Sun Releases OpenSPARC T2 RTL Processor to Open Source Community

Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq:JAVA) delivered on the commitment it made in August by providing the OpenSPARC(TM) T2 RTL (register transfer level) processor design to the free and open source community via the GPL license. The OpenSPARC T2 processor is based on the UltraSPARC(R) T2 processor, the world’s fastest commodity processor with eight cores and eight threads per core running the Solaris(TM) 10 Operating System (OS).

Sun also announced that five major universities are now official OpenSPARC Technology Centers of Excellence: the University of California, Santa Cruz; University of Texas, Austin; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; and Carnegie Mellon University. Each Center of Excellence has a minimum two-year commitment, during which time they’ll execute chip design research and course work based on Sun’s chip multi-threading (CMT) design.

In December 2005, Sun announced it would publish the specifics for the UltraSPARC T1 processor, making it the first major processor design to be offered to the open source community. And since the launch of the OpenSPARC T1 processor in March 2006, over 6,500 copies of the OpenSPARC T1 processor RTL have been downloaded worldwide. Through the OpenSPARC technology program, Sun helps community members to build on proven technology at a dramatically low cost, and helps to drive down the cost of implementing designs into different technologies and products. The OpenSPARC T1 and OpenSPARC T2 processor RTL files can be downloaded.

“Open sourcing the UltraSPARC T1 processor design was such a new concept it created some angst and a fair amount of debate before we pulled the trigger,” said David Yen, executive vice president of Sun Microelectronics. “But there was no debate associated with T2; we’ve seen the success of open sourcing hardware, and the interest it has created in the developer, university and customer communities. The number of downloads have been impressive and confident we’re expanding the market for Sun technology.”

“Thanks to the T1 design and other tools available to us through the Illinois Center of Excellence for OpenSPARC technology, faculty and students are performing research on processor reliability and architecture that would be impossible under any other scenario,” said Josep Torrellas, professor of computer science at the University of Illinois. “For academics, this is an order of magnitude improvement in research tools. Computer architecture researchers everywhere should check it out.”

Open Source Community Innovation Awards Program
OpenSPARC community has also been selected as part of Sun’s Open Source Community Innovation Awards Program. Announced last week, the multi-year program is designed to foster innovation and recognize some of the most interesting open source initiatives within Sun. Sun has selected six communities for the program’s first year: GlassFish(TM), NetBeans(TM), OpenJDK(TM),, OpenSolaris(TM) and OpenSPARC. Prizes are expected to total at least $1 million (USD) a year.

Beginning mid-January 2008, the six open source communities will announce the details around the individual programs. Each community will have its own rules and judging criteria. Prize winners will be announced in August 2008. To follow contest updates and major developments, visit:

About The OpenSPARC T2 Processor
The commodity UltraSPARC T2 processor delivers a 64-way system on a single chip. It’s the industry’s first processor to bring together the key functions of multiple systems-virtualization, processing, networking, security, floating point units and accelerated memory access. With the UltraSPARC T2 processor Sun extended its lead in eco performance by combining the industry’s lowest power consumption with double the cores, 16 times the threads, 4 times the throughput, with on-chip network and security functionality.

About Sun Microsystems, Inc.
A singular vision — “The Network Is The Computer”[tm] — 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.

Sun, Sun Microsystems, the Sun logo, Solaris, and The Network is The Computer are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States and in other countries. All SPARC, OpenSPARC, GlassFish, NetBeans, OpenJDK and UltraSPARC trademarks are used under license and are trademarks or registered trademarks of SPARC International, Inc. in the US and other countries. Products bearing SPARC trademarks are based upon an architecture developed by Sun Microsystems, Inc.