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Sun Microsystems

Solaris 8 & 9 Free for x86 Once Again 411

REBloomfield writes "The Register is reporting that after nearly two years, Solaris x86 8 & 9 is once again Free (as in beer) to download for x86 users." You can download it if you desire. Gives me college flashbacks.
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Solaris 8 & 9 Free for x86 Once Again

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  • by trp642 ( 551059 ) * on Thursday December 11, 2003 @05:34PM (#7693846) Homepage
    Wow that's cheaper than buying a Linux license from SCO! I'm switching to Solaris right away!

    Now if only they would GPL the code to Solaris...
  • Hardware Support (Score:5, Informative)

    by rf0 ( 159958 ) * <rghf@fsck.me.uk> on Thursday December 11, 2003 @05:34PM (#7693862) Homepage
    Worth reading the hardware compatibility [sun.com] list before installing

  • What advantages ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by frodo from middle ea ( 602941 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @05:36PM (#7693882) Homepage
    What advantages does solaris offer over linux/*BSD when running on x86 platforms ?

    Any info against what least common denominator the binaries are compiled for ? 386 , 486, pentium ?

    • by metlin ( 258108 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @05:40PM (#7693947) Journal
      I'm guessing advantages pertaining to legacy and portability issues.

      But more particularly, I think it serves to function as a glorified ad campaign (no pun intended).
    • Re:What advantages ? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by PizzaFace ( 593587 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @06:08PM (#7694359)
      Solaris is known for its efficient threading mechanism, and it's said to be an excellent platform for database servers. I don't know whether the x86 is as good this way as the Sparc version.

      I paid $65 for the "free" x86 version of Solaris a couple years ago, when you had to buy media because Sun didn't offer a download, and it wouldn't run with the video card in my computer. Then sun dropped x86 Solaris, then my database vendor dropped support for x86 Solaris, so now I think Sun is coming around too late. Linux and even FreeBSD are making strides with their threading designs, so I don't see a compelling technical reason to use Solaris on Intel.

      I can see a market for it among people who want Solaris experience for their resumes.
    • by StandardDeviant ( 122674 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @06:25PM (#7694554) Homepage Journal
      If the word on the street is to be believed, Solaris 10 x86 will include support for AMD64 (Opteron et. al.). This is rumored to be targeted at a Q1-Q2 '04 release date (i.e. reasonably soon). It is true that some of the linux vendors/distributions are working on amd64 ports, but Solaris has been running on 64 bit cpus for years and years, so there are far, FAR fewer little "oops, you mean an int isn't four bytes????" bugs laying around to get tripped up on (I speak mainly in reference to userland here, given that it will go through a commericial QA process from a large vendor I'm not that worried about issues with the kernel itself ;)).

      Not that your average web or file server will need to care about 64bit anything, but it'll be nice for those of us running big databases or scientific/engineering codes.

      Overall, what's the difference in flavor between Linux and Solaris? Not a lot, really. Solaris does "feel" much more integrated (man pages that don't suck, for example.) Now, you can throw that straight out the window if you insist on things like GNU utilities and such, but it's hardly Sun's fault if you don't like the 1970s versions of tar or vi or want a C compiler for free. ;)

      • What? Working on amd64 ports???I downloaded the amd64 beta of RHES (gingin) the same month Opterons went on sale! I've been working on a dual Opteron box with SLES 8 for about 3 months now: everything (including DB2, and even _mplayer_) is running full 64-bit.

        You've been out of the loop! It's Sun that's dragging their feet. Even Microsoft will probably beat them to the punch. (You can get betas of 2003 if you ask the right person)

        The amd64 tree has been in the kernel for ages, ever since AMD started givin
    • Re:What advantages ? (Score:3, Informative)

      by dohcvtec ( 461026 )
      Any info against what least common denominator the binaries are compiled for ? 386 , 486, pentium ?

      I don't know what the binaries are compiled for, but I can tell you that Solaris 9 doesn't support 486 at all (i.e. it will not let you install.)
  • by OffTheLip ( 636691 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @05:38PM (#7693915)
    Solaris 8/9 and CDE, what could be better...
    • Re:The deal closer (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ChaseTec ( 447725 )
      >>Solaris 8/9 and CDE, what could be better...
      Solaris 9 and Gnome...oh wait that's been standard for the the last couple of releases of 9.

