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Solaris on IA64 'is dead'…oh no it isn't

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Fujitsu Siemens' decision to go with its own SPARC chip in its servers, rather than Sun's UltraSPARC III or Intel's Itanium (aka Merced) caused some of the UK's more rabid hacks to blether on about the death of Solaris on IA64. However, Sun itself, with a little help from Chipzilla engineers, has quietly got on with it and announced that Solaris has now successfully booted on early samples of Itanium at Intel's labs in Beaverton, US. "With Solaris now running on the Itanium processor, Sun has achieved another key milestone (What exactly were the other ones? - Ed) on our IA-64 road map," said Rich Green, vice president, of Sun's Solaris Products Group. While Sun goes on at some length about the whole reason for the port being to protect customer investments etc etc, it doesn't hide the fact that the software bits of Sun have always had a pretty cosy relationship with Intel, probably a good deal cosier than Smiling Scott McNealy would like. Asking Sun if Solaris on Merced marks the beginning of the end for the proprietary SPARC architecture meets with a firm official 'No', but with Sun belonging to a fast-shrinking band of non-IA vendors, how long can the inevitable be put off? Does anyone remember Silicon Graphics' vehement protestations of maintaining hardware independence last year? ®

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