McHugh: If you look at the number of licenses of Solaris 10, the latest figure I think we put out was about 13 million, and one thing that is really important to remember, Solaris actually has more deployments than any other Unix or Linux distribution. And we also have more applications running on Solaris than there are on any Linux distribution.
InfoWorld: When you say 13 million licenses, is that cumulative over many years?
McHugh: It's cumulative since the launch of Solaris 10 [three years ago], and that is people who actually have downloaded it. Then we also have ones that we don't necessarily count, because obviously we have very big enterprise customers that have wall-to-wall contracts with.
InfoWorld: The figures I got from IDC talked about 376,000 Solaris shipments in 2006 and 371,000 last year, so that would be sharply different from your figures.
McHugh: Are they counting the number of individual downloads and things that get burned onto a master and then get put onto multiple machines?
InfoWorld: I think they're talking about the shipment totals.
McHugh: They might be counting just our hardware shipment totals. I don't know how they would count OS downloads. If 70 percent of Solaris downloads are going onto other machines -- onto IBM machines, onto Dell machines, onto HP machines -- I don't know how IDC would capture those numbers, and that might account for the delta in itself.
InfoWorld: What's been the progress of the OpenSolaris open source effort?
McHugh: We've had a lot of opportunity to expand the market for OpenSolaris. The number of downloads that are taking place just continues to climb through the roof, the number of active users continues to grow. We're about two months away from the second version of it. We recently put out a CD to students and professors, and we've been receiving a lot of really strong and good feedback on OpenSolaris. It really boils down to the fact that we have the Gnome interface, so it's much easier to use [with] the live CD component. OpenSolaris has been a really big factor in that.
InfoWorld: So basically you have OpenSolaris, which is the open source version, and you still have the commercial version that you license and for which you sell support?
McHugh: Yes. The key thing to remember is we have one Solaris but we have two different use cases. Solaris 10 is what you see inside the enterprise, [for] people who need long-term support. Its release cycle is about three years, and we do updates in between. OpenSolaris we're releasing every six months, constantly adding the latest features, constantly having the latest components from the other open source communities such as Gnome, keeping up to date with the latest features from that standpoint. That gives Web 2.0 companies and people that are building applications the ability to experiment, try out, run the complete latest in operating systems that will give them an advantage as they roll out their Web 2.0 applications. So there are people who are going to be rolling OpenSolaris out in commercial deployments. They just won't be the same people who are running ERP systems with big Oracle databases and SAP.
InfoWorld: Are there any plans to release Solaris or any Solaris technologies like ZFS under the GPL?