to Make Solaris Source Code Available
- October 6th, 1999
Inc., in a major shift, plans to make the source code of its Solaris operating
system freely available to the public in an attempt to parallel the success
of the popular Linux operating system. (Sun's complete product line of servers
and workstations run on Solaris, its version of the Unix operating system.)
Sun is not
going to give away Solaris, but does plan to make the source code available
under its "community-source license," according to Greg Papadopoulos, the company's
chief technology officer. (Note: Source code is the computer instructions that
set out exactly how the program works.)
Sun is presently
the Unix market leader, with approximately 30% of overall Unix server unit volume
in 1998. Unix server sales are predicted to remain flat for the next three years,
whereas growth of servers running the Linux OS is estimated to be approximately
55% CAGR1 [Source:Dataquest]. Sun is likely trying to appropriate
some of that momentum. Although Sun denies it, this appears to be (at least
in part) a direct shot across Linux's bow. Sun has set no timeframe as yet,
so their commitment level to the open-source path is still unclear.
This move should
increase market growth slightly, primarily for Sun, but also for the general
Unix market. Sun's intent is to get mindshare, from which market share is expected
to follow. Although the market in general has been receptive to Linux as an
alternative to the Windows hegemony, it is unclear that this will benefit Sun
in the short term. In the longer term, this will allow third parties to develop
Solaris-based applications more easily (similar to the Java model), which should
increase the "pull" away from other Unix versions (e.g. HP-UX, AIX) toward Solaris.
Assuming this strategy works, it will take 1-2 years to develop "serious" applications;
applications which need only modest modifications to run on Solaris should be
available in less than a year.
scenario: if HP and IBM choose to respond by releasing the source code for their
versions of Unix (HP-UX and AIX, respectively), the Unix software market may
consolidate faster than it would otherwise (25% probability).
will appeal initially to customers who feel a big need to have the source code
for their computers' OSes, or to those who might otherwise gravitate to Linux.
General corporate users and non-developers (e.g. IT managers) will see little
effect in the short term, and the announcement should have little effect on
their acquisition process. In the longer term, these users can expect to see
modest benefits accrue, primarily due to increased Solaris application availability
Compound Annual Growth Rate