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Oracle Sun Microsystems

Oracle Restricts Access To Sun Firmware Downloads 202

Posted by kdawson
from the where-the-bits-did-once-freely-roam dept.
boer lee writes with the news that you can expect trouble in downloading firmware updates for your Sun server if you purchased it before March 16, 2010. "In a somewhat surprising move (and without any notification to customers), Oracle shut down public access to firmware downloads. I learned this the hard way when I contacted Oracle customer service almost two weeks ago. Yes, it took 13 days for me to get access to the firmware download for systems under the standard warranty (i.e. less than a year old)."
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Oracle Restricts Access To Sun Firmware Downloads

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  • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @05:12PM (#32091008)
    Purchased Before March 16, 2010? Doesn't that exclude, like, almost all purchases of Sun hardware?
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @05:31PM (#32091238) Journal
    More than that. Plenty of binary blobs are considered to be serious business(see just about any proprietary software).

    Firmware, though, has more or less the ultimate in dongle-based copy protection... It's of essentially no use at all without the hardware, which is what you paid for anyway(the only exception would be those situations where the difference between the high end model and the midrange/low-end model is a couple of firmware locks. In such cases, the "high end" firmware is probably of considerable interest to owners of the "low-end" model who know which way to point a hex editor...).
  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @05:37PM (#32091298) Homepage Journal

    It may have been a glitch.
    The new owners trying merge Sun's customer base into their system. Maybe it is fixed now?

  • Re:Open office (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mlts (1038732) * on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @05:54PM (#32091486)

    I don't think it would happen, but who knows. IBM has standardized on a variant of OOo (Lotus Symphony), so if Oracle decided to abandon it, IBM would take up the mantle of keeping the project alive. Even if IBM forced everyone to move to MS Office 2010, the users on AIX and RHEL would be left out in the cold.

    I'm expecting a bigger split between StarOffice (Sun's commercial version of OOo) and Open Office.org though. OOo might get a few token updates while SO would likely receive major makeovers. Similar to the concern about OpenSolaris versus Solaris.

  • Re:Oh, good Lord. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FlyingBishop (1293238) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @06:34PM (#32091890)

    No, Oracle is just trying to put it behind a paywall so you don't know what you're getting into until it's too late and you already own the hardware.

  • by Skapare (16644) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @07:25PM (#32092306) Homepage

    Most, almost all, other computer manufacturers do not do this. Sun itself did not do this until it was borged by Larry. In the sense of Oracle's approach and business model of shaking everyone down for every penny in their pocket, it makes sense. Except for the very top end giant servers that would be running Oracle software even if Oracle had not bought Sun, this is going to decimate the Sun market that is, for the most part, not accustomed to this much aggressive gouging. IBM now has an opportunity to push PPC based machines as the alternative to x86 architectures. I can only hope they do that.

  • Re:GARBAGE (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mysidia (191772) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @08:00PM (#32092588)

    Well, Cisco is basically in a different world. The software is essentially a majority of the value in many of Cisco's products which are software-based routing platforms, sometimes with a few hardware ASICs or specialized ICs thrown in when required (for example, for switching, or carrier grade apps).

    The closest Sun equivalent would be Solaris, but they went another direction... they opened that.. (OpenSolaris)

    If Cisco didn't limit the IOS distribution, by now, there would probably be 3rd party manufacturers making routers that you could load IOS firmware on as drop-in replacement, due to the immense value and basically industry de-facto standard status of the IOS.

    The Cisco IOS software is very unique, enterprise routing/switching equipment isn't a commodity, or at least it wasn't at the time, and it has a very long useful lifetime, in that it can still do its job just fine, and serve a useful role for otherwise lucrative customers, even long after 10 year sales and support EOL.

    Used Cisco equipment would be a very good cost-effective alternative for small/mid-size enterprises to run their network infrastructure with, if they wanted, were willing to forego support, and if the IOS/other updates needed to provide any added features or performance/fixes were publicly available..

    And these people would have little option but to buy brand new Cisco equipment, if not for aftermarket.

    Servers are really quite different...

    Servers have an aftermarket, but they lose value much more quickly.

    A server that was cutting edge 10 years ago, is basically worthless today for new purchases. Whereas a router that was high-end and cutting edge 10 years ago can still have a lot of value in the aftermarket.

    As for the large enterprises that buy most Sun equipment, it would be almost unheard of for them to seek equipment in the aftermarket.

