US Report: Sun makes Solaris free... for some

Hoping to see a little freeware ingenuity rub off on its Unix operating system, Sun is making Solaris available free for academic and non-commercial use.

Instead of paying $300 to $695 for client and server versions of Solaris 2.6, college types and developers who enjoy tinkering with code for the sake of tinkering can now download the software from Sun's Web site for free. "Lots of really interesting applications are developed in universities," said Brian Croll, director of server software products for Sun. "We don't want price to become a barrier to anyone who might want to play around with Solaris and maybe come up with some innovative development ideas."

Solaris' source code, however, will remain a closely guarded secret. "We won't be giving source code away. There's a lot of intellectual property issues involved with that which we don't have much control over," Croll said. Besides, "we wouldn't want to infringe on the Linux [OS] space. We want to see Linux grow."