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Unix IBM Operating Systems Software

AIX On the Desktop Is Getting the Boot 366

Posted by timothy
from the caravan-moving-on dept.
flnca writes "Today, I was playing with the thought again to purchase an AIX workstation one day when I can afford them, and I was surprised to see that IBM is going to give its IntelliStation POWER Series workstations the boot in January '09. A black day for AIX on the desktop. I really wonder what's the problem there, warehouse costs? IBM has a history of burying its best stuff (like OS/2 for instance). Some years ago, I enjoyed hacking away on an RS/6000 workstation running AIX 4.2, and it was a pure joy. Not only the kernel, but also the admin tools, like smit and smitty. Their blade-centric solution uses Windows as a client for workstation application. This truly sounds like IBM wants AIX only for servers anymore. I'm not amused. Although, eXceed on Windows with an XDCMP server running on AIX might also be a viable solution ... whatever. But it can't beat a native POWER box sitting on your desk, that's for sure."
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AIX On the Desktop Is Getting the Boot

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  • No, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by superskippy (772852) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @11:57AM (#25803307)
    No, it's just you.
    • Re:No, (Score:5, Funny)

      by tritonman (998572) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:12PM (#25803617)
      I'm still waiting to get my IBM mainframe desktop, I'm hoping I can get a port of Wine for it so I can run WoW on it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @11:59AM (#25803363)
    Q: What happens when AIX is downsized?

    A: It gets the AX!

    Haw haw, thank you, I'll be here all week!
  • by conner_bw (120497) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:01PM (#25803375) Homepage Journal

    Perhaps your front page /. post leading to their product pages will screw with the marketing department stats, thus forcing them to reconsider.

    Be honest, was this your plan all along?

  • by MosesJones (55544) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:01PM (#25803377) Homepage

    Seriously, how is this a story? I used AIX back in the 90s and it was okay. What do I use AIX for today? Back-end processing when I can't get a Linux box past the procurement guys.

    Do I code on AIX? Nope I code on Mac OSX or Linux.
    Do I manage on AIX? Nope the management stuff lives on Linux and Windows.

    A story would be IBM pushing AIX on the desktop. But this is just sensible and if you really want an AIX desktop then its an X environment so just run a server and use an old box as an X Terminal.

    Personally I've been looking at getting a server as my next box and concentrating on networking, monitor et al on an XTerm running a stripped down Linux. What is this 1995 to say you have to have a box running under your desk?

    • by DurendalMac (736637) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:30PM (#25804019)
      I'm sure that the submitter and the other five people who really want AIX on the desktop will be sorely disappointed for years to come.
    • by cromar (1103585)
      My first thought was: "Who Cares?"

      I do like smit, but seriously, when is a multi-ten-thousand dollar AIX server better than a comparable Linux or BSD box?

      Smit is nice but Linux has good admin tools too. Oh man, and compiling open source source software on AIX is way more trouble than it should be (at least on 5.2). I couldn't even find a completely functional version of GCC as a binary. There's no package management, either. I really can't see what the point is nowadays.
    • by A nonymous Coward (7548) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @01:33PM (#25805353)

      Seriously, how is this a comment? I've always wondered why people waste time commenting about how a story was not worth posting, let alone reading, but apparently these devoid-of-interest stories are still worth commenting on.

  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:01PM (#25803389)

    Who on earth would need a 5GHz CPU on the desktop?
     

    • by 0racle (667029) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:04PM (#25803443)
      Who cares about need.
    • Who on earth would need a 5GHz CPU on the desktop?

      Who on earth would need 640k of memory! Or wait...did I just "whoooooosh" myself?

    • by Trespass (225077) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:23PM (#25803851) Homepage

      Who on earth would need a 5GHz CPU on the desktop?

      Somebody without central heat?

    • by MightyYar (622222)

      Who on earth would need a 5GHz CPU on the desktop?

      So how do you heat YOUR desktop?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Provocateur (133110)

      Who on earth would need a 5GHz CPU on the desktop?

      Me, because I don't want an applet that shows me the weather today in a teeny tiny window, I want to simulate today's highs and lows right here, on my desktop!