    The most likely reason they would be looking for firmware updates is that they have old equipment doing something important that they cannot or do not want to migrate away from at that point.

    Oh, yeah, and they have an issue related to an old bug in Sun firmware, that they had delayed patching for a long time.

    So... they go to Sun's website... looking for answers, their Sun hardware is being flaky due to a defect, it's out of support contract and Sun won't provide the fix

    IOW, the hardware is going to have to be replaced to fix the issue.

    They will be forced to buy new hardware... but are they going to buy more hardware from Oracle after having this issue, after Oracle denied them access to the fix?

    Are they going to keep support contracts on all their other Oracle servers, and replace them with new Oracles when they reach their 5 year server replacement cycle? Or will they buy shiny new Compaq or IBM servers for a fraction of the price? I think the latter...

    More importantly... when some small business or individual picks up their old server [with firmware-related issues] on the aftermarket sold as-is to get rid of it by the original company...

    What is this going to do to their opinion about Oracle, when they find there is a fix for the issue, but Oracle decided they can't have access to it?

    Well, they will be more concerned that there was an issue in the first place, it makes the manufacturer look bad.

    Arguably, this move could increase the number of old Sun/Oracle servers on the aftermarket and reduce the price they sell for, making the brand look even cheaper than it does today.

  • Re:Oh, good Lord. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nexex (256614) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @09:38PM (#32093238) Homepage

    ZFS

  • Re:Oh, good Lord. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mr. Foogle (253554) <<brian.dunbar> <at> <gmail.com>> on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @02:29AM (#32094790) Homepage

    Then why in the devil would they run BSD?

    * ZFS.

    * I like the development philosophy behind the BSD family.

    * Going with the herd is a great way to make a mediocre salary and never rising above the fray.

    It's the law of supply and demand. Consider fire fighters. Now this is not the place for an essay so this is rather simplified ...

    Anyone can aspire to be a fire-fighter for the city. Initial training is a few months and you're in. There are a lot of these guy, they're a dime a dozen, the pay is meh to average, depending on your location.

    Above that you have specialized fire-fighters. Smoke jumpers, maybe the guys at the airport. Guys who put out oil well fires. More training, more experience. You don't have a lot of these, not everyone is qualified. Better pay.

    At the top of the heap you had Red Adair. There was only one Red Adair, his expertise was priceless. You paid him what he asked for because he was worth it.

    I can't be Red Adair, but I can specialize in stuff you don't see everyday. It's worked out well, so far. When the herd said 'Novell' I did Banyan Vines. When they said 'NT' is where you go, I got into Solaris.

    Now the herd is chanting Linux (you ain't the only one) and ... it's a lot like what I read about NetWare and NT and so on.

    Not turning my nose up at Linux - I've used it and I'll use it again. I just don't feel like it's all that and a bag of chips.

  • Re:Oh, good Lord. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by javiercero (518708) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @05:46AM (#32095722)

    "... we just don't trust the code because we don't trust the principals used for getting where they are today..."

    So by "shop" you meant the couple PeeCees you use down at you parents basement. Right?

  • Re:Oh, good Lord. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by e3m4n (947977) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @08:28AM (#32096480)

    even if this were true it takes the burden of liability off you. Just think about how things work in the WinSuck world... they have countless issues all the time. Sometimes they dont fix critical shit for months. Yet employers just accept the 'i opened a ticket with microsoft' answer even if its been 6 months. There's always someone further down the food chain that you can pass the blame off to which preserves your job.

    With having a support contract with an OS vendor like Sun or RedHat, you once again have a faceless organization you can pass the blame off to. Sure, sometimes you can find the answer faster than they can and solve the problem yourself. The same can be said about M$ or a few others. IMHO the real advantage is when you can't figure it out, and the vendor also can't figure it out.. you're completely dumbfounded as to why something is happening. Going it alone leaves you catching all the shit from the top down with all the pressures of resolving a potentially unresolvable issue. Stating you have a ticket open with redhat and that they are at a loss right now as to why its happening suddenly carries more weight than just you saying the same thing. Its not about competency or credibility. Its simply human psychology that 'oh, the guys that wrote the OS cant figure this out it must be seriously difficult' passes through the minds of those not-in-the-know.

  • Re:GARBAGE (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mysidia (191772) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @09:43AM (#32097260)

    That sounds futile.. there can be only one IBM. If Oracle even tries, IBM will send their goon squad out, and return home, leaving behind the charred remains of Oracle HQ, carrying the severed heads of the executives and board members.

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