As you should already know, Sun was purchased by Oracle. Not too long ago, someone noticed a licensing change on the Solaris license website. A slow rumble of rumors has been building up about what those changes mean. Well, I contacted our Sun account manager to get the definitive answer, and here it is:
- The old Solaris subscriptions, the way people got software support for 3rd party hardware, are no longer available for purchase. Existing contracts are honored.
- Solaris support now comes through a contract on the hardware (Oracle SUN hardware)
- The license and accompanying entitlement from the web, without a contract and without hardware, only entitle the downloader to non-commercial, non-production, or personal use in perpetuity. Production use and evaluation for production are good for 90 days.
- When you purchase hardware, you receive an addendum to the entitlement that grants that piece of hardware perpetual, non-transferable license and entitlement to Solaris.
- For hardware purchasers, this is the same (in net effect) as always.
- For non-hardware purchasers – 3rd party, gray market, etc. – there is no legal way to obtain a permanent entitlement or to obtain support.
So lets get the easy one out of the way first. Solaris is still free for personal use. So that should satisfy the 0.0001% (yes, that number is an anatomical extraction) of the Solaris users that use Solaris for non-commercial activity.
Let’s move on to people that run Solaris on non-Sun servers: No Solaris for you, not yours! Items 1 and 6 make it clear that there is no possible way to legally run Solaris on non-Sun servers. Period. End of story.
Sun Servers without a Support Contract
Now lets talk about people that run Solaris on Sun servers, but do not purchase a hardware support contract: Some Solaris for you, but only a little! Item 4 says (and I clarified it with them), that purchasing new Sun hardware gives you a binary license only for the version of Solaris that’s available at the time of the hardware purchase. It does not entitle you to future upgrades or updates.
Sun Servers with a Support Contract
For people running Solaris on Sun hardware with a Sun hardware support contract, your support contract grants you rights to run future versions of Solaris.