Red Hat has launched Linux 7.2 for Intel Itanium 64-bit processors and says it will port the operating system to Compaq's 64-bit Alpha processors for release this quarter.
The move enables Linux to support very high memory addressing, which is particularly necessary for large database applications and is a further step towards the acceptance of Linux by large enterprises.
Red Hat Linux is already widely used on web servers and this could be attractive for web-hosted database applications.
The Linux port provides a boost to Intel's Itanium, its first high-end server chip, which has so far gained very few applications. 32-bit Unix and Linux applications can be upgraded to run on 64-bit Linux without major changes.
It also demonstrates the relative ease with which Linux can be ported to new chips.
The port to the Alpha 64-bit chip continues Red Hat's close co-operation with Compaq; Linux 7.2 is already available on Compaq's ProLiant server range.
Linux 7.2 includes the standard 2.4.9 Linux kernel, which allows for increased scalability, and the ext3 journaling file system used for reliability and recovery.
Other features are a built-in firewall, the latest versions of Gnome and KDE desktop environments and network configuring, user management and hardware viewing tools to assist local system support.
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