IBM released the alpha code for Project Monterey, its 64bit Unix operating system, to selected developers this week to enable them to begin building applications.
Big Blue formed Project Monterey in October 1998 to make its AIX Unix variant source code compatible with the Santa Cruz Operation's Unixware offering before porting it to Intel's IA-64 processor. The operating system is codenamed Monterey/64.
This week's code drop is the second step in IBM's alpha programme. Last year the company shipped code to original equipment manufacturers for validation on hardware systems. The next phase will be the beta, which is due for release this spring.
IBM hopes to ship the operating system at the same time as Intel releases its 64bit Itanium processor, which is expected later this year.
An IBM spokeswoman said the alpha release showed that Big Blue is on schedule. "We'll be ready," she said, although she declined to say how many developers had so far received the code.
Joyce Becknell, director of computer platforms and architectures at analyst the Aberdeen Group, said IBM is making a smart move by releasing the code to developers.
"An operating system is no good without software and IBM realises that developers need time to produce programs. The release of the alpha code is due diligence," she said.
IBM hopes developers will create middleware and ebusiness, business intelligence, enterprise resource planning and retail and distribution packages.
A number of hardware and software suppliers have also announced support for Project Monterey, including Acer, Compaq, Samsung Electronics, Unisys, Baan, Computer Associates, PeopleSoft and Oracle.
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