[rescue] Oracle making just a little harder to keep old machines in use

Carl R. Friend crfriend at rcn.com
Thu May 6 18:41:53 CDT 2010

    On Thu, 6 May 2010, hike wrote:

> that should be "SOME old farts".  i have been recommending/pushing
> linux in the data center for at least 6 years--since red hat
> enterprise linux.  it is a mistake to lump all the "old farts"
> together.

    I've been running Linux systems since the early 1990s and have
really liked them, so I'll second the notion of, "Don't lump all
the 'old farts' into one bin".

    Linux gets quite a few things right, or at least it used to.
I tried, successfully, to install CentOS on a rather new IBM PC
I have at home recently and came away apalled from the experience.
Linux used to be a streamlined OS that one could install on most
"old" hardware and it'd outperform anything from Redmond -- this
last experience tells me that the Linux folks are getting to be
more about "splash and flash" than about performance and economical
use of hardware resources.  It took TWO DAYS to get CentOS to install
on a system with 96MB of mainstore -- an embarrassment considering
what was standard a few years ago.

    OK, you can bash me on my "modest" iron, but I happen to be one
of those folks who happens to try and "tread lightly on Mother Earth",
and I don't like having to upgrade my hardware every 18 months because
the OS keeps bloating to the point where it won't run on anything
less than {mumble} gigs of memory -- down that path lies madness!

    So, do I support Linux atop x86?  Yes, and I have done so quite
publically at prior a job where I was all about supporting local tool-
sets that local administrators were comfortable with, so long as the
tools adhered well to well-known standards -- and Linux DID (and
does).  No problem.  My issue is the inclusion of too bloody much
in the kernel, and from the looks of things with Linux at the moment,
the sky's lhe limit!

    On Linux in the infrastructure of a computing environment: I still
like Linux, but what worries me is x86, and Linux, whether one likes
it or not, is almost inextricably wedded to x86.  I do not like mono-
cultures, and, put bluntly, the Intel monoculture bothers me; one,
just one, cross-OS virus that can access deep code has the potential
to brick vast swathes of the computing infrastructure that makes our
modern lives possible.

    But, what I *really* like about operating systems like Solaris
is how they behave when things go wrong.  I've seen more "kernel
oops" messages from Linux when a memory system goes wonky than I
like to remember.  Solaris gets it right -- it retries the operation
a number of times, if it can correct the error it does -- and writes
the correct data back to memory -- logs it an continues; if it can't
correct it, it aborts the process in question, flags the *page* bad
(unlike "chip-kill"), and continues.  I've heard it said that to
really produce production-grade software, one spends 80% of one's
effort in figuring out what to do when things go wrong; knowing
what to do when things go right is easy.

| Carl Richard Friend (UNIX Sysadmin)            | West Boylston       |
| Minicomputer Collector / Enthusiast            | Massachusetts, USA  |
| mailto:crfriend at rcn.com                        +---------------------+
| http://users.rcn.com/crfriend/museum           | ICBM: 42:22N 71:47W |

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