Linux could pip other OSes to Merced post
Win64, others, lagging behind in Desperation Derby
It was no coincidence that Intel showed off Linux Apache running on Merced at its recent Developer Forum, although Microsoft managed to squeeze in with a demo which, unfortunately, ended up with an error message. Information we received just before IDF suggested that teams of engineers were working flat out to make Win64 run on Intel silicon, while Linux was performing as sweet as a nut. It was, let's be fair, quite an achievement for Intel to get an OS booting on two week old silicon at all, but it does suggest that Linux is more 64-bit ready than any of the other contenders in the race. Yesterday, senior IBM executives said that it was likely that in the "next couple of weeks" engineers could boot Monterey-AIX on Intel silicon at the chip giant's Dupont plant. HP, too, is talking about being able to do the same in a matter of weeks, although it would be reasonable to suppose that this company, which partnered Intel closely in IA-64 development, would be first past the post. Sun, with its Solaris operating system, may have already booted on Merced, according to the latest reports. At the spring Intel Developer Forum, we revealed that Linus Torvalds has been in discussions with Intel for quite some time, and this, plus support from some other important players, suggests that Linux is, indeed, ahead of the game. Insiders tell The Register that Linux is doing qell because HP engineers started to port the Linux kernel from day one. Again, debugging of Linux is said to be both fast and parallel, because of the large number of people involved. Linux 64 for Merced will run 32-bit binaries and this is expected to fill in the gaps for software applications which are not quite ready at launch. And when will launch be? Intel has now said it will be in the second half of next year. In between then and now, the other OSs, including Win64, will go through a series of changes, while the big application vendors, including Oracle, SAP and the rest, continue to revise and tweak their code. ®
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