Sun tools upgrade geared for multicore apps

But as with other Sun products, a pending merger with Oracle leaves questions about the fate of Sun Studio 12 Update 1

Recognizing that developers these days must program for multicore processors, Sun Microsystems on Tuesday is releasing an upgrade to its native development tools package geared to this new responsibility.

Sun, though, would not comment on what Oracle's impending acquisition plans might mean for the product, called Sun Studio 12 Update 1, thus leaving its fate up in the air similar to other Sun technologies.

Built for programmers developing applications in C, C++, and Fortran, Sun Studio 12 Update 1 is "focused on really unleashing application performance on multicore processors as well as simplifying parallel development on those processors," said Dan Roberts, director of product management for the data center software group at Sun.

But Roberts, asked what the impending purchase of Sun might mean for the tool, instead deferred to Sun statements on the merger. Sun on that page said Solaris has been the leading OS for the Oracle database. But no specific statement pertaining to Sun Studio could be found. An Oracle representative, when asked about the fate of the product, merely responded that the transaction had not closed yet.

Sun Studio is commonly used for building transactional applications as well as telecommunications, government, and military applications. It also is being used in retail and manufacturing application realms. The package consists of tools such as parallelizing compilers, debuggers, and libraries.

Developers, Roberts said, must deal with parallelizing code. Conditions that can crop up if an application does not accommodate parallel development include race conditions, with two commands waiting for the other complete. Thread locking also is an issue. Included in Sun Studio 12 Update 1 are improved tools for dealing with such maladies as race detection, thread lock assistance, and application profiling.

Graphical capabilities have been added and more issues can be detected than before. A visual profiling tool based on Dynamic Tracing technology in Solaris is featured.

The tools package, which is offered free of charge with optional support plans available, can be used to build applications for OpenSolaris, Solaris, and different forms of Linux on Intel, AMD, and Sun Sparc chips.

Also featured is improved performance and optimizations for delivering optimized code for Solaris. The update also supports libraries and tools from the OpenMP 3.0 API specification, featuring capabilities for scheduling and synchronization to control code execution.

A stand-alone GUI debugger is included, called dbxTool.

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