Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Linux or Unix

I am subscribed to a bunch of technology news newsletters, one from SearchOpenSource.com that is generally informative and interesting. However, an article they had recently on Linux or Unix was missing some info that I just have to comment on.

The article highlights the pluses and minuses of both Unix and Linux, but it only speaks generally about Unix and groups Solaris, HP-UX, and AIX together. Given what Sun has done with Solaris over the past few years this is a mistake and paints an unrealistic picture of where Solaris is today.

First, the article says flexibility is a downside of Unix highlighting that Linux is open source and "you actually have the source to the kernel, and if you have the knowledge, you can actually make the changes yourself!". Hello, are they not aware that Solaris is also open source?

Next it dings Unix on price saying that companies must buy a license to a proprietary Unix and then pay for maintenance on top of that. Hello again, but are they not aware that Solaris can be downloaded for free? Yes, if a company wants to be supported they can purchase a license and support but they are not required to.

Then it mentions difficulties in a company separating from a specific vendor due to lock in due in large part to the operating system only running on hardware from that vendor. Hello yet again, are they not aware that Solaris runs and is supported on commodity (Sun and non-Sun) x86/x64 hardware? There are over 700 x86/x64 systems on the Hardware Compatibility List.

The article goes on to highlight as advantages how Linux doesn't have some of the issues above and those are similiarly incorrect when comparing with Solaris.

Does Linux have a place in corporate environments. Sure, but not for the reasons identified above.

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