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SPARC Sees Updates For Linux 4.14

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  • #11
    I mean, they still have like... 30 years of guaranteed security updates on Solaris for some of their customers, so it's not dead per se.

    Dying is probably a better description.


    • #12
      Originally posted by cb88 View Post

      Xeon dominates the cheap server room.. head to head Sparc will stomp about anything in SQL performance.. mainly because it has hardware acceleration just for that that nobody else has. This is acutally part of what was being brought up recently in Linux... I've been watching the sparc-linux mailing list and it was discussed there. Unfortunately you have to pay through the teeth to get it... that isn't a problem for government contractors though or the government itself for that matter.
      The DAX accelerators are great, but since afaik there's no Oracle DB for Linux/SPARC (except maybe in the Exadata SL?), kind of a moot point on Linux.

      Other than that Sparc has always been very scalable... which is it's whole point anyway "Scalable PRocessor ARCitecture". It is a bit dated and crufty in places, not not nearly so much as x86... but it will still scale from something similar to a pic32 all the way up to machines that can go head to head with x86. The problem with Sparc in the past and one issue that still crops up for hobbiest that are on older hardware (Sparc T1-T3 basically) is that Sun made the same mistake AMD did when it designed bulldozer... most of the cheaper Sparc hardware you can get uses CMT.... but they have been moving away from this to a more performant implementation with higher clock rates in recent releases of the architecture.
      Sun CMT and AMD CMT are not the same or even related. AMD CMT means Cluster Multithreading, Sun CMT means Chip Multithreading (ie, multicore, multithreaded processors - which were unusual at the time.)

      If you look at recent news it looks like Oracle has bascically turned over the reigns of Sparc to Fujitsu.... they have new M12 servers rolling out now based on Fujitsu processors instead of Oracle's.. you see any company can actually make Sparc processors as long as they implement a conformant implementation, Intel or AMD could even make them if they wanted to (actually I think AMD would do better to make Sparc's than ARM's... ).
      That wasn't turning over the reins. Fujitsu has had a distinct SPARC product line for decades. It sells okay in Japan, and shares some R&D with Fujitsu's mainframe business.

      Fujitsu is moving to ARM for HPC, however, and judging by benchmarks, M12 isn't anything to write home about.


      • #13
        Originally posted by cb88 View Post
        Fujitsu's incarnation of Sparc definitly leans more toward HPC and big iron (I'm not sure where this "big tin" thing you guys are talking about comes from )... Sparc hasn't seen a workstation class CPU release in some 10+ years or so. They were talking up the S7 Sonoma Sparc processor as a workstation class CPU but it was probably the last straw when it fell through. That isn't to say Fujitsu's CPUs wouldn't make excellent workstaiton CPUs... that just isn't what they are sold for.
        Big iron type setups have always been reliant on one or a few very high performance general purpose processing elements, not a large number of desktop-class processing elements spread across multiple distinct machines (i.e a distributed system). The reason why they stopped making SPARC workstations was because of how badly it fell behind x86 in single thread performance, which is still pretty important for desktop uses so I wouldn't be so sure that Fujisu can make a decent workstation CPU.

        Sparc can be a mainframe processor... or did you miss the Scalable part.
        A mainframe is generally a single cohesive whole, not a series of interconnected blade/rackmount machines. If SPARC can be a mainframe processor, then so can x86 and ARM.
        Last edited by L_A_G; 09-11-2017, 03:37 AM.
        "Why should I want to make anything up? Life's bad enough as it is without wanting to invent any more of it."


        • #14
          Michael is only telling half the story. The patches in question didn't come from random people, they come mostly from Oracle employees.

          Oracle never stated they laid off SPARC staff. It was all pure speculation. Yes, some Solaris folk was let go, but Oracle's Linux for SPARC developers are still active as they were before the layoff. Just check the email addresses of the people sending in patches for August:


          Oracle also just released a product based on Linux for SPARC, the Exadata SL6:


          So, unless Oracle confirms that SPARC staff was laid off, any media outlet spreading this "news" is purely speculating.