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Operating Systems Oracle Sun Microsystems Unix The Almighty Buck

Solaris No Longer Free As In Beer 392

Posted by timothy
from the leisure-suit-larry-ellison dept.
rubycodez writes "Oracle, having acquired Sun Microsystems, including its Unix, will no longer give away free Solaris licenses. Oracle also states that some features of its Oracle Solaris will not appear in OpenSolaris, which means OpenSolaris may start to die."
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Solaris No Longer Free As In Beer

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  • That's fine (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkk (1296127) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @01:09AM (#31683490)

    We still have choices of free OS to choose from.

    They don't scare me.

    • Re:That's fine (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning@n ... minus physicist> on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @03:38AM (#31684452) Homepage Journal

      Of course this is precisely the reason for licenses like the GPL that explicitly prohibit this kind of bait and switch tactic for "open source" software development. Trusting and relying upon the goodwill of a for-profit company that can have management changes or get taken over by a different company as is this case will always happen.

      Score one more for Richard Stallman being proven correct.

      • by Korin43 (881732)
        I was under the impression that licensing couldn't be changed retroactively, so couldn't someone still take Open Solaris's current version and make their own OS with it? I'm guessing it's just not worth the effort though since its fairly similar to the other Unix-like systems.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by udippel (562132)

          Yes. Correct on almost all accounts. It might even be worthwhile, but SUN managed to create an artificial community only. According to my 2 Sen, this also broke its neck: In and out. Free Java, no, don't, free Solaris, yes, no, new license. And the 'community' could decide what they wanted, as SUN employees they had to follow Ponytail's zig-zag course.
          No, it is not 'fairly similar' to the other Unix-like systems, though. Actually, it is the furthest away from those systems.

        • by amorsen (7485)

          I was under the impression that licensing couldn't be changed retroactively

          Don't be too confident about that. Many, perhaps even most, licenses include termination clauses.

          Free Software/Open Source licenses generally have no or very limited termination clauses, but proprietary licenses are not so generous.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Ltap (1572175)
          The issue isn't OpenSolaris no longer being FOSS, the issue is that Oracle is more likely to make it atrophy (cut off the important updates until it's so out-of-date compared to Solaris, Linux, BSD, et. al. that any sane person would switch away). Their strategy is probably to kill OpenSolaris and try to force people to pay for Solaris as a cheap way of trying to squeeze some short-term money out of the situation.
      • Re:That's fine (Score:5, Informative)

        by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @05:15AM (#31685058)

        Of course this is precisely the reason for licenses like the GPL that explicitly prohibit this kind of bait and switch tactic for "open source" software development. Trusting and relying upon the goodwill of a for-profit company that can have management changes or get taken over by a different company as is this case will always happen.

        Score one more for Richard Stallman being proven correct.

        Nothing is being "switched" all the OpenSolaris stuff is still there, Oracle just won't be adding new features it develops to it. All the code that was there is still open even without the magical GPL and can be developed further. From TFA :

        "The good news is that those of us who have worked so hard to bring this project to life still wholeheartedly believe in it. A core group of the Wonderland team intends to keep the project going. We will be pursuing both for-profit and not-for-profit options that will allow us to become a self-sustaining organization. "

      • Re:That's fine (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Paul Jakma (2677) <paul+slashdot@jakma.org> on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @06:37AM (#31685544) Homepage Journal

        How is this insightful?

        However short-sighted it would be for Oracle to strangle OpenSolaris development, the OpenSolaris code that's out there is forever licensed under the CDDL - which is a cleaned up version of the Mozilla Public Licence don't forget.

      • Re:That's fine (Score:4, Insightful)

        by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @08:23AM (#31686486) Journal

        Oh, shut up. What is it with GPL fanatics always feeling the need to claim the GPL will save the world?

        The GPL would have absolutely no impact on this. Oracle owns the Solaris copyrights. It would make absolutely no difference if Sun had chosen the GPL instead of the CDDL for OpenSolaris. They would still have the right to release future versions as proprietary software and not release their changes (although no one else would have, which would have killed things like NexentaStor). The exact same can happen with MySQL now; Oracle could simply decide not to release any future improvements under the GPL and keep shipping the proprietary version. You'd have exactly the same choice; either use the proprietary version, use something else, or fork.

        With OpenSolaris, there are already a couple of active forks, so the code remains open, it just doesn't necessarily get enhancements from Oracle. The FSF owns the copyright on all GNU software; they unilaterally relicensed most of it as [L]GPLv3 when the new license came out, meaning that you couldn't link it with any GPLv2-only code (e.g. Poppler, which is currently the only decent PDF rendering library for *NIX). Is this safer according to your FSF-approved definition of freedom?

