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[P]
What about Solaris?

By SPasmofiT in Technology
Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 10:12:15 PM EST
Tags: Technology (all tags)
Technology

I was looking for an alternative to Linux, to run both as a Internet server, and as an intranet server. What do you think about Solaris?


Everyone is over-hyped about Linux but how does Solaris matches up?

You should also keep in mind that Solaris has an entire networking/business structure behind it, ".com" from Sun.

It seems to me that Solaris may as well be considered *better*, because:

  • it's a true unix
  • it has a stable tcp/ip implementation
  • it's quite secure
  • you can run most linux software
  • it comes in different versions, aimed at specific tasks
  • it's a good platform for Java-related software
  • it has an intresting database system for giving priviledges to certaion users

I'm talking about performance ONLY, because open-source doesn't really intrests me, as an admin! This should makes it a viable solution for both start-ups and large companies. Since I didn't got a chance to see it ar work am still wondering about all this! What do YOU think?

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What about Solaris? | 73 comments (65 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
Solaris? Why don't you go and try it? (2.50 / 12) (#4)
by Trracer on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 08:59:41 AM EST

Go try it if you haven't already.
It's always best to build your opinion on your own experience.
Go get it here.
-- Inoshiro är en räksmugglare!
Those turning tables.... (2.92 / 13) (#5)
by pi on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 09:15:58 AM EST

Okay, I found this post twisty and strange for a few reasons. Here we have a network admin (so he/she says) looking for an an alternative to Linux. "Howsabout that Solaris," he asks, "as an alternative." I find it pretty damn sweet that this question even comes up. Looking for an alternative to Linux... hehehe. This is not something one usually hears.

I mean, wasn't Linux born out of Minix which as in turn born out of a need for an inexpensive PC UNIX implementation? Aka, no SunOS?

I was also taken by the OP statement that Solaris is "quite secure." Can Solaris be made secure by a good admin? Probably. Is it this way on its own? Not really. Also, what's so unstable about Linux's TCP/IP implementation? This is not blathered in sarcasm, I'm actaually curious if the sysadmin (which I am admittedly not part of) crowd considers Linux's networking codebase to be crufty.

And lastly.. the comment about being able to run most linux software... Since most of the software found on Linux-kernel based machines is GPL'd or open-source type stuff, one can build it on pretty much any POSIX box, yes? Was the OP talking about binary emulation? I'm just confused about this bullet being listed as a Solaris virtue -- with the implication that this is a reason to choose Solaris over another UNIX implementation

pi
-- "egad, a base tone denotes a bad age!" - tmbg

Hmmmm (2.33 / 21) (#7)
by kovacsp on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 09:36:36 AM EST

I'd say you've obviously never tried solaris, or perhaps your a PR flunky trying to stir up support for the operating system.

Secure? Hardly. Besides the fact that solaris servers make attractive targets due to their raw power, there are all kinds of exploits in their daemons. Believe me, I know first hand as I used to administer a solaris server. Sun made us wait for a patch in order to fix the problem, meanwhile we had an intruder on our system that we couldn't do much about.

Comes in different versions? I guarantee you that the so-called "different versions" come from the same exact code-base, if not the same exact build. "Different versions" is just a marketing gimmick designed to create price differentiation so that Sun can charge you even more for something that should be free.

I'll leave my critique at that, since you've obviously never used solaris. Perhaps you should go try it for 6 months and get back to us.

Hmm... (3.00 / 1) (#14)
by El Volio on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 10:33:07 AM EST

Interesting post.

Like any OS, Solaris can be made quite secure. Beyond the basic, normal sysadmin best practices which help tremondously, like any Unix, many of the daemons are replaceable. Don't like their FTP server? Replace it. Don't like their telnet daemon? Delete it and install sshd. Solaris can be made secure; the fact that it is not secure out of the box only makes it the same as nearly every other OS out there. (Yes, I love OpenBSD, but the fact is that it is too lightweight for real enterprise-class servers).

And the fact that a Solaris server is an attractive target doesn't make it any more or less secure. Those are two orthogonal characteristics.

Price differentiation? Um, Solaris is now free for systems with 8 or fewer processors. If you have need of >8 processors, the cost of the OS is not the big issue in your TCO.

Get your facts straight before you call somebody a "PR flunky". This story looks like an honest question from somebody who's done some homework but realizes that there's more info needed than PR releases and benchmarks.

[ Parent ]

Solaris comes in one version. (3.00 / 1) (#53)
by bscanl on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 07:43:25 AM EST

There is only one version of Solaris 8. The "Server" and "Workstation" (which were the exact same OS, just different bundled software) idea has been dropped.

Sun have one price for Solaris 8 on systems smaller than 8 CPUs, the the license is free (You need to own a copy of the media, though).


[ Parent ]
Uh, duh... (1.45 / 20) (#8)
by 3than on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 09:39:44 AM EST

Uh, Solaris is good. Hello? It's fast, stable, reliable, and used by many, many, many places? On Sun hardware anyway. Don't fuck with x86 though.

Debian? (2.00 / 2) (#42)
by UrLord on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 11:33:05 PM EST

Its starting to sound like slashdot.

"What you get from Sun is seriously lacking and you'll need to install all the GNU stuff anyways."
And what is it lacking that the GNU software provides? Just curious, Ive never had the "pleasure" of setting up a Solaris box.

We can't change society in a day, we have to change ourselves first from the inside out.
[ Parent ]

Good bits about Solaris. (3.00 / 2) (#52)
by bscanl on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 07:34:09 AM EST

All the useful GNU tools are with Solaris 8. The HelixGNOME desktop will be on board in a few months, and fully integrated in Solaris 9. UFS snapshots next month, fucking ace VM, no stupid OOM problems (How long did this take to "fix" in Linux?), live patching of the kernel, IPv6 fully integrated, totally dynamic kernel...

Solaris is a well engineered production system. Some people get upset at them not bundling every bit of GPLed software they can find - It takes a day to go to sunfreeware.com and pkgadd all that you use that's not supplied with Solaris 8, and configure it. That's not much work in terms of rolling out a large project - Do it once, add it to your jumpstart scripts, and forget about it.

And the kernel actually compiles on a non-gcc compiler too (Also known as C compilers). ;)

[ Parent ]
Not really true. (3.00 / 2) (#46)
by bscanl on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 04:53:11 AM EST

> What you get from Sun is seriously lacking and you'll > need to install all the GNU stuff anyways. Not the case with Solaris 8. You get the GNU stuff. Well, you don't get findutils, textutils, etc., you get enough though. I only use the GNU specific bloa^H^H^H^Hfeatures in the vast minority of the time I'm on a GNU-enabled box anyway - After I've created an alias called "ztar" which does what tar zxvf does... :)

[ Parent ]
Solaris vs. Linux (4.73 / 34) (#10)
by Anonymous 242 on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 09:50:16 AM EST

First off, I work in a Solaris shop and I like Solaris. The shop I work on site at has many, many enterprise class Solaris servers. Due to this, my evaluation comes from that perspective. At times advantages in my sphere for Solaris translate to advantages in other spheres for Linux.

