[Beowulf] SGI and Sun: In Memoriam

Joe Landman landman at scalableinformatics.com
Wed Apr 1 07:45:14 PDT 2009

Robert G. Brown wrote:

> Alas, Sun persisted in the blind view that PCs were never going to
> compete with Sparc, with MIPs, with DEC Ultrix boxes, with IBM AIX in
> the workstation world.  Even the Roadrunner was an afterthought,


This is a current religious mantra within Sun, that Solaris/Sparc will 
(eventually) kill Linux and x86/x64.  Um.  No.  That game has been over 
for a while now.


> Sun thus stood on the top of the mountain in 1990 -- the overwhelmingly
> dominant workstation manufacturer, with the world's hands down best Unix
> -- nobody who worked with a mix of the Unices then available would ever
> argue with this, as AIX sucked, Ultrix sucked less but still sucked (and
> the DEC workstations sucked), Irix sucked (although the SGI workstations
> still didn't suck), and then where do you go?  NeXT OS had potential but

Hmm... I take issue with "Irix sucked" ... then again I am biased as I 
learned Irix right after Unicos and Sunos.  Compared to either of those, 
Irix (from a user perspective) definitely did not suck.


> At this point the writing was oh-so-clearly on the wall.  The highest
> end Intel OTC systems were maybe 1/3 of the price of the mainline Sun
> Sparc boxes.  The latter still had an edge in price performance --
> seriously, right up to somewhere in the 1993-1995 range -- but for

Hmmm.... I was running MD on a desktop 486 machine that outpaced the Sun 
unit (supposedly a faster box) in 93 or so.  Sun has rarely if ever had 
a fast chip/box.


> So let us all bid adieu to two more of the ancient giants, killed by
> their own lack of perception and market vision more than anything else,
> killed by a refusal to see the world as it is and adapt to it unstead of
> holding onto a broken dream of enormous profits not backed by the
> delivery of anything like competitive or comparable value as the world
> changed faster than they could.

Spot on.  A toast to two fallen giants.  I raise my cup of coffee to 
them both.

>    rgb

Joseph Landman, Ph.D
Founder and CEO
Scalable Informatics LLC,
email: landman at scalableinformatics.com
web  : http://www.scalableinformatics.com
phone: +1 734 786 8423
fax  : +1 734 786 8452
cell : +1 734 612 4615

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