      • Re:That's fine (Score:5, Insightful)

        by diegocg (1680514) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @08:35AM (#31686636)

        The license don't matter in this case. Even if Opensolaris was 100% GPL, Oracle still would release Solaris with propietary addons. They can do that because they own the copyright (if you want to get a patch into the opensolaris repositories, you need to give first your copyrights with Sun/Oracle). The license doesn't matter to them. Sun/Oracle can release propietary versions of Solaris, but nobody else can - that's the sad truth behind Sun's "open source".

  • by SigNuZX728 (635311) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @01:09AM (#31683496)
    For the person that this affects.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by masshuu (1260516)

      i might feel stupid, but what runs on Solaris that won't run on any other posix based OS.
      When i look around at software, eveything with a Solaris build/source also usually has a windows/linux/bsd/etc build/source

      • by jimicus (737525)

        There's probably a few commercial applications knocking around that still haven't been ported to Linux - but they'll almost certainly be the sort of application where if you were to run it on anything other than a fully-supported, paid-up platform (which OpenSolaris never was), you'd need mental help.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Venik (915777)

          Clearly, very few people here have any enterprise-level Solaris experience. In terms of stability and performance I compare Linux to Solaris like you compare Windows to Linux. Well, this may be too harsh but this is mostly addresses to the fat dorks on Slashdot screaming "death to Solaris". The biggest file server guys like that had to support is the one sitting under their desk with all the porn on it.

          When I transitioned from Solaris and AIX to supporting RH and SuSE several years ago, I experienced somewh

          • Re:I feel sorry (Score:5, Insightful)

            by rodgerd (402) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @03:52AM (#31684530) Homepage

            YMMV. We have more problems with our Sun hardware than we ever do with our HP Lintel boxes. Hell, we had an M5K dead within a week of delivery due to a single point of failure with a fan stopping and frying a backplane. And let us not speak of the 4xx series machines, whose memory controllers appear to be made from components eMachines rejected as too crappy.

          • Eheh (Score:3, Insightful)

            Lovely anecdote. It may very well be true. No way to verify.

            Of course my personal experience is that for the price of Solaris, AIX and HP-UX I can afford top-class hardware and more important top-class admin and have no problems at all with ordinary linux, not even RHEL but plain Ubuntu.

            So, what does this prove? That you are a lousy admin who can't make linux work when others can, or that anecdotes are meaningless personal experiences?

            Your choice.

            I personally think that proper unixes have their place, i

          • by master_p (608214)

            Yes, but perhaps the new situation of yours is better in terms of job security ;-).

          • Re:I feel sorry (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Znork (31774) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @05:12AM (#31685042)

            very few people here have any enterprise-level Solaris experience

            Actually, anyone with serious enterprise level Solaris experience would remember getting stung by everything from faulty cache memory design on the E450 resulting in time between reboots measured in days to ZFS causing solid crashes quite often when it was new.

            Rose coloured tint on the rear view mirror aside, things weren't always that good.

            Personally I've found Linux machines to be at least as stable, but there are about ten times as many of them which will of course increase incidence of problems. And there's new untested hardware and platform changes more often than there used to be with Sun (for better or worse), so if you want to prioritize stability you'll have to take more care while shopping.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by santax (1541065)
            Do not underestimate my porncluster, you insensitive clod!
          • by loufoque (1400831)

            All these problems coupled with consumer-grade hardware

            You realize the problems are likely *due* to that consumer-grade hardware and not the OS right?
            Don't blame the OS for the hardware...

          • by vegiVamp (518171)
            I have two words for you: Patch Management.
            • Re:I feel sorry (Score:5, Insightful)

              by VolciMaster (821873) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @07:53AM (#31686168) Homepage

              I have two words for you: Patch Management.

              Are you saying that Solaris has or has not "Patch Management"?

              The only platform I've worked-with that comes close to doing actual "patches", and allows them to be unrolled at will*, and has a steady schedule, and can be relied-upon is Microsoft Windows.

              Sure - go ahead and jest that it's because they need more patching.

              Linux distributions release entire new packages - not patches.

              AIX patches come out whenever IBM feels the need, and may or may not be announced well.

              Solaris patches are released willy-nilly with poor announcements, the patch clusters don't always include everything that has been released since the last one, and.. oh yeah: it'll try to install patches that aren't needed, then complain they're not installed. And the number of times I've have to run cluster installs more than once because dependency-mapping was incorrect? Not pleasant.

              * except for service packs - but those are effectively new revisions to the underlying OS

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by vegiVamp (518171)
                > Are you saying that Solaris has or has not "Patch Management"?

