back to article Ubuntu quietly breaks off Sparc affair

Maverick Meerkat is set to become the last version of Ubuntu that'll run on Oracle's Sparc, ending a four-year relationship. Also getting canned is Ubuntu running on Hewlett-Packard's Itanic 64-bit challenger. Meerkat is currently in feature-freeze ahead of October's official launch, and apparently nobody's stepped up to …


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  1. Shane Kent

    I thought Ubuntu was the...

    home user version of Linux?

    1. Ole Juul


      What a strange thing to say on an IT site. Also, it's "distribution" not "version", they mean different things. Why not cruise by their site and see what they have to offer?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No there's a server version

      Very good too the latest Lucid security updates until 2015

    3. asdf Silver badge

      either nice trolling or another proud windows lover

      A statement like this is bound to start a religious war. Ubuntu is perfectly acceptable in the enterprise (though imho less so than RHEL) as well as on the desktop (writing this post on Ubuntu netbook remix). Basically linux is the equivalent of dos or NT kernel in windows world. One usually runs linux by choosing from one of hundreds of distros (that include the linux kernel along with a windows manager, a install program, the kitchen sink, etc) that are basically equivalent but packaged a little different for the user needs. Ubuntu, RedHat, Suse and Debian are the biggest names but many other exist. Most of the big distros can run both on a server or a user desktop including laptops. That is the beauty of linux as opposed to windows. It is much easier to customize linux to run on virtually any hardware and one doesn't need to choose Windows Mobile or Windows CE (which only look like Windows but innards much different to remove incredible bloat and inefficiency of windows OS).

    4. asdf Silver badge

      and I thought

      Windows was the home version of the etch-a-sketch. Ubuntu runs just fine on servers in the enterprise (though if my job was on the line RHEL would be my preference) just as many would say Suse runs just as good at home on a laptop. Basically all linux distros are still linux and are just packaged a little bit different for different tasks. Unix is Unix and Windows is what happens when 40+ years of OS design principals are ignored and you embed a web browser into your kernel.

  2. Lou Gosselin


    I'm all for diversification of hardware. It gives us more choice, which is always a good thing. But let's face it, we were too cheap to pay a premium for Sun hardware when commodity x86 hardware could do the same thing at a lower cost.. Our aggregate behavior killed Sun.

    Where Sun failed, ARM has a chance to enter the commodity server market with competitive pricing. Granted they're starting with low end consumer products and still need to fix the performance gap, but I hear that's in the works.

    If they can build up their scales of economy, then x86 might finally have a viable competitor.

    1. Alan W. Rateliff, II
      Paris Hilton

      Commodity? I think not.

      There are a great many things that enterprise SPARC hardware can do that commodity x86 hardware cannot. Now, enterprise x86 (or rather x64?) That is a horse of a different color.

      Paris, a horse of a different color.

  3. Rob Beard

    Other distros

    Not to worry, there's always Debian, Gentoo and (in the case of Sparc) Fedora.

    I'm sure anyone running a Sparc or Itanic system is likely to be experienced enough to switch to a different distro.

    Even if they have a specific reason not to switch, they're still supported for a couple of more years.


  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's SPARC not Sparc

    Once again, The Reg commits trademark violations.

    It's spelled SPARC, not Sparc.

    When will you get it right?

    Hmmm. Too late.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Hey, could be worse

      Lots of angry tards around here write MAC when they mean Mac rather than Media Arbitration Code and the like. Just be grateful that the while thing WASN'T WRITTEN IN THE BIG LETTARS.

    2. Iggle Piggle
      Gates Halo


      you pointed this out to prove that case sensitive OS's are better? :-)

    3. Anonymous Coward


      Scalable Processor ARChitecture

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Nope: Slow Processor ARChitecture

        yadda. all in the subject.

    4. asdf Silver badge

      SPARC sucks

      Maybe people would work on spelling it right if 1. it wasn't dying a rapid merciful death, 2. It has been so horribly slow for such a long time. I have never heard a developer that had to work with SPARC not think it was so much slower than a decent specced x86 computer for 1/20 the cost. This includes even developers that liked Suns stuff and still defend Solaris. SPARC has been garbage for at least the last decade.

    5. Anonymous Coward

      Trademark fanboy?

      I'm sure SPARC International's lawyers are capable enough of threatening The Register without fanboy support. After all, they were quite capable of threatening Sparkfun over the use of a common word in that company's name which has quite a bit to do with the electrical nature of that company's business and very little to do with anyone wanting a free ride on a low visibility trademark. But anyway.

      Maybe you should read The Inquirer for a while for a dose of auto-corrected trademarks - "Iphone" and the like - and come back when you've calmed down (or after you've gone into orbit and come down again).

    6. captain veg

      No, that's BOLLOX

      There is no such animal as trademark violation. It is incumbent on a trademark holder to assert it; the rest of us can do as we please so long as we're not passing off.

      One stylistic convention is that an acronym is written in proper case if it is spoken as a word, such as Nato, but all upper case if the letters are individual enunciated, e.g. UN. So Sparc it is, unless you are in the habit of pronouncing it S - P - A - R - C.

      Pedant off.


  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Removed in maverick...

    Looks like lucid will be the last - from todays (2.6.35-17) maverick kernel changelog

    * Remove ia64 support

    * [Config] Update portsconfigs after removing ia64 support

    * Remove sparc support

    * [Config] Update portsconfigs after removing sparc support

  6. FuzzyTheBear

    And Oracle ..

