Intel is considering adding to its portfolio of Linux investments and believes that its biggest challenge is helping make the open source operating system scaleable.
The chip giant has a minority stake in Red Hat, investments in VA Linux which filed for an IPO last week, and a stake in TurboLinux (formerly known as Pacific HiTech) which pundits believe will also go for an IPO.
In an exclusive interview with VNUnet, Gordon Graylish, director of architecture at Intel Europe, said the prospect of Intel backing more Linux companies "wouldn't shock me."
He said backing Red Hat is not a reason for ignoring other Linux distributors: "It does not boil down to Red Hat usurpment. It would be foolish for us to rule out Caldera and Suse. If the circumstances are right and there is accelerating availability of products and increased capability to get to market, we will consider further investments."
Graylish said Linux has come out of nowhere and is a major factor in the Internet revolution, and that Intel's investment in Linux "is in scalability." "The biggest Linux challenge is in getting it to scale to a high number of processors," he said.
Graylish commented that this is the reason why Intel "has put resources into the Trillian," a consortium of vendors including VA Linux that aims to port Linux to Intel's forthcoming high-end 64bit processor Itanium, formerly Merced.
"Our investment in Linux mimics that in the Java world," said Graylish. "We worked with companies that would help create the best Java machine on Intel architecture by running as fast as possible. We want to ensure that Linux runs best on the Intel architecture."
Graylish said there is no clash between Intel's backing of Linux, its backing of project Monterey (to port a hybrid commercial version of Unix to Itanium) and its work with Microsoft to make NT run on the chip slated for delivery mid 2000.
"There is no one operating system that meets everyone's needs. Monterey brings a level of shrink-wrap, scalability and robustness that wasn't there before. NT has had problems with scaling but is getting there, and deploys across the widest range of hardware."
He added: "The market is so big, there's room for everyone. We're talking about a transformation of the world economy that will take place over 10 years, unlike the Industrial Revolution that had the luxury of 70."
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