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Sun Studio 11 a Free Download

Sun Microsystem's latest development tool catering to high-performance computing (HPC) environments is now available as a free download.

Sun Studio 11, available on the company's Web site, takes advantage of 32-bit and 64-bit applications and multi-core processors. Registration to the free-to-join Sun Developer Network (SDN) is required for the download.

The developer tool is one of three IDEs built on top of the core NetBeans platform and re-branded under the Sun name. The other two, Sun Java Studio Enterprise and Sun Java Studio Creator, are aimed at Java developers while Sun Studio is targeted to C, C++ and Fortran developers.

Catering to the HPC crowd, Studio 11 compilers have been optimized to run on scalable 32-bit and 64-bit applications and in multi-core environments like the recently announced eight-core UltraSPARC T1 with CoolThreads.

Sun officials say the UltraSparc T1 with CoolThreads, which formerly went under the code name of Niagara, use less power and floor space than the competition and will pave the way to server-on-a- chip systems.

Sun Fire servers with the UltraSparc T1 chips are expected to ship later this year.

Sun Studio 11 also includes an advanced graphical user interface debugger and performance analysis tools to correlate the source code with actual machine execution.

The free download comes a week after the free download launch of Sun Java Studio Enterprise 8 and Sun Java Studio Creator 2004Q2, the Java-based platforms developed by Sun.

The free downloads are a strategy to get more applications built on the Sun platform with for-fee developer support plans on tap to help make up lost licensing revenues. The company has two support options for Sun Studio 11, a one-year basic service plan at $864 and three-year plan at $2,376. The company plans to introduce new support plans next month.

So far the strategy is working. According to Dan Roberts, Sun director of marketing for developer tools, the response to the free download offer has been tremendous.

"With only a couple of days of data it's tough to draw complete and total statistically-relevant conclusions but right now it's looking like our rates are anywhere from two to three times greater in downloads and registrations," he said.

Sun Studio 11 runs on Solaris 8, 9 and 10 (Sparc and x86 platforms), SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4. Roberts said the company will enable developers to create applications on Windows in the future. The tool is available for download here.