Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Ok, so the past weekend at was at SCaLE (the Southern California Linux Expo), volunteering at the Ubuntu booth. And I have to tell you, it was FREAKING AWESOME! I didn't get to go to any of the talks (I got the cheap ticket, but I heard of people going anyways). But I manned the booth most of the time while I was there. If you want to see some pictures of SCaLE, Ars has some. I am not visible in his picture, I'm buried in the group of people on the left. But as you can see, we got festive in our tablecloths, and use the red, yellow, and orange Ubuntu colors! Another thing you surprisingly can't see is my computer. If you look closely on the yellow table, you might see a keyboard with my hands on it. That computer was a demo computer, and hopefully proved very helpful to people wondering about Ubuntu. All we needed was a Kubuntu and a Xubuntu, and people would have been very informed about everything. Unfortunately, we didn't have that luxury. But it's surprising how effective a hook compiz is, especially the ability to write fire on the screen.

Ok, maybe one in a million of you readers are skeptical that I was there (heh, if I had ONE skeptic I would be honored by the million readers). In that case, I give you photographic proof that I was there (and no, I'm not just showing off):Thanks to Nathan for having a camera to take this picture (he's the one on the right). I'm on the left (the one who NEVER looks good in ANY picture). And in between us is the mighty Jono Bacon (with a name like that, he's GOT to be cool!). In case you didn't know, Jono is the coordinator supreme of Canonical and Ubuntu. And that' s me! Slouched right next to him! Ok, I'll quit going on and on about Jono now.

Now Canonical was awesome for providing for us. They send a TON of promotional materials, all for free, from pens and stickers to brochures. Unfortunately, we didn't make them send us CDs, so this is where it got interesting. Now, Nathan had all of the ISO on his laptop, but just no CDs. Luckily, we had a ton of blank DVDs which we brought in case somebody wanted one. However, I don't think we anticipated initially SOOO many people wanting a CD. So, we had to co-opt our computers to become full-time CD burners. This is partly the reason I wasn't able to spend that much time going around. My computer was the Desktop, and it had a fast DVD burner, so we had to use that. Even at 2 minutes per CD, I felt like the inventory wasn't getting any higher. We REALLY underestimated the demand for Ubuntu DVDs. But we managed to get through and scrape along and provide people with their free DVDs.

Now, the actual CONVENTION was pretty cool too. We had Linux Chix right across from us, which is ALWAYS a good thing. We also had the Free Software Foundation a few booths away (though I never did pay them a visit. Oh well, there's next year). Google was wayyy down and offering cool stuff like google pens (not so cool) to Google yo-yos (really cool!) However, I'm sure, the rest of the convention meant nothing, without one, very special company (Cue romance music). Sun, you made the Expo what it was. An incredibly awesome experience. Your representative, Matt, was really awesome, and managed to stay cool even when the heat was tough. And even though I obviously wasn't a system administrator, or work for a big company, he treated me like I mattered. He answered all of the questions I had, and more. That is what I love about you, Sun. He gave me a LiveCD of openSolaris, something that I never knew existed. With that LiveCD, I SAW! I saw that openSolaris has made REAL progress in the wireless direction. I saw the openSolaris could look REALLY REALLY cool. And plus, his laptops both had version of Solaris, with Indiana and openSolaris. And I had no clue you could get compiz working so smoothly on them. I swear, it was FREAKING AWESOME! Well, Sun, I guess that's to be expected from you. All of your innovation and greatness. Not even Google, with its fancy-pants booth could match you in that. (End love song). Matt was also giving away tons of free stuff, like Java tattoos (which are just plain AWESOME), openSolaris DVDs, Sun studio DVDs, and other random stuff such as Sun bottles and Monitor mirror things... Well, that's the climax of this event. Those of you who were there, I'm sure you were expecting it. Well, if there's anything important I missed, leave a comment.


Cairnarvon said...

"He gave me a LiveCD of openSolaris, something that I never knew existed."

What is your fanboyism of Sun actually based on, if you're only vaguely aware of their major products? Their mediocre hardware? Their crippled processor architecture? Their disgusting hack of a programming language? Or just the fact that they buy out popular open source projects in an effort to make money off proprietary forks?

cactaur said...

Vaguely aware? Excuse me? I knew about Solaris and openSolaris. I just wasn't aware there was a LiveCD of them.