                Given that I responded to someone going on about how great Solaris is, I meant that it's quite the pain in the ass.

                I agree that Microsoft uses the closest thing to actual patches, that is, differentials from the original binary. On the other hand, and as you point out, any service pack is of the order of gigabytes, these days. Why is are those "a new revision to the underlying OS" when the regular patches also include updates for that ? Why
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by Cyberax (705495)

                "Linux distributions release entire new packages - not patches."

                Uhm. Have you ever looked inside Windows patches? They are in essence what Debian Stable updates are. I.e. new versions of affected software.

                They are definitely NOT patches in original sense (i.e. a diff between two versions).

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by dpastern (1077461)

            I'd say you're right to a large extent - Solaris on dedicated boxes, set up correctly, runs forever. Very secure. Very stable. Very scalable. Look at a large site like EBay - it runs off Solaris and is incredibly stable.

            The downsides to that are usually dedicated Sun hardware to get the utmost out of the operating system, supreme knowledge of how to install/setup and tweak Solaris to the nth degree to get it to be the best that it can be. Cost. Any decent organisation will have a support licence with

          • Re:I feel sorry (Score:4, Insightful)

            by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @08:49AM (#31686848) Homepage Journal

            Well what where you doing running consumer grade hardware on your severs? HP and Dell enterpise stuff is actually pretty good.

            I have heard that NFS on Linux isn't or wasn't as good as on Solaris or even BSD way back when but I have no real experience with NFS .

            Sounds like a lot of issues you are having may be hardware based.

          • Re:I feel sorry (Score:4, Informative)

            by einhverfr (238914) <chris.traversNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @11:01AM (#31688812) Homepage Journal

            When I transitioned from Solaris and AIX to supporting RH and SuSE several years ago, I experienced somewhat of a shock: servers hanging on shutdown, lousy NFS performance, Samba slowing down to a crawl under moderately heavy load and a crapload of other issues I never thought a unixoid OS can suffer from. All these problems coupled with consumer-grade hardware and what you get is one big, never-ending downtime. Something is always down or barely limping along.[emphasis added]

            I dunno how many years this was ago but in the time I have been using Linux (since 1999), scalability and performance on the server-side have improved greatly, in large part due to IBM's interest in trying to bring Linux up to the level of AIX in these areas..... Comparing Linux to Solaris in 1999 would have been like comparing Windows ME to Linux at the same time. However things have improved a great deal. In particular the schedular wars have left us with a far better OS than we ha before.

            I have generally found Linux to be the most admin-friendly OS out there. This is reason to use it where it works well. More recently Linux has gotten a lot of effort in resolving those very problems you mention.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mzs (595629)

        mdb, the solaris modular debugger, that's what I will miss the most, it's not a product (comes with solaris) but there just is no open source equivalent. People that tell you otherwise have never run into a problem that was too much for truss or dtrace but one where gdb simply did not work or got in the way.

    • I work for a major company and we're a Solaris shop, we run close to one hundred large Solaris boxes production and test. Hmm, I wonder how we're going to deal with it... oh well, guess that's why I'm not an admin :)
    • by Celarnor (835542)
      That would be RIT's Computer Science system administrator. All our non-Windows, non-mac labs run Solaris, on Solaris workstations.

      And we learn database concepts on Oracle.

      Is this awesome? (y/n)
    • The entire Solaris user-base was quoted saying "Wow, this sucks."

  • by sethstorm (512897) * on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @01:09AM (#31683504) Homepage

    For trying to get people to want to use the OS, Sun and Oracle sure like to piss people off.

    Oracle just seems to make it more pronounced.

  • So fork it. (Score:5, Informative)

    by doishmere (1587181) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @01:11AM (#31683512)
    There's nothing stopping anyone from forking the existing distribution and maintaining it separately from Oracle; if Oracle does release any code back into the public, it can be incorporated too. FTA, "The good news is that those of us who have worked so hard to bring this project to life still wholeheartedly believe in it. A core group of the Wonderland team intends to keep the project going."
  • by DeadPixels (1391907) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @01:13AM (#31683518)
    An honest question from someone who has never been involved in OSS development: how 'different' does a Linux distribution have to be in order to count as a separate branch? Is someone allowed, for example, to take the current release of Solaris, remove anything Oracle may own the rights to (does that include code? just graphics?) and redistribute it?
    Where is the line drawn, legally, in the OSS community?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @01:16AM (#31683532)

      This is the closed source version of Solaris, you can't redistribute it period.

      • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

        by DeadPixels (1391907)
        Oh, sorry, I didn't realize "Oracle Solaris" and "OpenSolaris" were referring to two separate products. Mod parent informative. :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by symbolset (646467)

      For GPL works you take a distro, file off the serial numbers somebody else was using (usually this is just trademark logos and such), stamp your name on it, and it's DeadPixelOS. Of course, DeadPixelOS isn't going to get much of a following unless you're continuously developing some value-add as well as keeping up with the patch management of 1000+ packages. It's some work. For your first clone distro I'd start with a low-maintenance one like Pentoo.

      The line is drawn in the license. For OpenSolaris, th

  • May? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by symbolset (646467) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @01:13AM (#31683520) Journal

    Will. Oracle is not in the business of giving stuff away for free.

    Have you heard? They license their database software not by the servers it runs on, nor by the processor, but by the core. How absurd is that? Does it cost them more to produce a database that works on more than 4 cores, or to support it? Believe it or not, they also charge extra for installed memory, as if that had anything to do with their production or support costs. Failover? Now you're into serious money. And don't you dare run it on stuff that's not on the secret list, or your support contract is invalid.

    If Cisco's motto is "that feature is enabled through the purchase of an optional license", Oracle's is more so.

    I guess Oracle doesn't get that we have options, and the pace of hardware technology will quickly erase any software advantage they think they have.

    • Re:May? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @01:29AM (#31683618)

      I guess Oracle doesn't get that we have options, and the pace of hardware technology will quickly erase any software advantage they think they have.

      People have been saying this for a long time, but we are still around (and quite healthy as well). Because the fact is, we understand the market better than geeks. To make money, you don't need to persuade geeks that our stuff is better (even when this is the case, especially now after all the acquisitions -- between stuff like Weblogic, Essbase, dbxml, ocfs, virtualbox, zfs and dtrace I'm sure we can find something you'll like); you only need to persuade managers that our "solution" (including support etc) will cover their ass should anything go wrong.

      (anon because I work there)

      • Re:May? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Builder (103701) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @01:54AM (#31683804)

        You need to persuade ME that you can support your products. Every chance I get, I replace Oracle products with non-Oracle products because I'm pretty much sick and tired of having to rely on some random guy at Veritas who has happened to see the same RAC problem as I am having when your tech monkeys force me to raise a ticket with my storage vendor because theyr'e too clueless to work out the problem.

        About the only things I'm likely to keep (for now) are coherence and Java, just because there's nothing else out there that competes with it. But for most of my other needs, other products exist. MSSQL, JBoss, etc.

        We don't get the support we pay for, not even on a level 1 outage, so I'll be damned if I ever spend another cent with Oracle that I don't have to.

      • Re:May? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by swilver (617741) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @02:26AM (#31683996)

        If you treat any of those products the way you bungle your main Oracle product, then I'm sure they'll soon be as despised as your 1970's Database that needs constant supervision and doesn't even know the difference between NULL and a known empty value.

        Eventually I think having the programmers, architects and designers against you is gonna cost you -- I sure as hell will not use your Database product as more than a glorified storage system (and a picky one at that), I will not touch JHeadStart or Oracle Developer with a 10ft pole, and I will actively try and replace anything Oracle with a free solution. It will no doubt please you that Oracle has been above Microsoft on my "evil" list for quite a few years now.

      • Re:May? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @05:34AM (#31685156) Homepage Journal

        People have been saying this for a long time, but we are still around (and quite healthy as well). Because the fact is, we understand the market better than geeks.

        Healthy? Sun laid off practically everyone with a clue at practically every company they bought to cut costs, and now Sun is a barely-amalgamated collection of disparate enterprises. And Sun employees are still waiting for the other shoe to drop. I've met some and they don't seem happy. Sun is anything but healthy, and adding that on to Oracle was not a smart move.

        you only need to persuade managers that our "solution" (including support etc) will cover their ass should anything go wrong.

        Oh, if only I could believe that. I might believe it of IBM, which appears to have a future.

        Sun and Oracle are alike in that they are both alive due to momentum. But without a reason to continue to exist, that momentum will be lost. And ZFS is a pretty thin hope to hang your future on.

      • Re:May? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Nerdfest (867930) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @05:53AM (#31685268)
        Frequently, the developers, admins, and DBAs that you're pissing off become the next managers.
      • by vegiVamp (518171)
        Nice. Now tell us about the *internal* metalink, which contains fixes for problems that never make it to the public metalink, and allow you to sell weeks of consultancy for tickets that take half a day to fix.

        It's true, unfortunately, you *do* understand the market all too well.
      • Re:May? (Score:4, Informative)

        by dekemoose (699264) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @10:22AM (#31688276)

        you only need to lie to managers that our "solution" (including support etc) will cover their ass should anything go wrong.

