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Sun Opens Niagara Chip Design to the World

Sun Microsystems today complemented the release of two new servers
with some potentially significant changes to its processor architecture
licensing policy and the way in which Oracle will price its database
for the fresh gear.  We covered the Sun Fire T2000 and T1000 servers earlier today.
What's important about the boxes in the context of the licensing and
Oracle developments is their use of the eight-core UltraSPARC T1 - aka
Niagara - processor. This chip marks the most major development in
Sun's UltraSPARC line in a long, long time and gives it a part unlike
any other offered by Tier 1 competitors.

Sun has moved to "open source" the UltraSPARC T1's design in a bid
to generate outside interest around the chip. The exact details for
this plan remain a bit thin, but Sun did say it would publish the
specifications for "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" for
the UltraSPARC T1. In so doing, other companies could create versions
of the low-power chip to handle other software than the web and
application server loads Sun has aimed at with its new servers.

News source: The Register

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