I saw this article by InfoWorld’s Paul Krill via Simon’s delicious links.  Paul’s article ponders whether Solaris is on its deathbed, based largely on comments from the Linux Foundation’s Jim Zemlin who believes it is.  Some quotes that caught my attention:

“The future is Linux and Microsoft Windows,” says foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin. “It is not Unix or Solaris.”

But with capabilities such as ZFS and DTrace, Sun is trying to compete based on minor features, Zemlin says. “That’s literally like noticing the view from a third-story building as it burns to the ground.” And the Linux community is working on rival technology, Zemlin adds.

A key reason is that more people are available to support Linux than Solaris, says Noah Broadwater, vice president of information services at Sesame Workshop. “I honestly have one person who is certified on Solaris. I have four people who are certified on Linux,” Broadwater said.

For those of you that don’t know, according to their website, “The Linux Foundation is a nonprofit consortium dedicated to fostering the growth of Linux”.

I must say, I’m torn on this one.  On one hand, Sun is a member of the Linux Foundation (at the same level as Red Hat), so it’s unsettling to read Zemlin attacking Sun (Solaris) to the degree he has.  On the other hand, Sun’s revenue from a Linux-based operating system pales in comparison to Sun’s Solaris revenue.  Just because Sun offers the former, should that bar Linux proponents from making competitive statements against the latter? Also, the Linux Foundation’s goal is to grow the use of Linux.  And OpenSolaris/Solaris is not Linux.  So, as harsh as Zemlin’s words were, at least for my sensitive Canadian eyes, it’s difficult to argue that he overstepped his bounds.  Linux and open source proponents have made similarly outlandish comments about the death of Microsoft products.  The good people at Microsoft (and other closed-source vendors) have dirty hands also.  I guess all’s fair in love and enterprise software.

In the end however, I doubt that the story will play out as cleanly as Zemlin suggests.  Customers will continue to choose Linux, Windows and Solaris, as they continue to choose OS X, HP-UX, AIX, z/OS and even OS/2.  Customers are significantly more nuanced than we’d like to paint them.

As an aside, I find it particularly interesting that Linux certified professionals are becoming easier to find than professionals certified on other platforms.

What do you think?