Zombies and Solaris

I’ll be upfront and say I’m not a big fan of Solaris, sure
it was cool back in the 90s but with the exception of a couple of cute
features like ZFS and perhaps Solaris Services Manager the
whole thing feels like a 1999 Slackware install with a few random multi-gigabyte Java processes using up all the RAM.

The lack of decent package management, old versions of software ( “find -mmin -10” is something I really like to use), slow booting, different device name for every version ( I don’t care what the hardware type is if it moves packets then ethN is a good enough naming convention) and of course random multi-gigabyte Java processes really put me off.

Today my bit of fun was upgrading a Solaris 10 box that needed zfs but had an early version of Solaris 10 that didn’t have it built in. So with Linux I’d just put the box at a server somewhere and “apt-get update” or “yum update” or something. However with Solaris I get to plug in a DVD, boot via it and go half way towards reinstalling the server before I get to the “actually I just want to upgrade some packages” option. Unfortunately at this point I get a little stuck because the installer seems to think that 4 Gigabytes spare on / and 3G spare on each of /var and /usr isn’t enough to upgrade 1G worth of packages. I’ll look at it tomorrow but I’m not impressed with wasting several hours adding and deleting packages ( With a crappy clone of dselect ) in order to try and make it work.

I think Sun’s big problem is that the only people who buy their hardware are either people with large storage requirements who really need ZFS or large companies and government bodies
who have been running Sun Boxes for 20 years and like their support for 20 year old apps.

The first market buy the boxes *despite* the legacy junk that the second group insist on. So Solaris boxes tend to come in two flavours, either they are “vendor shipped” with no Gnutools, no pretty editors and the CDE desktop or they are heavily modified with all of these thing to stop the Linux admins going insane for lack of bash. My last job was close to the first with old Solaris 8 and 9 machines while the current job is closer to the second with Solaris 10 everywhere.

The problem Sun has is that as soon as the feature the first group is after matures enough in Linux then they will drop Sun like a shot and switch over the Linux. With the second group well they aren’t going to Linux as fast but they are like newspaper readers, getting older and not being replaced as fast as they a dieing.

On to more conventional Zombies, here is the Australian short film “I love Sarah Jane