      And before people whine too much about hardware support...
      For a port of XFree86 drivers to Solaris(even the VESA driver) please see: here [sun.com]
      For nic drivers see here [nifty.com](I helped get the Realtek driver building with the Solaris/sparc version of gcc, previously you had to buy Sun's compiler to build the driver for a 10 dollar nic)
      Or you might want to look here [solaris-x86.org] for l
    • GNOME is available with Solaris 9 out of the box (and of course a lot better than CDE :-).

      Keep in mind that Solaris x86 doesn't support every hardware combination that MS Windows seems to. For details and pointers, see the Solaris x86 FAQ [drydog.com] that I wrote.

  • Hot and Cold (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @05:39PM (#7693934) Journal
    Blowing that is.

    I know large companies have multiple objectives, sometimes competing, but does it seem to anyone else that Sun isn't *that* large... You can't port Java. You can port Java. Linux is dead. Our new desktop is Linux (oh, +Java). Solaris x86 is not free ... ... (wait for it, it took a while) ... Oh, yes it is, actually....

    I guess there are Sun-only places where this might be a big deal. I'm also guessing that they're in a minority, so what does Sun see in it all ? It must be a reasonably large cost to maintain another OS for a company, so there has to be an upside... Answers on a postcard, please :-)


    • I guess there are Sun-only places where this might be a big deal. I'm also guessing that they're in a minority, so what does Sun see in it all ? It must be a reasonably large cost to maintain another OS for a company, so there has to be an upside... Answers on a postcard, please :-)

      It's only free for non-commercial use on single-CPU machines. Commercial installations, or installations on multi-processor machines, need to pay for a license.
    • Re:Hot and Cold (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Cujo ( 19106 ) *

      What I want to know is can you take C++ code you've developed under SPARC Solaris and port it to x86 Solaris with a reasonable chance of compiling first try?

    • Re:Hot and Cold (Score:4, Insightful)

      by spinlocked ( 462072 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @06:11PM (#7694393)
      I guess there are Sun-only places where this might be a big deal. I'm also guessing that they're in a minority, so what does Sun see in it all ? It must be a reasonably large cost to maintain another OS for a company, so there has to be an upside... Answers on a postcard, please :-)

      Practically nobody uses Solaris x86 commercially (yet) - this was the reason they were planning to drop it a couple of years ago. Times have changed, Sun have a couple of newish Xeon based boxes out (really intended to run Linux not Solaris, but they'll do that too) plus some blades. The boxes to watch are the Opteron based systems coming out next year. I have reason to believe they will be priced *very* competitively.

      Solaris is 95+% platform independent, porting to a new architechture is not that big a deal - keeping up with the fast moving ecosystem of x86 hardware is a real pain, which is why they've not really been interested in x86 to date. Sun makes their money on selling tin not software.
  • by Eberlin ( 570874 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @05:40PM (#7693949) Homepage
    SUN -- are you doing Solaris or are you doing Linux? Is the Java Desktop going to migrate from Linux to being Solaris-based? Why not do SUNBSD while you're at it?

    At the end of the day, I'm sure I'm asking what most of their investors probably are too -- SUN, where are you going with all of this?
  • by Carthag ( 643047 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @05:40PM (#7693964) Homepage

    Solaris x86 8 & 9 is once again Free (as in beer) to download for x86 users.

    Can we download the x86 version for free? ;)

  • While this is nice for hobbyists, the people who *NEED* Solaris surely could afford 20$ for a copy for a long time now.
  • by Raynach ( 713366 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @05:42PM (#7693994) Homepage
    I would think that Sun is giving away the x86 Solaris for free because they just want to draw more users from the open source and free-as-in-speech community to look at what it has to offer...

    ...although they are only offering the binary for download.

