Evi loves HP-UX

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wenp
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Evi loves HP-UX

Unread postby wenp » Mon Sep 15, 2014 3:37 pm

Evi Nemeth, original author of the famous Unix System Administration Handbook, was lost at sea last summer. Something that was commented on by those who knew her was how much she liked HP-UX and hated Solaris. While the Solaris bit wasn't unusual, I'd never heard of anyone loving HP-UX. I just spent some time comparing editions of her book to see what her issues were.

Reading USAH 2nd (1995) edition, yeah, she really complains a lot about Solaris. Her big things are disorganized init/log facilities, tools with odd names/features, complicated networking config, and flaky hardware. Nemeth says the modular kernal architecture is nice when automatic driver loading works, but is tortuous when it doesn't due to frequent hardware problems.

On the flip side, Evi thinks HP-UX is just brilliant, with hardly a negative thing to say about it. The man pages are much improved from careful editing. Init facilities are neatly organized. Hardware generally "just works" (due to the limited range supported?). Networking is super easy to configure and rock solid. If there was any feature she didn't give a complete thumbs up, it would be that booting procedures tended to vary by machine.

Going to the 3rd (2000) and 4th (2010) editions, she vented less spleen against Solaris, but I can't tell if Solaris improved all that much or she just got mellower. In the 4th edition, I think she was more focused on disliking AIX and its ODM. Solaris wasn't the only focus of her ire. RHEL gets criticized a lot, and she sometimes makes FreeBSD sound like an affliction.

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Re: Evi loves HP-UX

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Mon Sep 15, 2014 4:49 pm

I don't like the ODM either, but since you manipulate it through smit, the last word in system configuration tools, I don't mind it terribly much.
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Re: Evi loves HP-UX

Unread postby SAQ » Mon Sep 15, 2014 5:39 pm

In the red version she was noticeably pro-BSD and anti-SysV. Seems like she liked HP-UX 9.x better than 10.x then.

Solaris back in the pre-2.6 days was pretty bad (they kept SunOS 4.1 around longer than planned because of it). It's gotten much better, at least up to v8-9, don't have as much experience with v10 and zero with v11.
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Re: Evi loves HP-UX

Unread postby josehill » Mon Sep 15, 2014 6:00 pm

One of my old sysadmins was a huge HP-UX fan. He was a real professional: he managed systems running all of the common commercial flavors of Unix, and also OpenBSD. He had something positive to say about all of them, while also being honest about the headaches that each entailed, too. He was one of the few who could say, "Oh, you'd want to run that particular application on {platform X} because {reason Y}," and, after researching the question further, you'd find out he was right. He always said that he had the most fun working with Origins, but I could tell that his heart was really into his big box HPs. It was an emotional thing, as much as anything else, I think. You never get over your first Big Iron, I guess.

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Re: Evi loves HP-UX

Unread postby wenp » Mon Sep 15, 2014 7:36 pm

SAQ wrote:In the red version she was noticeably pro-BSD and anti-SysV.

In her evaluation, she seemed to put heavy emphasis on how nicely the OS supported the hardware. In the time of the 1st and 2nd editions, would BSDs have been mainly on VAX? With a limited set of hardware to support, I suppose there would be relatively few problems.

In the 3rd edition, she takes some pains to excuse the extra work required by FreeBSD, saying it's hard to support PC hardware.

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Re: Evi loves HP-UX

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Mon Sep 15, 2014 9:46 pm

josehill wrote:One of my old sysadmins was a huge HP-UX fan. He was a real professional: he managed systems running all of the common commercial flavors of Unix, and also OpenBSD. He had something positive to say about all of them, while also being honest about the headaches that each entailed, too. He was one of the few who could say, "Oh, you'd want to run that particular application on {platform X} because {reason Y}," and, after researching the question further, you'd find out he was right. He always said that he had the most fun working with Origins, but I could tell that his heart was really into his big box HPs. It was an emotional thing, as much as anything else, I think. You never get over your first Big Iron, I guess.


Yeah, but my first Big Iron was HP-UX (a PA-RISC-based K250) and I can't say I have that much nostalgia for it. I have a couple machines, including a big tank 9000/350 in the enclosure and the megapixel monitor, but I was irked by aCC and I don't find using sam all that much fun. And my C8000 sits on the shelf because HP-UX doesn't do much as a workstation OS and to use it as a server is a waste.

I don't hate HP-UX, but I'd rather use AIX. (I don't care much for Solaris, FWIW -- I rather preferred the old SunOS, probably because of my BSD fetish being a product of the University of California. So maybe BSD was my first "Big Iron" even though "Big Iron" in this case was a 486 server running BSDI/386 in the bowels of AP&M at UC San Diego.)
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Re: Evi loves HP-UX

Unread postby jan-jaap » Tue Sep 16, 2014 12:26 am

josehill wrote:You never get over your first Big Iron

.sig worthy :)
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Re: Evi loves HP-UX

Unread postby Alver » Tue Sep 16, 2014 2:38 am

wenp wrote:Evi Nemeth, original author of the famous Unix System Administration Handbook, was lost at sea last summer. Something that was commented on by those who knew her was how much she liked HP-UX and hated Solaris. While the Solaris bit wasn't unusual, I'd never heard of anyone loving HP-UX.

Well, you've just heard of the second one just now. I honestly love UX, and still use it at home for a desktop (although I haven't had much time for it at all since my son was born). It's a well-organized, reliable, pleasant to use system. Networking *is* dead easy, and rock solid (try playing with HPVM virtual switches on top of VLAN interfaces on top of trunks on top of physical cards - it's a breeze). Storage, since 11.31, is excellent as well - /dev/cdisk/ is every cluster admin's dream.

But I may be the slightest bit biased - you really never do get over your first Big Iron. :D
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Re: Evi loves HP-UX

Unread postby josehill » Tue Sep 16, 2014 9:30 am

jan-jaap wrote:
josehill wrote:You never get over your first Big Iron

.sig worthy :)

Hah! I've never used a sig on Nekochan. Maybe it's time to add one! :)

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Re: Evi loves HP-UX

Unread postby wenp » Thu Sep 18, 2014 1:46 pm

Alver wrote:I honestly love UX, and still use it at home for a desktop

As I noted, a big part of Nemeth's affection was the reliability of the hardware and how well the OS supported it. By a wide margin, I hear more praise of the reliablity HP hardware than any other Unix boxes, but that's mostly from the PA-RISC days. Are things still as good with Itanium boxes?

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Re: Evi loves HP-UX

Unread postby Kira » Thu Sep 18, 2014 5:26 pm

wenp wrote:
Alver wrote:I honestly love UX, and still use it at home for a desktop

As I noted, a big part of Nemeth's affection was the reliability of the hardware and how well the OS supported it. By a wide margin, I hear more praise of the reliablity HP hardware than any other Unix boxes, but that's mostly from the PA-RISC days. Are things still as good with Itanium boxes?


In my experience, yes - especially with high-end machines.


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