        FTFY.

        I worked support at a company that Oracle acquired and we went from having the best support money could buy to having the most expensive answering service money could buy. Oracle works very hard to make sure that their support process is consistent, repeatable and efficient at handling the volume of issues submitted. You'll notice I didn't say anything about being good at handling issues, that is not a concern for them. Most of the folks who were any good at all found jobs elsewhere and were replaced by offshore staf with little to no knowledge of the product whose primary purpose was to shuffle requests around while they drowned the few remaining decent support staff with inane questions. This is my understanding at least based on talking with folks who are still there, I was one of the first rats who fled that sinking ship.

        No matter how bad Sun's support may have been in recent years* you can rest assured that it will be worse under Oracle's ownership.

        All the being said, AC is right, Oracle sells to management not to the geeks. There's still a general perception amongst the management types that "you can't be fired for buying Oracle".

        *I've never used Sun's support, no idea if it's been decent or not.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Because of this, I'm seeing Oracle installations be replaced by Microsoft SQL server installs. Technically it sucks, but there are a lot of things the Microsoft rep can tell the PHB to sway them to phase out the Oracle/Solaris stack:

      1: Decent license deals with Windows/Exchange/SQL Server/etc. Catch 'em all and save.
      2: MS experience is a lot easier to come by than Solaris admins. Same with an Oracle DBA versus a MS SQL DBA. Supply and demand.
      3: Almost all hardware is tested with Windows Server. Not

    • Perhaps their advantage is not technical, but in the skill of social engineering in large organizations (governments and corporations) to create cycles of dependency where it becomes too risky to the careers of senior or middle management to attempt a switch to an alternative product?
    • Re:May? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rakishi (759894) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @01:40AM (#31683708)

      It's not absurd at all, perfectly valid economics. That you're incapable of understanding the economics involved is your failure not Oracles.

      Essentially different people are willing and able to pay different amounts for the same product. As a result if you could charge people individual amounts you could not only meet the needs of more consumers (ie: sell more software) but also make more money in the process. That is, if you couldn't price differentiate than you'd need to (ie: while maximizing profit) charge everyone an amount that certain customers just couldn't afford. If you could somehow charge just those customers less than everyone would be better of. Since you don't know what this amount is you have to use a proxy. Oracle uses features, the number of cores and ram as their proxy.

      • Re:May? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @03:35AM (#31684436) Journal

        Uhhhh...you DO realize you just described exactly why there are multiple versions of Windows, which most geeks here at Slashdot have a royal shitfit about, right? While I don't have a problem with different SKUs charging per core and per RAM amount is getting a little anal about it. Hell even MSFT as far as I know doesn't charge per core but per socket.

        As for Solaris my guess is old Larry is gonna be cracking the whip on the developers to make it THE platform for Oracle DB, which means he can pretty much charge whatever he wants as those addicted to Oracle DB will buy whatever platform Oracle tells them to. So I wouldn't be surprised if old Larry is doing this so the next version of Oracle/Solaris will be a tightly integrated unit that will kick ass on SPARC and give him a top to bottom solution he can make big piles 'o cash from, followed by him killing unbreakable Linux which he can't control like he can Solaris. Remember old Larry didn't get all that money by being a dumbass, I'm sure he has a plan to make some serious cash out of it one way or another.

        • by Rakishi (759894)

          Uhhhh...you DO realize you just described exactly why there are multiple versions of Windows, which most geeks here at Slashdot have a royal shitfit about, right? While I don't have a problem with different SKUs charging per core and per RAM amount is getting a little anal about it. Hell even MSFT as far as I know doesn't charge per core but per socket.

          And if you asked any of those geeks why microsoft had different reasons, how many do you think could answer? Of course, if some congressman dares to not know the exact details of some technological issue they all suddenly rise in outrage at his ignorance and stupidity.

          I dislike ignorance. Claiming the practice is absurd shows an utter lack of understanding of the issue which was my only point. I'm pretty sure most people even on slashdot would very much dislike having pay more for basic windows since they'd

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Hell even MSFT as far as I know doesn't charge per core but per socket.

          Nah, Microsoft sells stuff that works per-core. You can't use HT with uniprocessor NT, for example.

      • Re:May? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by epine (68316) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @05:47AM (#31685228)

        Since you don't know what this amount is you have to use a proxy. Oracle uses features, the number of cores and ram as their proxy.

        This is a valid recitation of economic orthodoxy which unfortunately leaves off right at the moment where thinking begins. Ships are lost on this basis.

        The problem is that the choice of proxy has downstream consequence which can destroy a lot of value, or in the worst case, almost the entire value of the sales proposition.

