Monday, January 30, 2006

Why I use Windows

I have a confession to make.

My main home computer runs Windows XP. Now, I'm a Solaris guy, so you would expect me to have banished Windows, but no, most of the times I use a computer at home it's the Windows box that gets the nod.

There are reasons for this renegade behaviour. The two main ones are Windows ability to do suspend-to-RAM and fast user switching. Essentially, if I just want to check my email quick, then either the Windows machine is on already and I just have to switch user, or I hit the power button. In both cases it's about the time it takes me to get the seat located comfortably before I'm online and working.

Solaris can't match this. If I'm working at home then the Sun box comes on, as the superior behaviour and environment are worth waiting 10 minutes for. The boot time is awful; the JDS startup time is awful; suspend resume is only on sparc and is very much hit and miss. If we're after wider adoption, then this is a huge area we have to address.


Alan Coopersmith said...

Suspend-to-ram and suspend-to-disk are both being worked on for Solaris x86. I've seen the suspend-to-ram prototype running on Solaris Nevada on a Ultra 20 workstation. Hopefully you'll see this work starting to appear in Solaris Express releases later this year.

JDS startup time was also one of the main areas we concentrated on during the performance section of the recent Solaris Desktop Summit and will hopefully also be improving soon.

(If you want to help, I'm sure the people in the OpenSolaris Desktop Community have some areas they can suggest still need help.)

Alan Coopersmith said...

John Rice has just posted a 65% improvement in GDM login time that came out of the Desktop Summit work.

Peter Tribble said...

This is all good, and I'm glad to hear it.

I was just reading John Rice's message too, and I'm hoping that some of the changes can be put back into Solaris 10. I know that they can't all be, but I'm certainly going to try some of the tweaks to try and make life more bearable.

As for suspend-to-ram, I'm now thinking that doesn't work on all boxes, in particular my W2100z. (As I recall, lack of support for this feature is why the W1100z doesn't get Windows XP approval, and the W2100z is only OK because it's a workstation not a desktop, but I may not have remembered this right.)

Nerd Progre said...


If you ever decide to part with your w2100z, don´t throw it into the trash can.

Instead, save the mezzanine board for one needy charity down in the Third World. It´s called the Save-A-Geek Foundation, and all the proceeds and donations go to a geek in need, namely, me.


(sorry, couldn´t resist).

Just curious, Solaris boot times are much better now?. I mean... three years and a half have passed...

I´m now running Fedora 11 Linux, which has booting in 20-secs one of its main features. :)

btw: Shame on Sun for not keeping up the fight with their own Linux distro. I purchased with my own wallet Sun JDS 2003 and Sun JDS R2 Linux boxes. It rocked, despite the Novell Linux Desktop foundation. Nowadays, JDS could be based on Fedora or Ubuntu...

It isn´t all a Solaris-or-death affair. They could well have continued ona two-pronger strategy with Linux on desktops and Solaris on servers...


Nerd Progre said...

you might be wondering how I manage to land into these ancient posts. Well, I routinely search for "w110z" to see if anyone else is bloging about their Java workstations.