2010 Server OS Winners and Losers Page 2
Server OS Losers
2010 was the year that OpenSolaris was cruelly strangled by the mob at Oracle, who care nothing for the open source community or anything that doesn't lead directly to large, glittering piles of cash. That's how it must seem to the OpenSolaris people, who saw the project ignored by Solaris' new owners for months before the rug was finally pulled from under the project.
As OpenSolaris engineer Steve Stallion put it on his blog:
This is a terrible sendoff for countless hours of work -- for quality software which will now ship as an Oracle product that we (the original authors) can no longer obtain on an unrestricted basis. I can only maintain that the software we worked on was for the betterment of all, not for any one company's bottom line. This is truly a perversion of the open source spirit.
4. Suse Linux Enterprise Server (SLES)
Novell is not exactly a company that has thrived over the past few years, despite having some good technology, excellent engineers, and SLES -- the "other" enterprise Linux. So SLES customers may have been dismayed, if not completely surprised, when an offer was made for Novell by New York hedge fund outfit Elliott Associates. Or that Novell subsequently decided to put itself up for sale to the highest bidder.
SLES customers may have been fantasizing about a dream acquisition by Microsoft or IBM, but in the end they had to settle for Attachmate. "Who?" was likely most SLES users' reaction. The future of the Linux distro is far from certain, and that's not a great place for customers to find themselves.
5. OS X Fanbois and Fangals
During the early summer, Apple overtook Microsoft to become the world's largest tech company, news that prompted many of the company's fans to dance around with glee. The final victory of good over evil, OS X over Windows, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) over Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), was apparently at hand.
Actually, no. Apple's success over the past year -- and it has enjoyed phenomenal success -- comes almost entirely from selling music players and cellphones. When it comes to computing, Apple's performance was disappointing in the extreme. During the year, the company admitted defeat in the enterprise server space by withdrawing its XServe product and did little or nothing with its OS X desktop operating system.
More worrying for Apple fans, the next release of OS X is touted to have "The power of Mac OS X. The magic of iPad." Apple is apparently transitioning its flagship desktop OS into nothing more than a piece of software for controlling its toys. The days of Apple's desktop and laptop OS could be numbered.
6. Microsoft Windows
A new piece of Windows malware was written on average every 15 seconds during 2010, and the year is on schedule to be the first in history in which more than 2 million new samples appear. Microsoft's software has been under attack like never before.
To make matters worse, Microsoft's chief software architect, Ray Ozzie, stepped down in October, leaving the company rudderless, or at least in the hands of the eccentric Steve Ballmer. Ballmer may be clever, and he may a great salesman, but a techno-visionary he most certainly is not. You have to wonder how long it may be before Microsoft descends into internal strife.
Merchants of OS Server "Meh"
The company launched the open beta of AIX 7 in July, introducing new features, such as the ability to back up a logical partition (LPAR) running AIX 5.2 and restore it into a workload partition (WPAR) running AIX 7 on Power7. Not everyone was overly impressed -- "I'd just use AIX for dealing with immediate issues of the moment. A new version will give an additional two or three years where users can plan migration to another environment ..." is how Clive Longbottom, an analyst at Quocirca, put it. In other words, "me'h."
8. HP and Ubuntu
These two companies update their UNIX and Linux OSes offerings every six months, which means changes are rarely dramatic. 2010 duly saw HP-UX 11i v3 Updates 6 and 7, and the more imaginatively named Ubuntu Lucid Lynx and Maverick Meerkat. "Meh" and more "meh."
Predictions for 2011? Will Oracle turn Solaris into the world's leading UNIX? Will a rudderless Microsoft sink into a virus-infested swamp? Will Red Hat put a foot wrong? And what on earth is Attachmate going to do with SUSE Linux? Let me know what you think is going to happen in 2011 in the comments section below ...
Paul Rubens is a journalist based in Marlow on Thames, England. He has been programming, tinkering and generally sitting in front of computer screens since his first encounter with a DEC PDP-11 in 1979.