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I disagree regarding Solaris x86.

There was a lot of commercial software that either didn't have Solaris x86 binaries at all, or only had 32 bit binaries.

It was arguably "better" from a purely technical view, but cheaper beat out better.

That sounds very believable and would have slowed commercial SPARC users from switching to whitebox x86, likely intentionally, but would have had no relevance to startups and the rapid onslaught of hyperscalers.

A video that amuses me with respect to engineering culture and organization blindness is Cantrill doing a DTrace demo at Google in 2007 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6chLw2aodYQ. The audience seems completely unaware about the significance of what they are seeing. The length of time between Linux getting cogent tracing support is telling. GOOG could have single-handedly propped up an extra-Sun OpenSolaris community, and there would have been nice symbiosis considering their early container usage and how long that took to grow as well.

Sun changed its mind about whether SunOS / Solaris x86 was going to be a real, serious thing several times over the years. I wouldn't blame vendors for steering clear of the mess until it worked itself out. Which it certainly did...

It was arguably "better" from a purely technical view, but cheaper beat out better.

The commodity always wins. Never forget that.

Steve Jobs might disagree :)

Solaris had some neat integration with Java, containerization way before lxc, and DTrace which still lives on.

The reason I think it didn't rise to ubiquity in the same way that Linux did is the lack of customization.

One can easily customize the Linux kernel for their use case (i.e. Embedded), compile it, add busybox/dropbear, and you have a decent starting point for an embedded OS. You couldn't do the same with Solaris.

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