SUMMARY: SunOS Alternatives

From: lincoln!
Date: Tue Jan 26 1993 - 18:36:44 CST

Hello Fellow Sun Managers,
I would like to thank all that replied to this informal survey.
My intention was to get an idea of the mood of other sys ads
as we approach the Solaris 2.* decision: not so much to discuss
or decide on alternatives but more to get a clearer picture of the
overall problem and possible solutions. The responses that I
received were very helpful in this respect, and so I feel that
a condensed summary is appropriate. Also, those that asked for a complete
summary will have it mailed directly to them, and if you would like
a complete summary (including each of the responses: 23 responses of
1-2 pages) simply e-mail me and it will be sent. A copy of the
original mail is appended to this message.

The first question that deals with alternative operating systems
was the question that most interested me. Alternatives that were
mentioned are: BSD , CHORUS, CMU's Mach, IBM's AIX, HP/UX,
Ultrix, Linux/SPARC, MINIX/SPARC, Amoeba, GNU's Hurd, and
finally Window's NT. Note that not all of these
are currently available, but are expected to be in the coming
months or early '94. The comments, though, that followed each
of these suggestions were that:
   - there's no guarantee that these OS's will be any more stable
     than Sun
   - there will most likely be much less commercial SW available on these
     alternative OS's
   - support for most of these OS's would most likely need to be through
     informal net conversations
   - alternative OS's will lag behind hardware advances, so that
     if you want the latest HW from Sun then you'll need Solaris 2.*
   - you would just be switching from one set of problems to another,
     and most respondents feel that the devil you know is better
     than the devil you don't

The second question, dealing with the time involved in the change
of the OS, could have been worded better: basically, I was trying
to get an idea about the time needed to switch to Solaris 2.* as compared
with other alternative OS's. Basically, it is much to general a
question to get a real answer, and most people told me that.

The final question, dealing with having "faith" (poor choice of word)
in the OS, produced some insightful answers and did a good job
of getting to the heart of what people are thinking about doing
in the coming months. The answers may be summarized as follows:
   - although this is going to take a lot of time (anywhere from
     a month to a year) to move to Solaris 2.*, most people are going to
     make the move: many feel constrained by their current HW and
     feel that Sun is as reliable as anyone else
   - the change will not be made until the fall or winter of '93:
     most have stated that they will run Solaris 2.* on one machine,
     work out the kinks, and when their favorite software is ported
     begin the tedious process of switching

The majority of people finished by saying that Sun is by no means
a sinking ship, that SVR4 is the future, and that it would still be
several years until we could hope for a stable operating system
from anybody.


Brian S. Boyd a.k.a.
ZEXEL USA, Inc. (408) 738-4250 VOICE
265 Santa Ana Ct. (408) 738-4302 FAX
Sunnyvale, CA 94086

Disclaimer: Ha! My employers WISH they could have views like this!

"If sex sells, what are we buying?"
                   from "Consumers Awaken: Your Fly is Wide Open!"

> From brian Fri Jan 15 15:05:01 1993
> To:
> Subject: SunOS Alternatives
> Cc: laura
> Hail Fellow Managers!
> The time is arriving where each of us must make the decision
> about whether or not to continue to follow Sun on their roller-coaster
> ride through operating systems. Admittedly, I did not have to
> deal with the Motorola to Sparc change (I have only been a
> Sys Admin for two years), but I am concerned that Sun seems to
> have little regard for the users (e.g., having to re-write
> their apps every couple of years) and just assumes that we
> will follow since we have already invested so much time and
> money in the Sun system.
> I am writing this letter to question this assumption and to inquire
> about possible alternatives to the "Sun way". Our site has
> fifteen Sparc Stations, ranging from SLC's to Sparc 1+'s.
> I would like to put forth the following set of questions to
> this mailing list with the hope of revealing alternative paths
> to the Sun OS "upgrade":
> 1. Are there other operating systems that will run on Sparcs?
> - is this "standard": i.e., do manuals exist?
> - if so, would you expect support to be available?
> 2. How long would you expect such a change to take place:
> - small group (1-20 machines)
> - medium group (21-50 machines)
> - large group (51+ machines)
> where I would consider the installation of the OS, the re-working
> of the network, getting mail to run again, etc.
> 3. Do you have faith that Solaris 2.* will satisfy your
> operating system needs?
> - if no, balance that with the cost of changing operating
> systems, and can you count on your new vendor to be
> more stable?
> - if yes, how much of your time do you expect the change
> to Solaris 2.* consume?
> All of these are questions that are bothering me and I know that I
> must resolve them before I make any sort of intelligent decision
> about the upcoming operating system change.
> Personally, I have not made up my mind either way, but am anxious
> about the lack of support that Solaris 2.* has. If this is a sinking
> ship, I would rather not buy a ticket; but if the negative image
> has been generated by a resistance to change without it being a
> reflection of its actual quality, then maybe it will be worth the
> risk. In any case, I hope that any responses I receive will help
> clear the current thick fog that now surrounds me as I try to
> make the right OS decision.
> Thanks,
> Brian
> ******************************************************************
> Brian S. Boyd a.k.a.
> ZEXEL USA, Inc. (408) 738-4250 VOICE
> 265 Santa Ana Ct. (408) 738-4302 FAX
> Sunnyvale, CA 94086
> "If sex sells, what are we buying?"
> from "Consumers Awaken: Your Fly is Wide Open!"
> ******************************************************************

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