  • Get used to disappointment.
  • My guess. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:03PM (#25803429) Homepage Journal

    The new I7 and maybe the new 45 nm AMD cpus are probably a better solution for a workstation then a Power these days. Linux has more hardware and software support than AIX so IBM probably sees the future as an I7 running Linux.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:04PM (#25803459)

    Early on, it was said that Linux would kill more Unixs than Windows ever would.

  • It's not just you (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kraegar (565221) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:04PM (#25803473)
    A few years back we had a surplus budget, and I was able to convince management that an AIX desktop box was a good investment - for testing & administration both. It has proven to be that and more. We got one of the 285's, and I get use out of it daily.

    From testing OS & firmware upgrades to just being a great desktop platform, it's proven to be very valuable.

    - Tony

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Bandman (86149)

      Forgive me, because I'm a linux guy (that's all I've ever used and known), and because of that, I don't know what the benefits of having an AIX machine on the desktop would be.

      I understand that on certain large hardware, AIX is preferable due to hardware or other requirements, but what is the draw on the desktop? Is there superior software, or stability? Management tools?

      I manage Linux servers, and I have linux on my desktop because it seems effortless to me now, but I can't imagine that if I had one of th

      • Re:It's not just you (Score:5, Informative)

        by Amarok.Org (514102) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:40PM (#25804247)

        I used to be an AIX administrator.

        There's not a lot of benefit to having an AIX box on your desk (though I did), other than it being the same as the systems you're administering.

        (The following is my personal opinion - fanboys of other operating systems need not respond; I'm sure your OS of choice is just peachy too)

        Yes, AIX is more stable and I prefer the management tools and interfaces to other Unix-like operating systems. As such, having it on my desktop was preferable to a Linux system because I was more familiar with the tools and they were the same as the machines I was administering all day long.

        If I was running Linux systems for a living, I'd have a Linux box on my desk for the same reasons.

        There are some advantages to writing/testing your code/scripts/etc on your local machine before pushing it out to a development/production system. While in theory ksh/bash/csh/etc should be the same on every system, we all know there are quirks to the implementations that cause issues.

        So yes, there are some benefits to AIX on the desktop as an administrator.

        Finally, there are some shops (a few military contractors I'm familiar with) that use AIX on the desktop for their engineers because the specialized applications they use only support AIX - usually graphic design hooked into large AIX systems on the backend for modeling/redering cycles.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Kraegar (565221)
        For me it was really about having a test environment. Any time I would get a "test" server, I'd quickly find that for the $$ the server would become something management wanted to "get their money's worth" from, and it would be re-purposed away from being a test machine.

        The desktop was under $10k, sits at my desk, and is mine to do what I want with it. Currently I'm testing AIX 6.1 (works great, cool new features). It'll run KDE and an ancient version of firefox, if I want, usually I just have X with m

    • That's the point really. IBM only makes 2 Power 6 processors, fast and really fast. At a desktop price, they really don't want to sell these anymore. Like you said, they'd rather have you buying LPARs or Blades at better markup if you want to do programming or testing. They've also pulled a lot of the hardware OS locks out with AIX 6.1 and i5/OS 6.1 so they REALLY don't want people figuring out they could run i on this thing and not buying expensive servers.

  • Very informative summary, considering I was unaware IBM even offered AIX on the desktop. That alone should tell you how much they cared about it.

    • by slaker (53818)

      Many years ago, I could swear I saw IBM (x86) branded PCs in a datacenter that were running AIX. I was handling Novell and Sun systems back then, but I was intensely curious about those machines and what they were doing. They were in the same chassis as my Netware systems, and looked completely different from the RS/6000s.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Sponge Bath (413667)

        AIX was available on x86. Years ago (around 1991?) IBM gave my company an AIX package for PS/2 hardware. Gobs of diskettes, pounds of printed docs. It seemed clunky and we never did much with it, but it was there. Of course the PS/2 Model 80 (i386) it was installed on was a slothful piece of crap.

  • It's your fault (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Call Me Black Cloud (616282) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:07PM (#25803529)
    Maybe theirs.

    "I was playing with the thought again to purchase an AIX workstation one day when I can afford them..."