Second, some of the points on which SPasmofiT argues that Solaris is better than Linux, however, are questionable.

  • it's a true unix
    How is this an advantage? I don't care whether or not an OS has any of the original AT&T Unix code in it or not. What I care about is API compatibility. Are you arguing that Solaris is more POSIX compliant than Linux? IIRC, Solaris has problems with some types of POSIX compliance. I do very few system calls in the programming I don't have first hand experience with this.
  • it has a stable tcp/ip implementation
    Not just stable, but scalable. This is one the key advantages of Solaris, but it only happens on machines of a certain magnitude. On the machines on site where I work that have 20+ processors and deal with millions of real time data records per hour, this makes a difference. The question one needs to ask is will it make a difference for your intended use.
  • it's quite secure
    I'm not about to embark on a Linux vs. Solaris security flamewar. Solaris is pretty secure and in the right hands can be made very, very secure. That said, Sun doesn't always move very quickly to fix known security holes.
  • you can run most linux software
    This is a moot point (at least for me). If the software is written correctly, it out to compile and run just about anywhere. I can't think of any current software titles available only in Linux binary format that I would want to run on Solaris. If Linux's popularity continues to skyrocket, this may of course, change in the future.
  • it comes in different versions, aimed at specific tasks
    So does Linux and the different versions of Linux are far more targetted.
  • it's a good platform for Java-related software
    This used to be a tremendous advantage for Solaris on the workstation. With the recent versions of IBM's JDK, it is no longer clearly the case. At present, Linux is arguable a better platform for Java development than Solaris.
  • it has an intresting database system for giving priviledges to certaion users
    This may very well be the case. I don't have any experience in this area because in our shop, even most sys admins don't have root access. Given that I'm only a lowly programmer, I don't have a whole lot of permissions on our systems.

There are a few advantages of Solaris that were left out (some of these in different situations are also advantages for Linux).

  • Scalability. Solaris scales much better. Part of this is due to design decisions that have earned Solaris the nickname Slowlaris. The Solaris kernel is tuned for high volume IO and multiple processors. Some of these tuning decisions were made at the expense of response time in situations where users at a workstation notice.
  • Hardware support. Linux holds the advantage in hardware support on commodity PCs. Solaris reigns on hardware support for enterprise class systems. Which is more important? It all depends on the intended use for Solaris.
  • Middleware. Middleware (transaction servers, application servers, etc.) is far more common on Solaris. Some ISVs have begun porting to Linux, but it will take some time before the available solutions on Linux match the maturity, features, and stability of the same solutions on Solaris.

The bottom line is that the purpose to which a box is going to be put to needs to be evaluated. In some situations, Linux (or one of the BSDs) is a no-brainer. In other situations, Solaris (or some other proprietary Unix such as AIX, IRIX, HP/UX, or Tru64) is the only available option.

My gut feeling is that Linux will continue to evolve faster than products like Solaris, but its evolution will slow down as the feature set gets more and more complicated. It takes more time and energy to implement multi-processor support correctly than it does to most portions of POSIX compliance. The complexity of the features Linux is lacking will be somewhat offset by companies such as SGI and IBM getting into the Linux ball game, but I don't think that Linux will be able to maintain the lightening speed that it has maintained in the past.

Neither will Sun stand still with Solaris. The good thing is that five years down the road, Solaris and Linux will both be better solutions for a wider array of applications giving us better alternatives for a wider array of problems. Then as now, the best thing to do will be to pick the best tool for the job.

Solaris 2.6 to Solaris 7 and major changes (3.00 / 5) (#12)
by AndrewH on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 10:10:15 AM EST

Neither will Sun stand still with Solaris.

When Sun called the successor to Solaris 2.6 Solaris 7, they said it was because there would never again be a change warranting what would before have been a new major version.

Just what do Sun see as the long term future?


John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr — where are you now that we need you?
[ Parent ]
No *major* changes (3.33 / 3) (#17)
by El Volio on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 10:55:19 AM EST

Sun, in fact, isn't sitting still with Solaris. Solaris 8 is a very nice OS, much improved over version 7. The point is that there won't be any more changes that necessitate a true major version change -- ie binary incompatibility, etc. The new UltraSPARC III processors require Solaris 8, though.

Anything from Sun that is such a big change would end up being a different product, IOW. When will Linux go to a 3.x series kernel? Will it? Does that mean it's sitting still?

There's a lot more to progress than major version changes.

[ Parent ]

Sun's future. (3.25 / 4) (#18)
by Anonymous 242 on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 10:59:34 AM EST

I've not heard aobut Sun saying there would never be a change warranting a new major revision. Their plans to implement a COMA architecture ( see this article for details ) would seem to imply that major kernel work will be necessary.

[ Parent ]

This is definite fact (2.33 / 3) (#19)
by El Volio on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 11:03:38 AM EST

I don't have a reference handy, but the rationale behind going from Solaris 2.6 to Solaris 7, 8, etc. was definitely that there would not be a future change large enough to warrant a "real" major version change.

That's also the official line in the Sun Education Centers. Funny that this discussion takes place while I'm sitting in a Sun classroom (for ST-350 Sun Systems Fault Analysis Workshop if you must know).

[ Parent ]

Access Control Lists (3.83 / 6) (#27)
by gr on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 01:59:17 PM EST

  • it has an intresting database system for giving priviledges to certaion users
This may very well be the case. I don't have any experience in this area because in our shop, even most sys admins don't have root access. Given that I'm only a lowly programmer, I don't have a whole lot of permissions on our systems.
Pardon? You don't have to be root at all to use Solaris's (or HPUX's, or Digital/Tru 64/whatever-it-is-this-week Unix's) access control lists. In fact, the beauty of the system is that it's possible for groups of users to share files on their own without having a system administrator edit /etc/group.

Go read setfacl(1) and getfacl(1).

[ Parent ]
Solaris is great if... (1.46 / 13) (#11)
by DeadBaby on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 10:02:41 AM EST

You can't talk your bosses into using another solution. I've never used Solaris on x86 but I've heard it's not very good. It'd probably offer some competition to Linux if it didn't cost an arm and a leg.
"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
FUD (2.66 / 3) (#16)
by El Volio on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 10:51:43 AM EST

I can't speak to Solaris on x86, but please note that:
  • It's the other way 'round. Linux wants to compete with Solaris, and in many areas, it doesn't even come close. Large enterprise-class servers don't even consider Linux at this stage; maybe in a few years, but not yet.
  • The cost for Solaris is nothing, at least for the OS itself. Yeah, the media cost $75, but you can then install it on as many systems as you like.
  • Why would you want to talk your bosses into using another solution? I don't mean that Solaris is the be-all and end-all, but there are situations where it's quite appropriate. Use the tool that fits the job.