    Im not all that disappointed to see the sparc version go.

    Oracle attacks about java ,their general attitude towards open source imho more than

    satisfies the test to just throw their platforms out the linux ecosystem.

    Time to retaliate a bit and stop being sheep.In fact i hope we are going to come up with a new programming language to replace java. Getting rid of Oracle altogether sounds as good as when SCO started to attack the linux ecosystem. There's the chance to get rid of them by simply saying , no thanks , we got our own. As for sparc .. well same owner .. buh bye

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looking forward

    "On the upside, The H reports that Sparc and IA64 on Ubuntu 10.04 desktop will be maintained for another three years while server gets another five years."

    Which is why they're acting now. Their commitments mean they have to look forward. If this is worth anything as a trend indicator, it's a bit of a pity, but not that surprising, to see that sunacle fails to inspire. itanic wasn't a surprise at all, and a pox on that, bloody chipkiller. On another level, we *need* diversity. Just x86 doesn't cut it, quite apart from that I think it deserves to die a fiery death for crimes against engineering and good sense.

    1. Lennart Sorensen

      Well we do have diversity.

      We still have PowerPC (IBM and Freescale make plenty), and ARM (Who has more CPUs out there than ARM?), and of course MIPS (Lots of small routers, like Broadcom and Atheros chips, not to mention the Chinese loongson processors). Now SPARC is a lovely architecture and all, but when was the last time they made a new one?

      Itanium seems to have killed the Alpha, killed high end MIPS although apparently not that successfully given where MIPS is going now, and of course killed the HPPA (PA-RISC). It might have wounded SPARC, although that may have been as much SUN's own fault. PowerPC never even noticed the Itanium. It's doing fine. Same with ARM (although these have never been high end server stuff, although that could change).

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    HP and Oracle targetted?

    Hmmmm - absolutely nothing to do with IBM and Ubuntu shipping a DB/2 appliance in competition with those other two?

  9. Captain Thyratron

    Huh. Didn't know they ever did that.

    Oh, they ported Ubuntu to SPARC? I was too busy using the other operating systems that run on SPARC to notice.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Oracle is interested in closed-source only software anyway, and Intel's too busy dry-humping Nokia to emit from their friction a MeeGo... I don't think they'll care if interest on an IA64 distro fades when Ubuntu is seeking out more activity from Cloud Computing use anyway.

    @Shane, Ubuntu has distros for home use and server use. Check it:

  11. Matt Piechota

    Choice in Hardware is nice and all

    Choice in hardware is OK if you really know what software you're dealing with and *KNOW* it's available. I've run Linux on POWER (IBM), and you can't get EMC SAN drivers/agents, a full version of various parts of software (WebLogic, I'm looking at you), no MATLAB, etc. It's a cool idea, but you're going out on a limb if your requirements change.

  12. David Halko
    IT Angle

    Why would anyone want to run Linux on a SPARC platform when there is Solaris?

    I never understood this bizarre thought... running Linux on a SPARC T platform with lots of threads...

    The only benefit I see is if it was run in a Branded Zone for a bunch of secured virtual desktops on a 4000 zone system on top of a deduped ZFS file system... but would people use Ubuntu desktops on that large of a basis in a company or government?

  13. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge


    God, the Itanium, the chip nobody loves. I had a chance to get an Itanium 2 system last year for like $1, after it was put out for surplus and would not sell. I didn't want it (I've had a few non-x86 boxen in the past).. Between me and my friends, we have had (besides the boring ol' x86), PowerPCs (both Apple and IBM RS6000), SPARC (both an old IPC and UltraSPARC), HP PA-RISC, SGIs, I've had *3* DEC architectures -- DEC VAX, DEC MIPS (a DECStation with an R3000), *and* a DEC Alpha. A few Motorola 68Ks (running BSD). I almost bought an Intergraph Clipper machine once.

    Me:: "Do you want an Itanium?"

    Friend #1: "Nope."

    Friend #2: "Ugh, gag me. No I do not."

    Friend #3: "Nooooooooooooooo!"

    I didn't want it, two of them flat out didn't want it at all, and the 3rd realized what a space heater the darned thing was and didn't want it due to the extreme power usage.


    Anyway... to be honest, Ubuntu is primarily debian with some nice bits thrown on to make it slightly easier to use. So, if someone does want to keep these ports going it should not be that gargantuan a task, primarily a matter of keeping these few ubuntu-specific packages ported. I'd do it but I don't have an Itanium! 8-)

  14. Marvin the Martian

    Friggin meerkats everywhere.

    I've had it with those little rat-ferrets. Why this overexposure? Why no Mischievous Moloch or so?

    Or at least mebby a Manic Mongoose (who is of course closely related to the meerkat)...

  15. Cyfaill


    Ubuntu is based on Debian, which supports many architectures.

    Dropping SPARC... may be a political stab at Oracle, that bought Sun and then is dropping everything (Sun) that does not serve Oracle's purpose.

    Ubuntu had a relationship with Sun... that no longer exists.

    Oracle is driven by self-serving interests, that bare watching, closely.

    Sun had an interest in Ubuntu because it is both popular and powerful.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Ahh, but will they ever port it to the NeXT cube?

    Better yet, the first attractive, mass produced *bicycle* ... that runs Ubuntu ... would probably be viewed as something of a geek :win: Good luck making it a business win, but I bet all us Linux Fanboi / Fangrl types would applaud! ><

    Anonymous, just in case Skynet runs Vista. Tee hee.

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