Solaris 10 no longer free, future of OpenSolaris questioned

Infoworld is reporting that Sun's enterprise operating system, Solaris 10, is no longer free and is now a 90 day trial. The changed licensing agreement now states the following: "Please remember, your right to use Solaris acquired as a download is limited to a trial of 90 days, unless you acquire a service contract for the downloaded Software."

Prior to their acquisition by Oracle, Sun provided Solaris free (but without support) for both personal and commercial use. That old license only required a free email registration through Sun: 

"In order to use the Solaris 10 Operating System for perpetual commercial use, each system running the Solaris 10 OS must have an entitlement to do so. The Entitlement Document is delivered to you either with a new Sun system, from Sun Services as part of your service agreement, or via e-mail when you register your systems through the Sun Download Center."

Ars notes though that OpenSolaris is not affected by this new license and is still free under the open Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL for short). But questions are still being raised about the future of OpenSolaris, as the latest scheduled release for March, 2010.03, is still not in users hands as end of the month approaches. (It was initially targeted for a February release as 2010.02)

Oracle has stated that they will continue to support OpenSolaris

"Oracle will continue to make OpenSolaris available as open source, and Oracle will continue to actively support and participate in the community. Oracle is investing more in Solaris than Sun did prior to the acquisition, and will continue to contribute technologies to OpenSolaris, as Oracle already does for many other open source projects. Oracle will also continue to deliver OpenSolaris releases, including the upcoming OpenSolaris 2010.03 release."

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22 Comments

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I am also very curious about their plans for Java and MySQL, as they expand into more of Sun's former business. Their Solaris-shift seems very similar to what they could do with MySQL, but I am less worried about their grip on Java.

Sure, the source is there for MySQL for others to fork, but until a real player does, Oracle can do whatever it wants in terms of serious business users with it since I doubt many companies would want to risk Oracle's lawyers coming-a-knocking.

pickypg said,
I am also very curious about their plans for Java and MySQL, as they expand into more of Sun's former business. Their Solaris-shift seems very similar to what they could do with MySQL, but I am less worried about their grip on Java.

Sure, the source is there for MySQL for others to fork, but until a real player does, Oracle can do whatever it wants in terms of serious business users with it since I doubt many companies would want to risk Oracle's lawyers coming-a-knocking.

The problem is that there is no reliable alternative to Oracle that the vast majority of database folks are willing to live with. Microsoft or Sybase? While their databases are, in fact, pretty much identical and based on the same technology, Microsoft is loathed by the FOSS zealots, and Sybase is less liked than even Microsoft. IBM? Oh, please; DB2 is awful to write for (even compared to Oracle), and the per-seat licensing structure is worse than Oracle as well.

As much as I hate Larry Ellison, he's no dummy.

Oracle is one of the worst tech businesses. Everything about the business is about lock-in, even more so than Apple and Microsoft, and their documentation is awful.

Oracle databases are clearly very good, but it's frustrating how they toe the line of standardization while they bastardize just about everything that they can just to make it Oracle specific--eliminating any hope of multi-database support for anything except the simplest queries.

So Solaris wasn't free (to begin with), then Sun made it free. Now Sun was bought out by Oracle and Oracle is making Solaris pay-for again.

What would compel someone to use Solaris as a server system instead of a Linux or BSD distro or even Windows Server?

I remember using Solaris 4 (I think it was v4) back in 94-96ish to access the Internet through a terminal (VT100 baby!).

What isn't clear here is how the change in license affects those who already have free licenses for Solaris 10. Oracle is sorely mistaken if they think they can retroactively invalidate those licenses.

What is the point of making it not free??

Do they really want to go from making $0 and having 0.0001% of the market to still making $0, still having 0.0001% of the market, but then NO ONE using it the newer versions?

Sigh. Yet another large corporate take-over destroys something that, whilst not everyone's cup of tea, was a great thing to be able to get for free.

Thanks Oracle.

Chicane-UK said,
Sigh. Yet another large corporate take-over destroys something that, whilst not everyone's cup of tea, was a great thing to be able to get for free.

Thanks Oracle.

Indeed, this will kill for sure the use of Solaris

Chicane-UK said,
Sigh. Yet another large corporate take-over destroys something that, whilst not everyone's cup of tea, was a great thing to be able to get for free.

Thanks Oracle.

Cry me a river. I don't mind paying for quality products. I don't see you working for free.

Chicane-UK said,
Sigh. Yet another large corporate take-over destroys something that, whilst not everyone's cup of tea, was a great thing to be able to get for free.

Thanks Oracle.


"take over"? Nobody force MySQL and Sun to dell themselves for some huge $$$.

AntonyVM said,
will this affect OpenOffice.Org??

No. The only reason OpenOffice.org is so successful as a Microsoft Office replacement is because it's free. The paid version of OpenOffice.org is call StarOffice.

Edited by illegaloperation, Mar 30 2010, 3:52pm :

AntonyVM said,
will this affect OpenOffice.Org??

It's probably because they see OpenSolaris as a threat to the commercial Solaris. There's no commercial version of OpenOffice or VirtualBox so I'd hope they stay safe for now.

protocol7 said,

It's probably because they see OpenSolaris as a threat to the commercial Solaris. There's no commercial version of OpenOffice or VirtualBox so I'd hope they stay safe for now.

As mentioned, StarOffice is their commercial version. OpenOffice is based on it.

NeoTrunks said,

As mentioned, StarOffice is their commercial version. OpenOffice is based on it.

Oh. I didn't realise StarOffice was still going.