        In the case of licensing by core, it introduces a huge non-linear term in right-sizing infrastructure. I can't stand this stuff myself, but some of my closest friends have made an excellent living showing up to solve the Oracle license fee non-linear optimization problem, which contains large elements of uncertainty and non-determinism because the outcome depends on unknown future events.

        Anyone with the least insight into systems theory knows that non-linearities are like a sexual disease. They have a noted tendency to give on giving. Properly understood, the effort involved in damping out these non-linearities can easily exceed the value proposition of adopting Oracle solutions in the first place.

        Fortunately for Oracle, there's a huge real world shortfall in the quantity "properly understood". Microsoft, among others, makes a mint from truncated TCO studies. The assumption underlying every TCO study I've ever seen is that the higher order non-linearities can be safely neglected. If that were true, why is anyone relying on a vendor-funded TCO? In the case where the higher order terms can be safely neglected, it's usually easy enough for the customer to work their own TCO on the back of napkin, and get an immediate answer everyone immediately believes.

        The cases where this breaks down are the sales propositions absolutely freighted with non-linearities, to the point where no one trusts their own numbers, surprise, surprise.

        The first rats off a sinking ship are the best swimmers. The first wave of people to abandon Oracle are those outfits with a larger than average insight into "properly understood".

        From [http://www.riskglossary.com/link/barings_debacle.htm Barings Debacle]

        In November 1993, BSL was merged into BB&Co. in anticipation of a subsequent initiative to form a Barings Investment Bank (BIB). The merger was not easy because the two firms had markedly different cultures. It was a distraction right in the middle of Leeson's tenure at BSL.
        ...
        Barings was just starting to form a risk management function. Risk controllers were appointed in London, Tokyo and Hong Kong during 1994, but not in Singapore.
        ...
        As part of the 1993 reorganization, Barings had adopted a "matrix" approach to management of its offices. ... Employees complained that lines of reporting were not always clear. ... Another issue was that Leeson was an accomplished liar.

        Every aspect of this is situation normal at most medium or large companies. You best executive attention is devoted to various political fires. Many organizations are just too busy with other pressing demands to step back and engage in the kind of clear thinking it takes to put out the Oracle fire. So what if the Oracle pricing model induces non-linearities? We're planning to auction block that division anyway.

        However, in the companies where choosing the right database and the right database architecture is the dominant fire, non-linearities associated with proxy pricing models can escalate into a serious business concern. Some of those people will go talk to Oracle and try to cut a special deal. Many of them won't. An attrition sets in.

        Look what happened to Microsoft when Google became the hot job opportunity. That sucking sound is your technical clout packing family photos into their briefcases.

        A major coming of age event in commoditization of a technology is crossing the threshold where the price proxy shifts from being a

    • Nothing is hard set with Oracle. If your company is big enough, Oracle can be bargained down quite a bit. My last employer wound up with an unlimited license deal, but I presume it cost millions for multi-year support contracts.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by clarkkent09 (1104833) *
      Here is an idea. Wouldn't it be nice if the companies looked at Oracle's product and only bought it if it happens to give them a good value for money compared to the competitors products? That way, if the price is too high, nobody will buy it and Oracle will either have to lower the prices or go out of business. Oh wait, that's how it works already.
      • Re:May? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Builder (103701) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @05:06AM (#31685008)

        You really think that's how it works right now? Awwww cute!

        For a lot of deployments, Oracle databases are deployed because a vendor of a product you want requires oracle. These vendors are often niche providers so you can't just choose someone else who doesn't have an oracle dependency. So you buy oracle.

        Here's a fun game for you ... Phone Oracle and ask for a price to run Oracle 11i on 2 servers, one with 8 cores (2 x 4 way CPUs) and the other with 16 cores. Also, ask if there is a price difference if Hyperthreading is enabled. Tell me how long it takes to get that quote. And how many different people you have to speak to.

        About halfway through the above little game, you'll realise I left out a load of key information that you need to get it. How many people will be accessing these databases? Will they be accessing as named users, or through a web portal? Oh, and don't forget about maintenance.

        Oracle is a joke that stays around for now because they provide some things that no-one else does. No-one I work with (other than Oracle DBAs) seems to like using them, and we're always on the lookout for something else.

        Any chance we get, we use something else.... Sybase ASE, MSSQL under Polyserve, PostgreSQL where it fits.

    • by Tim C (15259)

      They license their database software not by the servers it runs on, nor by the processor, but by the core... Believe it or not, they also charge extra for installed memory

      I've not spoken to Oracle sales, but this page [oracle.com] disagrees with your assertion. The only pricing options I see are per named user, and per processor. Nothing about cores or installed RAM. Furthermore while I'm not a DBA my company works with Oracle's DB a lot, and this is the first I've heard of such an insane pricing scheme. Do you have any

      • He's right and he's wrong at the same time.

