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Sun Sacks UltraSparc V and 3300 Employees

CowboyNeal posted more than 10 years ago | from the cleaning-house dept.

Sun Microsystems 408

bender writes "According to this article, Sun Microsystems has cancelled the next generation UltraSparc V processor even though the chip had already taped out. Perhaps this has something to do with the recent partnerships with AMD and Fujitsu?"

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408 comments

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fp (-1)

Klerck (213193) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826255)

death to sun

Re:fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826403)

lol klerck what's up?

Re:fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826419)

Not much. Just chewing dick and first-posting as usual. What're you up to?

-klerck

Re:fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826517)

visit us on irc.pihost.us sometime.

Worse financial situation than we think? (4, Insightful)

msgmonkey (599753) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826257)

First they settle with Microsoft for $2 billion, and now this. Are things really this bad for Sun?

Re:Worse financial situation than we think? (5, Insightful)

Grant29 (701796) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826291)

They can't compete with the cheap hardware. Sure their HW and SW is top notch, but it's just as easy and cheap to through a small linux cluster together to get the high performance needed. (ala Virginia Tech Mac cluster). Sad to say, but I think that the innovative ideas will be squashed by the cheap alternatives. This goes for many companies other than just Sun though.

--
Retail Retreat [retailretreat.com]

Re:Worse financial situation than we think? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826369)

They can't compete on the expensive hardware either -- the kit is nice, but it's nowhere as fast as the stuff from IBM or HP/Intel.

Re:Worse financial situation than we think? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826430)

Sure their HW and SW is top notch

SW yeah. HW, no. But at least its trailing edge (grin).

They've been resting on their laurels for years. Thank goodness Fujitsu has their act together, or it would all be Itanium and Power.

Re:Worse financial situation than we think? (4, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826444)

This goes for many companies other than just Sun though.
Except that other companies aren't on a holy mission to save the world from Microsoft. There used to be others, but they either went out of business (Be) or watered down the religion (Apple). I always knew that the day would come when Sun would have to make the same choice. The bubble simply delayed that day, as VC-bloated dotcommers willingly paid a premium for Sun's kewler hardware.

Re:Worse financial situation than we think? (5, Funny)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826530)

Except that other companies aren't on a holy mission to save the world from Microsoft.

Right. That's why Sun was recently seen in a Redmond park giving Microsoft a blow job for a cool 2 mil.

Sun excised the SPARC VI proc and decided on Rock (5, Insightful)

JPriest (547211) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826361)

The Register has it here [slashdot.org] . Sun Kills off Sparc V and Gemini and releases Niagara and Rock. Not as big a deal as most of you make it out to be.

Re:Sun excised the SPARC VI proc and decided on Ro (5, Insightful)

JPriest (547211) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826405)

BTW, am I the only person that thinks Slashdot's one sided "sun is dying" post is an attack on Sun? They settle with MS and the OSS crowd turns their back on them almost over night.

Re:Sun excised the SPARC VI proc and decided on Ro (4, Informative)

SmackCrackandPot (641205) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826425)

You mean here [theregister.co.uk]

Another story is here [theregister.co.uk] , which explains things a bit more clearly.

Re:Worse financial situation than we think? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826365)

See, now that they can make money by shaking down Microsoft, they don't need to design products. It's like the Rambus/SCO business model on a large scale.

Sun is going down (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826260)

Not much to say here. They'll be gone within 2 years. Without Sparc platforms, they're just another maker of x86 clones.

Not that fast, buddy (5, Insightful)

Allen Zadr (767458) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826329)

Sun Microsystems has far more than a couple of years in them. They have too many active customers that could sustain Sun on maintenance fees alone.

I once worked for US West (a local phone company) and they had entire ROOMS full of nothing but SUN equipment - actually running. I worked in IT for them and I still can't imagine what all of these systems did.

Anyway, the article is pretty clear that the new Chip platform is simply being eliminated because it's a needless step inbetween their IV and the new processors that are lining up for release... in 2 years.

So I guess this means I'm feeding a troll that didn't read the article.

Re:Sun is going down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826332)

They are not killing off the sparc entirely, just that version of it. They are going to instead move to a processor design nicknamed the "Rock". You don't know what you are talking about.

