Sparc64 doesn't care about you, and you shouldn't care about Sparc64

Michelle Sullivan michelle at
Wed Nov 11 17:34:52 UTC 2015

Adrian Chadd wrote:
> On 11 November 2015 at 06:22, Michelle Sullivan <michelle at> wrote:
>> Alex McWhirter wrote:
>>> The difference between most of the discontinued architectures and SPARC is that Oracle is showing more and more interest in developing their SPARC platform.
>> Problem is they are killing it off with the business model.
>>> If you consider the arm port, when it comes to alternative operating systems it probably has even a smaller market share than sparc.
>> Isn't the Raspberry PI ARM? (mind you FreeBSD would have to try and
>> catch up to Linux for that one - though it (the platform) is popular.)
>>> I've sat in on my own fair share of Oracle meetings over the past few months, and they are doing everything in their power to push their customers on sparc and Solaris.
>> They should consider what worked for Sun and what has killed their
>> market share off.
>> My experience has been in the past that Sun hardware had a massive
>> following on the secondhand market... Oracle pretty much killed it...
>> and along with it went the admins. I used to admin as part of teams
>> datacenters full of  Sun boxes, now I don't know where I can even find a
>> datacenter with a Sun/Oracle box in it - except mine... and all mine are
>> being depreciated.
>> FreeBSD has an opportunity to fill the void in the secondhand Oracle
>> (Sun) Hardware market if people want to take it.... but I seriously
>> don't see why anyone would buy new Oracle boxes and shove FreeBSD on
>> them - unless their admins already manage FreeBSD on older + Intel hardware.
> As always, someone has to write and debug the code.

Generally I can debug (and I can write some) code, and am happy to do
so, however, my experience of code for hardware... a big fat zero
(unless you count writing printer drivers in z80 and 6502 for personal
(home) computers back in the 80's :) )... my experience of Sparc32/64
that sits under the C compiler... another big fat zero...  However I'm
happy to help if I can.

> Users are only as good as the revenue to generate to cover
> development/debugging/deployment costs.
> So if you're a sparc64 user, how much would you be willing to pay for
> freebsd/sparc64 support and development?

My FreeBSD Sparc64 in current use is:

A RADIUS server running on a T1
A not finished build server where I was going to integrate it into my
local Jenkins and build packages... however when I found very little
support and the whole "you will run pkgng whether you want to or not"
shit went off I stopped working on it and build my own ports tree that
currently builds both old style and new style packages - and was
uptodate as of August (had a couple of hardware failures locally that
has prevented me on keeping up from August.)

> I'm all for keeping an architecture like sparc around, as long as
> there's active development and active users. MIPS has both. ARM has
> both. Powerpc has both. Sparc is missing some active developers, but
> it has plenty of FreeBSD users that speak up (and more users that only
> speak up privately.) So, if you want to see sparc64 support continue,
> this requires a grass roots effort to get more development happening -
> either users need to step up, or someone has to start contributing
> money.

There is currently Zero chance of getting any money for development from
$employer - pkgng ensured that - in fact with the exception of my
machines nothing is running FreeBSD @ $employer now... such is life.


Michelle Sullivan

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