[ Parent ]
Only Cost (2.78 / 19) (#13)
by Carnage4Life on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 10:21:38 AM EST

The only place where Linux is superior to Solaris as a server is the TCO (total cost of ownership). Anyone that tells you otherwise has no idea what they are talking about. If cost is an issue I also suggest looking at FreeBSD or OpenBSD before settling for Linux.

The base tools that come with Solaris do suck though, so you may want to recompile Linux versions of your favorite tools to Solaris before giving it a shot.

PS: Yes, I know to Linux lovers this is flamebait (even though it is fact) but I don't have any karma to lose so I suggest responding with valid arguments instead of impotently reducing the score of this post.



Why? (3.50 / 4) (#26)
by Michael Leuchtenburg on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 01:52:34 PM EST

Okay, so you've made a nice big sweeping statement: Solaris beats Linux, except cost-wise.

Now explain why.

[ #k5: dyfrgi ]
[ TINK5C ]
[ Parent ]

One word. (3.50 / 2) (#51)
by bscanl on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 07:25:36 AM EST

> Now explain why

SMP. Years of engineering a SMP kernel. Linux is at about Solaris 2.4 right now.

Solaris costs under $100 now anyway, licenses are free, woo, mad expensive.

Also, I'll be impressed when you can do a live patch of a Linux kernel.

[ Parent ]
Advantages... (3.50 / 2) (#29)
by pb on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 03:39:40 PM EST

Well, I don't agree this time, so I'm doing both: impotently reducing the score of the post, (I give it a 2) and replying. :)

Linux is massively more tweakable, and supports many more platforms than Solaris does. On low-end machines, it's much faster. On high-end machines, I don't know if it's faster, (don't have a cluster to test with :) but I know it can get pretty impressive results, and--as you mentioned--at a lower cost.

Also, any Linux distribution does come pre-installed with a lot more stuff, and you can pick one that suits your needs as well; there is no shortage of vendors or hardware to choose from.

Basically, the only place for Solaris is on high-powered Sun boxes. Solaris may be a superior choice as an Enterprise Server, but that's about it, and again, I don't have one of those boxes on hand to play around with...

Also, there's a lot of competition in the high-end market. If you really need power like that, you might consider IRIX or AIX, for example; I've seen some pretty high-powered machines running those. But for everything else, there's Linux. (or, again, the *BSD's; I haven't messed with them much, but they look like Unixes to me! :)
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
Hold on (2.50 / 2) (#32)
by Swing on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 05:24:34 PM EST

Yes, I know to Linux lovers this is flamebait (even though it is fact) but I don't have any karma to lose so I suggest responding with valid arguments instead of impotently reducing the score of this post.

This ain't slashdot. This preemptive defensiveness is an understandable evolution. But like premature optimization, premature defensiveness is the root of all evil.

[ Parent ]
No backing to your statement whatsoever. (2.66 / 3) (#34)
by whatnotever on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 06:42:59 PM EST

"(even though it is fact)"

Excuse me? You're using a pretty strong word there. My biggest problem with this is that you offer no support whatsoever! You say Linux is only better than Solaris in terms of TCO, but then the only other things you say about Solaris are *bad*... Please. It is *not* a fact.

and

"Anyone that tells you otherwise has no idea what they are talking about."

That statement is flamebait, to anyone. You state an opinion and then say that people who disagree with you are stupid... Wow.

[ Parent ]
Only cost? (3.66 / 3) (#36)
by analog on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 08:57:02 PM EST

If you follow this link you'll find some interesting statements about whether or not anything about Linux is better than Solaris (look below the benchmarks). I know speed ain't everything, but you did say only cost.

Anyone that tells you otherwise has no idea what they are talking about.

Well, I suppose it's possible that you've got a better handle on Solaris than a guy who wrote pieces of it, but I'm sure you'll forgive me for being skeptical.

[ Parent ]

You've just contradicted yourself (2.00 / 2) (#39)
by goonie on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 09:15:05 PM EST

The base tools that come with Solaris do suck though, so you may want to recompile Linux versions of your favorite tools to Solaris before giving it a shot.

OK, you've just admitted that Linux is superior to Solaris in one extremely important respect - the base tools are inferior, making it significantly slower and more painful to work with. Yes, you *can* fix it by installing a complete set of the gnu tools and the like, but:

  • that wastes quite a lot of your valuable time
  • The setup will be different on each box you do, unless you (and your entire organisation) are *really* disciplined, so all of your scripts and the like have to get significantly tweaked every time you get a new box, and new admins have to figure out the peculiarities.
  • Keeping the box up to date is a pain when you have to do it manually. apt-get is *much* easier :)

If what you meant to say was "the Solaris kernel is better than the Linux kernel" maybe you should have been a little more precise.

[ Parent ]

What hardware ? (3.28 / 7) (#15)
by Simon Kinahan on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 10:47:09 AM EST

Solaris works pretty well on the latest Sun hardware, and in such configurations its performance kills Linux dead (though HPs top end kit is better than Sun's). On PC hardware however it has its problems. Linux manages to deal with the vast number of different hardware options for the PC platform, but Solaris x86 is nowhere near as compatible.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
From a Solaris admin... (4.13 / 15) (#20)
by djkimmel on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 11:06:52 AM EST

I'm a Solaris admin by day and wouldn't choose Solaris to run an internet server. In my opinion, OpenBSD, while harder to use and administer than Solaris, is better suited to be an internet server.

At work, I use Solaris on a Sun Ultra Enterprise 450 to run the database that the office lives and dies by. I wouldn't dream of running this database on anything other than Solaris. Solaris has, in this environment, proven itself as a rock-solid and trustworthy system. We have a 4-hour response support contract with Sun which we, thankfully, have never had to use.

However, this Solaris machine is connected to the internet only through multiple firewalls (departmental firewall, corporate firewall). I would NEVER place it out on the internet unprotected. In fact, I would never place any box out on the internet without some level of protection.

By default, Solaris is a fairly insecure system and, because of its closed-source nature, security problems are identified and fixed behind the scenes while its users continue on, unaware that there is a problem.

Which brings me to OpenBSD. OpenBSD generally fixes potential security problems long before an exploit is released. In fact, just recently there was a little hubbub about a bunch of fixes they made relating to string handling. They didn't see it as an exploitable security issue, but someone managed to exploit it and they were criticized for not posting their fixes. They didn't consider it an issue because they weren't fixing a security hole, they were fixing plain bad code.

