Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The World's Most Advanced OS?

A while ago Jenny bought herself a new laptop. There was no way we consider wasting money on a laptop running Windoze (you try buying a non-Apple laptop without paying Windoze tax!), so a MacBook Pro it was (I had some say in the machine's specs).

The Mac has some interesting features, and I like the way everything Just Works. MacOS is a bit different from Solaris, but it's really easy to pick up. So what's the point of this post? Apple touts Mac OS as "the world's most advanced OS", and that patently isn't so. Don't get me wrong: I like Mac OS (although I still find the idea of paying for an OS to be a bit grating), but the world's most advanced OS it isn't.

I'll raise just a couple of points to support my view.

1. Until the recent release of Mac OS Snow Leopard (10.6), Mac OS was a 32-bit only OS (Snow Leopard is apprently 64-bit--I can't confirm this cause I haven't got round to installing it yet). Colour me unimpressed: Solaris has been 64-bit clean the launch of Solaris 7, well over a decade ago! Also, Solaris' 64-bit kernel is quite capable of running brand new 64-bit apps and ancient 32-bit apps side by side. I don't know if Mac OS supports that.

2. Mac OS is based on (IIRC) FreeBSD. Not exactly the first OS that comes to mind for multithreaded scalability. How scalable is Mac OS? I guess we won't know because the biggest machine Apple sells is a piddly dual-socket, quad-core desktop. Big deal! Solaris scales from tiny single-core tiny laptops to massive 64-socket, quad-core behemoths that supports up to 4TB of RAM. And that's from the same OS binary.

3. Apple recently announced the dropping of ZFS, arguably the world's most advanced file system. If your OS doesn't support an adavanced file system like ZFS, then it is not a contender for the world's most advanced OS. It's just that simple.

4. Solaris has support for HW hot swapping that Mac OS can only dream of. In the right machine, if a CPU board dies, you can just replace it on the fly. No downtime, no interruptions.

I could go on, but I think I've made my point. Mac OS is a fine OS and is leagues ahead of Windoze, but the world's most advanced OS it isn't. That crown belongs to Solaris.