When Microsoft Services for Unix 3.0 came out, a highlight was its surprisingly low price tag. In a promotion running through the end of this month, the set of tools and services for interoperating between Windows, Unix and Linux is free. The giveaway presumably is designed to generate some new users who will then want the latest features available in SFU 3.5, which entered beta testing in late July and should be released soon.
The widely acclaimed SFU 3.0 came out in the second quarter of 2002. It was a much expanded product over SFU 2.0, as Microsoft combined the SFU feature set -- for integrating Windows-based and Unix-based networks -- with the Microsoft Interix product. Interix, which Microsoft acquired from Softway Systems in 1999, allows developers and administrators to migrate and run Unix applications on Windows servers.
As a combination of SFU and Interix, SFU 3.0 represented what amounted to a 60 percent price cut when it shipped in 2002. SFU 2.0 had cost $150 and Interix retailed for $100. Instead of charging $250 for the combined product, Microsoft chose to market the integrated package for $100.
The SFU 3.0 giveaway started Oct. 16, and Microsoft is promoting it in the customer-focused e-mail newsletters it sends out. Microsoft also offers a three-hour test drive of SFU 3.0 running on a remote Windows Server 2003 box hosted by or for Microsoft.
The free SFU 3.0 and the test drive are available at Microsoft's "Resources for Unix Professionals" site:Register for free SFU 3.0 www.microsoft.com/windows/sfu/unixproresources/.
Or get Windows Services for UNIX Version 3.5 Beta for free with win2k3 support