In an attempt to steal some of the limelight garnered by Linux, Sun Microsystems Inc. plans to make the source code to its Solaris version of the Unix operating system free.
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Sun (SUNW) doesn’t plan to give away the Solaris code, but rather will make it available under its “community-source license.” Those terms, which are similar to guidelines adopted by Netscape Communications Corp. allow individuals to download and make modifications to the Solaris source code and use that code in non-commercial applications. However, Sun will collect licensing fees if the code is used in commercial products. Sun uses similar community licensing terms for its Java and Jini technologies.
Those terms differ from the licensing governing Linux which is free for individual and commercial use.
Sun’s decision could potentially set up a battle between Sun and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) Microsoft is said to be considering making the source code to Windows 2000, the successor to Windows NT 4.0, free as well.
Details on when the source code will be released still remain to be worked out, although Sun said the entire Solaris code will be released.