Through its OpenSPARC initiative, the company made its UltraSPARC architecture 2005 and HyperVisor API specifications available to programmers under the General Public License (GPL).
Software developers will be able to freely port Linux, BSD and other middleware and applications to the UltraSPARC T1 processor.
Sunil Joshi, senior vice president of design tools, performance and quality assurance at Sun, said the publication of these specifications will foster the development of open-source software based on Sun’s UltraSPARC T1 processor.
“This is not anymore just a Sun play,” Joshi said in an interview. “This is an industry play, which can create an opportunity for everyone to expand the potential for their business.”
The T1 is equipped with multi-threading technology, which Sun calls CoolThreads.
Each of the UltraSparc T1 cores has four threads for a total of 32. Each thread can perform different tasks in parallel, which speeds processing for applications written to take advantage of it.
Multi-threading, Joshi argued, will be an important technology for the “interactive Web” world, where users are accessing scores of blogs, wikis and RSS feeds to communicate information.
Sun created the T1 as part of its push to get back into contention in the server systems space, where it has lost share thanks to a combination of IBM’s Power architecture and Dell’s strong commodity server push.
OpenSparc is a way for Sun to win over developers in the industry, which it believes will translate to better server sales down the road.
The logic is that the more applications that work on the new UltraSparc T1 servers, the more likely customers will be to procure them. Open sourcing T1 architectures under the GPL is one Sun hopes to gain more support.