    Sun makes enough from licensing Solaris to big SPARC machines (that it makes) and that Solaris is originally supposed to run on. It's kind of like baiting penguins with processed tuna fish... when the penguins already know that there's fresh fish a lot more readily accessible. Some of the penguins might play with it, but they won't eat it religiously.

    That was an awesome analogy. I rule.

    • Dude Sun is getting KILLED on Sparc machines. Who the hell wants to pay $150K for a 4-way Sparc that can get circles run around it by a $5000 Linux server?

      In the boom days, maybe (it was Sun, EMC, Cisco, etc.). These days people won't overpay by 10x for a reliable brand name in the same way, when they can get a $5K box from IBM with a $5K support contract for an IBM/Linux box that kicks the sh*t out of the Sparc/Solaris machine, in performance AND reliablilty.
      • Those prices are outdated. Sun nowadays (is forced to) have cheaper models. Compared to brand-name x86-based servers they are not much more expensive any more. V440 (4 CPUs, 8GB RAM, 4 36GB SCSI disks, redundant PSU) list price US$16000.

        No, it's not cheap and it certainly cannot compete with an off-the-shelf dual-CPU Xeon, but 4 CPUs are more expensive then 2 times 2. A Dell PowerEdge 6650 with 4 Xeon 2MHz and similar specs is available at US$17500.

        And once you go beyond 4 CPUs, everything is pretty exp

      • $150k? That's an exaggeration.

        Sun Fire V440 Server 4 1.28-GHz UltraSPARC IIIi Processors 1-MB Internal Cache 16-GB Memory 4 36-GB Ultra320 SCSI 10000RPM Disk Drives 1 DVD-ROM Drive 2 10/100/1000 Mb/s Ethernet Ports 1 DB9 (ttyb), 1 RJ45 (Console) Serial Ports 4 USB Ports 2 (1+1) Power Supplies Solaris 8 HW 07/03 Operating System Server License Ships Within: 10 business days List Price: $25,995.00

        Looks pretty nice to me.

  • by eamacnaghten ( 695001 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @05:48PM (#7694076) Homepage Journal
    Although Solaris is currently ahead of Linux for multi-processor/64 bit computing, it will not be when Linux 2.6 gets into propper production. Obviously SUN is trying to deploy Solaris as much as possible, and to make it as scaleable as possible, in an attempt to stay one ahead of Linux. It is destinned to fail here, there is just too much resource going into linux now. Solaris is destinned to become a legacy OS. A better stratergy for SUN would be to provide an upgrade path of Solaris to Linux, and to ride the wave, not fight it.
    • A better stratergy for SUN would be to provide an upgrade path of Solaris to Linux, and to ride the wave, not fight it.

      Maybe they can license the upgrade path from SCO [caldera.com]. No I'm not trying to be funny or trollish. SCO has a product called "Linux Kernel Personalities" for thieir UNIX OS that enables Linux binaries to be run on that platform. Can't get any more info because SCO's website because its not responding. Hmmmm.
    • Do you honestly think that the 2.6 kernel is going to put Linux anywhere near Solaris in scalability. Will 2.6 run on a 106 processor machine without any futzing (and the first fuck who mentions clustering, beowulf or mosix should bend over and eat his own shit). Will 2.6 do domaining/containers/zones? Will it doe dynamic reconfiguration? If Linux can scale to 32X I will be happy, but to think it is going to be on par with Solaris (Sparc mind you) you are crazy.
      • by Usquebaugh ( 230216 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @07:24PM (#7695354)
        The question is not can Linux do something now, but rather, how long before Linux can do it? Or more accurately how long before Linux can do it on commodity hardware.

        I'm pretty sure the new SGI runs without futzing, not sure if it's a 106 cpu box. Likewise the Stratus hardware allows for dynamic config. So maybe Linux can already do it, just not on commodity hardware.

        In the enterprise sphere the question becomes does IBM want to do it? IBM seems committed to migrating all their servers to Linux. Z series on down. If IBM has the feature currently I'm guessing it will be in Linux in the next few years.

        The worst thing Sun can do is throw mud at Linux, as Linux gains more features the mud gets thrown back. Where does Sun go if Linux gains all the features of Solaris?