Re:Sun is going down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826336)

re: just another maker of x86 clones

You mean like HP and IBM?

Re:Sun is going down (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826437)

How does IBM make clones?

Re:Sun is going down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826503)

They buy generic motherboards from Intel just like everyone else. IBM only does custom PC engineering for very high-end servers and ThinkPads.

Re:Sun is going down (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826421)

How the hell is this modded Insightful? Where does it say anywhere that Sun is going to become an x86 clone??

Re:Sun is going down (4, Funny)

dafoomie (521507) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826442)

Has Netcraft confirmed this?

Who cares (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826262)

Sun is hardly a friend to linux..

So i say fuck'em

They are working on SPARC.NET (3, Interesting)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826263)

Money talks, Sun employees walk.

Closer than you think (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826357)

Over beer, this is the way my friend and I see the future:

0. Gosling leaves Sun for IBM.
1. All Sun hardware will run on AMD
2. Sun will port .NET to Solaris. Mono dies swiftly.
3. Java bytecode will target the CLR
4. Sun/MS/HP vs. Intel/Dell/IBM/Linux
5. Apple keeps innovating

Re:Closer than you think (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826453)

6. ???
7. PROFIT!!

Re:Closer than you think (-1, Troll)

Halfbaked Plan (769830) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826518)

Apple keeps innovating?

I thought they quit that awhile ago. Lately:

1. They gave up on a new OS and just bought one from NeXT.

2. They've taken to promoting Scully's expensive sugar water (Pepsi) with 'winning bottlecaps' to download pop tunes from an Apple server and play them back with their overpriced Walkman clone.

That's not anything like the innovation Apple was doing a decade ago. I guess it's innovative in the mind of marketing types, though.

fp! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826265)

first post

Well one thing's for sure (3, Insightful)

mindless4210 (768563) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826266)

"On the other hand, the cancellation underscores the difficulties Sun has been facing in the difficult world of chipmaking."
Doesn't that just say it all?

Bummer... (3, Informative)

qw(name) (718245) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826272)

This is most unfortunate since the UltraSPARC line was extremely efficient. Under heavy loads even an UltraSPARC II with 128MB of RAM could outperform an Intel chip with ten times the RAM.

Re:Bummer... (2, Informative)

gregfortune (313889) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826299)

They didn't cancel the UltraSPARC line, just an attempt at a new core. They will continue development on the IV core...

Re:Bummer... (1)

qw(name) (718245) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826470)

I never said they were cancelling everything. I just meant that it was unfortunate that development was stopped on the V.

Re:Bummer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826354)

The UltraSPARC line IS not extremely efficient -- it is not currently competitive with Itanic, Opteron, or IBM POWER.

Your little story about 10x the RAM is so fuzzy on details that it should be ignored.

Re:Bummer... (4, Insightful)

be-fan (61476) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826370)

Suns were fast not because the UltraSPARC chips were really good (they actually kinda sucked) but because of the insanely fast memory and I/O busses in a Sun machine. UltraSPARC being canceled is actually a good thing. It lets Sun concentrate on making good machines, and leaves the CPUs to companies who are good at making them.

Re:Bummer... (3, Informative)

DarthBart (640519) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826415)

Bull. There's this really nice thing in the SPARC chips called "hardware contexts". In a multiprocess environment, such as Unix, everytime a process gives up the CPU because its time slice is over you have to swap in a whole new set of registers, counters, and what not.

In the x86 world, that's 90% done in software (the Xeons and new 64-bit stuff has some hardware support). In a SPARC (all the way back to the original sun4 class of machines), that's all done in hardware.

Thats why you can throw all sorts of load at a SPARC machine and they keep on chugging, whereas the x86 machine starts falling over faster.

Re:Bummer... (1)

John Courtland (585609) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826461)

The 80386 had a few instructions that handled task swapping, but I guess they sucked so badly that it was more prudent to do it all in software. I would have hoped that the newer architectures would have taken care of that but I guess they haven't.

Re:Bummer... (4, Informative)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826433)

RTFA. The UltraSPARC line isn't being cancelled, just the UltraSPARC V, which is based on an entirely different core than the IV, and has nothing to do with what its successor would have used. They're avoiding supporting an architecture that will pop up and go away in the space of a few years, and minimizing the stress on their customers that might otherwise be facing changing from one chip architecture to another in a relatively short span of time.

