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back to article Oracle murders free OpenSolaris CD shipping

Oracle has murdered the OpenSolaris free CD shipping program. On Wednesday, with a post to the OpenSolaris website discussion mailing list, Oracle program manager for Solaris core OS technology engineering Derek Cicero announced that the company "is no longer offering a free OpenSolaris CD program at this time." Program links …

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FAIL

Oracle schmoracle

Oracle's plan to f**k up Solaris:

1. Kill Solaris as a free/low-cost entity - no hobbyist is (a) going to pay the prices that Oracle want for "support" for Solaris (support - ha!); (b) want to deal with the clueless airheads that pass for Oracle sales;

Tick!

2. Make OpenSolaris (the only alternative to 'proper' Solaris) more difficult to get.

Doing it!

3. Kill OpenSolaris - probably the easiest way to do this is via some IP/license chicanery.

4. Make sure that proper Solaris can only be bought as a part of some overpriced, overblown "suite" comprising of a load of extra baggage that you don't want.

Nice to see that Oracle have totally failed to understand why Sun "gave away" Solaris in the first place.

Give it to hobbyists and you get people talking about it, and more importantly - using it. The users then encourage developers to get on board.

The developers make products, and in doing so, buy stuff like servers, support and software tools. All without you having to advertise.

Then businesses see the developers "products", want them, and then buy the servers and support to use that product. Again, sales without much need to advertise.

Best of all, you get a reputation as being a "good guy", which helps with sales, and also gives you some "wiggle room" for when you make a faux-pas (e.g. security hole) - people still point at you, but at least they also say "but they're open with it, so hey we'll cut 'em some slack".

What annoys me most is that Solaris _is_ actually quite a nice OS, not the easiest to admin, but pretty solid and predictable. Be a long time before I think of Oracle (and their products) with any degree of affection.

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no more openstorage?

Oracle is stupid if they don't recognize the potential that OpenSolaris has as a storage platform. I was really starting to enjoy using OpenSolaris for it's iSCSI target (COMSTAR) and ZFS storage features. MS Hyper-V R2 clusters use the iSCSI target without complaining, not always so on a Linux-based SAN. I hope Oracle doesn't ruin OpenSolaris by pissing off the developers either, without them OpenSolaris is finished.

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goodbye openstorage!

Oracle is stupid if they don't recognize the potential that OpenSolaris has as a storage platform. I was really starting to enjoy using OpenSolaris for it's iSCSI target (COMSTAR) and ZFS storage features. MS Hyper-V R2 clusters use the iSCSI target without complaining, not always so on a Linux-based SAN. I hope Oracle doesn't ruin OpenSolaris by pissing off the developers either, without them OpenSolaris is finished.

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Re: no more openstorage

Re: "Oracle is stupid if they don't recognize the potential that OpenSolaris has as a storage platform".

Oracle seems to understand the potential of Solaris and ZFS for storage quite well - they are just much keener that you should buy a storage box from Oracle rather than Oracle providing "openstorage" for free, and then white box makers or other hardware providers selling the boxes without paying Oracle.

If you're a clone maker who wants to pay Oracle, that might be a different story. Although maybe not (see also what Steve Jobs thought of Apple and clone boxes).

To be fair, Sun's "Fishworks" group never provided their storage additions on top of OpenSolaris as open source either, for the same reason.

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OK, so it's clear that they're out to massacre...

...every open-source beach-head that Sun had won for their operations. Bad business, Oracle -- please proceed to the Dunce corner, and do not collect $200, thank you.

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Anonymous Coward

Well, not too soon Oracle

I mean, I still am waiting for my cd to arrive. (not that I was going to do much more than make a VM.) It's been a few years now. Maybe the mail man took it? I don't know so I can't say. So it seems a fitting end with all the "Linux World" choices these days. Anyway, hopefully paid products don't use the same shipping method. e.g. where it never arrives.

Clearly I was able to get an open solaris disk faster via Format Linux, Linux Journal or whatever Linux magazine over the years -- I honestly forget which now.

I have advice. But since your into databases, and other cross platform too, you probably won't take it.

The advice is stay away from Linux World, they don't like you. How do I know, I know cause I was at a Linux World where they said it. And the room ROARED in response! No childish games...

In all fairness, I never had a reason to hate Oracle, I hope the future looks brighter for you, so in return my future with MySQL, OO, and Java is brighter. Oh I see you have an emergency patch today... Gotta go..

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Badgers

"Conflict of interest"

Just look at the $'s! If they have two products one free one not the tmeptation will always be there to "migrate" the $0 to the $'s!