        If Sun suspects Linux is going to gain the features that sets Solaris apart Sun needs to embrace Linux now. Why would I want Sparc without Solaris? A nasty double whammy for Sun that, they lose their OS market share and as a result nobody wants their hardware.

        In my mind the question is rapidly becoming what hardware should I run Linux on. The OS war is over and the damn hippies have won. The hardware thou is open, intel rules the low end, can they invade the high end or is Sun/IBM going to hold on?
  • by CatOne ( 655161 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @05:49PM (#7694106)
    To the Scott McNealy "Strategy of the Month" club!

    Wonder how long this will last, before they have a change of heart.

    I have a buddy who worked there in product management for their app server. They had like 30 middleware products that all had the same message, and the VP printed out the statements, passed them out, and asked the PMs to identify their products by the message. They couldn't do it, because it was all the same sh!t. Heh.
  • requirements (Score:5, Informative)

    by musikit ( 716987 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @05:50PM (#7694110)
    You must have:
    Free disk space: 4.0 GBytes to Install Solaris 9 OS; 5.0 GBytes to Install Java Enterprise System Software
    Recordable CD-ROM drive: To create CDs using the downloaded zipped files
    Recordable CDs: Blank 750 recordable or rewriteable CDs, one needed for each CD image downloaded
    CD labels: Required under license agreement
    CD writing application: Use cdrecord for Solaris or Easy CD Creator for Windows is recommended
    Download Manager: Sun Download Manager (Free version) runs on most platforms (see System Requirements for details)
    Unzip application: WinZip recommended for Microsoft Windows (or use Sun Download Manager's automatic unzip feature)

    you also need to "register" on sun's website. so it's as free as the NY times articles online. too bad there isn't a google cache of solaris 9
  • SCO Anyone? (Score:4, Funny)

    by segment ( 695309 ) <sil@poli[ ]x.org ['tri' in gap]> on Thursday December 11, 2003 @05:51PM (#7694120) Homepage Journal
    Oh Parodies gotta love them... I smell a lawsuit [scumgroup.com]
  • Whats new? (Score:4, Funny)

    by hackstraw ( 262471 ) * on Thursday December 11, 2003 @05:51PM (#7694129)
    So Sun is changing their mind about the cost of a product. Whats next, Sun offering an AMD processor with Linux?

    These people are getting really wierd.
  • ARGH (Score:4, Funny)

    by ozzmosis ( 99513 ) * <ahze@ahze.net> on Thursday December 11, 2003 @05:52PM (#7694143) Homepage Journal
    Argh! and i just paid 20$ for it on tuesday!

    Be sure to read the hardware requirments!!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    (Better college flashback)
  • Why sun sucks. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AchmedHabib ( 696882 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @05:58PM (#7694224)
    I needed a Solaris on Intel for a project. Tried to fight it but to no avail..
    So I called the reseller and wanted to order a licence. Won't go into detail on how long it took them to get a pricetag for it.. think weeks.

    I checked out their website and saw I could download it for 20$ online, but i would still need a license.
    So I waited almost 2 months for it. When it arrived, I got a big box filled up with that annoying shock absorbing stuff and a piece of paper which were the license, but no CDs or anything just a big empty box.
    So I called Sun and got tossed around in their phone system and they managed to hang up on me 3 times. The fourth time I managed to get through to a hotline or something and I was told that Solaris for Intel was free. "oh" I said, "your reseller has just sold me a license for 500$"... oh well
    "Now how do I get the software?", I was then told that I could order it or download it from their site for 20$. Damn I didn't want to do that online ordering since I had to use my own creditcard and didn't want to go though the paperwork to get a refund for 20$ from the company, but after waiting almost 2 months now I needed the software and bought a download ticket.

