[Beowulf] SGI and Sun: In Memoriam

Vincent Diepeveen diep at xs4all.nl
Thu Apr 2 20:10:42 PDT 2009

Well Glen,

You're speaking of the new Sun.

After Sun got hammered with some nukes, the remaining survivors had  
first some genetic
defects, resulting in niagara. The nuke survivors then released the  
x86-64 platform much against
their will initially, yet it really is serving them well by now and  
Sun definitely is back on the map with that platform.

However, i do realize their 90s mentality.

I remember a very immature (he never grew up sincethen) Diepeveen
student entering an university where admins publicly
declared they would have loved giving each student a x86 computer
where they could toy with. Yet the professors had decided,
as usual, to waste money on expensive ugly slow machines.

At home i had a P5-100Mhz which total annihilated in speed the 10-60Mhz
really expensive junk that was there; if you could get to such a  

With big paper forms you could reserve 1 hour on it sometimes.

Not only factors faster than Sun/HP-ux machines, but also
factors cheaper, the x86 machines at the time.

There was a big line-up of students for each sun/hp
machine until closure at 9 PM. There were never enough.

This in a nation with a GDP a person that's above that of USA.

A few years later, around 1999-2000 when i visited,
there was still a few Sun workstations left,
with 2 students in the entire room. That was a nerd and me, says the  
dude about himself;
all the rest of the students were behind the endless numbers of cheap  
x86 machines.

At computerchess tournaments, end of 90s, i saw a representative of  
Sun brag loud about Sun
machines, meanwhile he ran for his own software at a x86 pc.

The sun guy couldn't get from Sun something that could even compete  
with a cheapo x86,
and as speed matters in realtime games, he went for the fastest box  
of course.

Let alone that it could compete with the alpha's and the quad xeons.

Just 1 tiny example. I really understand both visions here.

In general very big companies that are market leader in a certain  
sector will keep their product line
as it is until their companies sales gets nuked. Very few improve  
"market conform".

It is very difficult to setup a company and grow it big. Just herding  
the sheep is easy. It doesn't require
vision. Big companies that exist for quite a while and have a 'good  
name' usually have just underneath the
top management persons who fit very well
in organisations and obey the companies leaders like a soldier obeys  
his corporal; many of them regrettably
have the flexibility of a sleeper and the vision of a worm. Often  
i've asked myself how a guy could get in
such a moneygrabbing position, but you always find out that they are  
really unrivalled genius in keeping
their position and not seldom taking care that talented people get  
hammered down,
so that their position KEEPS SAFE. This happens
especially at the financial world and in the really big banks what it  
means to the full extend. The thing is,
very few people ever have been fired for not having an innovative  
plan or taking a big risk to improve ones


On Apr 1, 2009, at 5:33 PM, Glen Beane wrote:

> On 4/1/09 10:45 AM, "Joe Landman" <landman at scalableinformatics.com>  
> wrote:
>> This is a current religious mantra within Sun, that Solaris/Sparc  
>> will
> (eventually) kill Linux and x86/x64.  Um.  No.
> Isn't Sun's biggest business x86-64 hardware running Linux?  My  
> cluster is
> all AMD64 Sun gear and they gave us a killer edu discount on it.  
> I've been
> very happy with their X2200 series as a cluster node. Actually our
> datacenter has a ton of Sun gear in it and we have a site support  
> contract.
> I've been to a bunch of Sun HPC consortiums and while some time has  
> been
> dedicated to the Niagara platform at each, I'd say the biggest  
> focus is on
> x86 hardware.
> I guess I may be in the minority on this list, but I'm a pretty big  
> Sun fan
> (and I don't use Solaris/Sparc).
> -- 
> Glen L. Beane
> Software Engineer
> The Jackson Laboratory
> Phone (207) 288-6153
> _______________________________________________
> Beowulf mailing list, Beowulf at beowulf.org
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