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Sun Studio 12 Supports Linux, Multi-Core

Sun Microsystems yesterday unveiled Sun Studio 12, the latest version of its developer toolset for C, C++, and FORTRAN developers. Studio 12 provides full support for both Linux and Solaris (tools and compilers), and comes with tool technologies designed to leverage multi-core chip architectures.

Sun calls its Studio software bundle an "integrated developer tool chain." It comprises the NetBeans integrated development environment (IDE), which has been extended beyond Java to C, C++ and FORTRAN. NetBeans additionally supports JavaScript, SQL and Ruby. The IDE also includes a suite of static and dynamic tools for memory debugging, performance profiling, and application optimization for multi-core and multi-threaded architectures.

"This is a real departure for NetBeans," said Don Kretsch, senior director in Sun's developer products group. "We've taken it from a Java and dynamic-language-focused IDE into a whole new world."

According to Jeet Kaul, VP of Sun's developer products and programs, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based systems company is working closely with both Intel and AMD to ensure that its compilers and libraries take advantage of the quad-core AMD Opteron processor (code-named "Barcelona") and Intel's Xeon processor 5300 series (code-named "Woodcrest.") Sun has been holding its own in the multi-core market with a line of eight-core SPARC chips.

"All of the chip vendors are beginning to build multi-core chips and all the systems will soon have them," Kaul said. "So the old model, in which, just by increasing clock speed, software would automatically become faster from one chip to the next, just won't work. Now you have to start worrying about being multithread-aware."

Sun Studio 12's new compiler feature generates "auto-parallelized code." As the code is compiled, sections are analyzed as candidates to run in parallel on separate cores, which increases overall system throughput and performance. Studio 12's debugger and new Thread Analyzer tool are also multi-core aware. The Thread Analyzer is designed to assess an application after it has been tested to show potential bottlenecks and deadlocks.

"It's nice to see the compiler vendors in general catching up to the hardware more quickly than they have in the past with other architectures," observed Joe Niski, analyst at the Burton Group. "Anything that can simplify multicore programming is a good thing for the whole industry."

Niski approved of Sun's decision to support Linux fully in this release.

"It raises the level of abstraction for developers," he said. "Now they can use the same IDE and source code compiler on multiple operating systems and hardware architectures. Whether you're developing in Linux or Solaris, using SPARC or x86 chips, you have the same developer experience. That's a pretty compelling story."

Sun Studio 12 is available now as a free download here. The company is offering a tiered set of support services for the software, ranging from single-incident to comprehensive developer plans.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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