RE: [Lust/Greed/Envy] Sun and iPlanet Unleash Ultimate SoftwareDevelopment Platform

From: Steve Dossick (
Date: Sun Mar 04 2001 - 12:26:58 PST

I don't know when I became the defender-of-Sun on FoRK, but I suppose
someone has to do it.

Yes, Linux makes a better single processor os and Web development
environment than Suns do; Sun salespeople will likely agree with me if you
put a couple shots of scotch (or their favorite liquor) into them. But,
there are other kinds of software people build on their workstations (i.e.
non-web software), and many dev groups would prefer their engineers
developing on the identical platform the software will eventually run on.

To respond to some of the criticisms:

-- I can call CheapBytes and pay $26 for a CD containing all the GNU sources
(including Emacs). By Kragen's own admission to me verbally yesterday, just
about all the GNU software builds with "./configure ; make", which is only
slightly more time-consuming than "apt-get install <pkg>".

-- 64-bitness is indeed an implementation detail. But if you're building
native-code applications which need to eventually run on an E10k or some
other 64-bit system, it's nice that your developers work in a 64bit
environment too. This can potentially remove a porting step from the 32bit
arch system.

-- "The ultimate dev platform" really depends on who you are, what you're
developing and what your budget is. For you Kragen, I imagine the ultimate
dev platform is something which runs perl, python, and other languages you
regularly use well. In addition, the platform includes Emacs and other
tools you like to use. For me, the ultimate dev platform includes all these
tools plus has great, optimized native-code compilers (C++) and has
aftermarket tools available like Purify and Quantify. (Yes, we are
beginning to see tools patterned after Purify available for Linux, but I
like Purify -- it's part of MY ultimate dev platform).

The truly ironic thing here is that I'm the person who ordered the Dell
machine on Kragen's desk :) :)


> -----Original Message-----
> From: []
> Sent: Saturday, March 03, 2001 11:22 AM
> To: Adam Rifkin
> Cc: FoRK@XeNT.CoM
> Subject: RE: [Lust/Greed/Envy] Sun and iPlanet Unleash Ultimate
> SoftwareDevelopment Platform
> "Adam Rifkin" <Adam@KnowNow.Com> writes:
> > > > Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet...
> > > What? You obviously don't mean the price of the hardware. Tell me
> > > why this thing is such a hot deal.
> >
> > Would you instead prefer the $1000 version?
> >
> >
> >
> >
> Thanks for the details. It looks like the hardware might be
> competitive with a $1000 PC (but see below for more on why it's not
> competitive.)
> > But for $2500 more, I can get the ultimate development platform with
> > over $10,000 in dev software bundled with it:
> >
> >
> >
> > Tell me where you can get 64-bit workstations with decent dev tools for
> > cheaper...
> Yeah, yeah. If I call CheapBytes, I can get a Debian CD set for $10,
> which has about $400,000 of software on it, if you measure your
> software in dollars. A lot of that software is as good as or better
> than its Sun equivalent; much of it (Perl, Python, PostgreSQL, PHP,
> Emacs) simply has no counterpart in the Sun package.
> What's the deal with the 64-bitness? My friend Joe got his 64-bit
> Alpha workstation for $500 or so, IIRC. It's dog-slow, though.
> 64-bitness buys you large file support (which is in most 32-bit
> platforms these days) and large process support (useful if you have
> more than two gigs of RAM. Note that the Sun Blade 100 comes with 128
> megabytes, one sixteenth of that amount, and there isn't even room for
> more than two gigs of RAM on the motherboard.
> In short, for the Sun Blade, 64-bitness is an implementation detail,
> not a feature. It's like CISCness. If Intel's chips were the ones
> that cost outrageous amounts of money and Sun was selling its chips
> cheap, you'd be asking where you could get a CISC workstation with
> decent dev tools for cheaper, and I'd be telling you you should go get
> a cheap UltraSPARC instead.
> And, more importantly, you have to struggle with Solaris instead of
> just using Linux. The Sun box would be competitive in price if your
> time were worthless. Or if you were using Fortran, especially Fortran
> 90. (Maybe. A 500-MHz Ultrasparc might be performance-competitive
> with a 1GHz Pentium III, but a 1.2GHz Athlon? You can buy good
> Fortran compilers for Linux if you have to.)
> Oh, except that if you run Linux on a PC, you can use VMWare on it to
> run Windows without buying a PC daughtercard. And software just
> magically appears and works when you say "apt-get install gnucash",
> instead of you having to struggle for minutes or hours locating,
> downloading, configuring, compiling, and installing it.
> How much did the Dell on my desk cost? I think it was around $2500.
> It took me a total of perhaps a day and a half (at a cost of perhaps
> $1000) to install Debian on it, and that was only because 3Com was
> shipping what appeared to be junk cards. (Really, they were just a
> new model of card with the same model number, and they didn't work
> with the off-the-shelf drivers.) They have four times as much RAM, a
> much larger monitor, a slightly better video card (which I can't take
> advantage of), four times as much disk, a CPU that runs at twice the
> clock rate (and is probably faster at some things and slower at
> others), and DVD-ROM and CD-R drives. And it includes better Web
> development tools, and it can run VMWare. If we had bought the
> machine configured for Linux instead, it would have taken me an hour
> to install Debian.
> This is much closer to the ultimate dev platform than the Sun box is.
> I can understand why someone might conceivably get a Windows box
> instead of a Linux box. I can understand why someone might get a Sun
> E10000 instead of anything else. I can understand why a Fortran
> programmer, or someone who was already developing for iPlanet servers
> or JavaBeans, might want this Sun Blade thing. I can't understand why
> anyone else would.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri Apr 27 2001 - 23:13:24 PDT