SPARC .....

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SPARC .....

Postby u4910 » 4. Jun 2015, 17:58

Will there ever be a virtual box for SPARC? I have SPARC machines and everytime I want to do something in virtual box I have to use my poor PC for it. I really want to make use of the resources of my SPARC T5's :)
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Re: SPARC .....

Postby michaln » 4. Jun 2015, 22:47

u4910 wrote:Will there ever be a virtual box for SPARC?

Given the level of customer interest so far (zero), highly unlikely.
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Re: SPARC .....

Postby Brutalizer » 29. Jul 2015, 23:11

u4910 wrote:Will there ever be a virtual box for SPARC? I have SPARC machines and everytime I want to do something in virtual box I have to use my poor PC for it. I really want to make use of the resources of my SPARC T5's :)

As I understood it, VB just passes the same x86 assembler instructions down to the cpu. That is, if you are using Linux ontop Windows, Linux asm instructions will pass to the Windows which passes the instructions further down to the x86 cpu.

However, if you want to run Windows ontop SPARC T5, then the Windows asm instructions written in x86, can not be just passed further down to the cpu. Because the SPARC cpu does not understand x86 asm instructions. So what you need in that case, is an emulator that can convert x86 instructions to SPARC. This is something that VB does not do, VB is not an emulator. And emulating another cpu architecture is typically 10x slower or even more.

There are emulators for Nintendo 1(?) MHz console, that can not be fully emulated on a 3GHz x86 cpu - because the emulator needs to emulate the timing down to transistor level - which is very computationally intensive. Thus, to fully emulate a nintendo 1MHz console, can not be done on a 3GHz cpu even today. So 10x slower or even more, maybe 100x slower or so when emulating another cpu architecture. But if you just pass the same x86 instructions down to the cpu, which is then executed without any translating is very fast.

BTW, in modern emulators such as nintendo emulators, it is common to cheat. An emulator can often not emulate all games, so for the problematic games, the developer will hard code some code explicit for that very problematic game (just like Microsoft did with Windows 95 to keep backwards compatibility with DOS games). The superior approach, is to emulate the entire hardware down to transistor level which is very very difficult to do - but if you succeed then you dont have any problematic games, everything will work.

Thus, VB is not an emulator, which is what is needed for running x86 ontop SPARC.
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Re: SPARC .....

Postby michaln » 29. Jul 2015, 23:25

Actually, since SPARC isn't used in game consoles a lot, there would be no need for such cycle-accurate emulation which is indeed quite expensive. But it's still true that emulating x86 instructions on a different CPU architecture (be it SPARC or something else) would involve a massive performance hit. Given how cheap x86 hardware is, it is difficult to imagine that such emulation could be cost-effective.
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Re: SPARC .....

Postby StefanHinker » 15. Aug 2015, 10:34

SPARC systems come with their own, built in hypervisor. There is no need for software layers like vmware, xen, or virtualbox.
You can use the SPARC hypervisor with it's commandline interface or through the admin GUIs available in OVM manager or OpsCenter.
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Re: SPARC .....

Postby mpack » 15. Aug 2015, 11:51

That doesn't seem like accurate information to me. SPARC is a processor - they don't have command lines. In any case I assume the Q was about running x86 code on a SPARC CPU, which I doubt your answer addresses.
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Re: SPARC .....

Postby Brutalizer » 25. Aug 2015, 21:21

SPARC cpus dont come with that, I am quite sure (why would anyone build in a hypervisor in the cpu waisting lot of transistors???). But Solaris has a built in virtualizer called LDOM that only works on SPARC.
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Re: SPARC .....

Postby Guyver » 24. Sep 2015, 22:19

There was, at one time, a company, Transitive, that had a product, QuickTransit, that would allow x86/x64 to run under SPARC and I thought vise-versa.

https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/SPARC_Ass ... _Emulators

IBM bought the company out and immediately killed the SPARC related products.
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Re: SPARC .....

Postby mpack » 25. Sep 2015, 10:58

Guyver wrote:There was, at one time, a company, Transitive, that had a product, QuickTransit, that would allow x86/x64 to run under SPARC

It's not a huge task to write a CPU simulator, but the uses are very limited. Certainly a SPARC could not simulate an x86 fast enough to be useful for daily work - unless the work is from the early DOS era and you have a late model SPARC. CPU simulators are typically used only for specialized debugging, in which case speed doesn't matter as much. I have to say though that I don't see why anyone would use a SPARC platform to debug x86 code. I can see a market for the reverse, e.g. if SPARC was (say) being used in embedded devices that would be difficult to debug directly.
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Re: SPARC .....

Postby Jerry1947 » 31. Oct 2015, 01:22

SPARC already has LDOM's and Dynamic Domains.

Even if VirtualBox was ported to Solaris on SPARC, I'm not sure what needs would be met, that are not already met by the virtualization options already available?

OP, can you please share what you are looking for, that isn't already available?
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Re: SPARC .....

Postby brainz » 29. Jan 2016, 03:58

Looks like there is something interesting going on in Oracle, they must have given some of the Sun guys some leash...

https://oss.oracle.com/projects/linux-sparc/

It's not a platform which will run VirtualBox but Linux in a T5 LDom?
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Re: SPARC .....

Postby mpack » 29. Jan 2016, 12:56

What does a "Linux for SPARC" announcement have to do with VirtualBox? If I'm not mistaken the people who do Oracle Linux are a different group entirely.
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Re: SPARC .....

Postby brainz » 30. Jan 2016, 20:53

I was thinking along the lines of "if there was a Linux for SPARC then compiling VB would be less effort", however as there is a Solaris version of VB and the Solaris source is identical between x86 & SPARC, I guess thats not going to help much :oops:
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Re: SPARC .....

Postby mpack » 31. Jan 2016, 12:59

Compiling VirtualBox for a SPARC OS was never the problem. The problem is that the processor is a SPARC. You do understand that VirtualBox is not a CPU simulator, right? I.e. that the only reason x86 guests can run is because the host CPU is x86?
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Re: SPARC .....

Postby michaln » 1. Feb 2016, 10:34

Jeez, if you so want to compile VirtualBox on SPARC, go download the source code and try it. Then tell us why you failed :)
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