I suppose most web sites out there are running on some Unix system, but there's a small and yet tenacious group of system managers that cling to VMS, mostly because it's so robust and reliable. Plus it offers mundane features like a help facility that's actually useful (which is accessed by typing HELP, of all things).
The best web server package for VMS is OSU WEB, written by Dave Jones at Ohio State University, it's free, and it has excellent support through a fairly active mailing list (email@example.com to subscribe).
-- Javier Henderson, May 11, 1997
The rationale you give for buying Sun equipment is that most free software out there "just works" when you build it for a Sun machine. I have a few things to say about that:
1. I argued long and hard with the executives of Sun that they should have a closer-than-arms-length relationship with the GNU software folks, because that would make their machines the hardware of choice for an ever-increasing niche of the market. (The VP's were split on this issue--while some agreed it was fundamentally sound logic, others followed that logic to the conclusion that I was really branding Sun's own software as crap that people would discard in preference to GNU.) In any event, Sun was very free-software friendly, and the fact that Richard Stallman and other GNU hackers all used Sun machines only strengthened Sun's position.
2. Over time, Linux has far overtaken Solaris in terms of being free-software and hacker friendly. GNU (and other free software, such as Apache) has become sufficiently mature that essentially all "important" free software works pretty much indisginuishably across Sun, SGI, and other "proprietary" platforms.
3. In the case of hardware, I think more people should look seriously at what SGI has been producing. I became a convert a few years ago, and have nothing but great things to say about their new lineup. Whereas you cite a "wimpy Sparc5" doing 30-70 updates-per-second (depending on whether you have autocommit on or off), I just measured 212 updates/second on a similarly vanilla O200 server running Oracle 7.3.3, regardless of the state of the autocommit variable.
-- Michael Tiemann, August 10, 1997
I like your pages.
Regarding your uptimes.... We had some Linux- Newsserver with 103 days uptime. No prob. I booted to upgrade the kernel from 1.3.52 to 2.0.X
-- Peter Keel, August 25, 1997
As for web server platforms, another Unix to really take a look at, FreeBSD. We are running a 6000 user ISP, along with web hosting services for about 350 domains on Pentium Pro 200's. We have overbuilt our site, having a machine for each service, but it pays off when you have to do maintenance on one of those machines. With the avg. cost of a ppro 200 fully loaded for a web server being under $3000 (When using GOOD hardware, the key to having this work well) this is not something to ignore. Who ever it was using a sound card scsi card, got what he desired.. Most pc hardware is junk, you just have to sort though it and find out what is not. Mailing lists for the OS you want to use are a great place to find out, along with FAQ's. I use Intel Ppro or ASUS motherboards, Adaptec 2940uw/3940uw scsi cards, a high quality fast wide 7200rpm drive, such as a Quantum Atlas II, a Intel 10/100 ethernet card, and a good quality case with a good power supply and cooling. With a combo like this, you will have very few problems.. I see machines with 100 day plus uptimes all the time.. Most of the downtime here is upgrading hardware, not fixing. That is one thing PC's don't do well, the ability to upgrade while running. And Sun only does this for some things. To increase your data reliability, look at a RAID5 box, base price for a good scsi to scsi unit is about $2000. Now compare this with Sun's Raid-Arry, and you will notice a large price difference.. When you buy Sun, one thing you are paying for is the time they have used to test interopablity. Sun's do have their place. PC's do also, if you do have a hardware failure, you can 1. pull apart your desktop machine for the night for that power supply that went bad 2. run down to one of who knows how many local computer stores and get a replacement, something you can not do with Suns (in most areas atleast).
-- Cameron Slye, November 27, 1997
Regarding Linux, Netscape Fasttrack Server is now available from Caldera with certain versions of their OpenLinux distribution; it is an extremely easy to administer web server (graphical via the web, etc.) for the people who do not wish to take the time to learn the Apache setup. (Although, IMHO, Apache is a far better server.) On the cheap PC hardware issue, you get what you pay for. I have many systems running Linux which are extremely stable (even on the newest development kernel). The only reason I ever have to take my machines down is to upgrade them; just as an experiment, I have a 486 sitting in a closet acting as a router (Linux does a great job at this, too) which I have not upgraded/rebooted in over 1 year.
-- Nate Carlson, December 26, 1997
One more comment: Oracle has officially announced support for Linux, to be released in March of 1999 or that area.
-- Nate Carlson, July 18, 1998
Uptime ? Watch this. A 90MHz Pentium processor running my intranet, sendmail, fetchmail, lights through X10 etc. Uptime limited because about 3 months ago I didn't have a UPS yet. Now I do...
12:32am up 97 days, 10:19, 1 user, load average: 0.06, 0.03, 0.01
Not bad for an old machine, he? Oh, and I'm running Linux, Apache, MySQL etc... Not as fancy as HPUX, but I salvaged the machine from a scrap-heap.
-- Peter van Es, March 14, 2000