Re:Bummer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826401)

Uh. yeah. And Apple's G5 kicks AMD's butt. You don't get it. Sun is going out out business because their CPUs can't keep up with commodity chips from intel clone makers.

"10 times the RAM".

People, this guy is a TROLL.

Re:Bummer... (1)

gloth (180149) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826418)

Ok, how much more general and meaningless can a statement get, and still be modded Interesting!?

What is a heavy load? Are you talking about CPU usage only? Or also memory usage? Disc access? Or other ressources, such as bus, network etc?

And an Intel chip? Last time I checked, they produced different chips over the years. Are you referring to the 4004? Or to a P4 Prescott?

Beginning of the End (3, Insightful)

Orthogonal Jones (633685) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826276)


Sun cannot compete with Linux/AMD64. Hopefully Microsoft did not buy IP ownership rights for Java, because Sun ought to open-source it before the company expires.

Re:Beginning of the End (3, Interesting)

bwy (726112) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826349)

Sun cannot compete with Linux/AMD64

Well, I don't know that Sun is in the same marketspace as AMD/64. Personally I'm still wondering what will fill the gap in every corporate data center I've visited recently. There is a strong trend that I see.... everybody has their "x86" room- it is usually PC Servers running Win32 or maybe Linux. But here is the real trick- the "x86" room is always intranet type apps and *maybe* the rare external web site that gets lower volumes.

The rest of the datacenter might be things like Sun 6500's, 10Ks, or holy shit, a 15K or two. What fills the gap here? I'm starting to see more and more large IBM servers moving in. I guess IBM is really going to capitalize?

Also, BTW, a lot of shops now only have a "token" mainframe as I call it. A 390 box that sits at the back of the datacenter happily running whatever few legacy servicing systems might be left that will undoubtably be maintained for years to come. The IT guys still attached to these boxes as admins or programmers are an interesting breed. Talk about skittish folks.

Re:Beginning of the End (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826531)

Even these Sun rooms are moving to RedHat and Dell now. Look at the job boards and search for "bank linux migration". The number of hits is staggering (at least in EU).

Re:Beginning of the End (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826384)

Sun cannot compete with Linux/AMD64

Actually, Sun doesn't compete with Linux/AMD64, Sun sells them both :)

Sun can't compete with x86? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826410)

AMD64 is x86 architecture.

Did you ever wonder why no one sells x86 servers with more than 8 CPUs, and ones over 4 CPUs are extremely rare?

Well, one reason is the x86 architecture doesn't scale with a crap in a multiple-CPU box. (It is, after all, nothing more than a calculator chip fed steroids and gamma rays...).

The UltraSPARC architecture, however, can scale damn near linearly to at least 100 CPUs or so.

It would be more accurate to claim that "x86 can't compete with SPARC in a massively parallel environment". It does remain to be seen how big that market will be...

Perhaps (-1, Offtopic)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826279)

Microsoft's way of being multiplatform is to simply kill all other platforms. This would certainly go hand and hand with the recent 2 Billion blunder. Go read Cringly's latest and you'll see some very interesting similarities between what's happening and what he's predicted.

Isn't it time for Sun... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826281)

To either make Java OSS or sell it to IBM?

There's not much left to recommend these guys...

what...you choose them because you want solaris? I think not.

And I've geared my companies entire strategy around Solaris. I feel really stupid now.

Isn't the reason quite obvious? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826282)

They couldn't get Windows to run on it.

Tad bit misleading (2, Insightful)

Allen Zadr (767458) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826283)

The article went on through the whole thing and at the very end it says that the layoffs are not specific to those design teams. This is why I read the article, I found it difficult to imagine them laying off highly skilled engineering teams at that size and scale.

Anyway, I'm very happy to see that they are not planning on putting out an interim processor. I wouldn't take kindly to that as a consumer or enterprise buyer (I've been both).

As a consumer, I don't want to buy something with only a 2 year shelf life (less used product will be available in the future). As an Enterprise buyer - they won't have all the bugs out due to low volume.

