News Archive (1999-2012) | 2013-current at LinuxGizmos | Current Tech News Portal |    About   

Thread-happy telecom chip gains CG Linux

Mar 17, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

[Updated: Mar. 18, 2009] — Amid rumors that Sun may be acquired by IBM, Sun announced a port of Wind River's Carrier Grade Linux (CGL) to its multi-threading UltraSPARC T2 processor. Sun says Wind River Linux 3.0 is available on several Sun UltraSPARC-T2 systems.

(Click for larger view of Sun's Netra CP3260 ATCA Blade Server)

Sun notes that the announcement “highlights the openness” of its CMT (chip multi-threading) UltraSPARC T2 platform. At one time, Sun was best-known for proprietary hardware and software designs, but it has increasingly embraced open standards such as ATCA and CGL. If the rumor is true about IBM's intention to acquire Sun for $6.5 billion, such openness might also make the struggling company more attractive to IBM (see farther below for more on the acquisition rumors.)

Wind River announced that it was intending to port its distribution to the CMT UltraSPARC T2 a year ago in April. As expected, Wind River Linux 3.0 is the first CGL-compliant Linux distribution available for CMT chips, Sun said. The company also offers Ubuntu Linux as a pre-install option on its CMT products.

As reported on Monday, the newly released Wind River Linux 3.0 wraps in the company's various vertical package variations of its commercial Linux distro, including Wind River's Platform for Network Equipment (PNE), which achieved CGL 4.0 registration early last year. Wind River Linux 3.0 offers upgrades to kernel 2.6.27 and GCC 4.3, faster boot-time, and enhanced real-time and multi-core support. It also includes a new Kernel-based Virtualization Machine (KVM), the company said.

Wind River Linux 3.0 is available initially on Sun's Netra Carrier Grade T5220 rack servers and Sun Netra CP3260 ATCA Blade Server (pictured above). It will also be available with the UltraSPARC T2 Reference Design Kit (RDK), announced in December, which is already available with Sun's proprietary UNIX offering, Solaris.

eATX board

(Click for details)

The RDK is aimed at letting tools systems designers design, test, and verify UltraSPARC T2-based designs, says Sun. The eATX form-factor motherboard (pictured at right) is equipped with an UltraSPARC T2, memory, PCIe and XAUI slots, and four gigabit Ethernet ports, along with other connectivity. (For more detailed information on the RDK, please see our earlier coverage.)

All the platforms initially available with Wind River Linux 3.0 use Sun's UltraSPARC T2 processor, which Sun introduced in August 2007. The 64-thread processor is equipped with eight cores clocked at 900 MHz to 1.4GHz, yet requires less than 95 watts (nominal) overall, and less than two watts per thread, claims Sun. The T2 also is also said to offer integrated multi-threading of 10Gb Ethernet networking, as well as integrated PCI Express I/O expansion, and floating point and cryptographic processing units.

Wind River completed an evaluation port of its CGL stack to Sun's 64-bit multicore, multi-threaded UltraSPARC T1 in November 2006. Earlier that year, Sun released the processor design for the T1 under the GNU GPL open source license.

Stated Mike Langlois, GM of networking and telecommunications at Wind River, “By leveraging an integrated solution like Sun's UltraSPARC T2 and Wind River's multicore-aware Linux and development tools, equipment providers can develop sophisticated applications that fully exploit the use of each core.”

IBM to buy Sun for $6.5 billion?

As reported by the Wall Street Journal this morning, IBM's intended acquisition of Sun would “bolster IBM's heft on the Internet, in software and in finance and telecommunications markets.” The news that the companies are in merger talks was attributed to unnamed sources within the companies, which have said a deal involving $6.5 billion in cash could be made as early as this week. However, there has yet to be an official comment or confirmation, and the story cautions that the deal may fall through. Even if it goes through, says the story, it may run afoul of antitrust law in a more rigorous Obama administration Justice department.

According to the story, IDC has pegged server market share at 31.4 percent for IBM, 29.5 percent for HP, 11.6 percent for Dell, and 10.6 percent for Sun. Although sizable enough to likely raise antitrust concerns, Sun's server share has dropped considerably over the last decade, and its financial situation has been growing increasingly grim.

Part of the problem, says the story, is Sun's focus on using its own proprietary, Unix-based Solaris operating system. By reaching out to Linux developers with the Wind River Linux offering on its highly regarded UltraSPARC T2 platform, however, Sun is continuing a recent move to break out of its Solaris ghetto and embrace a more open-source approach.


Wind River Linux 3.0 with support for UltraSPARC T2 is available now, on the Netra T5220 and Netra CP3260, with RDK availability to follow. Sun also said Wind River's Eclipse-based Workbench tool suite had been ported to the T2, though it was not clear whether T2-based systems are supported as development hosts, or just as development targets. More information on the UltraSPARC T2 Reference Design Kit should be here.

This article was originally published on and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

Comments are closed.