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Ubuntu coming soon to Sun's Niagara

Sun's Linux embrace gains key backer as Canonical announces its next Ubuntu release will support Sun's Niagara servers.

Sun Microsystems' embrace of Linux has gained a key backer as Canonical announced its next release of Ubuntu will support Sun's Niagara servers.

The companies jointly stated Tuesday that Canonical's Ubuntu 6.06 LTS (Long Term Support) will run on Sun's T1000 and T2000 servers, which use the UltraSparc T1 processor formerly known as Niagara. The new version of Ubuntu is on Thursday, said Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical.

Earlier this month at the JavaOne conference, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz strongly hinted that such an arrangement was in the works.

"Ubuntu is gaining a ton of momentum," Schwartz said at the time. "It is arguably one of the most important--if not the most important--Linux (distributions) out there."

Ubuntu, popular on desktops, is increasingly popping up on servers that are hosting Web pages or applications, Shuttleworth said. Those areas are also well-suited for the T1000 and T2000 servers, which can process up to 32 separate threads simultaneously. The Ubuntu release will become the first distribution of Linux to officially support the new servers, he said.

Linux developer David Miller was the first to get Ubuntu up and running on Niagara in February. Sun is increasingly embracing the use of Linux on its servers. The company's OpenSparc project allows developers to download key portions of the T1 architecture in order to build applications or port Linux distributions such as Ubuntu.

Sun is not actively recruiting Linux vendors to the OpenSparc project, but it is trying to make it easy for them to support Sparc, said Fadi Azhari, director of outbound marketing for Sun. "Certification comes from the vendors. We believe that is the best way to build a community," Azhari said.

Sun does not plan to ship Ubuntu 6.06 LTS with T1000 and T2000 servers, but Canonical will make the new version available for download on its site, Shuttleworth said. Canonical has yet to port Ubuntu to Sun's hypervisor, which would allow T1000 and T2000 users to run Ubuntu and Solaris side-by-side in separate virtual environments, but that work is under way, he said.