What Happened to the Good Solaris Software?

by James Duncan Davidson

I worked for Sun for 4 years during the Java boom. And during that time, if you wanted good server software, Solaris was your ticket. IBM, yeah, Linux, yeah, but really, Solaris was tip top.

But that was a year and a half ago. Now, I'm working on a stealth mode project for a client in Silicon Valley and am looking at a whole lotta software as part of the operation. Some of it is cutting edge stuff, some isn't. The thing is that it all sucks on Solaris. Bugs, crashes, you name it, it's happening. And it's obvious that the vendors of this software (big names most of them--the stuff that you may be using) have spent zero time qualifying the entire package on Solaris. Furthermore, one vendor's download site is even set up so that you can't download the Solaris software package using the default Netscape browser that comes with Solaris 8. How stupid is that?

The really bad thing is that its all working a hell of a lot better on Windows. It's really sad. This means that even though Solaris is a better server OS than Windows, it's becoming harder to build next gen apps on top of. This isn't good for Sun.

One theory that I have to explain this: Most developers are working on laptops these days. And that means that they are running Linux or Windows. Solaris x86 on a laptop? Hah! Sun never put any effort into that, and they may be reaping the seeds of that decision now.

Are you noticing the same thing?


2002-11-05 08:43:06
alternate theory
I have had some problems with Sun software, too, and not just on Solaris. I've also heard from people who work for Sun that they have to spend a lot of time on the phone with back-end support for their own software.

Here's my theory: Sun is spread too thin. They've always been large enterprise, but with pressure from shareholders and Microsoft at an unprecedented pitch, I see Sun scrambling to bring out new stuff while simultaneously trying to consolidate a bunch of acquisitions and still keep the old apps up to date. Meanwhile, they're still losing customers and burning their bridges with the open source community.

They've even started mysteriously withdrawing products... I downloaded Sun ONE directory server for Red Hat Linux two months ago. It wouldn't even install, and I told them so. Instead of addressing my concerns, they didn't return my calls and pulled the version from their site, promising support with the next release. Keep your eyes on those guys.

Jon Roberts

2002-11-22 14:06:44
what happened to the good solaris sw
Hi James,

I've left voicemail and email for you asking for the specifics of what is not optimized, or just
plain does not work on Solaris.

We would really like to understand and correct
the problems you have alluded to. Without knowing what they are, however, it is difficult to do that.

Please contact me either by email or the phone numbers I have left for you.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Robert Demb
Chief Technologist
Market Development Engineering
Sun Microsystems

2003-02-13 20:00:21
what happened to the good solaris sw
I hope this mail is going to Robert Demb. It has nothing to do with Solaris! This is Nancy Tripoli. I am visiting San Francisco tomorrow and will be on the coast for a week. I have tried for YEARS to find Robert, who was my foster child for a year. I am sure this must be my Robert. Can he please email me ASAP at tripoli@med.unc.edu or call on Sal's cell phone (919) 824 3289. Gee I hope we can see you, Robert.