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A lot of users out there are running (or try to run) ubuntu on sparc desktop machines but they are encountering several issues. Our xorg autoconfiguration scripts really needs a lot of love to meet our users expectations on sparc.


While it is true that most sparc gears are used in datacenter only and most of them are headless, there is still a good bunch of users that use sparc as desktop. We need to improve the sparc desktop user experience (that's quite poor at the moment) to meet users expectations and to match the level of other architectures.

Use cases

  • Company bar wants to resurrect a pile of U5 desktop machines for their developers. *Solaris is not an option because it doesn't integrate properly with their development environment and choose ubuntu as solution. They clearly want Ubuntu to work out of the box on their desktop sparc gears.
  • Sun wants to demonstrate Ubuntu to their customers on their brand new sparc based workstation and be able to install with Ubiquity.


  • Make X autoconfiguration to rock hard on sparc.
    • X driver autodetection on sparc needs to be done almost from scratch:
      • the db needs to understand/know/detect/handle sbus video cards and framebuffer only video cards.
      • according to the card detection a proper resolution detection needs to be implemented and implementation varies according to the card bus type. (ex: framebuffer can use kernel sysctl to gather info)
  • Create and test Live CD for sparc
    • Arrange for daily livefs builds for sparc on an autobuilder machine
      • If squashfs does not work properly on sparc, casper device-mapper and ext2 may be used instead
      • Arrange for daily live ISO builds as part of the normal CD image build process
  • Complete Ubiquity silo support.

Unresolved issues

This spec is bounded to hardware availability to developers. X config on sparc is really hard at the moment and most users can't just fix their config and send them back to us for merging into the autoconfig scripts.

BoF agenda and discussion


sparc64-desktop (last edited 2008-08-06 16:18:34 by localhost)