IBM was invited to join the Trillian Project to port Linux over to Intel’s IA-64 architecture because it added legitimacy to the initiative, but it is expected to be the last new member for the foreseeable future.
The Trillian Project, which was announced earlier this year, was the brainchild of Intel, but VA Linux Systems, SGI, Hewlett-Packard and Cygnus Solutions are also working on the socalled Lintel opensource operating system (OS). They are now being dubbed the Gang of Six.
Larry Augustin, VA's president and chief executive, said: “IBM has got good OS kernel development skills so we wanted it in, but it’s also got good legitimacy behind it. Trillian will be available as open source when Intel’s non disclosures expire in the first quarter of 2000, and although I’m not sure all the licensing terms have been decided, the goal is to make it available under a GPL opensource license.”
He added that it was not the goal of Trillian to undertake sales and marketing for the OS because it was merely a development effort, but that VA would support ISVs “for a considerable period of time” along with the various Linux distributors such as Caldera, which plan to take the Trillian work and add it into their own OSs.
While Trillian will have a pure 64bit kernel, it also will support existing 32bit applications without causing a major performance hit, although “to get the most performance out of it, applications will need to be recompiled,” explained Augustin.
The developers release of the OS will be available in early 2000, followed by advanced applications and utilities in the second quarter, but the finished product will ship at the same time as Merced, the first processor in Intel’s new IA-64 architecture family.
An optimised GNU comiler will also be released next year, but system level details of the port will not be disclosed until the first quarter, when Intel removes its non disclosure agreements.
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