    So you haven't bought one because it's not affordable. Yeah, I have no idea why it makes business sense for them to cut that line. I guess keeping them around to amuse you wasn't enough. Either their hardware is too expensive or their users too poor.

    One things for sure - there was no profit there.
  • by JohnnyBigodes (609498) <morphine@nOspam.digitalmente.net> on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:09PM (#25803569)

    Just in! "Geek wonders why product X that he loves to hack but is only used by 0.0000001% of the market is going the way of the dodo". Film at 11!

    Hey, for example, I wanted Baldur's Gate 3 too :( (yes, I know that Stardock's founder wants to renew some old franchises).

    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by meringuoid (568297)
      Hey, for example, I wanted Baldur's Gate 3 too :(

      It was called Neverwinter Nights.

      Seriously, you wanted a direct sequel? Following on from the end of Throne of Bhaal? What would you do? Depending on how you ended the game you're at least an ubercharacter of ridiculously high level, and you're quite possibly the god of murder. You killed Demogorgon as a side quest. Where do you go from here?

      • Conquering the world :D

        Seriously, I'm sure they would come up with something. And I would be okay with BG3 not following BG2 in terms of story. NWN was nice but it wasn't really a sequel IMO. Little actual roleplaying, and the main campaign was short and kinda weak. Personal opinion anyway.

    • Just in! "Geek wonders why product X that he loves to hack but is only used by 0.0000001% of the market is going the way of the dodo". Film at 11!

            worse, he only fondly remembers hacking it several years ago...

  • Not one comment? Looks like AIX on the Desktop is going out with a whimper.
  • Because the target market for AIX on the desktop is not people like you (namely, those who can't afford one machine, as opposed to those who regularly buy them in shipments of 1,000), I wouldn't count on IBM giving a damn whether you are amused or not by its business decision.
  • by Noryungi (70322) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:11PM (#25803607) Homepage Journal

    AIX is horrendous. I mean, truly horrible.

    Smitty - though it has its uses - is the nastiest piece of manure ever to disgrace an SSH window. Everything even remotely UNXy IBM makes is, IMHO, totally over-priced.

    AIX hardware is over-priced, under-powered and totally uninteresting. I have machines running Linux on Opteron right here and they simply out-perform AIX machines (including a 12 CPU Power6 P570 AIX 5.3) at least 10 times.

    And don't get me started on the stability of AIX vs Linux or BSD, please. I have software here that can make any AIX machine cry and call for mommy, when most Linux distributions just suck it up and carry on.

    AIX machines are essentially dull ultra-expensive big iron. Most programmers I work with would rather have a small machine with Red Hat and tons of GNU goodness on it than a huge AIX beast.

    And just in case you are wondering: yes, I do administer UNIX machines for a living. Just check my Slashdot journal, and you'll get a ton of information on AIX, Solaris and so on and so forth.

    This being said, I'll take AIX over Windows any day. And either Slackware or OpenBSD over everything else.

    • by Sax Maniac (88550) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:27PM (#25803945) Homepage Journal

      AIX is even worse if you do any system programming it. Around here, AIX is pronounced "aches" for a very good reason. We also have a saying "AIX is always different". Anything difficult you want to do on Unix, you need to code up a special AIX-specific version. It's Always Different.

      And not different-better, different-holy-crap-this-API-was-designed-by-crack-addled-clowns.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        And not different-better, different-holy-crap-this-API-was-designed-by-crack-addled-clowns.

        Also better known to the rest of the world as IBM engineers.
        It's the biggest circus on earth.

      • by infinite9 (319274) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @03:30PM (#25807533)

        I have an AIX story. Try out this program:

        #include

        void main(bla bla)

        {

        int x, y, z;

        x = 1;

        y = 0;

        z = x / y;

        printf("%d\n",z);

        }

        On most versions of unix, this produces a floating point exception. (which is correct) The error you're supposed to get is a clue to explaining why AIX gives you the answer it gives: 15.

        brian

    • by Bandman (86149)

      Hi! This is offtopic, but as a former slackware admin, I've got to ask. How did you manage to scale it to a large environment?

