions, which puts their already fragile health in strenuous conditions, such that they seem to have a disproportionaly high number of heart attacks and strokes when compared to the general population.
    So, out of the surviving 400 users (which is still a great user base and a market share) 50% are
    female, and seriously, seriously, can females be considered computer users? I mean they must do
    something with the computers they bought, probably most females bought their Unix machines as gifts and decoration items.
    Out of the remaining 200 men, US-Statistics Office reports, 120 were charged with
    criminal offences of varying gravity, 40 were found to be linked to Al-Qaeda and a group of 12 were last seen four months ago going North.
    28 people left to account for. I personally know 20 Unix users, out of which I consider 10 to be total A-holes, so they don't count.
    18 rock-solid, head-strong Unix followers, of-course from this number we have to exclude the blacks, the atheists, the homos, the vegetarians.
    This leaves us with 1 user. We have identified this truly great, unique individual
    who, on his tremendously powerful sholders carries gigantic burden of sustaining profitability of this money making machine, who some of us love to hate and the rest call Unix corporation.
    We are here
    to conduct an interview with this incredible person, with this true follower. He gratiously accepted
    our interviewer. The interview took place in the house of this incredible person, the spectacular

    97,000,000 dollar mansion located on the shore of the lake
    Washington [goehner.com].
    -I really like Unix, I use Unix daily, they never failed me. - These are the customer's words from the interview. -The only thing I don't like about the Unix computers, is that their keyboard lacks the Windows button on it, everything else is great!
  • by afantee (562443) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @08:48PM (#5421307)
    This is no more than a cheap sensationalism to sell more Dell servers by dividing and conquering the Unix and Linux community, and would also strengthen MS in the high end server market which is still dominated by Unix.

    By it's own admission, Dell profits from other people's R&D budget. This is one of the richest company in the computer industry with no technology other than cheap box making skills and makes zero contribution to the world. It's well on the way to become an MS-like monster playing every trick in the book to kill its rivals.

    I for one can't bear the thought of a world full of ugly Dell boxes with dirty Windows. For the sake of our industry, we need the innovations of Apple, Sun, IBM and many others, so let's boycott Dell boxes - they are not even cheaper anymore.
  • Apple (Score:3, Funny)

    by porkface (562081) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @11:03PM (#5421769) Journal
    I wonder what Dell's CIO would say about Apple's status/future.
  • by Robotech_Master (14247) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @11:27PM (#5421857) Homepage Journal
    "Unix is dead." --Dell CIO
    "Dell CIO is dead." --Unix
  • by WebfishUK (249858) on Monday March 03, 2003 @06:12AM (#5422945)
    I found this article a little confusing as, for many years now, I have considered UNIX as a model for an operating system, and not an operating system itself. I view Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, etc as specific implementations of this model, with differences, but basically following the UNIX model. I find this is approach provides a useful framework within which to understand the trade-offs of particular platforms. One of the great benefits in investing time in learning and understanding the UNIX model is that you are not limiting yourself to a particular implementation and that you can use a UNIX model OS on any hardware.


    Clear then this article was little more than an argument between Dell and Sun over Dells switch from Solaris to Linux. How this spells the end for the UNIX model is quite beyond me.

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