We all know that the very first thing an administrator should do with a box after installing the operating system is to secure it. This is always a good practice, regardless of the operating system. OpenBSD has the advantage of not needing this step since it is secure by default. Solaris requires someone to go in and manually disable various services and daemons while keeping the system functional, and unless you are familiar with Solaris this can be a daunting task.

Also, as has been noted in other comments, some bundled Solaris tools are downright primitive. The Solaris implementation of tar, for example, is buggy and lacks many features that users of GNU tar take for granted. Solaris 8 includes a CD with a bunch of GNU utilities compiled and packaged for Solaris, but it is installed as a directory in /opt, not in place of the included utilities.

Another thing to note is that Solaris does NOT have a built in firewall. You have to download and compile ipfilter yourself. This isn't really a bad thing, but OpenBSD already has ipfilter. It is just another, sometimes difficult (ie, 64-bit kernel - you need to use Sun's commercial compiler to build IP Filter), step to take.

I'd also install SSH at this point so that I can have proper remote administration.

At this point, with services and daemons disabled, GNU software running on it, and ipfilter installed, I'd be ready to put a Solaris box out on the net.

Giving out shell accounts on this machine opens up another can of worms. Personally, I wouldn't do it. Securing a box that will just be running a web, FTP, and mail server is one thing, securing a box that users have shells on is a different matter all together, and one that I'd not want to try. I'd use OpenBSD if I gave out shell accounts since I don't need to worry about root exploits.

If you're willing to take all of the necessary steps, Solaris would probably make a good server. But if you're worried about missing something or giving out shell accounts, consider OpenBSD.
-- Dave
My one beef with OpenBSD (3.00 / 5) (#22)
by El Volio on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 11:27:31 AM EST

Yeah, OK, Theo's a jerk, but OpenBSD is a sweet little OS. But there's one thing still holding OpenBSD back: lack of SMP support. Yes, there's a project to work on it, but right now, the OS simply doesn't support multiple processors. And as you well know, any serious server simply has to be able to do that. OpenBSD is great for small web servers, or in fact any bastion host that doesn't have to handle a large load. But if you need real, honest-to-God enterprise-level abilities, then bust out the big guns -- Solaris, IRIX, AIX, HP-UX, etc.

[ Parent ]
securing Unix (3.00 / 4) (#23)
by martin on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 12:22:39 PM EST

Like most Unix varients Solaris ain't secure out of the box. There's plenty of how-to's for securing Solaris. It doesn't pretent to be secure and can fairly easily be done. SOlaris 8 does come with a firewall, but again YOU have to configure and install the whole thing properly. Sure OpenBSD is secure out of the box, but that needs a brain to admin too. I'd use OpenBSD for certain tasks, FreeBSD for others and SOlaris/HP-UX/AIX for others. Not O/S is perfect for every task (althought M$ would like to think it i, but I digress), but choosing the right technology for the right task you make your life simpler.

[ Parent ]
Security, tar etc. (4.00 / 2) (#54)
by bscanl on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 08:13:48 AM EST

There is no problem with Sun's tar. It is entirely standards compliance. It does not have all of GNU's functionality. This confuses some.

You need to apply the same methology when it comes to securing any Unix machine - Stripping it down, etc.
I couldn't care less if the default install of OpenBSD hasn't had a remote exploit in X years, I wouldn't put a default install of anything on the 'net. Think otherwise, and you deserve to be doomed.

[ Parent ]
What would you change? (none / 0) (#66)
by XScott on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 03:58:04 PM EST

I couldn't care less if the default install of OpenBSD hasn't had a remote exploit in X years, I wouldn't put a default install of anything on the 'net. Think otherwise, and you deserve to be doomed.
What would you change in OpenBSD from it's default install?

Just curious.


-- Of course I think I'm right. If I thought I was wrong, I'd change my mind.
[ Parent ]
Solaris -> Linux (3.80 / 5) (#21)
by Caranguejeira on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 11:15:29 AM EST

It was SunOS 4.1 that got me interested in Linux. It was the first Unix I ever used, and I used it at work. I wanted to improve my skills with Unix and be able to mess with it in my free time, but it was too expensive for home use at the time, so I got Linux.

Linux showed me a lot of things about SunOS, and later Solaris. They aren't exactly the same, but the differences are enough to highlight the features of each OS rather than detract or confuse things.

I'd say Solaris is a great, stable OS for use in the business place and enterprise. It proved to be very solid and performs quite well. The prices for x86 Solaris are quite reasonable now, and so it is becoming more popular all the time.

It isn't "open source," and that _is_ a big deal for a lot of people.

Linux may not quite be as technically advanced as Solaris at this point, but I think it will quickly catch up. It is already quite powerful for a lot of applications. I think the BSDs are lot closer in some areas.

*BSD (2.88 / 9) (#24)
by Anonymous 6522 on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 01:32:52 PM EST

What one of the *BSDs like OpenBSD or FreeBSD, they are all true Unices, they all have a stable tcp/ip implementation. OpenBSD is also considered one of the most secure operating systems in the world. Each of the *BSDs have a specific focus too, FreeBSD's is performance on x86, NetBSD's is portablility, and OpenBSD's is security.

Why I've avoided it... (2.25 / 4) (#31)
by 31: on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 05:08:53 PM EST

Well, 1, I'm poor, and even the $99 student liscense is more than i can happily deal with now :)
2, i've heard nothing but buffer overflow attacks on solaris. I don't know for sure if it's that bad (since i'm not planning on using it now anyhow), so i'd be happy to hear otherwise.

-Patrick
Oh, please... (2.70 / 10) (#33)
by trhurler on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 05:41:51 PM EST

it's a true unix
Which means it costs, but gains you absolutely NO benefits over the free alternatives. Besides, these days, anyone who gets his system certified can be a "true" unix. There was a German Linux distro that did so, although personally I think this is worthless, as are most/all certifications.
it has a stable tcp/ip implementation
So do FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and NetBSD, and to a large extent, so does Linux. Qualitywise, I'd put the BSDs at the top, with Linux and Solaris nearly tied.
it's quite secure
Haha. You're funny. Linux, properly administrated and kept up to date, is more secure than Solaris, and neither of them can hold a candle to the system that has no remote holes in three years.
you can run most linux software
I remember when Linux guys said "we can run most SVR4 software!" How amusing, the way things change. If you have to use this as a selling point, you know you're on the losing end of the battle.
it comes in different versions, aimed at specific tasks
This is called "price discrimination." They do it to maximize profits. Nothing wrong with that, but do keep in mind that the difference between the "enterprise server" version and the "I'm a lamer in my basement" version is a few config tweaks and some bundled software.
it's a good platform for Java-related software
HAHAHA. This is the sweetest irony of all... you use a language sold on claims of being platform independent, then you choose a platform to suit the language...
it has an intresting database system for giving priviledges to certaion users
Which is probably a gaping security hole just waiting to be exploited... complexity in security mechanisms is ALWAYS bad. Learn it, live it, love it, because it is the truth. The Linux capabilties guys learned this recently when it was discovered that their system is totally insecure because of loadable kernel modules.

