IBM is hot on Hewlett-Packard's heels with a new version of Unix.
First HP started shipping its 64-bit version of the operating system, HP-UX 11, last Tuesday.
The upgrade focuses on web enhancements which, the company claims, will make it easier for customers to deploy Internet and intranet applications.
HP-UX 11 will also offer Very Large Memory (VLM) to store more data locally, and will still have support for most 32-bit applications.
But IBM was quick to steal HP's thunder with the announcement of an upgrade to its own version of Unix, AIX. Its 64-bit AIX will be launched on 6 October.
The development comes despite IBM's belief that 64-bit addressing will not become mainstream for at least two years, because of a lack of applications.
"I don't see demand for 64-bit Unix at the application level, unless it's for taking advantage of databases for decision support purposes," said Bill Sandve, IBM's programme director of RS/6000 software.
"The more leading-edge oganisations will take advantage of it for things like multimedia, but we're offering users a low-cost, low-risk transition, so they can migrate when they feel it's necessary."
He added that the move had not involved a major rewrite because the kernel of AIX had been designed with 64-bit addressing in mind.
Version 4.3 of the software simply extends the buffers, kernel facilities and utilities and adds 64-bit libraries to the existing 32-bit ones already in the operating system. This means that users can choose to run the OS in either 32- or 64-bit mode and all of the device drivers will work without modification.
Customers will also be able to run their 32-bit applications on the new release, but would need to rewrite them to take advantage of the enhanced memory capacity, which has quadrupled to 16Gb.
Sun, meanwhile, risks being left behind in the high-end operating environment market. The company's alternative product, the Solaris OS, is not due for an overhaul to bring it up to 64-bit speeds until next year, on current plans.
Ceres, located in the asteroid belt, has a carbonaceous-rich upper crust, SwRI study claims
The spacecraft found traces of hydrogen and oxygen molecules, known as hydroxyls, embedded in the rocky surface of the asteroid
The skeleton was unearthed more than 20 years ago in South Africa
Moon's dark side is mountainous, rugged and never visible from the Earth