AMD is opening up its Opteron socket specification to the world under a new licensing plan called Torrenza.

Server makers already building or intending to build silicon or products under the programme include Cray, Fujitsu Siemens, HP, IBM, Dell and Sun. All have endorsed Torrenza as an open innovation initiative, and plan to evaluate the Torrenza Innovation Socket, according to AMD.

The Torrenza Innovation Socket will allow manufacturers that develop their own silicon to take advantage of an x86 environment and the accompanying economics associated with packaging, chipsets and motherboard designs, said AMD. They can also contribute to and obtain the specs and design documentation.

"As a leader in the open movement, IBM applauds AMD for taking this step and always welcomes partners that take an open and collaborative approach to innovation," said IBM Fellow Bernie Meyerson.

"Sun sees incredible innovation opportunity associated with this latest step," said Sun CTO Mike Splain. "Developing silicon for the Torrenza Innovation Socket is something we are currently evaluating for all Sun platforms."

"The AMD Torrenza initiative becomes a very effective way to deliver high-value computing services to specialised market segments," said HP Fellow Dwight Barron. "The industry has been looking for a way to solve the next tier of specialised computing problems, and HP sees this as a way to address that need."

Through Torrenza, AMD has effectively opened its AMD64 platform to the open source community. Examples of potential technologies include connecting non-AMD accelerators to AMD64 systems via HyperTransport (HT) technology links; HT is A
MD's 800MHz system I/O bus.

Torrenza permit a range of applications via HT, including co-processors that can access HT, and plug-in co-processors that use the speed and connection's link directly.

It also puts it at a potential advantage over rival Intel, which doesn't have an equivalent. AMD product manager Dave Everitt told Techworld: "This is an open intellectual property (IP) story. Intel is trying to lock the box and dictate the chipset and prevent an ecosystem in their environment."