(Warning: rant ahead)

I wasn't really asking for much. All I wanted was to install Solaris on a spare computer for a bit of SBCL hacking.

One would expect this to be a piece of cake, since Sun is so utterly cool, open and community-oriented these days. They practically invented open source! So I hopped to opensolaris.org, looking for CD images. I don't completely understand what they're currently offering for download, but it certainly does not look like a working, installable operating system. Instead you need to get "Solaris Express Community Release" from Sun's download pages.

For some reason, you need to register to download the distribution. I guess Sun only wants really motivated users, so they need to put up some artificial obstacles to keep the riff-raff away from the community. I'm also sure they had a really good reason for needing my phone number and street address, since they made those fields mandatory. Oh, and also the name of my pet, my favourite colour or my favourite vacation spot.

(I'll admit, that last one was actually a "security question" for password recovery; but what kind of a moron makes having a security question mandatory, and then hardcodes the questions? I honestly can't think of any answer to any of their questions, which I would still remember two weeks from now).

After registering, I got to the download page. I usually at least skim through the license agreements before accepting to them, which was somewhat hard in this case, since the layout of the pages was completely screwed. 6000-pixel wide text in a 900 pixel window isn't exactly readable. The license, btw, was crap. I'm only allowed to use this for testing? A requirement to send feedback? Expires six months from some unspecified date in the past, terminating any right to use it?

Bye, bye, Solaris Express!

Since Opensolaris is obviously some sort of a sick joke, maybe I actually wanted Solaris 10? Luckily I was still logged on to the download central, so I didn't need to remember how I'd named my imaginary pet 15 minutes ago.

Instead the download process required me to fill out a separate license request form, specifying the amount of licenses wanted for different architectures (one x86/x64, please) and different main usage categories (one development, please). And answer a separate question that also asks what I intend to use these licenses for (look pal, I already said I wanted it for development).

Hoo-yeah, baby! I can just feel the Open Community vibes!

After filling out the request form I got redirected to some seemingly arbitrary page with completely irrelevant information. No automatically starting download. No download link. Not even a "thank you for jumping through our pointless hoops, you'll be emailed a download link soon".

Not that they have sent me the promised license email either. Maybe I'm just being too impatient. It's only been a few hours since I sent the form, and Sun probably has to manually review every download request, just as every other open source project does.

Or maybe what I really want is a beer, not Solaris.