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Sun's Schwartz: "The OS Wars Are Down to Three"

"HP-UX is on its way to the boneyard," he adds

  • SYS-CON Live Coverage of Sun's Jonathan Schwartz - via Google News
  • "After years of protesting Sun's claims," writes Jonathan Schwartz in his latest blog, HP "will only continue to decommit to HP-UX" and become instead "a company focused on the distribution of other people's technology."

    Schwartz continues, in his now-familiar, combative blog-style:

    "This abandonment is indisputable evidence that HP-UX is on its way to Hewlett Packard's industry leading collection of dead architectures. We've all watched the demise of Alpha, Tru64, PA-RISC, Itanium, storage - it's now irrefutable that HP-UX is on its way to that same, very crowded boneyard. Along with the systems devoted to running it."
    The occasion for this latest cyber-tirade was HP's announcement last week that it is dropping its efforts to port some Tru64 Unix products to HP-UX, a project it was to have undertaken in partnership with Veritas.

    " HP's crisis will continue and deepen," he continues, unmercifully. "Independent of the constituency, HP has destabilized its business with ambiguity. Questions like 'what happens next?' erode everything from revenue opportunities to career discussions."

    Schwartz concludes:

    "With another UNIX falling by the wayside, it's increasingly evident the OS wars are down to three - Microsoft Windows, Sun's Solaris, and Red Hat's Linux...We're happy to help all HP's constituents move on in life - better you walk away from the football, than have it walk away from you."

    In a reference that sounds mightily like an attempt to poach HP staffers, he also slips in the following: "What should you expect from Sun? We believe our insistence on the value of R&D and long term commitment, our ability to present a vision, to evolve community models, and to deliver on complex product integration and systems evolution, all represent opportunity. Opportunity for customers, partners, and current - and future - employees."

    Ah yes, what would the i-technology weekend be like without at least one good blog a week from Sun's Jonathan Schwartz? He's the Winston Churchill of technology - he mobilizes the English language at least once a week, and sends it into battle against Sun's rivals.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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Most Recent Comments
iwan ang 12/18/04 06:27:30 AM EST

For enterprise server OS (as opposed to desktop OS), I think it's down to 3 MAJOR players:
1. Windows
2. RedHat. Sure, there are SuSe, Debian. But in large enterprises, it's mostly RedHat. Linux is an OS, but ISV like Oracle certifies their apps to RedHat, not Linux.
3. Solaris.

These are not the main players:
1. AIX. IBM's Steve Mill has said many times that they are moving from AIX to Linux.
2. HP-UX. The transitioning to Itanium is proven to be getting worse every year.

Observer Extraordinaire 12/11/04 07:15:36 AM EST

Well, Funny Jonathan would say that ! I am not sure if he meant three vendors or three pieces of software.
Firstly Redhat is just a pretty shell around linux. And linux is here to say - no matter how many also rans came and paint shells on top of existing sub-structure to make a dollar or two for themselves.
Secondly, The war as he puts it - Where are you competing ? Desktop market ? The war is between linux and windows only - in fact Windows had won it earlier - and they are being made to relinquish some of that to linux due to the nicer interfaces nowadays (Hey, I can be fair too !). Quite likely it would become a serious reckoner in the market - it is not there fully yet - but it will be I am sure. And Sun doesn't seem to be going anywhere fast with their desktop strategy - All their JDS (Why Java name for Linux - I dont have a clue) nonsense only serves to waste their time. Look at their interface - They don't even package the latest Gnome or KDE with it. So things look quite out of date or pathetic as in their CDE. Why don't they really come up with some strategy for desktop integration ? Long and short, there are only two players - Windows and Linux. Period.
Server ? Solaris pretty much is the Microsoft of Server side. I know AIX and HPUX and the rest of the also rans exist in their own private circles but Solaris definitely rules better than those. So there, again, are only two players - Solaris and Linux.
Hardware ? All and sundry use Intel stuff - Come on, admit it - they are cheap and easily available. Dell sells servers for prices I used to pay for wireless cards a couple of years back. Sun hardware works good - we have quite a few of those (largely most of them have been bought by me personally) - but imagine a factor of 10 - no wonder sun is making x86 servers nowadays ! Obviously they are not the kings there really. Quality - 100% a yes; Successful - not really 100% quite.