      I got to a few dozen machines and used to spend all my time patching and admining multiple users. I eventually moved to CentOS authenticated over AD with Likewise Open. I'm interested in hearing how other people do it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by digitalhermit (113459)

      I agree with some of your comments.

      SMITTY is ugly, but I think it's a good tool. The best feature is that it constructs the command line commands rather than trying to modify configuration files or re-write the tools. This means that anything that you can do via smitty can be easily scripted even if you don't have much AIX experience.

      For some workloads Linux will kick the pants of AIX. For others, especially those that require high throughput, the story is different. AIX on pSeries can move massive amounts

    • > And don't get me started on the stability of AIX vs Linux or BSD, please. I have software here that can make any AIX machine cry and call for mommy, when most Linux distributions just suck it up and carry on. You use awk?
    • by viridari (1138635)

      Actually the hardware that AIX typically runs on beats the pants off of x86. I have consolidated almost all of my various x86 boxen to POWER (System P 570) running RHEL 4 & 5.

      If you think smitty is bad, you've never tried yast.

      I sort of snicker at all the wanking over the state of virtualization on x86 when I've already got superior capabilities on my POWER systems in carving up dynamic LPARs.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by QuadPro (16532)
      You didn't even mention the ODM. For those who don't know what the AIX ODM is: think Windows Registry, but now on Unix. Yes. Really.

      Once you know your way around the pitfalls, it's OK-ish to run, administer and use. But, given the cost of the OS and the hardware, why bother?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I agree ... I'm a Linux person. I was introduced to AIX last year and have reached a similar conclusion. People in many companies think that because they paid 50K for a IBM AIX box, it must be awesome. But how awesome is that 700Mhz box they bought several years ago now? Nobody bothers to actually benchmark things or consider alternatives like horizontal scaling. Managers and other clueless people believe to install a 50k Oracle license, you NEED a 50K AIX box.

      While it is possible to install GNU utils an
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by durdur (252098)

      I used it ages ago and remember thinking it was the most broken software with a version number past 3 I had ever seen. Non-standard and quirky, too.

  • Will they sell the AIX division to Lenovo just like they did with the thinkpad?

    If there is any meaningful demand for the AIX desktop systems, I would think it would be worth money to someone, and hence IBM would follow their usual strategy of blundering the protift potential by selling it off to someone else to make money on it instead.
  • by volxdragon (1297215) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:15PM (#25803685)

    You are joking, you LIKED smit??!? We used to have bumper stickers that said "Smit Happens" on our doors where I worked a decade ago....the IBM guys REALLY hated those.

    • Re:"Smit Happens" (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hey! (33014) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:23PM (#25803857) Homepage Journal

      If there is any system you don't hate, it is because you don't know it well enough.

      • by the_B0fh (208483)

        So, if you replace "system" with "shit" or "windows", do you still stand by it?

      • by Grimwiz (28623)

        Interesting quote.. Usually you hear it the other way around - where people hate what they don't understand.

        I've had a unixish system at home for the last 20 years and managed to score full marks on my RHCE so you could assume I understand unix and I do not feel I'm about to hate it!

        One of the strengths of unixish systems is that skills are transferable. The ideas of processes with a parent of "init", a path, shells, forked tasks, everything a socket lets you understand how things work together which helps

  • by cyfer2000 (548592) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:15PM (#25803695) Journal
    Am I the only one still remembering 1995, when RISC was the future and PowerPC would dominate both desktops and servers? PowerMacs, WindowNT for PowerPC and all those good stuff?
  • by steveha (103154) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:18PM (#25803739) Homepage

    Over time, all the cool features from proprietary UNIX versions are getting ported to Linux, either directly or by being re-implemented. As Linux becomes more and more acceptable as a replacement, expect to see proprietary UNIX versions start to go away.

    If IBM hires a person to work on Linux, that work helps IBM across pretty much their whole product line. If IBM hires a person to work on AIX, that work has much less value now, and will have even less and less value over time as Linux gathers up more of the market. Also, as Linux keeps getting better, it would take more and more work to add similar features to AIX, to try to keep up. Eventually, IBM is going to stop paying for work on AIX at all; they will end-of-life AIX, and just sell Linux.

