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Red Hat drops Sparc support

Cancelled due to lack of interest

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Red Hat has canned the Sparc version of Red Hat Linux 7 "due to insufficient demand".

The admission, made in an interview with Cnet, comes just days after Compaq trumpeted Red Hat's support for its Alpha processor, which, apart from some custom-made versions for IBM servers, is now the only non-x86 CPU Red Hat supports.

And perhaps therein lies the rub. Both Compaq and IBM are keen to promote Linux on their hardware and have worked with Red Hat on supporting their systems. Sun is far less interested, preferring to tout Solaris - particularly after it decided to give the OS away for free - and we reckon that Red Had decided it couldn't or wouldn't maintain the Sparc version of its distribution without Sun money.

Which is fair enough and an entirely valid business decision. Red Hat needs to make money out of its development efforts, whether it comes from users or funding from hardware manufacturers.

Red Hat Linux for Sparc isn't entirely dead, however. The company will continue to offer a developer-oriented release, though the distribution will not be supported. Existing Sparc users will continue to be supported, a Red Hat spokeswoman said, adding that Sparc development will be restarted if demand picks up.

And Sparc users keen to run Linux can always turn to Red Hat rivals SuSE, Caldera, MandrakeSoft and Debian, all of whom offer Sparc versions of their distributions. ®

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