While all this ranting is going on, Apple has been quietly building their own world much stronger and a lot have chosen to ignore them. Mac OS X has a great interface and would wallop all interfaces one day - Linux would escape because they would adopt it quickly - they have millions of programming resources. Windows may get kicked in their posterior because all said and done, Mac OS X definitely delivers a great interface that is consistent and of course relatively more stable.
If I were the Schwartz variety, I would worry about the OS X Servers (XServes) they are building. They are worth a very serious look. In my opinion they would shake up some of the traditional stuff quite a bit in the years to come. They would have a killer interface (what windows beats their drums about how easy it is to configure their server versus editing text files on unix - what they dont understand is how many times they work while it almost always works 100% of the time on unix and variants).
"Watch it bigshots - before shooting some remarks like this" - would be my advice to Jonathan.

By the way, I have the highest regards for what Sun does (I have been with Solaris since 1992 Solaris 2.1) because I like Unix. I use Sun servers at work; My desktop is Xandros Linux, the most well integrated desktop without something crapping out; My laptop is an Apple powerbook I bought 6 months back out of curiosity.

There you go folks. Thanks for giving me too the opportunity to waste some of your time!!

OsamaBinLogin 12/10/04 02:56:47 PM EST

I was visualizing him typing his blog on his Mac laptop. Maybe he's really talking about the "server OS" market?

> don't know just how long Mac - or Windows - as proprietary software,
> will last in an open source world. Another five years? Maybe ten?

Well, first, Linux has to fix cut and paste so it works more often. Right now it works maybe 50% or 70% of the time. And nobody cares to fix it. Apple has had it down since 1984.

And the thing about you grab the edge of a window to drag it open, and you slip and click the window below. That's also a bug that's gone 20 years without being fixed. the list goes on and on.

Also it would be nice if the Ethernet drivers worked more often. Maybe it's just the slackwares and the debians that have that problem. Oh, and the USB and PCMCIA drivers - that's RH linux that screwed that up.

My Linux laptops are idiot children compared to my Mac laptops - the modem and trackpad go unused, no sleep modes, no battery indicator. Sometimes USB, PCMCIA, Ethernet work. Usually the CD and floppy (cuz if they don't work, the install didn't happen and I moved on to the next distro). I'm sure that I could spend a day and fix most of those problems - one day each, and then I give up - but Linux has already been the most expensive OS I've ever used.

DC Parris 12/07/04 07:45:37 PM EST

Gee, and all this time I thought the three were BSD, GNU/Linux, and Mac. Windows is soooo last month - well, that's when I finally cleaned Windows off my hard drive. I don't know just how long Mac - or Windows - as proprietary software, will last in an open source world. Another five years? Maybe ten?

rseuhs 12/07/04 01:41:49 PM EST

It's stupid to say that Linux is RedHat's and it's equally stupid to say that the OS wars are down to Windows, Solaris and RedHat's Linux.

So in both senses, it makes Schwartz look pretty dumb.

Theovon 12/07/04 11:54:19 AM EST

Solaris? What's Solaris? Only Sun thinks Solaris is "in the running". To everyone else, it's one of those dead OS's like HPUX, Tru64, AIX, or IRIX.

(BTW, I know that those are all still modern UNIXes, but they're seriously on the decline - just like Solaris.)

anon 12/07/04 11:51:58 AM EST

it's hardly a war

regrettably, Solaris and RHL only qualify as competitors due to a technicality - windows cannot deliver in the (secure) server / enterprise arena. in real terms, these products aren't even in the same orbit in raw sales. as long as unix know-how is an operational prerequisite for these products, they will only ever be a distant tie for 3rd place, after OS X - the only serious competition on the desktop.

Novell IT Item 12/07/04 11:27:54 AM EST

More balls of Space Warz fun--must use The Schwartz to make sure everyone ignores Novell and SuSE...must blind the IT masses! Solaris is the rightful heir to Unix and our nation's super OS!

Ignore pretenders like SuSE...pay no attention to Novell! Remember...Solaris is Free! Heed the Schwartz! Just because you can find SuSE in stores and online doesn't mean it matters. While you are shopping ignore the Frenchie Mandrake! Overseas, ignore the Red Flag! Running Yellow Dogs must stay outside and on a leash! Remember...Solaris is free! It's the OS that's IO play good...better than yogurt. Turbo Linux...hah! Shut your yap! There is no Turbo Linux.

