By Gerry Haskins-Oracle on Jan 21, 2008
Sun changed its Software business strategy a few years ago.
Customer's used to have to buy most Sun Software while most support, such as patch access, was free.
Now, Sun's Software frequently uses a model similar to many Linux vendors, where the software is often given away for free, but a customer must pay for most support.
From the perspective of accessing patches, patches which address Security issues remain free. So do patches which provide new hardware drivers.
Customers must have a valid support contract to access most other Solaris patches, including the Solaris patch clusters such as the Recommended Patch Cluster or Sun Alert Patch Cluster.
The following support contracts include access entitlement to Solaris patches (BTW: Software Update = patch), plus a wide range of additional support services: Solaris Subscriptions, which includes Basic, Standard, Premium, and Solaris Everywhere Service Plans (compare here); Sun Software Service Plans, including Basic, Standard, Premium, and Premium Plus; Sun System Service Plans for Solaris, which includes Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum options (compare here); or a Sun Spectrum Enterprise Service Plan. See http://www.sun.com/servicelist/ for country specific details.
The infrastructure behind SunSolve is in transition at the moment. Customer's may notice changes to patch entitlement as these changes are rolled out.
Additional support services for customers with support contracts
will continue to be expanded and enhanced over the coming months.
The changes are largely being implemented by the Services teams. I have relatively little insight into the specific changes and timelines. Please use your normal support channels to get further information.
The roll-out of patch entitlement changes has been somewhat patchy (excuse the pun), but the general direction of stricter patch access entitlement is likely to continue.
For example, to see which Solaris patches are currently free, go to the SunSolve patch page http://sunsolve.sun.com/show.do?target=patchpage , and where it says:-
Obtain latest product patch bundle
...use the pull-down menu to select the relevant Solaris version.
The resultant list shows which patches are free or not using a key symbol. You will only see this key symbol if you are not logged in as a user with a valid support contract, since nothing is locked for you if you have a valid support contract.