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Give Sun free publicity, get a free server

Sun Microsystems will give a free UltraSparc T1 "Niagara"-based server to bloggers who do a good job analyzing the systems.

Sun already lets people try the systems for free, but those who help out with Sun's effort to educate others about the systems' eight-core, 32-thread chips won't have to send them back or pay, President Jonathan Schwartz said Tuesday on his blog.

"If you write a blog that fairly assesses the machine's performance (positively or negatively), send us a pointer, we're likely to let you keep the machine," Schwartz said, then added, "And before you ask, the marketing team makes the decision about what qualifies for the promotion, not I--although I know they love drama, charts, and compelling competitive analyses."

Sun has had trouble convincing its own employees, as well as outsiders, that it's letting people try the servers for free, even including shipping costs, Schwartz said. "The program started off slowly--partly due to internal disbelief, but secondarily, our focus group feedback suggested no one believed we'd actually send them a free Niagara," he said.

Update: On Thursday, Schwartz added that people should stay tuned for changes in the five-page legal document governing the Niagara trial program--specifically, changes to the terms and conditions that "seem to preclude the very benchmarking that earns a free Niagara," he said.