Don't get me wrong. Solaris has good uses. For instance, if you need an Ultra Enterprise 10000 system with 64 processors, then you need Solaris. However, for real people doing real work on a real budget, Solaris is like a nuclear weapon used to hunt squirrels: not only is it overkill, but it is dangerous, hard to use, and costs too much compared to the proper tool for the job.


--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

Complexity (3.00 / 2) (#41)
by Holloway on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 09:27:45 PM EST

Which is probably a gaping security hole just waiting to be exploited... complexity in security mechanisms is ALWAYS bad. Learn it, live it, love it, because it is the truth.

In my experience `complexity' doesn't mean that that something's intricate or difficult - just that it's structure is foreign and difficult to understand. Now a stupid design is a stupid design - but complexity has little to do with it and complexity is necessary to achieve some things.

I'm sure a Operating System is complex to many people.

Apparently, you haven't a clue as to the security system that Solaris uses ("Which is probably a gaping security hole just waiting to be exploited"). Probably? So you don't even have any facts or examples as to why Solaris's security model is flawed or full o' holes?

Bah.




== Human's wear pants, if they don't wear pants they stand out in a crowd. But if a monkey didn't wear pants it would be anonymous

[ Parent ]
Ah, nothing like... (4.00 / 1) (#58)
by trhurler on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 12:05:23 PM EST

saying "have no clue" about someone, is there? Guess what? We run Solaris in the office I work in. I'm one of the admins. The fact that I don't know that security system inside and out is an indication of the fact that we simply do not deploy it anywhere it would need much security. Yes, I've glanced at some of the docs. I was thoroughly unimpressed, for reasons stated below.

Now, as to complexity, I will simply point you at the latest book from Bruce Schneier, which is advertised at his company's website. You are wrong; unfamiliarity CAN seem like complexity, but complexity IS a genuine part of any computer system, and the more complex it is, the less secure it will be in practice. Complicated security mechanisms are usually not needed, and they increase exponentially the likelihood that the security mechanism itself has flaws that its designers and implementors missed. I suspect that "Secrets and Lies" will prove to be a real wakeup call for you, if you actually bother to read it.

Now, as to the Solaris security model and whether it is actually secure, who knows? The point is, none of us do. None of us will. None of us can. Microsoft has more lines of code implementing security than any Unix vendor, but their "advanced NT security model" (their phrase) is a complete joke. At some point, people need to learn that when it comes to security, old age and simplicity win every time over newfangled mechanisms and complexity. (This is also why hard realtime people live in an entirely different world from the rest of us; antilock brake systems simply can NOT crash, period. A one line change to a comment requires a multiman code review in that world. You simply do NOT change something without a really good reason. Security is the same way; if it has one unknown error, then it isn't actually giving you the security you think you have. You can not be "mostly secure.")


--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Er. (none / 0) (#59)
by bscanl on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 01:20:29 PM EST

How exactly is Solaris's security model different to Linux or BSD?

If you are simply against closed source systems, fair enough. I'm not exactly anti-open source myself. But, at some stage, don't you have to trust others to do a job, i.e. the respective OS security people of the OS you're running?

At some stage, I've to trust crypto people who know crypto stuff to secure my transactions etc. - Most mathematics of good crypto systems is in the open, just like the way systems are detailed and documented as working in a certain fashion. The exact code is sometimes, or sometimes not open for public scruitiny, at the discretion of the crypto/OS vendor.

Solaris is securable for shell accounts, just as I'd expect any modern Unix to be.

[ Parent ]
Ah. (4.00 / 1) (#60)
by trhurler on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 01:32:51 PM EST

The default Solaris security is Unix-like, but it is based on PAM. PAM is bad, despite the claims of the Linux people who so eagerly adopted it for their own use. More security holes have been found in PAM itself than in any other aspect of Solaris in the last three years. The reason is that PAM is abominably complex. Now, there are some other security mechanisms. Certain Sun propaganda makes these out to be one big thing, but they aren't. They're generally bad. They aren't enabled by default. The sad thing is, just by being present, some of them might be security holes; they have setuid binaries and so on.

Now, for me personally, no, I don't have to trust anyone except the people who design(not implement, but design,) crypto algorithms. I have the expertise to read the code for my chosen OS, and I do read a lot of it. This, of course, means trusting myself, and as it happens, I think the developers of my favorite OS are better than I am at this sort of thing, but I still read, both because I learn and because I want to see for myself.

As for Solaris being securable for shell accounts(or "any modern Unix" being securable for shell accounts,) if you think so, then by all means, do so. I would not do such a thing without getting a waiver from any and all customers explicitly stating that I am not liable for ANYTHING that happens to their data or their privacy. Simply put, I don't trust commercial vendors(or most open source people) to know HOW to write secure code, much less to actually spend the immense time and effort to do it. I might do it with a modified OpenBSD system, but never anything else; if anyone has an account on one of my machines, it is because I trust -him,- rather than because I trust the system to protect me from him.


--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Why? (3.00 / 4) (#37)
by Dacta on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 09:13:34 PM EST

I was looking for an alternative to Linux, to run both as a Internet server, and as an intranet server.
In order to do a needs analysis we need to know why are you not satisfied with Linux. Changing platforms because you feel like it is never a good idea. Fun, maybe, but not good.

Solaris is good on Sun hardware, especially wrt scalability on their big hardware. That and it's Java performance are really the only two valid reasons for shifting.

If Java performace is the issue, then you need to make sure you have tried both IBM's JVM and the most recent Sun JVMs on Linux - their performance is not too bad in most circumstances. Secondly, you might want to consider NT/Win2000, because it is generally one of the best performing Java platforms (along with Solaris).

I can't comment on the it has an intresting database system for giving priviledges to certaion users - when I last used Solaris I don't think it had that (is this Access Control Lists, btw?).

The rest of your reasons should have minimal influence on your decision. They have been discussed in lots of comments already.

However: it comes in different versions, aimed at specific tasks is interesting: Surely Linux wins this hands down. You can get Linux to do anything from run on a wrist-watch to a supercomputer. You can get RedHat distributions optimised to run Oracle, or TurboLinux distributions with clustering capabilities, etc. There is no way Solaris can match this flexibility.



