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Merced: the Linux track

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Intel Developer Forum Gregg Zahr, VP of engineering at VA Linux Systems, presented plans for the OS at the Forum last week. He said the goal of the Trillian project was to perform a single port of Linux, optimised for IA-64, and with open source available at product launch, probably around this time next year. Cygnus, HP, IBM, Intel SGI and VA Linux Systems are all contributing technology and resources to the project. Zahr showed an interesting slide of the architecture, which can be viewed here. Linux for IA-64 will have a 64-bit kernel, 64-bit virtual memory support, be able to run 32-bit Linux/x.86 binaries without recompilation, and have enterprise solutions including SMP (symmetric multiprocessing), large memory, large file systems and performance monitoring. Other features will include a kernel debugger, optimised tool chains, advanced configuration and power interface (ACPI) support, and support for an extended firmware interface (EFI). The tool chain will be standard GNU tool chain based with gcc, g++,glibc, gdb, gas, id and the like. The data model will be LP64, with little endian byte order, and the object file format will be ELF64/IA-64 and ELF32/IA-64. Page size will be 4K or 8K, with a variable page size possibly being added later, while virtual address space size will be 64-bits. The development schedule for the OS is shown in this slide. For ISVs, the group is recommending porting apps to IA-32 Linux now, then cleaning the code up for IA-64 between October and January next year. There will be a development release of Linux IA64 in early Q1 next year. Development tools include the Cygnus optimised GNUPro toolkit, using gcc, g++, gdb for Merced, with base port in this quarter. Other tools include the SGI compiler, the GNU C library and other OSS tools including Java, Perl, Python, PHP, Tcl/TK. Different OEMs will provide tools for their particular platforms. ISV resources, including "evangelism" for the platform and software downloads, can be found at the Linux IA 64 Web site. ® Complete Intel Developer Forum coverage

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