Sun Open Sources Microprocessor Design, Lowering Barriers to Innovation and Application Development for First Purpose-Built Processor for the Next Internet Build-Out
New York - Dec. 6, 2005 - Sun Network Computing 2005 Q4 (NC05Q4) - Sun Microsystems, Inc. (NASDAQ: SUNW) today announced the OpenSPARC project to open source its new breakthrough UltraSPARC(R) T1 processor design point. With more than 3.4 million registered licenses of the Solaris 10 Operating System (OS) and 10,000 registered OpenSolaris community members, Sun is building on a long history of sharing source code and creating communities and is the first to create this new 64-bit, 32-thread rich SPARC/Solaris community to spur innovation for massively-threaded systems and "system on a chip" design. The program will be available in the first quarter of 2006.
Today, Sun also announced plans to publish specifications for the UltraSPARC-based chip, including the source of the design expressed in Verilog, a verification suite and simulation models, instruction set architecture specification (UltraSPARC Architecture 2005) and a Solaris OS port. The goal is to enable community members to build on proven technology at a markedly lower cost and to innovate freely. The source code will be released under an Open Source Initiative (OSI)-approved open source license.
With this ground-breaking move to open source the UltraSPARC T1 code, Sun intends to significantly increase participation in processor architecture development and application design and eliminate many of the barriers to the next big build-out of the Internet. The program will yield more collaboration and cooperation around hardware design and is expected to help drive down the costs of implementing the design in different technologies, while enabling bold new products to be brought to market.
"This company was founded on the principles of openness, community and competition. In our 23-year history, we've contributed more code to the open source community than any other organization on earth," said Scott McNealy, chairman and CEO, Sun Microsystems, Inc. "Today, we're breaking new ground by extending the open source movement into the IT hardware business and removing the barriers for adoption. We're throwing open the doors of innovation for everyone to participate, fostering new growth and economic opportunity for Sun and the Internet of the future."
Having launched UltraSPARC 1 almost a decade ago as one of Sun's founders and now a partner with venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, Bill Joy likes the idea that the processor code can be available for future innovations. "It's great to see advanced multi-core technology, like OpenSPARC, made available in this way for collaboration, education and research," said Bill Joy.
"The SPARC architecture has a long history of being open. Sun's open-sourcing of a 64-bit SPARC processor implementation opens SPARC in a new and exciting way and paves the way for the next Internet build-out," said Karen Anaya, CEO, SPARC International. "SPARC International is delighted to see the devoted SPARC community expanding to encompass an even broader range of SPARC implementations."
"Sun's move to open up the design of the new UltraSPARC 64-bit chip is a new frontier for open source. We've long understood the benefits of openness and sharing for driving innovation and quality in software development, but it has yet to be tried for hardware design. While no one expects garage hackers doing their own chip fabs, there's no question that hardware designers can learn from each other's work as readily as software designers, and that design elements taken from one chip could more quickly advance the development of others. I'm hopeful that Sun's leadership in this area will encourage similar moves from other players," said Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO, O'Reilly Media.
"Sun's decision to release Verilog source code for the UltraSPARC hardware design under a free software license is a historic step," said Eben Moglen, founding director of the Software Freedom Law Center. "The future direction of hardware design will be charted through the same principles of deep collaboration and free exchange of ideas that were pioneered by the free software and open source communities. Sun is showing its profound understanding of the forces shaping our technological future in making this decision."
In conjunction with the OpenSolaris project, the OpenSPARC initiative heralds the dawn of a new era of 64-bit industry-standard computing where communities can leverage well-designed building blocks to innovate and add value both at the hardware and software levels. In addition, Sun is actively working with the open source community to bring Linux and FreeBSD to the UltraSPARC T1 platform.
Sun continues to be a pioneer in the trend of open sourcing products and technologies. Sun has committed to open sourcing its entire software portfolio using industry-standard open source licensing models to allow customers to have easy and broad access to all of its source code. Many of the components of Sun's integrated software platform are already available as open source, including the Solaris OS, the Sun Java Application Server, the NetBeans software tools, and several key underlying services like single sign-on capabilities and the ability to connect multiple, independent applications in a standard way.
For more information on OpenSPARC, please go to http://www.opensparc.net/.
For more information related to all of Sun's NC05Q4 announcements, as well as those above, go to Sun's online press kit at http://www.sun.com/presskits/networkcomputing05q4/.
About Sun Microsystems, Inc.
A singular vision -- "The Network Is The Computer" -- guides Sun in the development of technologies that power the world's most important markets. Sun's philosophy of sharing innovation and building communities is at the forefront of the next wave of computing: the Participation Age. Sun can be found in more than 100 countries and on the Web at http://sun.com.