Just going over your points... (3.42 / 7) (#38)
by General_Corto on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 09:13:52 PM EST

you said (the numbering is to simplify referencing):
    It seems to me that Solaris may as well be considered *better*, because:
    1. it's a true unix
    2. it has a stable tcp/ip implementation
    3. it's quite secure
    4. you can run most linux software
    5. it comes in different versions, aimed at specific tasks
    6. it's a good platform for Java-related software
    7. it has an intresting database system for giving priviledges to certaion users
In response, I say:
  1. The phrase 'true unix' has almost no meaning whatsoever. I guess you could state that being POSIX-compliant would make it 'true', but there are some extreme stupidities in the POSIX spec that most people ignore. Anyways, given that Sun changes the argument lists to many of the most basic apps in Solaris between versions, the point is moot.
  2. So do the BSDs. And Linux (from 2.4, when it gets released). In fact, I'd rather put my money into BSD when it comes down to networking (disclaimer: I'm a OpenBSD/FreeBSD fan).
  3. saying something is 'quite' secure is a bit like saying the safe door is 'quite' closed. I'm far more trusting of OpenBSD than any other OS, as they seem to be the only people who are seriously proactive about finding and fixing bugs in their software.
  4. No arguments there... not exactly, anyways. I guess you could also say 'horses for courses'.
  5. From what I remember on this topic, IBM's VM on Linux rocks
  6. I've never really seen a need for much more than the users/groups paradigm when it comes to basic OS stuff.
All in all, it's an interesting debate to add to the Holy Wars, but it's not front-page material.


I'm spying on... you!
Grrrr. (3.00 / 2) (#40)
by General_Corto on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 09:17:36 PM EST

Darn, I forgot about his point 4, thus ruining my use of the <ol> tags :/

Anyways, as for his point 4, well, you can do that on the BSDs too (there's some good information on getting Oracle to run on FreeBSD floating around the net somewhere).


I'm spying on... you!
[ Parent ]
Advantage of linux (2.33 / 6) (#43)
by PresJPolk on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 11:54:59 PM EST

With Linux, no one company has a monopoly on support and bug-fixing. Anyone competent in the field can take the source, and fix or help you through you may run into.

With Solaris, it's Sun, or forget it. Keep in mind Sun is the company that is experimenting with NDAs for support and bugfixing.

If you trust the Sun's refusal to disclose, and to be open, then by all means give Solaris a chance. But don't just frame the argument in terms a Sun marketing brochure would use.

Oh, not this FUD again. (4.00 / 4) (#47)
by bscanl on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 05:07:03 AM EST

> With Solaris, it's Sun, or forget it. Keep in mind Sun
> is the company that is experimenting with NDAs for
> support and bugfixing.


Utter bullshit.

This myth that Sun like NDAs comes out of a problem with their UltraSparcII CPUs, where thanks to a lack of ECC, when the on board Ecache got some parity errors, the Sun box'd reboot. In the early days of this problem, Sun weren't sure exactly what was causing this. To let engineers freely speculate on their theorys, which included speculation and criticism on various 3rd party components on board the UltraSparc chip, Sun asked for the customer to sign an NDA, as Sun preffered to fully disclose all known information to the customer in a manner way beyond the criteria of their Platinum support contracts require. The customer in effect got Super-Duper-Platinum support. When Sun figured out where the problem was, about a year ago, the need for NDAs was dropped, but apparantly not all Sun offices knew about this. Not at one stage was the NDA required for support - If this was the case, Sun would have violated the terms of their support contract with the customer.

Sun are a reasonably open company, and becoming more so all the time, and definitely focus on the customer - They deliberately have not responded to the lies being propogated by them by the likes of ComputerWorld.

Sun support have always been very open when it comes to giving information to the customer - I've been on both sides of the Sun support setup, I don't know about you.

[ Parent ]
FUD? (2.00 / 3) (#48)
by PresJPolk on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 05:19:37 AM EST

To let engineers freely speculate on their theorys, which included speculation and criticism on various 3rd party components on board the UltraSparc chip, Sun asked for the customer to sign an NDA, as Sun preffered to fully disclose all known information to the customer in a manner way beyond the criteria of their Platinum support contracts require. The customer in effect got Super-Duper-Platinum support.

Super-Duper-Platinum support? If Sun sold faulty hardware, I'd say making it work is what is required, regardless of whose fault it is. There's nothing remarkable about that.

Not at one stage was the NDA required for support - If this was the case, Sun would have violated the terms of their support contract with the customer.

Staying with the UltraSparc, what would have happened to those who didn't sign the NDA? No support at all? Either sign the NDA, or put up with random reboots?

Sun are a reasonably open company, and becoming more so all the time, and definitely focus on the customer

Our definitions of reasonably open clearly differ.



[ Parent ]
Re: FUD? (3.33 / 3) (#50)
by bscanl on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 07:20:56 AM EST

> Super-Duper-Platinum support? If Sun sold faulty
> hardware, I'd say making it work is what is required,
> regardless of whose fault it is. There's nothing
> remarkable about that.

Sun were in the process of fixing it. There was no fix at the time. Sun had a few ideas as to what was up, nothing precise.

> Staying with the UltraSparc, what would have happened
> to those who didn't sign the NDA? No support at all?
> Either sign the NDA, or put up with random reboots?

Complete replacement of all CPUs if requested (Not a really a reccomended "fix" though). All fixes when Sun knew exactly what was wrong. The NDA didn't fix the random
reboots, the chance for you to talk directly to the Sun CPU people as to what was up, who disclosed sensitive amounts of information about 3rd party components in their musings as to what was wrong was the reason for the NDA. By the time Sun had software and hardware fixes, some terribly researched journalism on ComputerWorld created this NDA myth that customers had to sign an NDA to get support - This wasn't very truthful.

[ Parent ]
Which goes back to my original point (1.50 / 2) (#56)
by PresJPolk on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 09:17:22 AM EST

<p><i>the chance for you to talk directly to the Sun CPU people as to what was up, who disclosed sensitive amounts of information about 3rd party components in their musings as to what was wrong was the reason for the NDA.</i></p>
<p>Intellectual property: a bane of the free world.</p>

[ Parent ]
Almost forgot... (2.50 / 2) (#49)
by PresJPolk on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 05:26:03 AM EST

Due to how strong a well-written NDA can be, we really have no way of knowing how many Sun NDAs are out there. For all we know for certain, this UltraSparcII is just the one incident that's gotten into the open.

