To function properly, an open-source community needs the support of hard-working individuals who choose to give up their free time to work on a project. As popular as Ubuntu is, though, a lack of developer interest in Oracle's SPARC and Intel's Itanium architectures has meant that they will not be supported in the upcoming release of Ubuntu 10.10, Maverick Meerkat.
The decision came after a decline in the overall quality of the ports to these CPUs. The Ubuntu community maintains a rigorous set of standards that must be met by all versions of the OS, and regrettably, these ports just weren't cutting the mustard.
Writing on behalf of the company's Technical Board, Canonical employee Scott Remnant wrote that "the Ubuntu SPARC port has been declining in both levels of usage and maintenance, and its quality has now fallen below the minimum level we expect to be an Ubuntu port".
He added that "the Ubuntu IA64 port is in a better shape, but has no active maintenance team".
After a call to the relevant developers to restart active maintenance was left unanswered, the decision was made to remove the relevant code from the upcoming release.
Despite the limited development community, the SPARC and IA64 ports of the OS were of sufficient quality to be included in Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. Since this was a ‘Long-term support' release, the desktop version will be maintained for three years from the original release date in April. Support for the server version will continue for a further two years, running until April 2015.