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Flame

Brains.... I've heard of 'em just not seen them (here)

Really, fellas... Do you really think that giving away the house for free really helped Sun any? Sure, it may have gotten them a little attention from twits that would never pay for anything anyways. But, that doesn't help pay the bills now does it? While, I understand the complaint about hobbyists and Oracle requiring a support contract for Solaris proper, I must say that is what OpenSolaris is for. You get the basic/base OS for free to wet your lips; the rest you get with your wallet. There is absolutely nothing wrong with such a business model. EVERY company needs & deserves to make money. Sun, under the direction of that twit Schwartz, just forgot it had largely become a software house over the past decade as their hardware progressively lost advantage to the x86 world.

Now then... Since it seems that everyone has to bash someone to get their message posted here is mine...

You open-source twits do little to help any enterprise level company. They don't care about you. They shouldn't care about you since you NEVER really contributed to any of their bottom lines. And, personally, you twats that keep bitching about someone wanting to make money can go f*ck yourselves with a tree stump. Grow up and get a life.

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Gold badge

Service contract

Do you really think selling a few CDs at a few hundred quid makes as much money as a service contract where they can charge thousands or millions?

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Contributions

...and all the contributions people made to the Operating system - they should go and get f**ked too?

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Paris Hilton

Re: Brains...

You're obviously not someone who subscribes to the theorem that the first hit of any drug is free, because they'll recoup their costs on the subsequent 'fixes' - same as with tech, give you a taster and then hit you when you try and continue or upgrade.

Sorry, but I couldn't let the following go unanswered:

"You open-source twits do little to help any enterprise level company. They don't care about you. They shouldn't care about you since you NEVER really contributed to any of their bottom lines."

Ooh, that's just such a load of trash - are HP, IBM, Intel, RedHat, Novell, Nokia "enterprise level companies"? I would argue that would be the case, and yet ALL of them have got some payback from their open source efforts - okay some (like Nokia/Novell/Redhat) more than others, but the principal holds water.

Heck, I know this for a fact because I work for one of companies named, and yet spend most of my day working on Python (open source!), RedHat (open source), Ubuntu (open source), Perl (guess what - open source!) and Solaris (who knows?). All (apart from Solaris) are open source and yet all are contributing to my companies "bottom line". And I'm willing to bet that there's a good few folks out there in The Reg readership are in a similar position. Unless this was a poor attempt at Redmondesque trollage (in which case I apologise for rising to the bait)

PH icon because it's Friday and Ysean's argument sounds like something she'd agree with

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There is a difference...

...in between giving away the family jewels for free, and alienating your customers. Sun and Oracle seem to be keen to pick either of the extreme options, but never anything in between.

When Sun offered a $120/year support contract for software updates only, I reached into my wallet and forked out. I was quite happy to pay a basic level of money for support, as I know from experience that software engineers are people too, and they need to be fed, clothed and housed. However, I stopped paying when Sun ramped the subscription cost up to $360 per year. That was simply too much for me to justify - and I simply stopped paying anything at all.

I would have been happy to pay for either: a) a fully-paid up licence for each OS I had installed, or b) a reasonable support subscription for updates only.

Sun, and now Oracle, appear to be willing to offer neither option - and in a world where Linux distros are freely available (with free updates, to boot), that is a very dangerous thing. It won't be long before companies decide to in-source their UNIX support and pick Linux, and in turn, save a bundle on Solaris licencing (since Oracle have now decided that you can't be licenced to use Solaris without also buying a full-blown support package, they have put themselves out of the running for a LOT of commercial outfits - not just the small fry with a handful of servers.)

I've worked with a lot of companies who don't buy anything if they don't have to - and if the whole Solaris ecosystem is now dependent upon the customer owning a support contract for each copy of the OS they run, it doesn't take the brains of an archbishop to figure out that Linux will be the preferred migration platform for the mid to long term. Those who absolutely need Solaris for its stability will pay for the absolute minimum number of servers with Solaris on, but they will not base their UNIX standard on Solaris. That is bad news for Oracle, in the long term.

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Good Analysis on the Support Options

I think you did a great job in summarizing the support contracts offered. When Sun was in charge, they never could make up their minds as to how to charge for support. When Jonathan came into his own, they became consumed with all things "Open ..." and growing user interest at the expense of making money. Safe to say, all the decision makers were swept out the door when Oracle righted the ship. The new decision makers were never influenced by the old ones, so we're seeing this abrupt shift in attitude toward many communities. It's not that anyone has changed their minds; it's just that different people are calling the shots.