It makes me wonder about eBay. :-)

[ Parent ]
FreeBSD (2.33 / 6) (#44)
by maketo on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 12:45:14 AM EST

I was running the bloated RH 6.2 KDE workstation (blah) since I didnt have time to spend to setup everything and I also have other machines behind the one with RH/cable modem and masquerading was easy...However in time I just got tired of the bloat. But even more, I got tired of not knowing what went where and how everything worked. Then I turfed the RH i nfavour of FreeBSD 4.1.1 and am as happy as a convert can be ;))

It took a day to setup everything, but I just love it now - even compiled my own X :) and with Afterstep it is a breeze with tons of free memory free (even with 96 Meg the 533 Celeron was a crawl under RH/Kde default install)....Not that I am an expert - but from a user point of view ;)

As for Solaris - we have Ultra 5s and 10s at the University - nothing special I would waste my money over (again from a user point of view). However, I guess once you go into the high-end server market - people know why they pay Sun much more than the "free" Linux.
agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
Don't judge all distros by Redhat (2.00 / 1) (#61)
by Paul Jimenez on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 04:43:21 PM EST

I know it's perhaps the most popular distro of Linux, but don't judge all Linux by Redhat - they do tend to package things for the lowest common denominator (which seems to be sinking lower all the time). Install Debian and then go through and strip out all the packages you don't need. Or download the source packages and build them from scratch yourself if you want. FreeBSD is nice, but typically lags behind Linux a bit in terms of driver support. Besides Debian, SuSe also gets many kudos, though I have no personal experience with it. I guess my real point is that you shouldn't let a bad experience with one distribution poison you on all of Linux...

[ Parent ]
What about Sun Hardware? (3.00 / 6) (#45)
by joto on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 03:06:44 AM EST

Solaris is a nice unix (and so is *bsd, linux, ...), but what do you need it for? What is good about solaris, is it's ability to run well on large sun-boxen with umpty-dumpty processors and a gazillion of RAM. Sun boxen can handle large amounts of IO, run lot's of paralell processes with daunting speed, and so on. If you need to do that, then go with sun.

As for your point about choosing Solaris, I was dumbfounded:

  1. What does a true Unix mean?
  2. And what is so unstable about linux or *bsd's tcp/ip?
  3. Is Linux 'quite' secure? What is 'quite'?
  4. Yes, most linux software is GPL. It should be a simple recompile on any Unix.
  5. Uh, yes, which task did you have in mind?
  6. Yes, and so are linux, windows and OS/2. Do you need much java-related software?
  7. ACL's are sort of neat, for somewhat technical users, not for sysadms. For sysadms, I would rather go with something like <a href="http://www.braysystems.com/linux/trustees.html">linux trustees since that seems to make life simpler, not more complicated.

So, in conclusion:

Do you need anything more than linux/*bsd offers? Is this related to scalability and raw power? Then go with Solaris. Otherwise, I think you will be much happier with one of the free variants. A cheap sun isn't much better than a cheap PC these days. And solaris on x86 is nowhere near as good as linux on x86.

Java on Solaris (none / 0) (#70)
by matthead on Sun Oct 29, 2000 at 09:29:34 PM EST

Agreed, with a single caveat:

Java on SPARC Soalris flies. There simply is no better performer if you're doing Java development.


--
- Matt
I'm at (0.3, -2.5). Where are you?
[ Parent ]
Secure? BAH! (2.60 / 5) (#55)
by Nickus on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 08:56:59 AM EST

Solaris is not any better at security than your average Linux distributions. In fact, it is a lot worse. They still haven't fixed the locale-bug that came on Bugtraq a little over a month ago. You want security by default then use OpenBSD. And security isn't a one-time thing. Security comes with maintenance.
The only thing that is better with Solaris is it management of large diskspace and ram. I wouldn't really trust Linux to manage a 4TB RAID quite yet. But this is just a feeling in my spine :-).


Due to budget cuts, light at end of tunnel will be out. --Unknown
Let me clear thing up! (2.25 / 4) (#57)
by SPasmofiT on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 11:17:40 AM EST

I'm not a sysadmin.. yet!
Soon, I'll have to deploy a system, and I'm checking out different options...

If I would deploy it now, it would use Linux (RH), but looking around is never a bad ideea. I was a bit confused by the marketing-talk over at the sun site...

Security an issue? (none / 0) (#68)
by chuq_r on Sat Oct 28, 2000 at 10:44:14 AM EST

If security is at all an issue for you (and even if it isn't), you're probably going to want to avoid Red Hat Linux in particular. There's a very good reason that the monks in alt.sysadmin.recovery refer to it as Dead Rat and why it pops up in Bugtraq a bit more often than most other OSen (or at least Linux distributions) short of Windows...

Out of the box it's a decent workstation OS, but it's a crappy server OS.

Chuq

[ Parent ]

Solaris has better POSIX support (3.25 / 4) (#62)
by cybersquid on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 08:03:51 PM EST

It really does. I develop for both. My workstation runs Linux. When possible, I compile, test & debug there.

For large, multi-process enterprise apps, Linux lacks some features. For example, inter-process sharing of mutexs and condition variables is not supported yet in linux. (Do man pthread_mutex_init on both and compare your options.)

I'm not dissing Linux. I love Linux. In many ways (driver support, U.I.) it is more advanced and "pleasant" than Solaris. It is a sports car to Solaris's Mac truck.

Sometimes you just need a Mac truck.

Yes, Linux pthreads are anemic (3.00 / 1) (#64)
by Ruidh on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 03:04:42 PM EST

Linus disagrees with the value of POSIX Threads. Native Linux threads use symantics that Linus thinks are saner. As a result, there is a need for a better pthreads implementation. There was a call on l-k not long ago for someone who understands pthreads symantics to complete the implementation.
"Laissez-faire is a French term commonly interpreted by Conservatives to mean 'lazy fairy,' which is the belief that if governments are lazy enough, the Good Fairy will come down from heaven and do all their work for them."
[ Parent ]
Re: Yes, Linux pthreads are anemic (none / 0) (#65)
by XScott on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 03:55:49 PM EST

I've heard this mentioned before. Do you have a link I could follow to read up on it? I'm curious what misfeatures of pthreads are causing the objections, and how they are different in Linux.


-- Of course I think I'm right. If I thought I was wrong, I'd change my mind.
[ Parent ]
Linus and pthreads (3.00 / 1) (#71)
by Ruidh on Mon Oct 30, 2000 at 03:11:39 PM EST

Sorry for the late reply. I hope you see this.

This Kernel Notes item summarizes a long discussion on lkml about threads and POSIX threads. Look for Linus' contributions towards the end.
"Laissez-faire is a French term commonly interpreted by Conservatives to mean 'lazy fairy,' which is the belief that if governments are lazy enough, the Good Fairy will come down from heaven and do all their work for them."
[ Parent ]
Re: Linus and pthreads (4.00 / 1) (#72)
by XScott on Mon Oct 30, 2000 at 09:13:09 PM EST

Thanks for the link.

I didn't quite follow everything though. It looks like part (most) of the problem is how to deal with signals sent to the process. Admittedly that is a mess, and it probably doesn't come up often in most programming tasks. It also looks like Linus has a strong religious view regarding the "everything is a file or process" model.

