Sun Further Embraces the GPL

By Amy Newman (Send Email)
Posted Mar 22, 2006


As promised at last month's Open Source Business Conference Sun Microsystems Tuesday made good on its plans to release the UltraSPARC T1 processor design under the GNU General Public License.

Right on schedule, Sun set free the UltraSPARC T1 processor design.

The release is part of Sun's OpenSPARC Initiative.

At the Multi-Core Expo in Santa Clara, Calif. the systems vendor published both the hardware design point and the Solaris 10 operating system porting specifications for the breakthrough UltraSPARC T1 processor. This lays the groundwork for making it easier to port to Linux and other operating systems.

The specifications made public this week are: the source of the UltraSPARCT1 design, as expressed in Verilog; the verification suite and simulation models; ISA specification for UltraSPARC Architecture 2005; and the Solaris 10 OS simulation images.

This is the first time current hardware and Verilog specs have been licensed under the GPL, Fadi Azhari, director of outbound marketing, Scalable Systems Group, told ServerWatch.

The release builds on Sun's recent move to release Hypervisor API specifications, which enable users to port Linux, BSD and other operating systems on the UltraSPARC T1 platform. According to Sun, this is the first time a hardware design as complex as UltraSPARC T1 has been released under the GPL.

At this time, Sun also released porting specifications for the Solaris 10 OS. The specs will enable developers to create and run multithreaded hardware and software products on Solaris, a move Sun believes will bolsters the strength of its multithreaded community.

Emily Suter, community development and marketing for OpenSPARC, sees great value for Sun in this move, "We can't do all of the innovations in this type of technology," she told ServerWatch.

Finally, new "Cool Tools" were launched. The new products offer performance tuning of applications on multi-threaded processors and CMT programming and profiling.

Companies already on board with the OpenSPARC Initiative include Aurora VLSI, Aldec, Synopsys, World 45, SimplyRISC, Time-to-Market, and University of California, Santa Cruz.

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