Solaris giveaway scores a win for Sun
August 17, 1998
by Jaikumar Vijayan
(IDG) -- Sun Microsystems, Inc.'s decision to make Solaris available for free to noncommercial developers appears to be winning the company a lot of friends.
This week, less than five days after it announced the program, Sun claimed that more than 18,000 people had already applied for a copy of the operating system. And it cautioned visitors to its Web site to expect significant delays when ordering a free copy.
Under Sun's program, noncommercial developers, such as students or scientific research firms, can get a free copy of Solaris just by asking for it.
"I think it is an excellent move for Sun and for Unix," said Jon Hall, executive director of Linux International, a vendor group based in Amherst, N.H., that promotes Linux use. "It is going to allow a lot more developers and students to become familiar with Solaris," he said. That could lead to more freeware -- and possibly more commercial applications -- being built for the operating system, Hall said.
Sun's move is being seen as a riposte to Linux's rapidly growing popularity, especially in universities, scientific establishments and developing countries. Linux's growth is fueled mainly because the seven-year old operating system is available for free. A large base of Linux freeware also is available.
Although Linux's presence in corporations remains low, a February Gartner Group-Datapro poll of 829 information systems professionals found that Linux was rated No. 1 in overall satisfaction. The operating system topped other Unix versions, including Solaris, in product functionality, flexibility, Internet readiness and cost of ownership.
But as a bid to slow Linux, Sun's move with Solaris may be too
late, said Jonathan Eunice, president of Illuminata, Inc. in Nashua,
N.H. "Linux is simply where all the energy and the excitement [in
freeware] is these days." he said.
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