I've always thought of threads as being subordinate to a process. The process is the address space and collection of kernel objects (semaphores, file handles, sockets, threads, ...) that will get cleaned up when the process exits or is killed. I guess I take this programmer's viewpoint from Win32. (Not everything Win32 is bad. Some of the concepts I agree with. It's just that the implementation is typically poor.)

Linus looks like he thinks of threads as being as important as processes, and that there should be no difference between them. A thread is just another process that happens to share its virtual address space with some other process.

At that point, it looks like the definition of a process becomes quite muddled and that what I used to think of as a "thread" is now a "process", and what I used to think of as a "process" is just now called the "address space".

I prefer the strict hierarchy of having a process be a collection of threads (possibly only 1). You can kill a thread or you can kill a process and take all of it's threads with it. Seems clean and simple to me.

There's probably something more fundamental that I'm missing though. If you know more about this topic, I'd be interested in reading about it.


-- Of course I think I'm right. If I thought I was wrong, I'd change my mind.
[ Parent ]
From a performance standpoint... (4.33 / 3) (#63)
by ultrasoul on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 12:36:48 AM EST

You have to clarify some issues. Do you mean running on x86 or sparc? BIG difference. I'll try and give some info for both instead of just being an arse and waiting for a reply.

Running on x86, Solaris is no faster at Java then Linux, but since you care about security and overall quality, OpenBSD. FreeBSD can be made just as secure as OpenBSD with work. Both are quite fast, even in Java. The both have _native_ linux app support (through a kernel module). The BSD's as a whole come in different distros for different applications, but if you wanted to use the same distro with each machine, you can very easily customize it to that certain area. On a personal note, I like admining BSD much more then Solaris because Solaris is more like an enterprise NT. I feel like I can get more into the guts of any BSD much more so then Solaris, but maybe I'm just not experienced enough. I'm not familiar with its user database system you mention, I usually try to keep things more standard then that. I haven't found a situation yet I couldn't solve with sudo and well-setup groups.

The situation is, of course, quite different for sparc architecture. You can't beat Java performance on a sparc running Solaris. Period. In the end though, Java is slow; best performance was never a design goal and never will be. Java is designed around ease of development and portability. You can accomplish those without a sparc. On the other hand, sparc has some serious advantages if you need them, like awesome support for a lot of cpus and big memory. Its enterprise. It does it automatically, no big mem patch and shitty performance drop offs like linux. But then again, I have a feeling you'd know if you were in a position like and wouldn't be asking these questions (not to condemn you, I'm just making an assumption, feel free to call me on just making an ass).

You should know, that Linux is no less of a UNIX then BSDi, Solaris, IRIX, any other BSD, Tru64 UNIX, System V, or anything I'm missing (and theres plenty more). The criterion that you can base a statement like 'Linux isn't a real UNIX' also mean that BSD is in no way a real UNIX, Solaris isn't a 100% real UNIX, and most any other UNIX isn't 100% either, except for System V.

To summarize: Honestly, unless you know you need it, there isn't any reason to run Solaris anymore. The same level of performance and reliability can be achieved with any free UNIX. You say you don't care about opensource, and thats fine, but inevitably, if you're running UNIX you're probably going to be using some (probably mostly) open source programs. It is easier to work with a system that keeps this in mind. My school's Solaris admins curse the users just because they want something as awful as bash or gnu make or kde. But even more important, what about apache or bind? With Debian's package management, or the BSD's CVS, you can always stay on top of your game easily. Sun doesn't track that software. You would have to recompile apache and all of the extra modules you are using every time there is a new release or a security patch. No fun, eh? So maybe thats not cpu performance related, but it lowers your performance as an admin (manual labor and all).

Besides, vive la resistance ;)

If you want to carry this conversation on further, reply with details of your situation.

solaris base OS is worth paying for (2.50 / 2) (#67)
by mercenary on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 05:43:12 PM EST

I have become a fan of solaris-intel over the past year. That said, I disagree with all of your bullet points about why Solaris is a better OS.

At my firm, we have many solaris-intel servers running our service. We use solaris-SPARC for all the databases.

Our primary reasons for using Solaris are vendor support, maturity, and scalability.

All vendors we deal with provide Solaris versions of their products. Most of these vendors support Solaris-intel, and most of those support or plan to support Linux.

Solaris' threading is a strong point. It's more mature than Linux threads, and more robust.

It's important to note that the "lxrun" program that runs Linux binaries doesn't support threading. Almost all enterprise class programs these days rely on threading, so that makes Linux versions of these programs unusable on Solaris, despite what Sun may claim.

Solaris scales very well to many processors and several GB of RAM. Vendor support for storage arrays and other accessories is strong.

We heavily modified the standard Solaris install using various techniques, such as Titan, and then we performed our own security audit. Our primary means of securing the Solaris servers is shutting off all the network services. Almost all of our Solaris servers are behind firewalls in any case. We have staff that monitor BugTraq and other lists and immediately apply patches or workarounds in response to problems. (you should plan on this no matter what OS you decide to run.)

The reason for solaris-intel instead of SPARC is cost; we chose to implement our system using many cheap Pentium boxes instead of a few heavy SPARC machines. Solaris-intel for databases didn't work out because most database vendors appear to focus on the SPARC platform. Any DB problems we had were generally met with "use a SPARC."

I'm not sure what you mean by "different versions", or the "database system". It appears you're focusing on the add on software you can get with certain OS's. Most enterprise UNIX vendors provide all sorts of software to manage users and filesystems and the like. I personally think that Linux has better precompiled software availability than Solaris, although you can find a lot of good precompiled Solaris software at www.sunfreeware.com. This precompiled stuff is okay if you're just using Solaris as a workstation, but for a production environment you should build everything you don't buy from source.

I haven't used anything that Sun provides above and beyond Solaris + bintools. I just use the core OS. For most enterprise environments, I think you'll find this is the case. The extra "gravy" is generally for people that intend to use Solaris in a workstation context.

For all the praise I heap on it, solaris-intel is a beleaguered platform that is often supported only begrudgingly by vendors. You may need to negotiate with vendors to keep solaris-intel versions alive, and be prepared to buy some SPARC machines for vendors who only provide SPARC builds.

Solaris/ia32 5.7 not stable (none / 0) (#69)
by scoof on Sun Oct 29, 2000 at 12:59:12 PM EST

We had some high load machines (News-servers) running Solaris for Intel, with some high-performance Mylex controllers. These machines crashed all the time.
Since that time we've gone all the way to Solaris on SPARC

[ Parent ]
FreeBSD! (1.00 / 2) (#73)
by alacrityfitzhugh on Tue Oct 31, 2000 at 09:11:45 PM EST

You'd be crazy to choose expensive and proprietary over open and free, not to mention the most stable UNIX ever

What about Solaris? | 73 comments (65 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
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