    I don't know for sure about SMIT but Linux does have LVM and various tools to manage it. AIX gurus, how ready is Linux to replace AIX now?

    And, are desktop POWER machines going to be available with Linux?

    steveha

    • by brunascle (994197) *

      And, are desktop POWER machines going to be available with Linux?

      Fixstars (formerly Terra Soft) offers a power-based workstation called the PowerStation [fixstars.com], running Yellow Dog Linux. I think it's a new product. There was a review in the latest issue of Linux Journal. It mentioned a few problems, including X crashing (but that may have been fixed by now).

    • by viridari (1138635)

      And, are desktop POWER machines going to be available with Linux?

      Fedora runs great on my System P 520 workstation.

      Ubuntu won't even install. That would have been my first choice. But Fedora works great.

    • by Leibel (768832) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @03:29PM (#25807521) Homepage

      AIX still has significant advantages over Linux for us. A lot (all?) of the stuff that is new in AIX has come from the AS/400 390 mainframe stuff, and the hardware for AIX line is now the same as that for the AS/400 line (or whatever they're all called this week).

      For our business, AIX is still rock solid, has excellent support (as you'd expect for the cost) and can dynamically switch resources between virtual systems. The CPU allocation is wonderful. It can automatically assign spare CPU to any system that needs it, giving preference to production systems.

      The virtual networking and hardware self-monitoring is also far superior to what little I've seen in the Windows area.

      While I can't comment on other systems, AIX has given us a lot of flexibility and reliability that the Intel team here (mostly Windows) don't get in their virtual server environment.

      Of course all this is changing, and the smaller systems are getting the bigger system stuff.

      So the real question is not "how ready is Linux to AIX?" but rather "can Linux do what I want now?" because all the mainframe technology is filtering down to be accessible to consumer grade stuff.

  • Warehousing Costs (Score:4, Informative)

    by Associate (317603) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:19PM (#25803779) Homepage

    Warehousing costs are an indicator not a base cause. If you have 1000 units sitting in a warehouse for six months depreciating, it's because no one's buying them. Which means you're losing money from a failed projection. Something this seemingly slow moving would likely need a different supply chain, say direct from manufacture, JIT. Also, the margins on such might just not be there. Hardly worth the effort since IBM is not a non-profit.

  • A Huge Blow (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CompMD (522020) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:19PM (#25803787)

    This is a huge blow to scientific and engineering computing. I know of thousands of POWER based Intellistations at several aerospace companies. CAD and finite element analysis software runs on these boxes, usually CATIA, NASTRAN, and some CFD codes. Engineering modeling and simulation software has been running on AIX for a while. Only now are Windows boxes near the performance that engineers need. The only good that might come of this is that hopefully the surplus market will be flooded with POWER based Intellistations and AIX CDs.

    • Only now??????? Where have you been in the past decade.

      The last outfit I worked that was using CATIA, the windows machines outnumbered AIX dekstop boxes like 10 to 1. And even the high end AIX gfx were starting to seriously under perform compared to the Quadros in the PeeCees.

      Same thing for NASTRAN. I am no fan of windows, but Dassault, PTC et al have focused on the Windows versions for a while now. And that is because the price/performance of AIX workstations hasn't been there in a loooooong while.

      • Re:A Huge Blow (Score:4, Informative)

        by CompMD (522020) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @02:02PM (#25805971)

        Where have I been the past decade? In some of the most influential aerospace and aircraft design firms in the world, actually.

        Yes, the video performance of the Quadros is undeniably fantastic. I even use retired Quadros in my home machines. Not every engineer needs a POWER based machine, of course. Many engineers could do just fine with a Windows box. But, serious CATIA work, meshing, and analysis were impossible to do on Windows machines; they simply couldn't touch the AIX boxes when you needed to run something that would require more than 3GB of RAM. Right now, Cessna Aircraft is still using POWER based machines for a very large portion of their CATIA work, although they were starting to transition to Windows boxes. Everyone there who supports CATIA and ENOVIA has a POWER workstation.