Kudos to you for paying for the support contract when it was reasonably priced. I wish the powers that be had not lost the perspective of those like you, and made the decision to ramp up the subscription cost.

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Megaphone

It's row or swim in Larry Land

Giving stuff away does not add immediately to the bottom line. It's not how Oracle operates. Larry Ellison is not in the "giving stuff away" business and he doesn't intend to be.

So get over it. It's time to get forking all the Sun things that can be forked, and replacing all the things that can't.

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Well done!

Well said!

SUN is in a big hole, it cost bucket-loads to buy and Larry definately did not become one of the world's top richest men by giving stuff away for free.

Just on the free CD thing, come on, really in this day and age people are still mailing CDs? Download the ISO and burn it, for flip's sake! It's greener and way quicker than waiting a week for CD, which might get broken, to come in the post.

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Len
Unhappy

Sun ODF Plugin for MS Office, was free, now $90

Oracle also recently bumped the price from the superior ODF Plugin for MS Office from free to $90.

A shame since it is a lot better (more standards compliant) than MS Office own implementation that is only included in their last versions of MSO. If you are on an older version you're out of luck.

http://www.sun.com/software/star/odf_plugin/

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No OpenSolaris download either

Going to http://hub.opensolaris.org/bin/view/Main/downloads.

"Notice

The requested document could not be found."

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Works fine from the main site.

I just tried.

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While it may not bode well for OpenSolaris

How many other vendors ship out media free of charge?

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Ubuntu do, kind of

Ubuntu will ship you out a free cd if you request it. This has worked with the previous versions however with the latest version i was refused, with a 'we notice you've had a few previous versions, if you just donate a bit of money, you can have this one sent to you too' message.

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Gav
WTF?

What's the problem?

I don't see how removing the CD option is going to be a problem. I mean, who ever waits for a CD in the post when you can download it and burn it yourself?

And a 'hobbiest' who is worried about the cost of Solaris support isn't a hobbiest by any definition I know. If you want to be a corporate and play with corporate toys then it's time to join the real world; being a corporate costs money. Otherwise stay a hobbiest and download OpenSolaris for free. That's why it's there!

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Stop

Have to agree.

Much as I'd like to poke fun at Soreacle, truth is this seems to be very much a case of a lava-spewing volcano being made out of a tiny molehill by a small band of Slowaris fanbois. So you can't order a free CD? Big deal - download the ISO and cut your own. I'm not sure you can even still buy a CD drive for a PC without it being also a writer, so if you can afford the broadband connection then you can definately afford CD-R media. And as Gav points out, if you're looking at Slowarisx86 or OpenSlowaris it's usually because you have or plan to have a career in IT.

And for all the Slowaris fanbois screaming that this somehow Oracle betraying "the community", if you had checked you would have found the real FOSS community stretches a long way beyond the tiny pool of Slowaris fanbois. For example, we're quite happy with the way Oracle has handled BTRFS and countless other donations to the Linux codebase.

Of course, you can still download any number of Linux distributions for free (or FreeBSD) if you are that upset, and some distributors will even mail you a CD. Maybe Larry's plan is make Slowaris the "premium" option seeing as the Sun plan of "copy Linux" proved to be such a failure.

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Coat

This is my fault

Sorry guys.

I received my free CD about 3 weeks ago.

I think the shipping costs to Scotland might have done them in.

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Unhappy

Says it all!

Oracle is reviewing the Sun product roadmap and will provide guidance to customers in accordance with Oracle's standard product communication policies. Any resulting features and timing of release of such features as determined by Oracle's review of roadmaps, are at the sole discretion of Oracle. All product roadmap information, whether communicated by Sun Microsystems or by Oracle, does not represent a commitment to deliver any material, code, or functionality, and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions. It is intended for information purposes only, and may not be incorporated into any contract.

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WTF?

The ODF plugin is now charged for???

This is madness! I wonder how many they are selling? That should kill Open office. What next, pay for Java? For open solaris, fork now guys, fork now!.

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Flame

Lack of brains....

Let me start by saying I have never used Solaris and I know nothing about it (although I did use SunOS briefly many years ago, but only because the terminals on the IBM AIX were not configured correctly so vi was unusable). It’s also been too many years since I had to dabble in the database market as well so what I’m saying here may be years out of date.

