Solaris No Longer Free

Posted on March 28, 2010

Hot on the heals of Oracle’s revamp of Solaris support, the licensing agreement for free downloads of Solaris 10 have changed. Infoworld broke the news on Friday.

Here is the bit in question. Notice this paragraph in the Licensing Agreement:

“Obtaining an Entitlement Document is simple. On the Solaris 10 Get It page, select the platform and format you desire from the drop-down menus, and then click the Download Solaris 10 button. When you arrive at the Sun Download Center, either sign in or register, ensuring that a valid e-mail address is part of your Sun Download Center account to receive the Entitlement Document. Fill out the Solaris download survey, specifying the number of systems on which you are installing the software. Once you have completed the survey, you will be redirected to the Solaris 10 download page for downloading, and your Entitlement Document will be sent to your registered e-mail address. 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.

That’s the part that is that gets the interest… but here’s the part that is more serious. Here is a line from the old license:

“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.”

Notice the end of the line, “or via email when you register your systems through the SDC”. Look at those 2 sentences in the new document:

“In order to use the Solaris operating system for perpetual commercial use, each system running Solaris must be expressly licensed to do so. An Entitlement Document comprises such license and is delivered to you either with a new Sun system or from Sun Services as part of your service agreement.”

Notice something missing? Now the only entitlement docs come from a new “Sun System” or a service contract. This is the basis for the aforementioned “Please remember…”

Under the old agreement Solaris was only a 90 day trial if you failed to register… however, now its a 90 day trial only if you register. An important question to be answered is: What about agreements with other equipment makers such as HP and Dell? Previously those agreements didn’t really matter much outside of marketing because you could buy a Supermicro and register it for an entitlement… but now?

So far the OpenSolaris license has not changed, it’s still CDDL.

So long as OpenSolaris remains free this isn’t the end of the world… but now all eyes turn to OpenSolaris’s fate. The end of the month is here and OpenSolaris 2010.03 is no where in site and those I’ve asked on the inside are unable to say.

This might be a good time to catch up on non-Sun/Oracle distros such as Nexenta, Schillix, and Belenix.

When combined with the support revamp and the impending Solaris 11 based on IPS, the message seems clear. Out with the old, in with the new. There may be attractive offerings for new customers in the high-end enterprise space, but long time supporters in smaller shops are going to get royally screwed.