BOSTON (06/14/2000) - Aiming to give enterprise users a path to 64-bit computing running Linux on Intel-based systems, Intel Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. teamed this week to deliver a free developers kit.
The kit will allow Linux customers and developers to build, test, debug and run 64-bit applications designed to run on Intel's Itanium processor, which is due out later this year. For its part, HP says it will deliver Itanium processor- based servers and workstations that will support Linux.
For most end users, even those in the enterprise arena, 64-bit servers and workstations won't be adopted on a wide scale for a few years, but network executives already are planning to integrate them.
Chris Hawk, president of Solid State Design, an e-commerce site development company, says Linux must be able to run 64-bit applications and take advantage of the performance those applications can offer to stay competitive.
"Eventually, everything is going to be 64-bit, and Linux has to be there, too," he says.
Microsoft has been developing a 64-bit version of Windows in tandem with its 32-bit development, and 64-bit Unix is already available.
What's worth noting about the kit from Intel and HP is that it lets customers use their 32-bit systems to simulate running on 64-bit Intel architecture - so they can test and develop without using 64-bit systems now. That should help open doors wider for the Linux developer community, observers say.
"As Linux moves into higher-end enterprise systems, the ability to natively run on 64-bit systems is going to be very important," says John Dunkle, an analyst at Workgroup Strategic Services in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. But, Linux isn't exactly out in the cold without Itanium.
Linux also runs on Alpha, MIPS, PowerPC and SPARC, which are 64-bit, according to Dan Kusnetzky, an analyst at market research firm International Data Corp.
(IDC) in Framingham, Massachusetts.
Laura DiDio, an analyst at Giga Information Group in Cambridge, Massachusetts, says 64-bit operating systems and the applications that run on them will be in high demand for end users with large-scale databases and data centers. Those applications will need to scale as users see increased demand for better performance.
The IA-64 Linux Simulator, developed by HP, allows developers to use today's IA-32 systems such as Pentium III systems to emulate the functionality of a 64-bit Linux environment running on Intel Itanium processor systems. The kit also contains documentation and links to software libraries created by Intel.
Customers can download the kit from either www.software.hp.com/ ia64linux, or http://developer.intel. com/design/ia-64/linux.htm.