Re:Tad bit misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826390)

They did layoff the majority of those design teams. That only accounts for ~500 people -- they laid off 3300.

Re:Tad bit misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826441)

The article went on through the whole thing and at the very end it says that the layoffs are not specific to those design teams. This is why I read the article, I found it difficult to imagine them laying off highly skilled engineering teams at that size and scale.

Look up the word "spin." That's why they hired a liar^H^H^H^H spokeswoman.

Re:Tad bit misleading (1)

YetAnotherGeekGuy (715152) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826501)


PR

For when the Truth just won't do.

Durrr! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826287)

"Perhaps this has something to do with the recent partnerships with AMD and Fujitsu"

microsoft

"Stupid! You so STUPID!!!" (-1)

TWX (665546) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826293)

Let's see... Sun's hardware is awesome, has been 64 bit for some time, and is built with a high degree of reliability. So, rather than keep the Sparc line alive for high-end servers and workstations, and using the AMD for the medium and low-end systems, let's discard it.

I know, I know, if they don't make any money on it then there's no reason for it to stick around. Thing is, they've made sales with it up till now, even if they're not necessarily the best figures, and now that they'd go to AMD they don't have much for product differentiation from any beige-box PC built with quality components. I wouldn't spend the extra money for a Sun if it's not much different than what I can order as parts...

Re:"Stupid! You so STUPID!!!" (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826300)

You forget that Fujitsu is making top notch SPARCs. So maybe they are just joining forces?

Re:"Stupid! You so STUPID!!!" (2, Interesting)

gregfortune (313889) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826318)

They didn't cancel the line... Read the article. Development will continue on the UltraSparc IV core.

Re:"Stupid! You so STUPID!!!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826402)

Sun's boxes are usually blue and purple.

CPU doesn't make the system (4, Insightful)

flsquirrel (115463) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826406)

Don't confuse the CPU a system uses for the entire performance value of the system. There are different bus and memory architectures that can do a lot to differentiate the performance of a "pricey" Sun with an AMD and the "value" machine you'd assemble from commodity parts

SGI did this with Pentiums (II's or III's if I remember correctly), though a lot depends on marketing which has not beeb SGI's strong point as of late so don't site SGI as an anecdote to predict Suns failure also.

Article on The Reg (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826297)

From The Register Yesterday: Sun shelves UltraSPARC V in favor of the great unknown [theregister.co.uk]

Old news? (0, Flamebait)

Raven42rac (448205) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826298)

This seems like old news to me. I seem to recall Sun saying they were not going to produce their own chips anymore, and just use AMD 64 chips. I recall this happening ~6 months ago.

Re:Old news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826320)

With Sun you never know, look at their Linux attitude, first they like it because it's what is going to save their buisness, after they don't want you to buy it.

Re:Old news? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826436)

Sun never said they were going to stop producing their own chips. Please don't moderate up people who are speaking out of their ass.

Re:Old news? (1)

Cody Hatch (136430) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826486)

Sure this is /. and all, but at least TRY and read the article if your going to comment directly on it.

As the article makes clear, Sun is doing no such thing, so even IF Sun said that in the past (which I doubt, it contradicts a lot of what they've been saying), the article would be news because it talks about the non AMD64 chips they are still developing, and how important they are to the company.

Don't worry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826305)

I'm sure they'll just hire in about 3,500 H1-B's to replace them. :-/

Re:Don't worry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826458)

I'm sure they'll just hire in about 3,500 H1-B's to replace them. :-/

No, that would mean that they would have to buy airplane tickets, and pay them minimum wage.

Rather they will hire the workers in Bangalore.

i think it went something like this (-1, Troll)

trmj (579410) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826308)

Perhaps this has something to do with the recent partnerships with AMD and Fujitsu?

I think it went a bit more like this:

Mr. Ballmer: You know, guys, you can't be part of the "in" crowd until you throw away your last chance at success... What? No, this isn't about removing a competing technology from the market. What would give you that idea? Trust me. Everybody's doing it. Just take a look at SCO, they're doing just great in Australia!

Re:i think it went something like this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826362)

World leader in bad jokes eh...

