Jason, I went to HP, went to "home/home office" picked everyday computing, picked sort by lowest price, picked the "HP Pavilion a1410e series", selected View Details, clicked customize (price $269), upgraded the cpu from sempron to AMD athlon 64 3500+ (price $299), took the free 512 memory upgrade, kept everything the same (80 GB 7200rpm hd, 48x cd-rw, Windows XP home, sound, video, mouse and keyboard). There's a $50 mailing rebate and a $100 instant off. I assume tax and shipping will not raise it above $400. This should be plenty for Solaris. I know it's plenty for Debian. (I have Debian 3.1 running on a AMD K6 with 96 megs of ram and a 6gb hd compaq laptop from 1998 (no GUI) and it's fast enough.) I have no doubt whatsoever that Debian Sarge and Etch would run on the $299 HP without any problem. Heck, Windows XP runs on it. I suggest Sun buy a few dozen from HP, install the latest Solaris 10 (no DVD allowed, do the CD install), put them back in the HP box, take orders and ship them next day. Then publish detailed (exact) instruction on how to install and configure the OS and the main components (apache, ftp, bind, sendmail, etc) on a wiki somewhere. That would get people realizing that Solaris can get in at the ground floor.
Comment on adoption by kids: programming is an art, just like writing (novels, poetry, etc) and usually one is most comfortable in the mother tongue, meaning the language learned from childhood (although mine is French, but I'm not normal as my wife often says). Get kids using Solaris at home, and in 10 years you'll have 30 million experienced Solaris developers in every city in the world. You don't have to give it to them for free, but you do have to make it run on new, entry-level hardware.
Is there anything in my proposal that cannot physically be done this week?
Didn't think so, except maybe fix Solaris to run on that machine. As long as Debian can do it and Solaris can't, well, I'm not a Sun shareholder, and I don't plan to be for a while.
As far as my hating Java: I never said that. My all-time favorite text editor and 100% of all programming IDE is jEdit, and it's a Java app. Love it, could not live without it (Yes I've told Slava). What I said is that I would never program in Java. I took a Java class, got an A, bought some books, installed NetBeans, tried, and tried, but it never clicked, never felt natural, never felt like I could get my mind and Java in the same trough. So I gave up. I stick with python because it just feels natural to me (even if django gave me nightmares with its funky orm). I've digressed. I'll stop now.