    This was my first expirence with Sun and hopefully my last. I would have expected a better service and that they would at least act like they were interested in selling something. Other people in the company have after all bought their SunFire 12k boxes for other projects.
    It is clear that Solaris on Intel has little or no focus at Sun which also shows when trying to install it. It is easier to find hardware to install FreeBSD or any other BSD on than Solaris. And installing any Linux dist. is a breeze compared to Solaris. I'd say you really gotta LOVE Solaris if you want to run other than the Sparc version on Sun hardware.
  • I wonder what Kevin Mitnick thinks about this little tidbit.
  • Something to put on the Athlon XP 1800+ which doesn't suck.
  • by martinde ( 137088 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @06:02PM (#7694272) Homepage
    I've run across several free Sparcs, including an Ultra 2 that a friend's company was throwing away. It looks as though I can download Solaris for it for free now too! I thought about running Linux on it, but I'm not sure what the point would be since it would be slower than the x86s I've got around.
    • I have a Ultra 2 Enterprise with dual 400MHz UltraSparc IIs and SuSE 7.3 runs very nicely. There are some issues with the sound system but it does work. OTOH I installed Solaris 9 last night and have had problems with the DHCP client but I was able to work around it. Also the Java media player dosen't seem to work properly, it "appears" to be playing but no sound is heard and the progress bar dosen't move. As far as Solaris is concerned I have had my best luck with Solaris 7 Server, both intel and sparc tha
    • Actually, my experience with older Ultra Sparcs (1, 2, etc...) is that they are MUCH faster under linux than under Solaris. About 50 to 150% faster at most stuff. This is especially true if they've got IDE drives in them, as Sun never really seemed to do a great job on the IDE drivers in Solaris (X86 or Sparc)

      Postgresql runs about twice as fast on linux on sparc as Solaris on Sparc, for instance.
  • by mcc ( 14761 ) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Thursday December 11, 2003 @06:03PM (#7694277) Homepage
    Why, just the other day I was looking at my x86 debian box and thinking, "You know, it's so great how on my mac and on the school's sparc machines, I can never get binaries for anything, it's a BITCH AND A HALF to compile anything, and half the time I can't get stuff to work. Debian doesn't offer anything like that. I sure do wish there was some way I could get that Darwin/Solaris sort of experience on my PC!"

    And now here this is! My prayers answered! Yahoo!

    [ DISCLAIMER: The above is humor. In reality, my x86 box is running Gentoo, which means that I can never get binaries for anything, it's a bitch and a half to install anything, and half the time I can't get stuff to work. ]
  • by ericdano ( 113424 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @06:08PM (#7694346) Homepage
    I dunno which is scarier, Taco posting twice or that he went to college......
  • by cyber_rigger ( 527103 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @06:08PM (#7694354) Homepage Journal
    My collage flashbacks are more along the line of punched cards.
    • Well, I'm not soooo old, because my freshman year was the last year my college had punched cards for the Honeywell mainframe. After that it was high tech 3270 type terminals with that nice slow green phosphur, no interlace/flicker headaches from those babies, I can tell you. That ended the hassle of signing up for the keypunch, or standing in line at the keypunch where you could do 12 cards or less for corrections. But also during my freshman year, the physics department acquired a shiny new IBM PC with 6
  • by nathanh ( 1214 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @06:29PM (#7694625) Homepage

    Putting aside the source code issue, one of SCO's complaints is that IBM has released "UNIX technology" for free (as in beer) and this has undercut SCO's profit margins from UNIX. This is in addition to SCO's complaints over copyright infringement and trade secrets being leaked (both of which are on shaky factual and legal grounds). SCO mentions their eroding market share and their lost profits multiple times in their submissions.

    But now Sun is releasing the very same "UNIX technology" for free (as in beer). So what's the difference?

    SCO might say that the difference is one of trade secrets. But end-users can't be held liable for trade secrets leaked by IBM.

    SCO might say that the difference is one of improper contribution: Sun has a license to put "UNIX technology" into Solaris, and IBM has a license to put "UNIX technology" into AIX, but IBM doesn't have a license to put "UNIX technology" into Linux. But that's an argument that still needs to be decided in court (plus the facts and the law are heavily against SCO).

    But in terms of eroding SCO's market share, Free Solaris/x86 is exactly the same as Free Linux. There is no difference. Both products are superior to UnixWare and both are available at no appreciable cost.

