Registration for Sun's "Open Source"

Okay, so this is going to be a short tirade. Sun Microsystems, here’s a question… if you’re so interested in releasing free and “open source” software, then why the heck do you require registration to access it? I understand asking for address information and checking for automated bots on the disc request form, but just to download anything (solaris or otherwise) you require a user name and password. That’s far from open.
Most online users will tell you that you need to be careful what information you give to who. Spam is a real problem and nobody likes having their name and address sold to third parties.
It would seem as though Sun Microsystems is doing a bang-up job of only paying lipservice to Free Software. I restate that I’d be more than happy to say Sun is now releasing Solaris as Free Software–I like the idea of trying alternative kernels–but their actions display a less-than-transparent and quite hesitant support for Free Software. I can’t help but harbor reservations.

10 Replies to “Registration for Sun's "Open Source"”

  1. I bet they’ll say something to the tune of “The registration isn’t for the software itself, it’s for the use of the download service”.
    Hopefully, as more people complain, they’ll provide direct downloads for the free software.

  2. Andre: Yes, but I didn’t squish your comment because your email addy looks fake (I don’t doubt that it’s really forwarding, but it does look fake). I only had to moderate your comment because it tripped the spam filter ^_^
    More than 2 links or so seems to fire off red flags. I wonder if that’s configurable.

  3. You’re upset about the registration. That’s separate from whether Sun’s software offerings are free and open source. It’s because they are free and open source that you have the ability, if you are so incensed by Sun’s (easily circumventable) registration, to distribute them yourself. Pick your battles. And don’t try to tie everything together. Splitting the world into good and evil doesn’t help anyone. It is possible to be both grateful for Sun releasing their software under a free license (which I think goes far beyond lip service, and is actually a ginormous contribution), while at the same time being slightly irritated that they’re making you register on their site. Equating their site registration to a lack of openness and software freedom is both silly and damaging to any real discussion about Free Software.

  4. Agree with Daniel. You are talking about a completely separate issue here. And you are also coming very close to be “well if you don’t do it like linux you must not be open.” Let’s raise our game here, Michael.
    If you don’t like Sun’s registration, PICK A DIFFERENT OPEN SOLARIS DISTRO. They are several to choose from: BeleniX (, Nexenta ( or Shillix ( jump to mind here.

  5. It’s free software now, so why not just mirror it, or put it on bittorrent? Just like they have the freedom to distribute is how they want, so do you. So setup a mirror, or use bittorrent or whatever.

  6. My complaint is that Sun is trying to get attaboy’s from Free Software folks for releasing something with an extremely weak copyleft. I’m pointing out that their efforts are half-hearted with more PR intent than supporting free software intent. Let’s remember the point of the post, not just veer off into a completely separate issue.

  7. And there is one big difference between sun’s free CD’s and ubuntu ones for us. That is Sun doesn’t send CD’s to Iran but Ubuntu has a good/growing comunity in Iran now 🙂

  8. Having a bad website is not the same as having “extremely weak copyleft”. Bah. You’ve already decided to mistrust Sun regardless of what license they put on things. 1998 called, it wants its Slashdot posts back.
    – Chris

  9. Chris Cunningham: Wow, you’re awful nice aren’t ya? And smart, too? Sun has given us reasons to distrust them. They’re currently requiring us to register for software they claim they’re giving for free, when really they’re giving it out in exchange for marketing information. If you’re okay with a half-hearted contribution that’s you. I actually expect people to be genuine when they they expect attaboys.

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