On Mon, Jan 5, 2015 at 7:02 AM, Tim Bradshaw <tfb@tfeb.org> wrote:
On 31 Dec 2014, at 22:42, Larry McVoy <lm@mcvoy.com> wrote:

> My view is Linux is pragmatic about stuff, Solaris was dogmatic about it.
> Yeah, the latter leads to better thought out stuff but the former tends
> to be useful sooner.

I think that this is exactly right.

I'm mostly agreeing with the gist of this, although I'd shy away from taking it as an absolute.  I think the motivation for the dogmatic behaviour stems from not wanting to utterly immerse in the "just hack it" mindset.  They were from the cathedral days and, from experience of the previous iterations of it, participated in the contemporary bazaar mindset with caution and reservation.  One example is the penchant for (arguably over-) applying higher level design to a problem instead of just doing something myopic and 'good enough' to get through a minimum viable product scenario.  It's a gradient, not a slippery slope and finding the sweet spot within it is, of course, an exercise in pragmatism.
[...] Solaris was making a lot of decisions which smelt like ones that an academic who didn't need to actually care about use in the real world might make, while Linux almost never did that (it had/has other problems, specifically long-term interface stability).

Even in SmartOS (Illumos-derived and vociferously "not-Solaris-anymore"), which amplifies both the pragmatism and the 10000' view design tenets, I still run into that. An a low-hanging example, while the rest of the world's happily wheelbarrowing everything into /usr/local and one has to "follow the rules" and use /opt, it's smacks of an unnecessary kick in the eye that, unix dissenters could argue, just breaks shit for spite.  I understood it culturally -- for SVR4-steeped folks, it was a parseable style pattern / smell -- when you saw a machine configured around /usr/local, you braced yourself for an unbridled shitshow.  We all kind of stepped back and grew some pragmatism around that, though -- Joyent, after much griping from me and my co-workers, came out with sngl containers to stop this hubris so we could use Chef recipes more easily, albiet rather late in the game (2012-ish).  Now you can more readily build stuff as a toddler builds with his blocks.  The brilliant bit is that with SmartOS, you now academic design, stability, speed and real world usability.

 There's certainly a platform for debate, perhaps in another thread, around the merits of understanding and engineering everything -vs.- building with blocks.


The case that made me finally realise that Solaris Had Lost was ZFS, and specifically ZFS consistency check. 
There is (was in ~2010) *no way to check a zpool outside the kernel*, so if you had a zpool which you thought might be damaged you were supposed to check it by importing it.

  I'm afraid there's bias confirmation and a zeal for driving nails into coffins happening here.  Bear in mind that unix didn't even have fsck for a decade after its release (it appeared after v7 released), while conversely, zfs had the manual scrub command and other manual zfs recovery tools (which, much like fsck and icheck, et al, admittedly required expert knowledge to wield successfully) before it released.  Yes, the default is that the system will panic or pass over a zfs it can't mount, but that's by design and when I was in that situation myself, even as a zfs noob, I managed to figure out how to recover without damaging my pool.  Would you care to compare this experience to some of the battles we've all personally waged with fsck?  In the unix tradition, zfs is a designed and deliberate iteration (innovation) on the filesystem concept, not a "pragmatic," good-enough, minimum viable product hip-shot, and the obvious fact that it isn't what we're used to doesn't make it bad.  While there are certainly plenty of Solaris coffin nails, this ain't one.
  Here's my favourite Solaris coffin nail: Oracle's last five years of lawnmowing, almost zero innovative milestones and clueless customer base and community erosion and desecration.  I do now agree that Solaris is finally and irredeemably dead.  Their lack of understanding and stewardship has tragically transitioned it from the being the definitive unix system to, in essence, a proprietary firmware for expensive iron.  But in the same breath I'd also assert that Illumos and its derivatives have taken all the good from it, continue to drive the fork forward in a wonderful variety of ways, and are the repo- and distros-of-record for this flavour of unix.