Re:i think it went something like this (1)

surgeonsmate (633065) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826413)

Mr. Ballmer: You know, guys, you can't be part of the "in" crowd until you throw away your last chance at success... What? No, this isn't about removing a competing technology from the market.

I like the way that Microsoft has a hand in every bit of computing news. They get a win, they planned it carefully. They lose, it's part of some farsighted strategy.

The bottom line is that Microsoft produces products that people, lots of people, want to buy. And they are aggressive marketers. That's as far as it goes IMHO. No need for convoluted conspiracies.

Re:i think it went something like this (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826473)

If you consider "aggressive marketers" a synonym for "criminal monopolistic extortionists".

Has McNeely stopped choking yet? (0, Troll)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826310)

The guy has been eating words faster than any of his chips could run Java. I hope he's got a lifetime supply of Rolaids.

huh? (-1, Offtopic)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826314)

I just got this message from kerio firewall... what the fuck is slashdot/osdn trying to do?

Someone from images-aud.slashdot.org [66.35.250.67], port 80 wants to connect to port 1084 owned by 'Firefox' on your computer

Re:huh? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826348)

I just got this message from kerio firewall... what the fuck is slashdot/osdn trying to do?

I'm no physicist, but I think the technical term is "serving images." Many web sites do it nowadays. Perhaps you should uninstall your so-called "firewall" and experience the Internet in a less-broken fashion.

But... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826317)

1. Did netcraft confirm it?
and 2. Does it run linux?

please join #gnaa on irc.pihost.us (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826395)

lorf

R.I.P. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826376)

Sun's demise began long ago on the day they started charging for their 'C' compiler. Something about long term alienation of young developers or making it hard for small companies to support your platform. I dont know. Their marketing and accounting departments enjoyed the extra revenue it generated that quarter.

Uh, by the way, Sun guys ... Java is still too slow and your CPUS are too slow and your support contracts cost too much. Outsourcing won't fix it either. Looks like you guys are dead meat. Hope you cashed out your stock ops about 3 years ago. Otherwise ....

Perspective (5, Interesting)

Bill_Royle (639563) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826377)

Every time I think of Sun, I think about my commute home past their headquarters. In the summer of 2001 (if memory serves correct), I drove by via San Tomas and saw a tree in one of those planter boxes - like the wooden boxes that trees come in when you buy them from a nursery.

This tree was a HUGE oak tree though - had to be 100 feet tall at least, with a trunk that was probably 5 feet wide. And it sat there in a big planter box waiting to be "planted." The transportation costs alone must have cost a fortune.

The point is, while the industry began plunging into the abyss, Sun was farting around buying full-blown oak trees to make their campus look "pretty" - while other companies were working to stay afloat.

It seemed then that they had their blinders on, and while a fair amount of companies are stabilizing now here in the valley, they seem to be trying to stop the bleeding a bit late.

Perhaps if they'd spent less time farting around with building campuses and more time on building their market, they'd be in better shape. After all - if you let your employees go, who's going to look at the trees?

Just a thought... it seemed symbolic to me of what was wrong there - perspective. Shame though... they're so much more likeable than MS.

Re:Perspective (3, Informative)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826476)

I agree -- Sun was doing so well during the dotcom days that they totally lost track of their competitive position in the market.

On the high-end, the death of SPARC was a long time coming, yet Sun continued to plow massive amounts of money into a chip that was not competing with POWER etc.

On the low-end, they didn't do anything about the growth of Linux except diss it. Had they positioned Solaris x86 strongly against Linux back in the RedHat 5/6 days, they would have killed alot of Linux's market growth -- remember back in 1999, UNIX was the "safe choice" and Linux was not. But Solaris x86 was so obviously an orphan product that nobody took it seriously.

Instead they spent a lot of time bashing Microsoft (not their #1 competitor) and farting around with things like StarOffice. And planting trees.

Re:Perspective (1)

brlancer (666140) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826515)

Perhaps if they'd spent less time farting around with building campuses and more time on building their market, they'd be in better shape. After all - if you let your employees go, who's going to look at the trees?

Do you think this is isolated to Sun? This is SOP for companies in the U.S. Unfortunately, Wall Street gets pissy if you don't do things like this; investors have become increasingly dependent upon bling without considering things like products and customer base.

