A petition online for Sun to renew its Sun Sparc Workstation product line notes that SGI’s switch to Itanium using Linux drove many CAD-using engineers to Macintosh workstations. The petition asks users to sign up to get Sparc workstations back and says that as opposed to the former $5000.USD Sun units the desired units should “be at $2499.USD, in line with [Apple’s] Mac Pros which have for years”, as former Power Mac units, been popular computers with the UNIX CAD crowd.
Personally, I think the petition is a lost cause. Former SUN and SGI CAD engineers should not only keep using the UNIX-based Mac Pros but adopt them in greater number. Apple is on the bleeding edge of hardware and software development, with its new OpenCL industry standard sure to take off quickly as most of the key industry players are behind it. OpenCL will increase OpenGL adoption as well in the gaming sector and buttress the cross-platform graphics API standard further in engineering, visualization and CAD. And with tools like the quality virtualization products by VMware and Parallels Mac Pros can be fully setup as Solaris-based UNIX stations as well.
Nevertheless, some former SGI and Sun workstation buffs may wish to sign on the dotted line. But before you do, perhaps you should take a gander again at the Mac Pro.