UltraSparc T1 Design Goes Open Source

Sun announced the open source release of specifications to its UltraSparc
T1 processor under the General Public License or GPL , making it free to developers.

Sun has dubbed the new open source
version of the UltraSparc T1 design “OpenSPARC T1.” T1 is a
64-bit, 32 threaded processor design, which Sun called Niagara during its
development. Sun had announced plans last month to open source
the spec
by the end of March.

The release builds on Sun’s recent move to release Hypervisor API
specifications, which allow companies to port Linux, BSD and
other operating systems to the UltraSparc T1 platform. Developers can use
such information to create hardware, software, tools and other applications
in what Sun calls a multi-threaded eco-system.

“I think with GPL we’re setting a tone for the industry of what can be
done with a product that’s leading edge,” Sunil Joshi, senior VP of design
tools, performance and quality assurance at Sun, told
internetnews.com. “This is the first time that such a complex
hardware design has been released under GPL.”

Sun also released porting specifications for its
Solaris 10 operating system, designed to let developers create and
run their multi-threaded hardware and software products on Solaris.

Sun also said its OpenSparc initiative has partnered with universities in
the RAMP (Research Accelerator for Multiple Processors) project, which
includes researchers from University of California-Berkeley, Stanford,
Harvard, Carneige Melon University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
University of Washington and University of Texas at Austin. Their goal is to
work jointly with Sun’s UltraSparc T1 to eventually build a 1,000-core
scalable research system.

“Sun is releasing a full suite of open hardware and software offerings
which look very useful for the RAMP project,” said UC-Berkeley Professor
David Patterson, in a statement. “I would like to see Sun work towards making
OpenSPARC a new open industry standard.”

Simply RISC is among a handful of companies to announce support for Sun’s
latest open source initiative. “OpenSPARC is a great opportunity for
emerging companies like Simply RISC” said Fabrizio Fazzino, Managing
Director, Simply RISC. “We will be utilizing the OpenSPARC T1 designs to
develop a single core version for the embedded device market, which we would
not have had access to previously.”

The OpenSparc news will be formerly announced during a keynote address by
David Yen, Executive VP of Sun’s Scalable Systems Group at the first
Multi-Core Expo in Santa Clara, Calif. which starts Tuesday.

News Around the Web