        Now that Windows and the x86 CPU family has gotten with the program, they have barged their way into the engineering computing world. Cheap multicore processors and cheap operating system licensing makes the decision today to use Windows PCs a no-brainer. Now that Windows boxes can do what the AIX boxes have been able to do for a long time, the cheaper Windows boxes are finding their use on engineering desktops, and software developers are writing for Windows. But the point is that this is a very recent development. As of 2005, it was *impossible* for me to do the work I needed to do on a Windows box; the technology (hardware and software) *did not exist.* Price/performance is irrelevant if performance is zero; if a box can't do the work you need it to do, it doesn't matter that it was cheaper than some other box.

  • by Qbertino (265505) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:21PM (#25803823)

    To elaborate: He's bemoaning that this beautyfull desktop [jfedor.org] is being discontinued. A true catastrophe that will set back the entire industry by years to come.

    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:29PM (#25804009) Journal
      CDE is still standard on Solaris (you can choose between CDE and GNOME at install time), which runs on SPARC and x86 systems. IBM's POWER line are about the only computers still around that make UltraSPARC seem cheap - something Apple never managed.
      • by dubbreak (623656)

        CDE is still standard on Solaris (you can choose between CDE and GNOME at install time), which runs on SPARC and x86 systems...

        The school I graded from used CDE. First on AIX boxes in the unix lab, then they shifted to Solaris on x86 (cheaper desktops).

        CDE is nice in a minimalistic way (though I'd choose blackbox or fluxbox over it). Actually there are tonnes of lightweight WMs I'd choose over it. Basically any that aren't tiled. Of course the choice at that time was between CDE and an early version of gnome. Most windows users would choose gnome, but CDE was the way to go if you wanted to get anything done as gnome wasn't the m

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Zemplar (764598)

        CDE is still standard on Solaris (you can choose between CDE and GNOME at install time), which runs on SPARC and x86 systems.

        True, but CDE is no longer supported on OpenSolaris [opensolaris.org]; which is a much better choice for desktop user than Solaris 10. The upcoming OpenSolaris 2008.11 version, and update to OpenSolaris 2008.05 has many more improvements that make it a viable alternative to GNU/Linux on the desktop or laptop.

    • by dannycim (442761)

      [My english is better than most other people's german, so please point out mistakes politely. Thank you.]

      Respectfully, it's "beautiful", one L. :-)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      That desktop is CDE. It's a desktop environment that happens to be running on aix.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by bohemian72 (898284)
      Wow. That brought back memories. Not because I was ever a big CDE user, but because I've used Xfce since early in it's 3.0 days - Shortly after it started using gtk, but still looked a lot like a pretty CDE.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by flnca (1022891)
      If you set the color depth of your X screen to true color visuals, CDE looks quite nice. CDE itself however can only use 256 colors, the applications can use more, IIRC. (On Solaris, CDE doesn't run on true color depth, IIRC.)

      CDE has some nice features, like dropping icons into menus, stuff like that. (You first created an action script using a desktop applet, and then dropped the icon into a menu.) BTW, the idea of desktop applets comes from CDE; basically everything was controlled by a script, IIRC.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:22PM (#25803831) Journal
    It is a pity, in emotional terms, to see interesting and unusual hardware being retired; but it really isn't a surprise, nor is there much to be done about it. Because of overwhelming economies of scale, generic x86 gear is an extraordinarily good deal in price/performance terms. In very low end(cell phones, PDAs, etc.) this doesn't hold and in some high performance or high reliability scenarios(mainframes, exotic supercomputer architectures) it is also not the case; but the desktop is, hands down, x86's area of strength. Now that multiple 64 bit processors are available in even $300 word processing boxes, and dual quad cores with 32gigs of RAM are fairly cheaply available, any task that is out of reach of commodity x86 gear isn't going to be happening on the desktop anyway.

    For something like AIX, with its serious UNIX roots, most of the things you would use it for can be done remotely, from just about any client that can handle ssh and maybe NFS. There just isn't all that much point in having costly, exotic hardware sitting on your desk. Now, I'm sure that there are certain exceptions; but it is very hard to sustain a product on "certain exceptions" in a market with substantial economies of scale.

