Plans to ship a 64-bit version of Linux on the first day Intel releases its long-awaited 64-bit Itanium processor took a major step forward at LinuxWorld yesterday.
Source code for the Linux on Itanium was released on time by Project Trillian, a collaborative effort between 11 companies, for improvement and bug fixing by the open source development community.
Project Trillian programme director Sri Chilkuri of VA Linux said that Linux's immediate availability on Itanium would give the operating system the opportunity to dominate the platform.
Ronald Curry, Intel's director of marketing, said: "It's the first time source code is being made available before a processor is released."
The move ensures that Linux keeps development pace with Solaris and Windows operating systems, which are also expected to be available for Itanium at its release. Intel is assisting in all three efforts, maintaining a neutrality between operating systems vying to run on its chip.
Curry did not provide details about the availability of Itanium. A limited number of prototype systems for developers are being released in the second quarter rising in the "tens of thousands" in the third quarter, he said. Production will begin in the summer, with a release expected around October.
The Trillian initiative began in May 1999 when a group of Linux developers decided to pool existing efforts to port the operating system to Itanium. Members included Intel, VA Linux, Red Hat, SuSE, Turbo Linux, Caldera, SGI and IBM and Hewlett-Packard.
Linux resellers involved in project Trillian said they aim to ship 64-bit Itanium Linux systems as soon as possible once Intel begins manufacturing the Itanium chips.
The code is available at http://www.kernel.org
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