Sun is nevertheless delivering this early version because "customers are asking their sales people where the feature is, and people within Sun are asking us how they can use it," said Nieuwejaar.
"Getting this out on opensolaris.org lets us answer everybody at once. This isnt feature-complete by any stretch of the imagination but, for good or ill, this release will let everybody know exactly where the project stands."
Dan Kusnetzky, IDCs program vice president for system software, understands why Sun is making this move.
"HP and IBM have long offered Unix/Linux compatibility features. Its not surprising that Sun would do the same to remain competitive. Organizations clearly are seeking ways to reduce their costs. This also means trying to find ways to reduce their costs of development and support," said Kusnetzky.
In particular, Sun has been losing Solaris customers to Red Hat Linux.
For example, on Tuesday, Skanska, a major world-wide construction company, announced it had moved its 5,000 user business intelligence system from Solaris to RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux).
Stacey Quandt, a research director at Aberdeen Group, points out that, "Sun needs to make Solaris appealing to multiple camps in an organization and recognize that supporting Linux applications via Solaris zones brings more people to the table."
"The upside for customers is that this can reduce the number of servers to acquire and manage. Also, given the similarities between Solaris and Linux, this can reduce the number of system administrators," added Quandt.
Indeed, once BrandZ has made it past its rough early days, Quandt said that BrandZ could "make it harder for Red Hat to play hardball negotiations because Sun could just as easily support SUSE on BrandZ."
"This outcome would make the list price of Red Hat Enterprise Linux unsustainable," said Quandt. "At the end of the day, Sun is fighting for the hearts and minds of customers, yet the maturation of Linux offers Sun customers an alternative and Suns OpenSolaris and now BrandZ are designed to dilute the appeal of Linux on IBM, HP, and Dell hardware."
It is Suns intention that the first operating system applications to receive functional support on BrandZ will be Red Hat Inc.s RHEL and CentOS, which is a code-identical, non-Red Hat branded version of RHEL.