SPARC Plug

Things are hopping in OpenSPARC Land.

As you may know, Sun released the T1 processor design under GNU open source license earlier this year. This is the full design of our latest 32-thread, multicore SPARC CPU--the same CPU that is used in our new Sun Fire T1000 and T2000 servers.

What you may not know is that Ubuntu Linux has been available for Sun's T1-based T1000 and T2000 systems since May, and at least 800 sites are running Ubuntu on SPARC systems. In addition, now that support for the T1 has made it back into the mainline Linux kernel (2.6.17), Gentoo has recently begun offering a distribution that supports these T1-based systems.

On top of all the technical news, a Community Advisory Board has been formed to guide the OpenSPARC community's efforts. It has five members, two of whom are from Sun. Details on the CAB and other OpenSPARC developments are summarized in this recent Sun press release. My favorite quote from the press release: "Since its introduction last March, there have been over 3,500 OpenSPARC T1 hardware downloads..." Hardware downloads! Beam me up, Scotty.

In addition, an online article in the new Zealand edition of Computerworld ponders the relevance and value of open source hardware efforts. Worth a read if you are wondering what impact open hardware projects like OpenSPARC might have in the future.


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Josh Simons

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