There's a disturbance in the Schwartz...who else is using it? What's this..an older meme...use one Red Hat to bind them all? Oh, no, that's the old story and plot. Schwartz that! Red Hat is the only Linux we can recognize as our straw man...yeah, that's it--peasant of straw....to our royal prince in armor Solaris, beflagged as our hot heir to all Unix! Must increase grasp on the Schartz...more hot heir talk. Use 'Free' Solaris to bind them all in the Schwartz--now that's the new forceful plot! That's it! Use the Schwartz to make Solaris the sexy, ultimate OS wedgie issue - hot heir in a Geewhiz string!

AMADHA 12/07/04 10:40:55 AM EST

Here we see a great example of why some people should not have 'blogs'.

First question, isn't this guy supposed to be busy "saving the company" or something, so how does he manage to find the time to maintain a blog?

Second, judging by its content and structure my bet is that this blog is actually maintained by Sun's PR department and Schwartz just signs off on it.

Third, why does something like this get so much coverage? Why isn't the concept of HP dumping leading technology getting the coverage and investigative reporting.

Please stop this insanity. Blogs are for three purposes: Entertainment, providing a venue for the otherwise voiceless, and 'over the wire' instead of 'word of mouth' marketing campaigns. Guess which one this is?

jlar 12/07/04 09:46:13 AM EST

"it's increasingly evident the OS wars are down to three - Microsoft Windows, Sun's Solaris, and Red Hat's Linux."

Well, I would say down to two. It is left as an exercise to reader to figure out which one should be left out. In addition one of the remaining OS's should have the vendor prefix removed.

darius779 12/07/04 09:03:55 AM EST

Solaris isnt even on the radar. Including Sun's OS in that statement just makes me laugh.

Linux Gaining 12/07/04 01:46:30 AM EST

Linux is a competitive product of the likes of IBM and HP, who are doing well with it on Power, Itanium, and x86. They don't need AIX, HP-UX, or Tru64. Mr. Schwartz and Mr. McNealy have always been entertaining saber rattlers, but I suspect in private they're looking over their shoulders watching Windows and Linux gaining on them.

Hear, hear.

Anthony E. Scandora, Jr. 12/06/04 07:12:15 PM EST

Sun, while consistently frustrating the "experts" who predict its demise, is good at imitating them by predicting the demise of competitors. One might have challenged the decision to drop Alpha, and one might be disappointed by the pace of adoption of Itanium, but the migration to Itanium is well under way and quite competitive. HP's storage isn't dead, either, and one might expect HP's storage products to work better with a dynamic mix of Windows, Solaris, and Linux than Sun's. No longer the domain of unwashed hippies, Linux is a competitive product of the likes of IBM and HP, who are doing well with it on Power, Itanium, and x86. They don't need AIX, HP-UX, or Tru64. Mr. Schwartz and Mr. McNealy have always been entertaining saber rattlers, but I suspect in private they're looking over their shoulders watching Windows and Linux gaining on them.

James Bray 12/06/04 06:23:51 AM EST

"RedHat's Linux"? - they created Linux did they? Funny, I thought they were just a distro of many.....

Still, Sun knows best ;-)

xxx 12/05/04 11:37:08 AM EST

Het talks about 'computer operating systems'. But keep in mind that most operating system are used embeded and there that landscape is really different. Btw silly that he talks about 'redhat linux'.

Dominique Bertrand 12/05/04 10:34:25 AM EST

Hey guys, wake up. An OS is worth nothing...
Only apps are.
solaris, Linux, Winxx, etc... the cheapest, the best!
There is no point to maintain an OS. it is too expensive.
Leave it to those passionate and focus on what is worth selling: APPLICATIONS.
I.e.: office automation, commerce, graphics, etc.

brad wardell 12/05/04 10:03:51 AM EST

To paraphrase Star Wars, "The tighter you make your grip there will be more operating systems that slip through your fingers&"

true 12/05/04 09:59:49 AM EST

When it comes to sound bites there's no doubt he knows how to mint 'em: "The OS wars are down to three" though is borrowed from his boss. Didn't McNealy famously once say, "It's down to three..." meaning Sun, Microsoft, and IBM were the last three mastadons in the industry? It's a nice new twist though, bringing Linux into the equation like this. Let's see who salutes this typology that Schwartz is running up the flagpole.

Yander 12/05/04 05:42:01 AM EST

He's the Winston Churchill of technology - he mobilizes the English language at least once a week, and sends it into battle against Sun's rivals.

haha, great phrase: 'the Winston Churchill of technology"! :-)