        Oracle calculates its licensing cost based on cores but then discounts that number depending on its calculation of the 'power' of the processor architecture. In the case of x86/x86_64, the discount is 50% meaning that two cores counts as one processor for licensing purposes. This of course means that a license for a quad-core CPU will cost you just as much as two dual-core CPUs.

        As for charging you according to the amount of RAM in a server, that's just rubbish.

  • by Korgan (101803) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @01:30AM (#31683624) Homepage

    The whole reason Sun opened up Solaris in the first place was to try and get it a wider audience and more of a community around it. Linux was encroaching on Solaris as much as it was on any other Unix, if not faster.

    Oracle will probably find that the only way they can sell Solaris is to bundle it as a database appliance OS or something stupid like that. Include the cost of Solaris with the cost of whatever software runs on top of it.

    Solaris wasn't the healthiest until the OpenSolaris project gave it a significantly greater audience that allowed anyone to use it and get familiar with it. OpenSolaris sold Sun hardware and the proprietary Solaris. It is what kept Solaris from dead ending and stagnating.

    Oracle will either realise this soon, or wait till its too late. This is essentially the first nail in the Solaris coffin after Sun managed to get it off life support.

    Fare thee well, old friend.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Oracle will either realise this soon, or wait till its too late. This is essentially the first nail in the Solaris coffin after Sun managed to get it off life support.

      What makes you think that Solaris's death by neglect is not part of Oracle's plan? Milk those who are locked-in to Solaris for as long as possible and for as much money as possible, while putting the least possible resources into it. Classic corporate-raider tactic for medium term (3-5 yr) returns. Strip the assets for as much as you can squee

    • Solaris is still open - through OpenSolaris.

      FUD much?

    • by master_p (608214)

      What's the point of free Unixoid OSes having separate codebases? Is Solaris so much better than Linux that Sun couldn't merge it with Linux? this is what happens when people refuse to co-operate due to pride or corporate blindness.

      • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @05:46AM (#31685226) Homepage Journal

        Is Solaris so much better than Linux that Sun couldn't merge it with Linux?

        What is Solaris? Solaris is SunOS plus a GUI. What is SunOS? SunOS is SVR5 with customizations. What is SVR5? It's a kernel, a libc, and a set of applications and other associated libraries. So here is the point; the applications (the userspace) are more or less the same on both operating systems already; most Linux commands behave like their SysV ancestors more than the BSD ones today. So really, any Sun-required advances could be easily merged into the GNU userspace tools. But the kernel? Merging the best features of the Solaris kernel into the Linux kernel is non-trivial. dtrace, zones, and ZFS are basically the appeal. dtrace would require changes all over the kernel. zones' functionality is provided by a combination of KVM and colinux, depending on your particular goal. That leaves ZFS, which Sun took special measures to keep out of Linux. Oracle can safely be assumed to have the same idea about its value as Sun. So when the only thing that really needs merging (linux is getting better profiling and debugging tools over time, and dtrace will be outclassed by it eventually anyway) is the one part that the corporate master doesn't want to merge...

        Sun was never that interested in Free operating systems. OpenSolaris was simply a way to try to attract users away from Linux, which was destroying Sun. Back in 1996 I was replacing SparcStation workstations, low end ones like SS1+, SS2, SS5, and IPX, with intel-motherboard PCs with onboard Mach64 video (drivers were crap even then, sigh) and maybe 64MB RAM. They were just as capable of being an X terminal and far MORE capable at running the various local applications you would expect than anything even vaguely cost-competitive with Sun. You could get two systems with 19" monitors for the cost of one performance-competitive system from Sun, without a display or keyboard. The same is true today. Unless you need a megalithic server for a RDBMS, there is no reason whatsoever to use big iron when a cluster will do, and IBM does that better than Sun no matter how you measure. And of course, rather than trying to merge it, IBM is just letting AIX die in favor of Linux.

        Short answer: Denial is not a river in Egypt.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    the thing people should realize is that Oracle must try very hard to make a profit out of Sun, and the only way to do that quickly, albeit very annoyingly, is to CHARGE FOR STUFF.

    I love that Sun gives away so much, but if they can't seem to turn a reasonable enough profit from doing support, sales, agreements etc... then they must adapt. Oracle is smart enough to realize that CHARGING for SERVICES accross the board will give them either the excuse to wind things down at Sun because they are not making enoug

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Darfeld (1147131)

      Sun is probably going to start disappearing over the next 1-6 years if Oracle can't make a decent profit from it.

