Linux Smackdown Pinned On Solaris 10

Linux migration

Sun, which will launch the latest version of its Unix operating system Monday, said it will match Red Hat's business model and go a step further by allowing customers to download and run Solaris 10 in production at no charge.

Sun will offer a free right-to-use license with or without subscription support for its commercial version and, later this year, an open-source model that will allow developers access to the Unix source, but not the right to redistribute that code, said Mark McClain, vice president of software marketing at Sun.

"Solaris 10 is clearly better and more advanced than Linux but more aggressively price-matched with the addition that you can get it for free and run it in production unsupported," McClain said. "We're offering a tier between the [Red Hat] Fedora-like license and the regular commercial license. We have to be aggressive because of the Linux momentum out there, but commercial customers will want supported versions of Solaris."

Sun has whittled down to two the number of possible open-source license schemes for Solaris 10, but the final decision won't be announced until the end of the year, he said.

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Both Solaris 10 for Opteron and for UltraSPARC and x86 will be available in January, McClain said.

Sun partners say the new tiered subscriptions and native support for Linux in Solaris 10 are good steps at staving off defections.

"We've seen a number of companies moving off of Solaris to go to Linux. There have been three or four projects that I've been involved in personally over the past few months," said Paul Freeman, president of Coast Solutions, Irvine, Calif. "But people who are staying on Solaris will upgrade to the latest version as soon as they are sure that their applications will be stable on the new platform."