Solaris for free?

Chuck Young cyoung at
Wed Aug 12 20:05:12 EDT 1998

No validity is implied.  I'm waiting for confirmation myself, but it is an
interesting thought...

Chuck Young
GTE Internetworking

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[ extracted from TechWeb]
Sun Releases Solaris For Free
(08/10/98; 8:12 p.m. ET)
By Malcolm Maclachlan, TechWeb 

Sun took a dive into the freeware community Monday,
releasing its Solaris operating environment free for
non-commercial use.

Solaris is Sun's flavor of Unix.  Starting Monday,
educators and others who sign an agreement not to use
the software for commercial purposes may download the
environment for free.  Solaris normally costs $695,
though educators usually pay only $99 for it, said
Graham Lovell, group marketing manager for education
at Sun.

The free release of Solaris will accomplish a number
of Sun's goals, Lovell said. First, the company wants
to push Solaris on both Sparc and PC environments. He
said the company was surprised by the growing demand
from people who wanted to run Solaris on PCs.  The
plan will also accommodate organizations that want to
upgrade from older versions of Solaris but can't
afford to.

In addition, Sun (company profile) wants to promote
development for the Solaris platform. However, Lovell
denied the release had anything to do with the growing
popularity of Linux, a free version of Unix that has
gained support from Netscape and Novell.

"Linux is not the competition," he said.  "The
competition is non-Unix operating systems."

But one analyst disagrees. Larry Augustin, president
of systems vendor VA Research, said Sun's decision to
give away Solaris for non-commercial use has a lot to
do with Linux. "Sun knows that open-source, free
software is biting into them from the bottom of the
market," he said.

Lovell also declined to identify Microsoft's Windows
NT as the main thrust of the non-Unix competition,
saying only "NT is certainly in that category."

Solaris is the leading flavor of Unix, according to
studies by International Data Corp., and other
research firms, commanding a 50 percent market share.
However, the Unix market has been eroded by Windows
NT. Sun itself entered the NT business last month,
acquiring application-server vendor NetDynamics.

The release is good for Unix as a whole, Augustin
said, but is probably not that important overall. Five
years ago, it would have been revolutionary. But
compared to other recent free OS and open-source
efforts, this non-commercial release has a "me-too"
feel, he said.

What would be revolutionary, he added, is if Sun
released the Solaris source code, which would allow
the company to quickly address the OS's shortcomings,
such as its slow speed on Intel platforms.

Users of the free Solaris program will receive support
and information through the Solaris Developer
connection program. The Sun website also contains a
directory of free software available for the Solaris


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