I missed this earlier in the week, but it seems Sun has promised to release the full chip design for their new UltraSparc T1 “Niagara” processors under the GPL. They’ve already released some more general information at the OpenSparc website.

The T1 is a pretty interesting beast. It has 8 cores with 4 pipelines each, which makes it appear as a 32-way CPU. It’s 64 bit, of course, and does not draw very much power. Having the design released under the GPL would take Free Hardware one (huge) step closer to reality. Free Hardware is our ultimate defense against the DRM that is spreading rapidly across new – proprietary – hardware designs like HDCP, EFI, etc.

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