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Compaq pulls plugs on IA-64 Tru64, aims Alpha at high end

Leaving the company with a coherent Alpha-Unix pitch, at last

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Compaq last night confirmed that Tru64 for IA-64 was no more -- or, in the words of Unix division general manager Tim Yeaton, that it would no longer be "productised". The move, which has been anticipated for some days now, tidies up the company's OS strategy some more, and clearly positions the Alpha version of Tru64 at the high end, with IA-64 at the low to mid range. Compaq, having abandoned NT for Alpha earlier this year, is now pursuing a radically different strategy from the old twin track NT-Unix, Alpha-Intel one. With that one abandoned and the cost of NT development now firmly dumped in Microsoft's lap, Yeaton's hands are free to push Alpha Tru64's "business critical server capabilities" up beyond the Wintel space. Commented Terry Shannon, of Shannon Knows Compaq: "Actually, this is not a bad decision. Tru64 Unix V5 (and TruCluster V5) deliver some very attractive capabilities... on Alpha. And only on Alpha. IA-64 systems won't ship for another year. Given Compaq's decision to focus IA-64 at the low end and the midrange of the server marketplace, Yeaton has done The Right Thing." Compaq now has a pretty standard Wintel PC manufacturing business with a SCO relationship and support for IA-64 Monterey providing the Unix capability, and a clearly defined Alpha business with substantially decreased potential for overlap. (Remember, if you can remember that far back, that Alpha was originally intended as one of the 'blow Intel away' chips, so really Compaq has only just got to knocking that one on the head, officially.) In addition, Compaq has Linux support to throw into the pot, but Yeaton sees this as an advantage, rather than fuzzing of the OS strategy that might lead to another cancellation. "We see Linux as very complementary to Tru64," he told The Register. He envisages customers deploying Alpha Linux workstations running in conjunction with Alpha "computation engines." At the same time, Compaq is working on Linux-Tru64 application compatibility, and expects to achieve this within the next 12 months. This will itself provide a boost for Alpha Tru64. ®

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