Um, Sun's Java Desktop is Linux......

Story: Java Desktop crashes during Sun's CEO keynote at CTIATotal Replies: 9
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Mar 24, 2004
7:46 PM EDT
I'm afraid that if the system crashed then it was Gnome running on Linux. I don't know how you could say that Gnome crashing was not the operating system anymore than saying that the Windows rendering engine is not the operating system.

Linux crashes, move on.

Mar 25, 2004
3:31 AM EDT
No, Linux didn't crash - the Window manager crashed. I've had my own Window manager crash, yet the system was still alive and running.

Linux is not the same as GNOME. Linux is the kernel, and it is rock-solid. Just because an application freezes, doesn't mean the entire system is dead.

Mar 25, 2004
4:56 AM EDT
If Linux didn't crash, why did he have to reset the machine? If it was just the Window manager then why couldn't they just kill the Window manager process and spawn a new one?

Regardless, the operating system is only as good as the applications and services that sit on top of it. No one wants a rock solid kernel with a bunch of applications and services that crash. Any way you look at it - Linux crashed.

Mar 25, 2004
5:06 AM EDT
You are backtracking from your original argument, admitting your fault, and then reverting back to the original flawed argument. Your post stinks of flamebait.


Mar 25, 2004
5:19 AM EDT
Dave is right, you aren't making a lucid argument. He probably didn't respawn the window manager because he:

a. didn't know how b. didn't have the focus and restarting would have the same result c. he has been using his window's desktop for far too long and it is a knee-jerk reaction

Linux did not crash, GNU perhaps crashed. It could have even been beta XFree drivers on the video card. One can only tell from logs, but obviously it shows that Sun didn't test the system very well before using it in a presentation.

Mar 27, 2004
7:41 PM EDT
Whether the kernel crashed or the Window manager crashed is unimportant. I have had times where the Window manager locked up to the point key combinations didnt work and I wasnt able to kill X, what did I have to do? I had to reboot the machine. I have had Linux kernel panic on me several times in my eleven years of usage. It happens, get used to it. Linux does crash. No system is crash-proof. Anyone who would even suggest that Linux does not crash has a problem dealing with reality.

Jan 07, 2005
1:07 PM EDT

Your "even-handed" approach of painting both OSs as being equally prone to crashing, ignores real differences between them. One of them being that the Windows wm is integrated with the OS to a certain degree, contributing to its instability.

On linux It most certainly is important whether kernel or wm crashed. If a person's X11 server crashes (has happened to me only when using test software in Debian unstable), then on LInux, you have the option of logging in remotely to kill X11. And, I might add, you have the option of switching to a different wm and desktop environment if the ones you're using are misbehaving.

No one has said that Linux never crashes. What was said is that there was no evidence that anything more than the java desktop crashed in this case. In my 9 years' experience with linux, this is far more likely (athough still uncommon). The demo system was likely recoverable, but it was faster to just reset (or it wasn't set up for ssh...). Linux is more stable, nevertheless, and your experience doesn't really prove anything to the contrary. I've seen kernel panics too. They were all either a) on testing kernels, or b) on unstable (broken) hardware.

Jan 07, 2005
1:44 PM EDT
What most of you are trying to argue is simple. Linux can recover from even x-server crashes. I know I have done it. What it takes is a another machine on the network and remote access.

This fix isn't possible under windows.

If the kernel didn't panic, then you can log in via ssh, kill off all running processes under your ID. The display will reset to login window. If X is toast you will get just a text based prompt, allowing you restart X manually.

I repeat this isn't possible under windows. Your servers are up still.


Jan 08, 2005
3:10 PM EDT
I can guarantee you that over half of the key engineers (the techie folks) at Sun are running JDS on top of Solaris... not Linux. Albeit very beta at this point. While it's possible it was JDS on SLES9 (or the older SUSE Desktop 8 version)... JDS is well on its way to being released on Solaris.

I'm on the beta for JDSr3 (SLES9 based). Has many issues not the least of which is the fact it's built on SLES9 (so it has totally server like features vs their original offering... may change before release though). Don't get me wrong, many of the issues are found in SLES9... but some are caused by (perhaps) a blending of the SUSE Desktop config (possibly from the older variant) with SLES9.


Jan 08, 2005
7:20 PM EDT
This would be a great point in time to tell a story about a web site I used to manage. You may have come across it in the past at one time. The servers were built by someone else (you may have experienced his work as well). I migrated the site to another data center on different hardware, but the idiots at our DNS provider (A well known company, with a checkered service past) -- not the company hosting or the company I worked for -- missed some top level DNS servers with the new Domain name configuration for our site.

What would happen is, depending upon the day, whatever top-level DNS server answered your request and so on -- the web site would end up at either location, thus making the site content appear out of sync.

To remedy the situation, I configured the apache server at the old location to re-route everyone to the new server, which resulted in a rather unsavory (but hopefully temporary) IP address in the URL -- again, very much a kludge, but a temporary one.

Every day, while this was going on, I asked the systems administrators at my company to please look into why this was happening (I didn't understand enough about DNS at the time to figure it out -- I knew enough to be dangerous). I was diplomatic, polite, but steady and urging. You see, the reasons for migration were many, but one really, really important one I've left out...

The primary disk drive in the old web server was going bad. It would often hang completely, with ssh client binaries swapped out onto a non-existant disk -- but apache and Linux would still be answering those network requests, and happily sending people to the new site.

And the result would be that we couldn't ssh onto the box, but it would do the redirection, and we would hang on, hoping that half of our readers were at least getting their ... content... yeah.

So, anyway, one day the mess went down, and the drive went completely south, and the system wouldn't even come back from a cold boot. I had taken liberties to configure the database server as a backup web server for just such an occasion -- and I brought up the old web server IP as an alias, bounced apache with this new config and it continued the task.

I wrote one more message, essentially explaining that we were now out of options, to our systems administrators.

They got off their butts (actually, they asked one of the smarter guys in the company, let's refer to him as Peter, because that was in fact his first name, to figure it out -- he did, in like half an hour) and fixed the problem.

And it bounced all the way to the top of the company. The question, from the CEO was something like "Why the hell did it take you guys a month to listen to this man?" Some lessons here (among many) -- 1) It pays to be diplomatic -- they didn't have one thing to say in their defense. 2) Always be prepared for the worst situation. It may take some ground work in advance, but don't wait until the fat's in the fire to begin learning how to cook. 3) Linux is a vertiable tank. It ran for something like a month in that condition -- my guess is it hung at one point when the kernel tried to write something to swap, or pull it out. That says a lot. Especially the web site in question, because it took quite a bit of load upon occasion.

Enjoy :)


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