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The Intel Developer Forum starts tomorrow but the chip company has already announced that there will be eight Itanium (Merced) systems being displayed at the bi-annual jamboree. Compaq, Bull, Dell, Siemens Fujitsu, HP, IBM, NEC and Silicon Graphics as was will all show prototype server and workstation prototypes. Just in case we blink and miss it by accident, Intel will claim that there are now thousands of prototype server and workstations using the Itanium chip and running Oses including 64-bit Linux, Monterey 64 and 64-bit Windows. The machines will also be running application software, but Intel is concentrating on the Itanium platform as an e-commerce vehicle. The company will announce that the Merced chip will be in production in the middle of this year, and that means that HP's guestimates that machines will actually start selling round about October are likely to be correct. There is still some way to go, however, on the software front. A quick gander at the IDF agenda shows that there are several sessions for developers, mostly focusing around the porting of drivers for the Itanium processor. Some other interesting little items on the agenda include sessions on next generation websites, how to move Intel's 820 to the FC (flip chip) PGA packaging, the PC 2001 design guide (my goodness is it that time already), designing server memory subsystems for DDR synchronous memory and Rambus memories, integrating Bluetooth technology into mobile PCs, and optimising for the Willamette processor, as well as tips for optimising existing code for Willamette. Intel will also take a look at 1000 Base T networking, and building Easier PCs with Windows Millennium. Later on today, Andy Grove, Intel's chairman, will be talking to the European press (that's us, folks), and he delivers the keynote speech when the conference starts tomorrow. The Intel Developer Forum starts tomorrow here in Palm Springs. ®

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