More signs of Oracle's view of Solaris
Well, that was fast. Back in ReadingSolarisTeaLeaves I wrote:
Any free version of Solaris 10 is now basically a sampler, much like Oracle has done with a personal use version of their database, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Solaris license was revised to reflect that in a while.
When I wrote this, I was thinking 'in six months or so'. In fact it was less than a month; as Ben Rockwood wrote recently, Solaris is no longer free to use. You can evaluate it for 90 days, but after that you need a paid-up support contract. It seems that Oracle's view of Solaris's future is getting clearer and clearer.
On the one hand, this doesn't directly affect us; the university has a long-standing general support agreement with Sun, so we're covered. On the other hand, this agreement is renewed on a year to year basis and who knows how much Oracle is going to want for it when renewal time comes around. It would be quite easy for Oracle to price support out of our reach; we can't afford 'enterprise production' costs and even prices like a thousand dollars a year per system would be gulp-inducing.
(It's possible that Oracle has already announced general Solaris support prices, but as usual it's not easy to find this thing on the revised Sun/Oracle website, so I have no idea. All I could find right now was a blurb on 'Oracle Premier Support', which doesn't exactly sound inexpensive.)
I'd like to think that Oracle wouldn't throw away easy money by pricing their support offerings out of our reach, but I'm not that naive. There are all sorts of reasons that Oracle might set quite high support prices, including discouraging small organizations from running Solaris because they cost too much to support in the long run. Also, various Oracle people have apparently said that they view Solaris as their high end offering and, well, high end offerings mean high end prices.