    It is a pity; but neither a new nor an avoidable one, that the technology market, particularly the lower end of it, has very little room for "a bit better and a lot more expensive". If AIX ran on commodity x86 gear, even a certified subset of it, there would probably be room(just look at OpenSolaris); but as long as it depends on POWER on the desktop, it is game over.
  • Wait? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by foo fighter (151863) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:24PM (#25803881) Homepage

    Are you saying using smit and smitty was a pure joy?

    Bwahahaha!

  • AIX is an antique (Score:5, Interesting)

    by davie (191) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:25PM (#25803889) Journal
    Seriously. The toolset sucks. None of the major FOSS projects even know or care if their projects will build on AIX anymore, including (most importantly for me) the CPAN (CPAN testers haven't tested CPAN builds on AIX for years as far as I can tell). The command line utilities have feature sets from like 1976, so you have to install a bunch of GNU packages if you want to get anything done. The best part, IBM will happily sell you a pile of AIX hardware and promise you that the millions of bucks you're getting ready to spend for software to run on it will be well-spent, then you'll find out that half the stuff has never been tested in the real world. Fact is, in the time I spent working on (struggling with?) AIX recently I saw little evidence that IBM is putting any resources into AIX.
  • by digitalhermit (113459) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:25PM (#25803895) Homepage

    YellowDog makes a PowerPC based Linux machine. The latest Linux Journal has a review of it:

    http://us.fixstars.com/products/powerstation/ [fixstars.com]
    http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/10263 [linuxjournal.com]

    Not perfect, but workable.

  • by noc007 (633443) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:28PM (#25803965)

    If you're just need an X server on Windows to connect to your *nix box, I suggest using Xming [sourceforge.net]. It's free, lightweight, easy to configure, and one can quickly setup shortcuts to connect to a specific server and run a program. It's also very useful for getting around a content filter if you can access your own *nix server from the internet.

    I don't have any affiliation with Colin Harrison, however I've used other X servers on Windows before and this has been the best. Here's my experience with different X servers:
    Exceed - Bloated, expensive, extra licensing fee for doing X11 over SSH, unstable copy and paste (in the past versions I used)
    ReflectionX - A bit bloated, expensive, funky interface
    Cygwin* - Too many unneeded apps included for just an X server, FREE, difficult to configure if you're not familiar with it
    Xming - Light weight, FREE, quick install, can use PuTTY's plink to do configure free X11 forwarding over SSH, copy and paste works, it just works

    *In regards to Cygwin, I understand that it is more than just an X server, however it has been recommended a number of times to me as a solution for a free X server on Windows

  • Seriously, what use do you have for this unless you're working in an AIX server environment? Even then it would be of dubious value methinks. I hate to take a question and say use something else like Linux or OS X, but... yeah.

    More detail perhaps on why AIX on the desktop is useful? And if there aren't many reasons, then we know why it was killed.

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:31PM (#25804033)
    It might have survived had the marketing department been able to come up with a better name for it in the last twenty years.

    "I have AIX on my desktop!"

    "Oh, I'm sorry honey. I got some aspirin in my top drawer at my desk. Help yourself."

    "No, I mean it's AIX."

    "You told me already. Take some aspirin and have a cup of coffee. That works for migranes too."

    "Arrrrrgh!"

    "Poor guy--I should talk to the boss about seeing if he can get some vacation time in soon..."
  • by mkcmkc (197982) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:32PM (#25804047)

    I am outraged!

    (Better be careful--I might take my ball and head back to VMS...)

  • In a day like this, when free linux on close to free commodity hardware can not find its way to the desktop, what would you expect. People shell out thousands of dollars to put a PowerPC on their desktop and run the most god-awful version of UNIX around ? And IBM to subsidize two masochists who enjoy torturing themselves by overspending and making life more complex for themselves by keeping a monster like this alive. Newsflash: IBM is a for profit company. Whatever shows or lacks the promise of profits will
  • AIX - Ain't Unix anyway ;-)

  • by chrome (3506) <chrome@@@stupendous...net> on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @04:46PM (#25808779) Homepage Journal
    http://www.sun.com/desktop/ [sun.com] Note, no high end Sparc workstations. No fanfare or trumpets. Just gone. One day you could order them, the next you couldn't. It made me sad as my manager was thinking about kitting us developers out with some monster workstations for development.

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