A team of hardware developers in the United Kingdom\u00a0and Italy has released the first derivative of Sun\u2019s T1 processor under the OpenSparc program.OpenSparc is an experiment at creating an open-source community around Sun\u2019s Sparc hardware architecture, in hopes of getting similar benefits to those found in open-source software development communities. Sun released the T1 design in December 2005 under the GNU Public License.Simply RISC has taken Sun up on its offer with the S1 Core, available for download from the Simply RISC site. The S1 also uses the GPL, can run Solaris Unix and Ubuntu Linux, and targets embedded devices such as PDAs and set-top boxes.The S1 has a single core to the T1\u2019s eight cores. "One of the main purposes of Simply RISC was to keep the S1 Core environment as simple as possible to encourage developers," said Simply RISC spokesperson Fabrizio Fazzini in a statement. "Simply RISC plans to add new features to the S1 Core and test them extensively over the next months with the help of the community."The S1 Core is compatible with the Wishbone bridge specification, allowing system-on-a-chip designers to combine it with other cores available from OpenCores.org, Simply RISC said.Open-source hardware is still a relatively untested concept, and there\u2019s no guarantee OpenSparc will be able to shore up the Sparc architecture. In recent years, Sparc has faced rising competition from the likes of IBM\u2019s Power, Intel\u2019s Itanium and particularly the rising tide of x86-based servers.-Matthew Broersma, Techworld.com (London)Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.