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Sun gives OpenSparc a push

Development project for UltraSparc T1 gets an advisory board, a boost from Gentoo Linux and a derivative design from Simply RISC.

Sun Microsystems has brought together a community advisory board to direct its OpenSparc development project, the company announced Monday. The board is made up of two Sun staffers and three outside members: Nathan Brookwood, of analyst firm Insight64; Jose Renau, of the University of California at Santa Cruz; and Robert Ober, of LSI Logic. In addition, Sun announced that the latest release of Gentoo Linux includes support for UltraSparc TI on Sun Fire T1000 and T2000 servers. It also noted that startup Simply RISC has released the design of its single-core variant of UltraSparc T1, the first chip design to be derived from OpenSPARC.

The moves are a step forward for OpenSparc, Sun's effort to build engineering development and research around UltraSparc T1, formerly code-named Niagara. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company hopes that by making the basic designs of the chip open source, it will give a boost to Sparc processors, which are playing catch up with server rivals from IBM, Intel and Advanced Micro Devices.