[AUUG-Talk]: Proprietary Unixes (Dead?)

David Purdue david.purdue at auug.org.au
Thu Oct 4 02:17:42 EST 2007

David Lloyd wrote:
> Are the Unixes that are proprietary dead or dying:

Commenting purely from what I have recently seen at one of the nation's 
largest consumers of IT, combined with what (in my new job) my customers 
are asking for as a provider of IT professional services...

> * AIX - IBM tout Linux these days

And soon they'll ship Solaris on their bades, according to El Reg 
(http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/10/27/sun_ibm_solarisblade/), with a 
third party already doing Solaris for IBM machines 

 From the first time I saw AIX I joined the legions of Unix Sysadmins 
who just wanted it to go away.

But what can I say? IBM's customers still want AIX. IBM are still 
investing in it (I am told it is a lot better these days and will soon 
invest the time to find out if that's true), and still shipping lots.

However, I am willing to bet that the most profitable OS for IBM is 
still MVS.

> * HP-UX - HP tout Linux / Windows these days

Again, there is a gap between what they tout and what customers ask for. 
HP-UX is still healthy, as is Tru64 and even VMS.

> * Solaris - Is moving towards going Open Source

Well, the source code is available, but I get the impression that the 
Linux types don't really classify Solaris as Open Source because of the 
choice of licence. And there is still a distinction between the 
proprietary and open source version of Solaris (although the proprietary 
version can be downloaded for free).

I am an admitted Sun bigot, mostly because I like Solaris inside and 
out. A very nice threaded implementation of the kernel allows for very 
efficient use of hardware at all scales, and ongoing investment means 
some great features, e.g. ZFS, the file system that renders volume 
management obsolete.

> * IRIX - is dead?

Um, I think you may be right. (Apologies to friends at SGI.)

> * DEC UNIX - is dead?

Tru64 struggles on. I get demand for consulting work in this area.

> * SCO's offerings - is dead?

Still has a huge installed base of small servers (that generally have 
not been patched for over a decade, but still just run).

All the supposedly dead Unix's have this in common: there are a bunch of 
mission critical applications that only run on BLAHix, and 
can not be ported to Linux because the company that wrote the app is no 

> Apart from Sun's Solaris, do any of the proprietary Unixes have enough 
> backing to keep them going, in terms of market share? Do they have 
> enough capital to remain competitive with each other, with Microsoft and 
> with the open source offerings?
> I tender they don't. I could be wrong...

I tender that AIX is part of the pack of proprietary Unixes that will go 
on, and HP-UX possibly. What drives on proprietary Unix is high end 
hardware. If you spend 5 million plus on a machine, you want the OS that 
is going to get the most out of that machine - for Sun hardware that's 
Solaris, HP it is HP-UX and IBM it is AIX.



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