Sun to further promote Linux use on its servers

Sun is making another move to encourage developers to port other operating systems to its servers, notably Linux, the company announced Tuesday. Under its OpenSparc initiative, Sun released two specifications related to its UltraSparc T1 processor to make running non-Solaris operating systems on servers powered by that chip easier.

Sun hopes the ability to run Linux and other operating systems on UltraSparc T1 will grow the market for its Sparc chip architecture and the servers based on that architecture, the company said in a release.

The OpenSparc initiative released the UltraSparc Architecture 2005 and Hypervisor API specification, Sun revealed at the Open Source Business Conference (OSBC) taking place in San Francisco through Wednesday.

The UltraSparc Architecture 2005 specification documents the complete instruction set architecture for Sun's 64-bit Sparc implementation, while the UltraSparc Hypervisor API specification describes the hypervisor technology incorporated in the chip that provides a virtual machine environment where a guest operating system such as Linux can run.

Sun announced its OpenSparc program to publish specifications for the UltraSparc T1 multicore, multithreaded 64-bit chip, formerly code-named Niagara, back in December. The company described the move as "open sourcing" hardware and positioned the program as a way to eventually have third parties improve on the processor's design and produce their own UltraSparc T1-based chips. At that time, Sun claimed that it was already actively working with Linux distribution vendor Red Hat to port Linux to Niagara servers.

The specifications will enable developers to port not only non-Solaris operating systems to UltraSparc T1-based servers, but also middleware and applications, according to Sun. The company has been very vocal in stressing that most applications can already run optimally without modification on systems powered by its UltraSparc T1 chip. However, some analysts have expressed concerns over how much work third-party application developers may have to do to make their software run fully optimized on servers based on the multithreaded processor.


Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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