Merced Linux expected Q1, as IBM joins Trillian

The VA-led 64-bit Linux project is starting to look pretty weighty...

IBM has joined the Trillian project, which was put together by Intel earlier this year in order to implement Linux on its IA-64 Merced architecture. Trillian is currently being worked on by VA Linux Systems, one of the several Linux companies Intel has put money into, IA-64 co-designer Hewlett-Packard and SGI. The addition of IBM adds heft to Trillian, although it's not immediately clear what Big Blue will bring to the party. In common with WAM (World Apart from Microsoft), IBM has been embracing Linux heartily recently, but its motivation could be anything from putting a mark down for Merced Linux to a full-scale transference of its efforts away from RS/6000-AIX. Getting out of its PA Risc involvement is of course one of HP's reasons for being involved in IA-64. According to Intel VP Sean Maloney at LinuxWorld yesterday, Trillian is expected to have initial versions of 64-bit IA-64 Linux in the hands of developers in the first quarter of next year. This will put Linux on an even footing with 'conventional' OS developers as far as Intel's next generation is concerned, and will give it an excellent chance to overtake Microsoft. Microsoft is unconvincingly committed to shipping a version of NT/Win2k for Merced when Merced ships, but at best (if it makes the deadline) this will be a hybrid of 32-bit and 64-bit code. This will only likely be a marketing problem for the company initially, as Intel doesn't expect 64-bit take-up to be fast, but it will leave it with a lot of ground to make up over the following year. ®

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