Sun Microsystems Inc. is getting support for its Sparc-based servers from Canonical Ltd., the Linux distributor of Ubuntu, the companies said Tuesday.
The free Debian-based Ubuntu distribution of Linux, launched in 2004 by South African dot-com billionaire Mark Shuttleworth, has already attracted millions of individual desktop users. But with the "Dapper Drake" release of Ubuntu set to ship next month, Ubuntu will make its first foray into the enterprise data center. That release will now support Sun's "Niagara" T1000 and T2000 servers in addition to Intel and Advanced Micro Devices Inc.'s x86 servers and IBM's Power-based servers.
Sun's "Niagara" Sparc-based servers, first launched last year, up until now only supported Sun's Solaris Unix operating system. Leading Linux distributor Red Hat Inc. would not comment on whether or not it plans to support Sun's Sparc servers.
Canonical's "Dapper Drake" release, officially called Ubuntu 6.06 LTS (Long Term Support), will include a dedicated server edition with an extended five-year support period for enterprise users. Canonical will also offer technical support for Sparc-based systems starting at US$700 per year for a single machine.
Access to the Sparc design through Sun's OpenSPARC initiative allowed it to quickly complete the porting process, Shuttleworth said.