It's sad that Sun is doing it but you cannot single them out. Everyone from top to bottom is pulling the same garbage.

No, Ultrasparc V and Gemini employees will stay. (4, Informative)

beamz (75318) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826378)

Please, if you're going to enourage your readerbase to read an article, please do the same.

Sun said nothing about laying off the Ultrasparc V or Gemini staff.

"Sun plans to lay off 3,300 employees, but many from the UltraSparc V and Gemini projects will remain at Sun, the spokeswoman said."

Re:No, Ultrasparc V and Gemini employees will stay (1)

Jahf (21968) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826459)

It's /. ... sometimes they don't get that they are creating innuendo. The title doesn't -say- that the 3300 employees have anything to do with the USV halt, it just allows for the connection to be made.

Sad thing is, the 3,300 layoffs were announced at the same time as the Microsoft deal last week and the MS deal just took the lion's share of the press.

Re:No, Ultrasparc V and Gemini employees will stay (1)

smkndrkn (3654) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826498)

"Sun plans to lay off 3,300 employees, but many from the UltraSparc V and Gemini projects will remain at Sun, the spokeswoman said."

If many will remain then some will leave, no?

Its just the Ultra-V that is dead (2, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826379)

But the sparc *line* is to continue.. they are just having some really rough financial times, and don't want to waste money on 'incremental' chip releases.....

Which is good, it means we still have 2 choices for desktops and servers out there (MIPS are long dead, and it seems ARM's are going to be only seen in embedded devices and handhelds... )

Re:Its just the Ultra-V that is dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826474)

As far as a second viable platform, I would guess that POWER/PPC comes in second ahead of SPARC.

Re:Its just the Ultra-V that is dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826489)

Itanium isn't going anywhere anytime soon either.

Not what it looks like (5, Insightful)

Wateshay (122749) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826391)

Those who read the article will see that this is far from Sun getting out of the chip business and moving to Windows, but rather a retooling that will allow them to return to profitablility in the near future. Instead of the UltraSparc V, they're going to stick with modifications to the UltraSparc IV for the time being while they work on putting out their multicore followup, the Nigara. Personally, I'm glad to see this. Sun has been a stagnating company in the hardware department for a while now, and I think a good shakeup is what they need. There will always be a need for the rock-solid server market that they fill, and x86 just doesn't cut it in a lot of cases. So, don't worry, Sun isn't going anywhere, and if they did, someone else would step in to fill their place (and it wouldn't be MS &/| Intel).

Re:Not what it looks like (1)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826448)

a retooling that will allow them to return to profitablility in the near future.

A retooling, huh?

By tools, do you mean Win64, and .NET? That is the only 'retooling' where Sun stand to make any money. Every thing Sun does right now is being done better and cheaper by someone else.

The only person looking to by Sun Hardware is Captain Ahab.

Short sighted plans (4, Interesting)

levram2 (701042) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826429)

"Then, in late 2006 and 2007, the company will release Niagara, a multicore, multithreaded chip."

Sun will somehow finish a significantly more complex processor when they give up on this one? IBM, AMD, and Intel will be four times ahead of Sun in three years. By killing the UltraSparc V, Sun has to execute perfectly in an arena they've stumbled in the past.

Re:Short sighted plans (5, Insightful)

hitchhikerjim (152744) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826505)

They didn't give up on it... they finished it.

On the surface it seems silly to cancel a chip that was basically done. The vast majority of money put toward a chip is in the design, not the manufacturing. But when looking at the potential of having 7 different chip architectures in the marketplace at the same time in a couple of years, it really makes sense to simplify the product line a bit. Keep the tried-and-true, and finish the biggest capability jump. They just cut out an intermediate step.

I'm staying with US III machines for the next couple of years. In two years, say there was a new chip out that was only a littel better than the US III, and the Niagara coming out within months... I'd certainly decide to wait for Niagara and make the biggest jump possible (so I could sit on it a while). I suspect they'd have hardly sold any USV machines.

Hooray (5, Insightful)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826431)

And another group of several thousand highly-qualified people lose their careers! Just what society needs! Another example of how hard work and dedication just don't matter any more.

Oh, and don't forget to "keep your skills current."

"So, what was your last job?"

"I was a microprocessor designer."

