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(slightly skeptical) Educational society promoting "Back to basics" movement against IT overcomplexity and  bastardization of classic Unix

Solaris vs. Linux: Framework for the Comparison

by Dr Nikolai Bezroukov


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7. Solaris as a cultural phenomenon

Q: "What's the difference between Lem's Solaris and Sun's Solaris?"

A: "One's an alien presence that drives all who encounter it mad, and the other one's been made into a movie by Andrei Tarkovsky."

What is really interesting, the word Solaris is more common in major Slavic languages, for example Polish, Russian, Ukrainian than in English. That is due to the famous Russian movie Solaris produced long before Solaris 1.0 became available. It's actually a deep philosophical film, but simplifying you can consider it to be a Hitchcock-style sciFi film about a mysterious alien civilization (thinking ocean). Film convey a rather paranoid atmosphere of mystery superficially similar to the experience of a Windows user first time forced without any preparation into Unix command line environment and after desperate attempts to exit vi switching the computer off ;-). Actually the film is definitely worth a watch if you can get hold of it (Amazon has it), and if you are good in debugging and thus have enough patience to survive the first 30 min (it has a rather slow start).

The film was based on the book  with the same title written by Stanislaw Lem which is considered to be a masterpiece of science fiction. See Study Guide for Solaris from Washington State University. Another sciFi masterpiece by Lem is Return from the Stars where an astronaut returns from a long mission to find the world changed radically including bred out citizens. I loved that book. Other good books by Lem include Invincible (more traditional sciFi) and Eden (almost as dark and alien as "Solaris").

If Sun's marketing are to be  more inventive they probably should include DVD copies of the film (or at least of the  book) in the Solaris Set of DVDs and use the book to promote the OS to VIPs on each major customer presentation (you can make nice PowerPoint slides about the film which might be more suitable to VIP audience, which en masse might have difficulties distinguishing Solaris with Gnome from Windows and Xen from VMware ;-).  I would definitely include the copy of the book with Star Office and use it in examples.  That might bring a better return on investment than any number of T-shirts with Sun logo...

In any case this association of an influential books with an OS represent for Sun un-trivial advantage especially pronounced in Eastern European markets. Linux does not have similar association. It also gives the book some additional relevance due to the important of this OS. Like in any symbiotic relationships both are the winners, although I would like Sun marketing to be more active in exploring this theme.

It also evoke interesting parallels between development of OSes and development of other technical artifacts.  Like science in general programming and especially system programming is a drama of ideas.  Like researches in Solaris film and novel system programmers need to deal with phenomena of extreme complexity and operating systems definitly belong to the list of the most complex artifacts created by mankind. Like in film the complexity of say operating system debugging can definitly can drive person crazy.  Like in Solaris working isolated on some remote station is pretty detrimental to psychical health.

Also like in science in general and astronomy in particular there is some objective line of development that generally does not depends on persons. If one talented person prematurely dies the phenomena will be reinvented by somebody else, although it might happen many years later. Like in science the question of priority for particular inventions is pretty important. There is a very interesting historical fact that Cavendish discovered the properties of electrical current including Ohm law long before Om but simply forgot to submit his manuscript for printing[Kapitsa1974].    That  is a strong argument against "cult of personality" perversions that have found their way to open source.

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Groupthink : Two Party System as Polyarchy : Corruption of Regulators : Bureaucracies : Understanding Micromanagers and Control Freaks : Toxic Managers :   Harvard Mafia : Diplomatic Communication : Surviving a Bad Performance Review : Insufficient Retirement Funds as Immanent Problem of Neoliberal Regime : PseudoScience : Who Rules America : Neoliberalism  : The Iron Law of Oligarchy : Libertarian Philosophy


War and Peace : Skeptical Finance : John Kenneth Galbraith :Talleyrand : Oscar Wilde : Otto Von Bismarck : Keynes : George Carlin : Skeptics : Propaganda  : SE quotes : Language Design and Programming Quotes : Random IT-related quotesSomerset Maugham : Marcus Aurelius : Kurt Vonnegut : Eric Hoffer : Winston Churchill : Napoleon Bonaparte : Ambrose BierceBernard Shaw : Mark Twain Quotes


Vol 25, No.12 (December, 2013) Rational Fools vs. Efficient Crooks The efficient markets hypothesis : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2013 : Unemployment Bulletin, 2010 :  Vol 23, No.10 (October, 2011) An observation about corporate security departments : Slightly Skeptical Euromaydan Chronicles, June 2014 : Greenspan legacy bulletin, 2008 : Vol 25, No.10 (October, 2013) Cryptolocker Trojan (Win32/Crilock.A) : Vol 25, No.08 (August, 2013) Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : Inequality Bulletin, 2009 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Copyleft Problems Bulletin, 2004 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Energy Bulletin, 2010 : Malware Protection Bulletin, 2010 : Vol 26, No.1 (January, 2013) Object-Oriented Cult : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2011 : Vol 23, No.11 (November, 2011) Softpanorama classification of sysadmin horror stories : Vol 25, No.05 (May, 2013) Corporate bullshit as a communication method  : Vol 25, No.06 (June, 2013) A Note on the Relationship of Brooks Law and Conway Law


Fifty glorious years (1950-2000): the triumph of the US computer engineering : Donald Knuth : TAoCP and its Influence of Computer Science : Richard Stallman : Linus Torvalds  : Larry Wall  : John K. Ousterhout : CTSS : Multix OS Unix History : Unix shell history : VI editor : History of pipes concept : Solaris : MS DOSProgramming Languages History : PL/1 : Simula 67 : C : History of GCC developmentScripting Languages : Perl history   : OS History : Mail : DNS : SSH : CPU Instruction Sets : SPARC systems 1987-2006 : Norton Commander : Norton Utilities : Norton Ghost : Frontpage history : Malware Defense History : GNU Screen : OSS early history

Classic books:

The Peter Principle : Parkinson Law : 1984 : The Mythical Man-MonthHow to Solve It by George Polya : The Art of Computer Programming : The Elements of Programming Style : The Unix Haterís Handbook : The Jargon file : The True Believer : Programming Pearls : The Good Soldier Svejk : The Power Elite

Most popular humor pages:

Manifest of the Softpanorama IT Slacker Society : Ten Commandments of the IT Slackers Society : Computer Humor Collection : BSD Logo Story : The Cuckoo's Egg : IT Slang : C++ Humor : ARE YOU A BBS ADDICT? : The Perl Purity Test : Object oriented programmers of all nations : Financial Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : The Most Comprehensive Collection of Editor-related Humor : Programming Language Humor : Goldman Sachs related humor : Greenspan humor : C Humor : Scripting Humor : Real Programmers Humor : Web Humor : GPL-related Humor : OFM Humor : Politically Incorrect Humor : IDS Humor : "Linux Sucks" Humor : Russian Musical Humor : Best Russian Programmer Humor : Microsoft plans to buy Catholic Church : Richard Stallman Related Humor : Admin Humor : Perl-related Humor : Linus Torvalds Related humor : PseudoScience Related Humor : Networking Humor : Shell Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2012 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2013 : Java Humor : Software Engineering Humor : Sun Solaris Related Humor : Education Humor : IBM Humor : Assembler-related Humor : VIM Humor : Computer Viruses Humor : Bright tomorrow is rescheduled to a day after tomorrow : Classic Computer Humor

The Last but not Least Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand ~Archibald Putt. Ph.D

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