RealTime IT News

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.