IBM has refused to confirm speculation it will soon join a consortium of vendors working on a port of Linux to Intel's 64bit architecture.
The Trillian Project already includes VA Linux Systems, HP, SGI, Intel and Cygnus, which are working together on Lintel - a version of Linux for the high end IA-64 server and workstation market. They are aiming to make the open source code available early next year to coincide with the launch of Merced.
However, Lintel may be marketed to the same part of the market as Project Monterey - a joint initiative between IBM, SCO and soon to be acquired Sequent for a common Unix on IA-64 flavour.
Jonathan Prial, director of integrated solutions and Linux marketing for IBM, refused to give a date when IBM will join Trillian but denied that Linux and AIX will be going for the same slice of the pie.
"We see separate markets for Linux and AIX. Project Monterey provides an excellent growth path for those applications on AIX to get to future RS/6000 technology as well as IA-64 architecture," he said.
Prial added that Linux suits heterogeneous environments: "Linux, with its strength in Web serving provides an excellent opportunity for our customers today."
He repeated "IBM's commitment to complete Linux solutions", suggesting that IBM could capitulate and join the Lintel consortium.
Andy Butler, Gartner Group analyst, said that the Lintel initiative is, "no great surprise."
"We believe the maximum market opportunity for Linux is and will be on Intel. Linux delivers the most reliable operating system on Intel," he said.
Kirsten Ludvigsen, IDC analyst, said IBM could be dragging its feet because of the clash between Lintel and Project Monterey.
"It depends what the Lintel folk put in," she noted.
The Trillian Project was germinated by VA Linux Systems and Intel earlier this year.
Speculation is mounting that VA Linux Systems will soon go public. The provider of Linux based hardware, software, service and Internet systems will be opening 10 offices in the US and said revenue for its second quarter, ended 30 June, grew 220 per cent over the previous quarter, exceeding analysts predicted growth rate of 212 per cent.
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