'

Oracle taking back OpenSolaris

Oracle is now going to try and make people pay for software that includes contributions from a community which believed in good faith it was building an open source product.

Before being acquired by Oracle, Sun Microsystems had built substantial open source momentum.

That momentum was one of the big reasons Oracle bid for the company, whose revenues always were (and are) dominated by hardware.

But Oracle is not interested in credibility. It wants cash. So to all those who bought into Sun's story about making Solaris open as OpenSolaris, ha-ha!

The registration process to receive an Entitlement Document is part of the Solaris download process, with the Entitlement Document being returned to you via e-mail. For this reason, YOU MUST PROVIDE A WORKING E-MAIL ADDRESS AS PART OF YOUR SUN DOWNLOAD CENTER ACCOUNT. If you fail to do so, you will not receive an Entitlement Document and will only have the right to evaluate Solaris for 90 days.

The Entitlement Document is an adjunct to the Software License Agreement (SLA) that always accompanies the Solaris Operating System software. The SLA sets forth the terms under which Sun Microsystems, Inc. allows an end user to use the Solaris software for evaluation purposes for 90 days and is a binding legal agreement between Sun and the end user.

Translation. Open Solaris isn't open at all. It's now 90-day trialware. Then you buy it or lose it. Given the way the software is usually used -- in scaled enterprise systems -- this puts users east of the rock and west of the hard place.

Savio Rodrigues of Infoworld first discussed this Friday, including a link to Sun's old terms for the software.

Former co-blogger Joe Brockmeier writes,  "it has to be extremely difficult to be on the community side of OpenSolaris these days." Zonker has a way with understatement.

I tend to be more blunt. This is called taking it back. There is no longer such a thing as Open Solaris, and I think anyone who bought Sun's promises on building an open alternative to Linux just got punked.

Oracle is now going to try and make people pay for software that includes contributions from a community which believed in good faith it was building an open source product. Oracle has long sold something called Unbreakable Linux. Anyone ever heard of unbreakable contract?

Do OpenSolaris users have a case? Or would the community be better off taking the most recent purely open source version and just forking it? Can they, when Oracle controls the copyrights?

Stay tuned.