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Trillian Linux Consortium Brings 64-Bit Linux to Itanium

When Intel Corp.'s IA-64 Itanium processor is released, it will have an operating system ready to utilize the technology. The Trillian Linux consortium this week released developer's beta code of its IA-64 native Linux to the open-source community.

The release beats longtime Intel (www.intel.com) technology partner Microsoft Corp. (www.microsoft.com) to the punch of widely disseminating test operating system code designed for the first 64-bit Intel processor. Several flavors of Unix have run as 64-bit operating systems for several years on 64-bit RISC processors.

According to the Trillian consortium (www.linuxia64.org), the release is the first time that a source code is available to the open source community in advance of an architecture. Put simply, it is an operating system without a processor.

The Trillian project is not a distribution, stresses the consortium. It will be released to developers in the open source community to modify. The Trillian project will be backward-compatible with IA-32 and will allow users to run IA-32 applications unmodified. While all major Linux distributors will sell 64-bit Linux, each will be based on the Trillian project's code.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is expected to release a 64-bit Windows based on Windows 2000 sometime around when Intel delivers its 64-bit processor. Industry analyst Dan Kusnetzky of International Data Corp. (www.idc.com) says that the Trillian developers don't have much to worry about, as Microsoft has for the most part ignored the Linux community rather than responded to it aggressively. Kusnetzky says that the Trillian release will "accelerate the development of software to support the IA-64 architecture" because of the presence of an operating system at Itanium's inception.

The Trillian group consists of Caldera Systems, Inc. (www.caldera.com), CERN (www.cern.ch), Hewlett-Packard Co. (www.hp.com), IBM Corp. (www.ibm.com), Intel Corp. (www.intel.com), Red Hat Inc. (www.redhat.com), Silicon Graphics Inc. (www.sgi.com), SuSE (www.suse.org), TurboLinux (www.turbolinux.com), and VA Linux Systems (www.valinux.com). -- Isaac Slepner

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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