And oh boy, where do I start? Do you call Black Box, a portable, easily scalable powerful data center mediocre? And do you call the processors which range from the highly eco-friendly UltraSPARC T1 to the extremely powerful UltraSPARC IV+ crippled? Or maybe you just don't like an extremely flexible and portable programming language which can range from the scripting JavaFX, to the priority-sensitive Real Time Java> which can allocate resources for the most important tasks on its own. And there has been no case where Sun has made open-source anything but open-source. Many companies that deal with open-source projects know that Sun is a haven for their philosophy. MySQL knew it and saw it as good news. And Sun only sells hardware, support, and solutions. The same way RedHat, Novell, and Canonical do it (minus the hardware). So unless there's an actual argument underneath your string of insults, I believe my fanboyism is quite justified.

Joe Smith said...

SCaLE ftw!

Nice picture :D

Cairnarvon said...

You should really know better than to take marketing at face value.

There's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all datacenter, which is something Sun tries to gloss over. The Black Box is a fundamentally flawed gimmick, not something anyone knowing what he's doing would want to buy.

You don't even know anything about processor architecture. "Eco-friendly" doesn't come into it in the slightest. Processors don't use that much power.
x86 is already a monstrosity of a processor architecture, but it blows SPARC out of the water. Why is that, do you think? RISC is a broken approach for nearly all applications. Even Apple realised that. Hell, even Sun is realising it now, they're just reluctant to admit their mistake.

If you think Java is a good programming language you're deluded. It's a disgusting collection of hacks and bad design decisions. It's what you'd expect a first-year C kid who's read half a chapter on OO to come up with if you told him to design an OO language. Without Sun's propaganda machine, it would have faded into obscurity as it rightly should have years ago.
If you want to get into why Java sucks, exactly, do let me know. You could fill many books with it, and nearly all of it is immediately obvious to anyone who's ever used real programming languages.
The fact that they have interpreters for it that try to work their ways into niches the language obviously can't handle is hardly something worth bragging about.

It's interesting how ignorant you are of Sun's history when it comes to acquisitions. Too young to remember StarOffice? It used to be completely open source; now it's a proprietary fork of OpenOffice.
And honestly, MySQL didn't allow itself to be acquired by Sun for anything to do with philosophy; MySQL is as hypocritical as Sun itself when it comes to open source, with their licensing bullshit. They allowed themselves to be acquired because they knew a billion dollars was about two hundred times their actual worth.

Sun does not only sell hardware, support, and "solutions" (whatever the fuck that's even supposed to mean; it's a marketing term, not something with actual meaning), and they don't even favorably compare with Red Hat, Novell, or Canonical, none of which is exactly a beacon of enlightened principles.

I've yet to see a single thing for which to like Sun, and there are a lot of reasons to dislike them. Your fanboyism reflects your inability to think critically, or just your ignorance.

cactaur said...

Oh please! If there's anything that you think Sun has misguided me in, chime in. Both you and I know not to take things at face value. However, you provide no citations. Are you some sort of omniscient being who I should trust entirely? I find it interesting that NOT ONCE did you address anything that was actually in my links. You think I put them for decoration?

And are you kidding me? No one ever SAID Project Black Box would be a panacea for all datacenter woes. However, it is an innovative new concept, which could solve many other problems, as I said with scalability and portability. Plus, they're pretty earthquake-proof. And I notice you say that Black Box is a flawed concept and a failure at a datacenter, yet you don't say why. I'd like a reason please (and a good one too).

And you're right. I'm not exactly the most enlightened on processor architecture. However, instead of universally declaring RISC as a fundamentally broken architecture, base your statements on reality please. I have a wikipedia page (that should be reliable enough for our purposes) to the contrary stating that SPARC is a success story for RISC (though I admit that Sun should diversify). Oh, and by Eco-friendly, I mean that produces more output with less energy.

And I also know that Java has its own problems and it's also not a one-language-fits all. I may not know all of the intricacies of Java, but I do know that the Mars Exploration Rovers have been programmed in Java, and they lasted over 20 times longer than they were expected to. Now, I'm not saying that Java is the reason they're lasting so long, but it can't be all that fatally flawed. And by the way, I do know someone who has programmed in both C++ and Java, and he prefers Java (and no, he doesn't work at Sun). So, it's not such a patently obvious distinction.

And lastly, about StarOffice. It's true that I missed the good ol' days of the beginnings of StarOffice, but luckily there's wikipedia. And as the history says, StarOffice WAS initially free, but still proprietary. Sun was the one that open sourced it through openOffice. Now, unless you have some source more reliable which can discredit this, I believe your argument has been invalidated.

And lastly, I'd like to clarify what I mean by "solutions". I believe the currently accepted meaning of "solutions" are bundles of packages sold to make enterprise administration easier. I know RedHat, Novell, and Canonical all provide these. Now, if there are any other companies which you fell deal with open source in a more ethical way, please, tell me! If not, then stop with the name-calling unless you actually have some evidence.

Cairnarvon said...


Learn to read.
And none of your links provided anything worth addressing. They're marketing fluff, not information.

