Sun Frees Solaris for x86 Platforms

Sun Microsystems took a global perspective when re-evaluating its download strategy for Solaris, the company's flagship operating system. Rather than continue collecting a fee for each download of Solaris x86 edition, Sun has opted to eliminate the charge entirely.

The decision was due in part to feedback from Asian and European customers who were unable to place orders using US dollars. Sun hopes the move will increase demand for its wares on the PC platform, and follows the company's recent announcement of a newly forged alliance with AMD.

Downloads for all Solaris x86 releases, including platform editions and Solaris 8, were freed up as of December 9. Sun previously charged $20 USD per download. Users are bound by a license agreement limiting use to non-commercial applications, development and evaluation.

In early 2003, company executives indicated Sun would cease support for Solaris x86 and instead champion its homebrewed SPARC architecture. But following an outcry from Solaris users, Sun switched its stance in October.

Last month, the embattled industry giant announced a partnership with AMD to optimize Solaris for its hybrid 32/64-bit Opteron processor.

A Sun spokesperson told BetaNews, "With the announcement of Sun's alliance with AMD, there is an accelerating global demand for Solaris x86 that can be quickly addressed by improving the download experience for potential customers and evaluators of the Solaris x86 OS for both 32 and 64-bit platforms."

Anyone interested in evaluating the x86 version of Solaris can visit the product Web site.

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