Sun Microsystems has provided its OpenSparc T2 RTL (register transfer level) processor design to the free and open source community via the GPL license.
The OpenSparc is based on the UltraSparc T2 processor, a commodity processor with eight cores and eight threads per core running the Solaris 10 operating system.
Sun also revealed 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 design.
Sun first announced that it would publish the specifics for the UltraSparc T1 processor in December 2005, which it claims is the first major processor design to be offered to the open source community.
Since the launch of the OpenSparc T1 processor in March 2006, over 6,500 copies of the design have been downloaded worldwide.
"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.
"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."
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