Sun Microsystems Inc. today is expected to unveil the much-awaited ‘free’ version of its Operating System, Solaris 10, which the company is betting on to help neutralize the open-source threat and increase profitability.
Solaris 10 is an update version of the UNIX operating system Sun has sold for years to large computer data centers, financial and education organizations. Previous versions of Solaris sold for hundreds or thousands of dollars and billions were spent on research and development. Sun claims 600 new features for Solaris 10.
So what caused Sun to offer its flagship software ‘free’? The dramatic move is Sun’s response to the rapidly growing threat that open-source software poses. Sun also wants to put pressure on software competitors like Microsoft Inc., International Business Machines (IBM) Corp., Hewlett-Packard (HP) Corp. and RedHat, the largest distributor of Linux.
“It´s a brilliant strategic move,” said Bill Raduchel, Sun´s former chief strategist. “The tech world is funny — you often give away your most valuable assets.”
“Solaris 10 is what Sun believes will differentiate itself from companies like Dell and others,” said Tony Iams, an analyst at D.H. Brown Associates of Port Chester, New York.
Solaris 10 is free to use for anyone registers with Sun, but service and support will cost between $120 and $360 a year for each licensed machine. Sun will start offering Solaris 10 at the end of January.