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Debian boost as Sun buys SPARC edge start-up

So near Afara

Sun Microsystems is buying infrastructure start-up Afara Websystems, Sun VP David Yen said today.

Afara says it produces IP traffic management systems on its one-page web site, and is backed by embedded systems investor Raza Foundries.

Afara already has a connection to Sun, employing for a while Kathirgamar Aingaran, one of the principle authors of the 64bit UltraSPARC V9 family. (V7 and 8 were the 32bit SPARCs.

When we tried Afara's company directory, Aingaran wasn't listed. But he contributed to a research paper co-authored by Sun engineers last year, in which he's listed as affiliated to Afara, so presumably this was while he was on secondment. (Kathirgamar, you're welcome to correct us).

And Afara already uses the SPARC port of Debian GNU/Linux internally. Its phone book leads us to a Ben Collins, but whether it's the Ben Collins, who was served as Debian Project Leader, we haven't been able to confirm. (Debian elects it leaders for a fixed term).

Just how much of a boost for Debian this is remains to be seen, but Sun is a Debian sponsor. And it would be daft to throw the work away.

Don't you love a good mystery?

Yen wouldn't disclose the amount Sun was paying, but said it showed Sun's commitment to SPARC.

Sun's approach to licensing embedded processors has been "come and get it", and we wondered if the Afara acquisition changed this strategy.

"We're not going to be displacing ARM," a spokesman told us. But there's more to the story than that. Edge equipment is one sector that's predicted to grow like topsy, so even a small piece of the pie would be welcome news for Sun's microprocessor division. ®

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