Yesan’s attitude is the same attitude that has totally f**ked the music industry, Oracle thinks it can take a free product and turn it into a revenue generating stream just by saying you have to pay for “support” that you may not want, if fact I’d say Oracle are betting that most people who might pay for support will not use it. Oracle seem determined to wring as much money as possible out

You may have some specific requirement to run a SPARC/RISC, but then it strikes me that you would have probably bought a Sun box to run it on anyway, so no big loss to Sun/Oracle there, if just want you want run *nix then there are plenty of free versions of *nix to use. There are alternate databases as well, mySQL and DB2 (I still have an old version of DB2 UDB sitting on a red hat V7 box), so the thing I don’t understand is why Oracle would try and force a free product into what amounts to a licensing scheme when there are alternatives that are free. It looks like Oracle is trying to place itself on the high profit/low volume end of the profit maximization curve.

There was a time when to be successful in the IT industry you had to be first or be the best, in the current economic climate it’s value for money and I think Oracle are going to loose out on that, which in turn is going to reduce market penetration. At the same time as people experiment with the free alternatives Oracle will continue to loose market penetration until Solaris/Oracle become even more of a niche product.

Flame icon as in “crash and burn”.

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Pint

Oracle and FOSS

The problem my old son is the corporate mindset. You walk into most corps and ask them would they would rather run, Oracle/SQL Server/Sybase or this free MySQL/Postres DB. The first thing the corps will ask is, who can I shout at when it goes tits up? Who can I sue to blame for my own incompetance when it won't work?

Not saying all corps are like that, some are very open minded, but when you head into the finance sector they have the spondoolics to pay top dollar and they want big bang for their buck, which means they want support 24/7 and they want some poor sap on a helpdesk somewhere to take a mouthful when it goes belly up.

Then you have the middle-managers in these corps. They do not need anymore risk, FOSS is a risk that could mean they lose their cushy jobs if the project goes belly-up. The average toadying, middle-management f**k-wit will go with the most expensive option that fits in the budget, to make sure his job stays safe.

The only time I generally run into FOSS in the finance sector is when some third-party vendor uses it an fully supplied app, where the DB is tightly integrated with no APIs. You may find the odd copy of Apache being used for Wiki's and Interweb, admin's monitoring tools.

Corps don't really trust FOSS, the IT guys do, but the weedy middle-managers are too scared. Larry knows this and so he markets to the managers and the board. Frightens them into buying something with all the BS, assurance of quality and safety.

I am an Oracle DBA and this is coming from my work Ubuntu desktop. I make my living from Oracle, but they still a terrible company to deal with and now they have a big foot inthe server market, they are going to be even harder to shake off.

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This post has no title

Just to clarify what I meant about the music industry, I meant that Oracle will fleece those who will pay for it rather than price it so that they maximise volume of sales.

I’ve been there AC, however I have worked on mission critical financial applications built on open software, and although we had support from the vendors it was usually limited to service packs and such like. When we did have a problem with *nix, the response from the vendor was that we needed to upgrade to the next level of support and upgrade the version of *nix that we were using.

The IT directors response (originally a techie guy) was to tell the vendor to shove it where the sun never shines. When I left they were testing the application on a different flavour of *nix. I suspect that if the database was affected in the same way it would have been a new database as well.

Oh for the days of techie led solutions when the bean counters were told what they could/should have. But try telling that to the youff of today.

Footnote: The head bean counters at this place were caught doing things they shouldn’t have and the company is now in deep du-du. The database still works though, as evidenced by the amount of data that was extracted from database and used to hang the head bean counters.

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Unhappy

Unforeseen consequences

I work in one of the many Solaris shops. Management has been pretty anti-Linux in the past, preferring to do everything on Solaris even where that means it takes more time and effort to get things going. Between hardware and support contracts we're probably worth a few million USD a year.

The switch from "download and use for free" to "90-day trial" means we've decided to stop using Solaris on systems where the applications don't require it. It isn't worth paying for a support contract for every lousy DNS server or web proxy sitting in a VM. Those are now being built as Linux systems instead.

So far no lost revenue for Oracle, so fair enough.

The risk though is that as management gets comfortable with Linux on these peripheral systems they're going to start wondering why we're paying Oracle for the business application systems. That could lose Oracle some sales down the line.

Now, we're not a huge customer, but I doubt we're on our own here.

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Anonymous Coward

With the economy being what it is, ...

Oracle is doing itself harm. Not that I feel sorry for them but rather those who have invested their time learning about Solaris/OpenSolaris will do for them.

I must agree with several of the posts above in that the rapidity with which companies will go to *nix/BSD variants is going to increase.

Now I've got to plug OpenBSD and PostgreSQL. Learn and go.

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