Sun Microsystems Inc said this week that customers and tire kickers have downloaded more than 500,000 copies of its Software Express beta copies of the future Solaris 10 operating system, which did not make it into the latest round of quarterly announcements from the company. This is a very big beta program for any Unix vendor, and probably the most widespread testing of a Unix platform in history.
The Software Express program started last July, and every month or so Sun adds a new Solaris 10 feature to the mix and lets customers play with it. Sun did not announce a new Solaris 10 beta this week, but Glenn Weinberg, vice president of Sun’s Operating Platforms Group, said that, later in the fall, Sun will expand the number of predictive self-healing features in the Solaris 10 beta, and that 64-bit Opteron and Xeon-64 support would beta in the next few weeks. Weinberg said that this 64-bit support was not yet completed and fully integrated within Solaris 10. When asked if Solaris 10 would slip into 2005, he said that Sun was going to try real hard to not let that happen. Whenever it does ship, Solaris 10 will run on Sparc, Opteron, and Xeon platforms from day one.
Weinberg said that some 700 partners are working on porting some 1,100 applications to work on Solaris on Opteron processors (which also means they will work on Solaris for Xeon-64). He said that about half of the core Sparc/Solaris partners have plans to move their applications to Solaris on x86, and that most would be ready with their code within 30 to 60 days of the official launch, with some stretching out to 60 to 90 days.