"What makes you think you're qualified to work at Lying Rat Bastards Inc.?"

"I have a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from Cal Tech"

"Well, unless you graduated last year, I'm afraid your skills aren't current. Thanks for stopping by."

Obvious... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826445)

Those developers deserved to be fired, not graced with a lay-off. They were a couple years behind schedual. AC Sun employee.

Go back to your toys. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826456)

I just love reading all the rants from wintel fanboys who have never programmed for a Sun 15K with half a terabyte of RAM, 72 CPUs, and attached to a 2-gigabit/second SAN that might be holding a few hundred terabytes of data.

Go back to your toy computers with one or two CPUs.

So is Sun going to switch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826460)

Or just weather this storm for 4 years? I can't imagine sticking with Ultra IV for that long. They are already pokey compared to IBM's offerings.

Then if they do switch, do they get in bed with the Itanic which they are already trying to bail water out of or do they step in to a pit fight and go to x86-64 or do they go to their enemies and use PowerPC? That's really about the extent of the options, I can't imagine them on IA64 and I can't see them winning in x86 space.

This is to make way for their new product line (4, Funny)

nizo (81281) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826463)

SANTA CLARA, CALIF. - April 10, 2004 - Sun Microsystems, Inc., is pleased to announce their intention to expand into a whole different market with their new line of chips, labelled "SUN potato chips 1000". This new product is a direct response to the fritolay product [fritolay.com] with a similiar name. "We expect to have instant brand name recognition with the top consumers of snack products, primarily made up of computer geeks" one company spokesperson said with the condition that he remain anonymous.

Tragedy really... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826475)

Now we'll only be able to imagine a beowulf of these. Farewell, we hardly knew thee.

I hope... (1)

jd (1658) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826477)

...that the sacked employees do the same thing as the sacked Acorn RiscPC employees - rebel and set up a company producing the damn things anyway. They have the knowledge, and there are plenty of fabrication plants.


Sure, they probably have no-compete contracts, but those generally expire after a short time. Short enough that they could reasonably "not compete" whilst they make a Sparc VI "clone".


There'd probably be a lot of interest in them working on the LEON II, too. Picture the next generation of high-end supercomputers inside satellites... (Shielding is equally effective, whether on the chip or on the outside.)

Re:I hope... (1)

CaptainPinko (753849) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826506)

Well the SPARC design is open, but I don't know if this applies to UltraSPARC too,

This sucks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826484)

I really enjoy having sex with SPARC chips. What will I do now? Opteron just doesn't have the same appeal.

No more Sun in EDA? (5, Interesting)

erice (13380) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826490)

These are big, generally single threaded applications. In 2001, we used Suns becuase they supported memory sizes we needed. Gate simulation needed about 5GB of physical memory. P&R more like 10GB. For smaller jobs, we used x86 boxes. They wern't just cheaper. They were faster.

But now EDA vendors are starting to support AMD64. With Sun's announcment, the performance gap is going to get wider. No Ultrasparc V. Niagara and Rock won't help, even when they get here.

"The technique, which won't result in chips larger than those from competitors, sacrifices the ability to perform one task extremely quickly for the ability to do multiple independent tasks simultaneously"

No good. No good at all. How long before Synopsys, Cadence, and Magma do the unthinkable and actually drop support for Sparc/Solaris?

Ultra Sparc V (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8826511)

My father was a lead designer for the Ultra Sparc V which has been in development ever since he joined SUN 7 years ago. Yes, they canned it even though the prototype was all done and ready to be sent for intensive testing. It is true from what my father told me that the project was running slow, especially in the past year or so, but it was very inconsiderate of SUN to chop off a project that was almost ready. How would you like it if you've been working on the same thing for 7 years just to see it get trashed just because the company thought it wouldn't succeed? At least he still has a job unlike the 300 engineers who got laid off in the same building (the one in Sunnyvale, CA that is pending for closure).

Obligatory Monty Python Reference (3, Funny)

Nick Fury (624480) | more than 10 years ago | (#8826527)

Those in charge of sacking the Sun Ultra Moose V have been sacked... ...Those in charge of sacking the previous sackers hav enow been sacked as well. The processor race will now end in an entirely different manner from the way in which it began.
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