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Sun to reprieve Solaris 9 for Intel?

Massive demand for free stuff set to sway company...

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Solaris 9 for Intel could be poised to ship after all, Register spies at Sun suggest. The official line is currently that Sun is shipping Solaris 9 for Sparc, but that "Sun is deferring the productization and release of the Solaris 9 OE for Intel IA-32." In English this means that Sun has (probably) more or less finished it but is hesitating as to whether or not to ship it, while in ITspeak this sort of phrasing generally means that the product is headed for a lingering death in the netherworld.

But what we hear now is that it means precisely what it says after all, and that Sun's intention in holding back on 9 for Intel was to see how people reacted. Response has been highly positive in favour of continuing, so 9 for Intel could be with us soon after all.

And it's just possible that Sun's decision-making may be influenced by reaction to the free Solaris DVD offer* we mentioned yesterday. This appears originally to have been some kind of limited run offer, and the site slowed up seriously after we publicised it (not that we're boasting or anything). At some point in the past 24 hours, readers report, a notice went up saying that "overwhelming demand for the Solaris DVDs has exceeded quantities available, so this offer has expired."

But oddly, it now seems to be working again, so maybe we've changed our minds about something, decided Solaris is really popular and compelling, and we can make a go of it after all.

This clearly doesn't mean Solaris for Intel is out of the woods yet, of course. It seems inevitable that the bulk of the demand for the free DVD will have been for the Intel version (Solaris 8), and that this means that Sun can assume massive demand for 9 for Intel too. But this would be massive demand for Solaris 9 for Intel if it's free, and this is one of the basic problems Sun had with Solaris for Intel in the first place. It doesn't matter greatly if you're not charging for the OS when you're selling the customer huge quantities of very expensive other stuff (Sparc version), but if you're just shipping OS CDs and/or offering free downloads to people who're not buying other stuff (Intel version), well, what's the point?

This is a question we feel Sun is unlikely to come up with a coherent answer to. But they'll probably ship 9 for Intel anyway. ®

* Sun, doncha just love 'em? At this particular juncture the offer would seem to be both over and not over. When we go here, we get the offer form, but when we go here, the offer is closed.

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