    So I'd like to see how SCO reacts to this. If they don't complain then what they're realling saying is that they don't mind their core product (UnixWare) being undercut by a far superior UNIX (Solaris/x86). What they really care about is that the product killing their market is Linux. And that's suspicious. Why should they only care that it's Linux?

  • Where can a long time Linux user find documentation on Solaris? I'd really love to find something that compared solaris administration functions to, say, Red Hat functions.

    I've set up a Solaris box or two, and was horribly confused by the init system. Not because I don't understand how it works, but because I refuse to believe that sun doesn't include a tool to manage that horrible abomination. All the same, I couldn't find one.

    I'd also like some sort of reference for the services that are started by d
    • They include plenty of tools for managing init: different shells and vi.

      You can "man" everything on solaris if you've made your whatis database.
  • Since I just had to buy a copy for a contract a recently did.

    Maybe I'll just try to get them to dicount a purchase of JDS or something...

  • Just remember, Sun has killed it before, and they can kill it again. Just use this simple formula:



    p = profits
    m1 = money to be made by abandoning X86 Solaris
    m2 = money to be made by keeping X86 solaris

    As soon as p is positive, Sun will cease production of X86 solaris again.

    Sun has no loyalty to you, the user, so don't count on X86 Solaris to be there when you need it. We had a dozen or more X86 Solaris servers when Sun dropped it completely a while back, and had just finished converting mo
  • by pimpinmonk ( 238443 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @07:00PM (#7695056)
    Gives me college flashbacks.
    Are you sure you didn't just crack your back?
  • Don't issue a killall command on Solaris. You won't like what it does. :)
  • by MrLinuxHead ( 528693 ) <mrlinuxhead.yahoo@com> on Thursday December 11, 2003 @07:52PM (#7695627) Homepage Journal
    SUN shows a Linux Distro (Java Desktop) and sells it for $100 per seat (per year). China and England check it out and may buy in. Sun responds by GIVING AWAY Solaris 8 and 9 for free?
  • by 0x1337 ( 659448 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:14PM (#7696416)
    The Solaris kernel, in particular, is a technological marvel and is one of the leading development platforms for new ideas in OS and Kernel development.

    The Solaris system, as well, is very well thought out.

    So if by chance you wind up with an UltraSparc or x86 box setup with Solaris, and with all your hardware functional, then you have a superb system.

    However, getting to that stage without resorting to disk imaging is hard. Solaris has probably one of the worst installation routines - its even less stable (and functionally useful) than Microsoft's windows setup, which already speaks volumes. The design is horrible - from the key binding, to the (or lack thereof of) menu option, to the very unflexible installation, to the stalls and crashes along the way. Mind you, even if you did successfully manage to "install" it, it certainly will require a lot of your attention to make all your hardware work - certainly not turnkey.

    As a person who bought four x86 Solaris 9 licenses, along with CDs, DVDs (StarOffice too!!), I was sort of disappointed in my fruitless methods of installing SOlaris successfully. Hardware support is definitely a little scanty (but I can't blame that on Sun since they tailor their OS to UltraSparcs which they produce, not to PCs). Installing Solaris on a spare Ppro box is definitely one of my Christmas holidays projects.
  • by joeflies ( 529536 ) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @09:23PM (#7696513)
    When I clicked to download Solaris on the link from the story, the following statement comes up

    Sun, as a global company, may transfer your personal information to countries which may not provide an adequate level of protection. Sun, however, is committed to providing a suitable & consistent level of protection for your personal information regardless of the country in which it resides.

    Is it just me, or does that statement say Sun will try to protect your privacy, but preventing it from entering a country without legal protection isn't one of the steps they'll take. And "committed to providing protection" isn't the same as "legally responsibile" either. I know it's intended as a disclaimer, but it also sure is one big loophole as well to get around any privacy claims.

  • Ok... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @01:26AM (#7698080) Homepage Journal
    Is there any reason to use Solaris on z86 other than to become familiar with it so that you can more effectively admin a Sparc machine?

    Seriously. Linux and *BSD seem to have a much wider hardware compatibility base. Development for them seems to be going at a much more rapid pace. If you're not tied to a Sparc machine, is there any real reason to use Solaris?


An elephant is a mouse with an operating system.