      Correction : Sun will desappear over the next 1-6 years, becauce it's Oracle business plan.

  • start to die? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by timmarhy (659436) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @01:34AM (#31683668)
    that thing has been dead for years. Which is a huge pity because solaris and sun's hardware was some sweet gear.
    • Re:start to die? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by paganizer (566360) <thegrove1@ho t m a i l . c om> on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @03:40AM (#31684464) Homepage Journal

      I picked up a bunch of solaris hardware during the dot-bomb for scrap metal prices; none of it was top-end even then, but gods I love their stuff. I loved their software ca solaris 7, but as linux got better...well, I would still take Solaris 10 over most Linux distro's. And I grabbed the free distro of Solaris 10 as soon as I heard about it.
      IIRC, in storage I have a SPARCstation 5, a ZX, a ELC, 2 or 3 Sun Ultra 5's, a Ultra Enterprise 3000 (which, BTW, rocks) and some other stuff that I have to think must have been one-offs, like a Solaris laptop and a really very pretty workstation that does not seem to exist; it's Dark orange and blue.

      I used to have most up and running, in my little mini-datacenter, but I moved to some place without decent internet and had to move my servers to hosting services (which, by the way, after having everything in my basement from 1994 to 2003, was a convoluted mess from hell to get sorted out).
      I might be helping to start up an ISP soon, which means I get my datacenter back up...yay!

  • In war you don't give away anything. Just most people don't know that Larry Ellison is at war; his weapon, technology; his battleground, the reachable universe; his goal, ruthless conquest and absolute domination.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      In war you don't give away anything. Just most people don't know that Larry Ellison is at war; his weapon, technology; his battleground, the reachable universe; his goal, ruthless conquest and absolute domination.

      Maybe he just needs a new boat?

  • by CranberryKing (776846) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @01:52AM (#31683786)
    If I were the head of any IT/company/initiative trying to decide on a platform for a new system.. Nobody in their right mind would now invest in a Solaris system anymore than they would start developing PowerBuilder or SQLWindows applications.

    It's been a fun ride Solaris.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Oracle has a client base in the hundreds of thousands.

      A good percentage of those:
      - buy the hardware that oracle tells them to
      - runs the software that oracle tells them to

      Do you think Oracle is now going to recommend a Dell or HP or IBM server ? Or a Sun one?

      If you're buying Oracle, are you going to care about a $10k server or $7k server when the database is so much more expensive?
      If the Oracle Solaris RTU is priced the same as Solaris was (~$1000 in 1990s), is that going to make any impact on a quote that l

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by roman_mir (125474)

      Really? Solaris was forever a closed source OS until it became Open, but look at other proprietary OS software. Windows is doing well in corporate environments, of-course it is mostly desktop systems, but they are a closed source OS that is not being really replaced by anything much.

      Solaris, if bundled with Oracle DB, will sell just as well as Oracle DB all by itself, would it not?

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Solaris, if bundled with Oracle DB, will sell just as well as Oracle DB all by itself, would it not?

        That is an excellent argument not to sell Solaris. It doesn't help explain what Oracle is thinking, though. In fact, it only serves to confuse the situation.

  • You can still download the DVD ISO's of Solaris 10u8, so it still works, so is it just patch cluster access (as reported last week) that's no longer free (hasn't been for years has it?) or are they saying that the next version of Solaris (11 I guess, based on OpenSolaris) will have some type of 90 day timeout upon which we get WGA-esque warning popups?

    Not really sure I understand this move, with hoards of people moving to x86_64 from SPARC, the obvious move would be to use that x86_64 hardware to run Linux

  • Solaris? (Score:3, Funny)

    by calmofthestorm (1344385) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @02:59AM (#31684188)

    What's that?

  • And clearly, it didn't hurt RedHat. You can't blame Oracle for the attempt, it does make some sense.

    To note: RHEL :: Oracle Solaris - OpenSolaris :: Fedora

  • I support oracle entirely in this. I just think they should re-license Open Solaris under the GPLv3 so the code that was previously opened can be used somewhere useful instead of being locked in an ever more stagnant academic experiment for bored geeks.

  • by JohnConnor (587121)

    It's not surprising at all that Oracle would shut down a free competing product to its unbreakable Linux. In fact it would be crazy for them to allow internal competition between two OSes to happen. What I am really disappointed about is the fact that *open*solaris was not really open and that now it will die. That's what sucks about the various half-assed open-source licenses and practices of former Sun. Had openSolaris been a complete open-source prject, not dependent on binary blobs, the closing of solar

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