Solaris Enterprise System Downloads: “Download a complete enterprise-class solution or parts for multiple platforms—Solaris 10 OS, Java Enterprise System, development tools, N1 software—no cost, no kidding.”
You have to like the price. On top of which the software is top notch. I do prefer the IBM originated Eclipse development environment (www.eclipse.org) to Sun Java Studio Enterprise, and I spend more time with GNU GCC than Sun Studio 11 C++ products, mainly because most *nix freeware compiles cleaner with GNU than with Sun Studio. But the more tools in your arsenal the better, and I have to admit Sun Studio C++ apps do perform better than GNU if it’s anything less than a minor utility.
Ok, so what’s the point of OpenSolaris if Solaris and all it’s encumbrances are free anyway from Sun? Well, it broadens the developer base to people with ideas not garnered from having their head behind a large Sun CAD monitor in California. Also there are licensed technologies in Solaris 10 that Sun can’t open source, for the good reason that they don’t own them. Last reason, if you use OpenSolaris and have a problem, likely either some coder you know can fix it or you can find someone on the OpenSolaris site to fix it, rather than going through a submit problem report and wait for the next release scenario. It becomes a toss up really.
Personally I do enough programming to not want to reprogram my OS, so I stick with Solaris 10 binaries from Sun – it especially makes sense since my own hardware is mainly Sun UltraSparc based, not Intel. If Intel ever produces a chip that’s not brain dead, and the rest of the architecture isn’t a mishmash of crap parts from joe over there, I might switch. IBM and Sun themselves are trying hard to make Intel/AMD boxes that are *nix ready (Linux/OpenSolaris/Solaris 10 x86) and don’t require the funky plug n pray with 10,000 driver variants Windoze goes through on your average Gateway or E-Machine, tg.