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Ubuntu drops SPARC from releases

By   |  March 13, 2008

The Ubuntu Technical Board has decided to remove SPARC from its list of official releases. In an email to the Ubuntu developer list today, Matt Zimmerman said the board had decided that “offically released architectures for Ubuntu 8.04 will be i386 and amd64. The SPARC port will continue to be provided with build infrastructure, and Ubuntu 6.06 LTS, 7.04 and 7.10 will continue to enable SPARC deployments well into the future, but there will not be an official Ubuntu 8.04 release for SPARC.”

Zimmerman said the technical board had also decided to disable automatic indexing in tracker, the desktop search tool, by default. “While we value the functionality provided by tracker and intend to continue to support its rapid development by including it by default in Ubuntu, the side effects of automatic indexing have a significant impact on users regardless of whether they make use of tracker’s search features. Instead, users who desire this functionality can turn on indexing by changing their preference settings.”


6 Responses to “Ubuntu drops SPARC from releases”

  1. Short
    March 13th, 2008 @ 6:00 pm

    While this may, for a short while, shorten the development cycle, it seems rather short sighted to be intentionally cultivating a hardware monoculture. There are far better architectures out there than x86, but if no effort is put into supporting them, then they will continue to fade. But maybe that’s the goal and we can all run x86 with the AMT hardware backdoors.

  2. Alastair Otter
    March 13th, 2008 @ 10:37 pm

    Short »
    Agreed. It is a pity that the official platforms are becoming fewer and we’re moving away from the days when Linux ran on just about anything you could imagine. And it was a point of pride and achievement to support as many architectures as you could. Of course there will always be support for Ubuntu on other platforms but I’d be nice to see Ubuntu backing those themselves officially.

  3. Short
    March 14th, 2008 @ 1:26 pm

    Alastair »
    Much of what Ubuntu is doing can be ported upstream back to Debian, as long as proprietary traps, binary drivers and codecs, and architecture-specific tricks are left out of Ubuntu. Myself, I see a move back to Debian in the near future for some of my systems, in part for the software, but also in part for the hardware. 7.04 is the latest that runs on the hardware I’m posting from right now. PPC / Cell at least should be covered. That is what the game consoles run on.

    As far as Ubuntu’s path forward, it would be nice if it were to stay true to the FOSS philosophy of finding the best tools and going forward with those. Ubuntu could be used to showcase the *best* technologies, rather than falling into the trap of the least-common-denominator. LCD does eventually lead to a dead end. With the effort put into usability, a good tool can be made great, or an adequate tool be made good.
    For example, while there are advantages with GNOME, the advantages of KDE might currently be under-appreciated, including greater flexibility and the ability to stretch for beginners to advanced developers.

    So, will the Ubuntu team choose more or less flexibility for us? Will the Ubuntu team choose best of breed or least common denominator for GUI, drivers, and libraries? Will the Ubuntu team choose best of breed or least common denominator for system architectures? And so on…

    Ubuntu is big enough and visible enough that it is shaping the market. With that comes the opportunity, some would say the responsibility, to decide where that market heads. Things rarely stay unchanging, or even at a dynamic equilibrium. They either wax, wane or do some of each over time. Ubuntu and its influence have grown to the point that it can have influence on world trends that other distros can’t provide.

  4. Noel Grandin
    March 14th, 2008 @ 2:28 pm

    This is purely a man-power decision – if you love SPARC enough, you’ll pitch in with money or time and the required infrastructure can be maintained.

    To expect everybody else to bear the burden of $FAVOURITE_ARCHITECTURE is unreasonable.

  5. Alastair Otter
    March 14th, 2008 @ 3:16 pm

    Noel Grandin »
    Fair enough. Perhaps that the problem. People just don’t have the time to help out? I know I certainly have less time no than ever before.

  6. Ryan N.
    May 5th, 2008 @ 10:00 am

    Curious to me is this decision after all of the fanfare from Sun about Ubuntu being supported on SPARC. I’d be a little pissed had I decided to install it anywhere, since it lasted less than 2 years from what I can see.

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