Could we be seeing Linux on SPARC systems? Sun hopes so. The company is hoping to make the Linux and BSD Unix open-source operating systems a serious option for buyers of SPARC based systems. Some commentators are sceptical of the effort, though.

"The time for Linux on SPARC as any kind of major market phenomenon has come and gone--over five years ago now, maybe longer," Illuminata analyst Jonathan Eunice said. "It just serves to split the available development resources."
Some BSD variants can already run on SPARC processors, but these products are not commercially relevant for the majority of customers. Red Hat also dropped its SPARC support in 2000, and Novell Suse dropped theirs in 2002. Nevertheless, Sun remains determined.

"Linux on SPARC is dead serious," President Jonathan Schwartz said in an e-mail interview. "I'm personally talking to leaders in the community. BSD, too."