Solaris and Linux comparison helps apps onto Sun

As the targets for Solaris OS began to drift, halfway through the early years of the 21st Century, Oracle organized an extensive white paper. How did the OS that drives the SPARC engine compare to its mainstream counterpart, Linux? Details remain online for any site using SPARC, should it want to migrate apps away from Linux.

Yes, migrate away. New features introduced in Solaris 10 triggered a comparison of these two environments. Linux runs on Intel hardware, as well as many other host systems. But as Oracle explains in the comparison document, “with the emphasis Sun has placed on supporting the Solaris OS on AMD and Intel processor-based machines, developers are becoming interested in being able to develop their applications on the Solaris platform.”

Whatever strategy drives the proposal, advocating migration from Linux to Solaris is deliciously subversive. The HP 3000 customer base once had to weather this sort of plan, forwarded by IBM. After HP curtailed its plans for the HP 3000, Big Blue set out to recruit MPE/iX developers and set them on the path to OS400 environments.

The differences between the platforms were stark. They shared no file system, no databases but Oracle. The Oracle databases that ran on the HP 3000 numbered under 100. IBM did woo some sites away in that era of migration turmoil. Many more took flight to the waiting arms of Windows. Not even HP’s Unix platform, competing as it did with Solaris, could attract 3000 sites.

The Oracle Linux to Solaris article “tries to help developers experienced in one of the OSes to work with the other OS as quickly as possible. A simple application that is POSIX-compliant and doesn’t make any system calls or library functions specific to the Solaris OS or Linux should be portable between the OSes without changes.”

Most of the applications and toolkits from the Linux world compile and run without changes. These include gcc, emacs, MySQL, perl, and others. Downloads for over 32,000 open source packages to run on Solaris are available at Unix Packages, a subscription website with continues to be updated right up to this week. Subscriptions run from $50 to $150 per system administrator, depending on the number of downloads.

Photo by Juan Davila on Unsplash

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