Flame on: Graphing hot paths through X server code
And so it came to pass.
Yesterday as anticipated Adobe released Flash Player 11 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The Solaris version was not released.
This makes two former Adobe Players that are no longer available on the Solaris Platform. The Adobe Reader can be replaced by using the including open source program called evince. It does an admirable job of displaying pdf documents. Flash Player is a bit harder to replace however.
Once upon a time Sun did release a Workstation version and a Server version of Solaris. That ended a long time ago. In more recent memories were the audacity of the OpenSolaris program.
Finally. It seemed. That the x86 version would be available to the masses and it would get the push that it deserved. Alas, it was to little, to late, and ultimately it’s fate would be sealed when it would be abandoned, yet again, by it’s owner.
Linux was and remains an open source Operating System. Unlike Solaris, it’s parents do not continually try to find ways to get rid of it. Instead they begged and received the blessings of corporations. Some little. And some not so little. IBM guaranteed a one billion dollar investment in the Operating System. That’s not chump change.
After that Sun announced the death of Solaris on Intel. What momentum there was died with the announcement. Then a little while later it was brought back. And then it was open sourced as OpenSolaris. The x86 version as well as the bits for Sparc.
The Linux people didn’t bother much with it. They still had their own OS to play with and unlike Solaris x86, it wasn’t raised from the dead.
Community interest did raise a bit with OpenSolaris. Driver support did get better and you could finally run Solaris on a notebook. No small feat in itself.
And then Sun was sold. Sold to a company driven by the bottom line and not for the goodness of humanity. As Scott was quoted as saying: I’m a good capitalist an Larry is a great capitalist.
And so it came to pass that Solaris was closed sourced again. Never shall it’s innards be exposed to the masses again. While it was open sourced people like me did scour the source code and some of our questions that had been nagging in the back of the head finally go answered. Along the way we even managed to pickup an honest to God DVD Player. Judging by that companies direction sales must not have been that great there either.
Sun never claimed that Solaris on x86 was a commercial success. In fact what was said was quite the opposite. And that’s what brings us to yesterday’s decision by Adobe not to continue to produce a Flash Player for this platform. Although I have no idea what the download numbers were it’s a pretty safe bet that they were not that great.
So what is this thing called Solaris and why did some of us continue to push it as an x86 based Operating System even though we never had momentum? It’s the exact same code that runs those big multi million dollar machines that Larry want’s you to buy and use. It was a way to run the exact same OS on cheap x86 hardware and what you learned transferred beautifully to large iron Same commands. Same syntax. Same options. It just worked.
Solaris has been known as a workhorse. At times it was called Slowlaris because of the File System. The file system was replaced and to what degree that it’s faster is not for me to decide. I was happy with the old file system and performance. Where Solaris shines is in security. The Solaris 11 release that has not started to ship yet has been designed from the ground up to be secure. The least privilege model has been employed throughout the OS. Just give the process just enough permissions to get the job done and add no more. A default install has all services either disabled or set to answer requests from the local machine only. The only exception being ssh so you can logon to the box from a remote machine: securely. Who wouldn’t want that as the defaults settings for a desktop OS?
I surely would and I still do.
So with what appears to be the death knell for even simply web apps for this OS mark the beginning of it’s demise. Hardly. HTML 5 is being marketed as the replacement for Flash. Some web sites have setup demo apps to show off what HTML 5 can do. The graphics are impressive. One features a pool game that can be played online by any browser that supports HTML 5 such as Firefox. No flash is required.
But what about the OS itself.
Illumos was created as the insurance policy against what has happened from happening. Illumos itself is not a desktop Operating System. It is the kernel code and some support that allows an Operating System to be created. There is now an Operating System called OpenIndiana that is based on that code. It’s much the same as Linux. The Linux kernel still comes from Linus and associates and for OpenIndiana the Kernel code comes from Illumos. The rest is provided by other open source projects. So even though Solaris on x86 hasd been abandoned again, because of Illumos, OpenIndiana, and SmartOS it still lives on.
And much like Linux if it catches on then the download numbers will increase and Adobe will once again have to make the decision to support a popular OS, or to pass on it again. At least. That’s the hope!
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