(Also, don't try to explain "solution" by using "enterprise" in your answer. That's using the word in its own definition.)

cactaur said...

I'm just asking for the one thing you haven't given me, FACTS.

Cairnarvon said...

If you like Wikipedia so much, perhaps you can find a page explaining why Sun is increasingly moving away from their SPARC architecture in favor of x86. SPARC isn't a "success story", it's an example of a company obstinately and pig-headedly clinging to broken architecture because of NIH syndrome.

The Wikipedia article on StarOffice is misleading. I have on my desk a CD-ROM containing both binaries and source for StarOffice, dating from the late '90s, before Sun's acquisition of the company. StarOffice was free software, and open source by todays standards.
Its license wasn't the GPL, though, and its marketing predates esr's "open source" rebranding, so I can see why you would be confused.

And you're the one who brought up the Black Box as an example of Sun's supposed non-sucking, not me.

You don't know enough about processor architecture to have a meaningful discussion of the relative merits of SPARC versus other processor architectures.
You don't know enough about programming languages to have a coherent opinion on Java (and the opinion of one guy you know doesn't stand up against the opinion of knowledgeable programmers everywhere, especially if all he has to compare it with is C++, which is a crufty mess of a language in its own right; even most Java programmers realise Java is badly broken in several ways).
Unless you can justify your fanboyishness in some other area, it's basically bullshit.

Since you're a Pharyngula reader, presumably you realise you can't use your ignorance to shift the burden of proof away from yourself, because it is on you.
I'm still waiting for evidence of Sun's awesomeness. Everything I'm seeing just points towards a mediocre company, with ethics and products no better than Microsoft's.

cactaur said...

I'm not too sure I get you. As far as I have been able to research, Sun still only produces SPARC processors. If you're talking about them =OFFERING systems with other architectures, I say, "So what?". As I said, Sun doesn't believe their processors are the solution for everyone. I mean, just because Sun is a Windows 2003 Server OEM doesn't mean Solaris sucks. They believe in allowing people to get the systems they need. I'm sorry, but vendor lock-in is NOT in Sun's philosophy. Microsoft would never even CONSIDER doing that.

And about StarOffice, I'm interested. What version do you have?

And I believe I've been extremely patient with Black Box. I've given you some of the major innovations. Scalability and portability. And if you don't believe me, I linked to Sun so you could see for yourself. All you have done is vaguely dismiss them because of a misconception that Sun thought of it to be the perfect datacenter. I've not only given, but spoon-fed my evidence to you. It would help if you would actually LOOK at it.

And you know what? I'll concede the Java point. I admit that I have a narrow experience of programming languages compared to you and that you know more about what you're talking about. But I still hold the point that the Mars Rovers use Java and haven't crashed.

And I believe I've been very lenient with your evidence. You came to MY blog and questioned my fanboyism. However, believing that this was going to be an intellectual discourse, I did research and addressed all of your points. I did all that work, only to be met by a series of diatribes which showed that you didn't even READ the links I put up especially for you and that, like with Project Black Box, you didn't even give a concrete reason for hating it. I bore my burden of proof. Now, I'm still open-minded. If you can find more reliable sources, that'll be great. However, armchair philosophizing isn't going to cut it.

Cairnarvon said...

Lately Sun has mostly partnered with AMD for their x86 and x64 needs, but they still make their own x86 processors as well, and with good reason: SPARC is badly broken.
Most of the hardware Sun sells nowadays is x86.

As for StarOffice, beats me, the disk is too scratched to still run. I remember browsing through the code why back when, though, and it's advertised on the disk itself.

"And I believe I've been extremely patient with Black Box. I've given you some of the major innovations. Scalability and portability."

You need to look up with ``innovation'' means. And if you think portability is an advantage in a datacenter, you're on crack.

"And if you don't believe me, I linked to Sun so you could see for yourself."

Marketing fluff without even any real data is not evidence. It ranks well below even anecdotal evidence.

"I've not only given, but spoon-fed my evidence to you. It would help if you would actually LOOK at it."

I did. The only evidence you've provided is of the fact that it's fully buzzword-compliant.

"But I still hold the point that the Mars Rovers use Java and haven't crashed."

Most companies used COBOL for ages, and survived. I know someone who wrote a robot arm driver in Brainfuck.

"I did research and addressed all of your points."

Here's your main problem: you swallow Sun's marketing whole. You just take everything they say at face value, without any real experience of your own, and without even looking at the opinions of people who actually use their products (and their marketing departments ``testimonials'' don't count).
You did not ``bear your burden of proof'' any more than a Christian trying to prove the validity of the Bible using only the Bible does.

(Also, Blogger supporting OpenID is a worrying trend. This as an aside.)