Sun opens hardware chip under GPL is the genesis of a vision by engineers, technologists, evangelists, and executives at Sun Microsystems, Inc. to create a larger community where open conversations and collaborative development projects spawn dramatic innovations around chip design. Individual programmers as well as representatives from Universities, industry associations, supporting software companies, foundries, entrepreneurs, large corporations and visionaries have already begun to participate in this expanded community.

Their original press release is dated from Dec. 6, 2005:

Sun Microsystems Launches OpenSPARC Project – Ignites New Open Source Community for Breakthrough UltraSPARC T1 Processor
Sun Open Sources Microprocessor Design, Lowering Barriers to Innovation and Application Development for First Purpose-Built Processor for the Next Internet Build-Out

New York – Dec. 6, 2005 – Sun Network Computing 2005 Q4 (NC05Q4) – Sun Microsystems, Inc. (NASDAQ: SUNW) today announced the OpenSPARC project to open source its new breakthrough UltraSPARC(R) T1 processor design point. With more than 3.4 million registered licenses of the Solaris 10 Operating System (OS) and 10,000 registered OpenSolaris community members, Sun is building on a long history of sharing source code and creating communities and is the first to create this new 64-bit, 32-thread rich SPARC/Solaris community to spur innovation for massively-threaded systems and “system on a chip” design. The program will be available in the first quarter of 2006.