HP, Intel offer free Linux app development kit

Before its next line of high-performance IA-64 processors has even hit the streets, Intel has partnered with Hewlett-Packard to create a free Linux developer's kit to encourage Linux developers to start writing applications for the new generation of chips.

The kit includes an IA-64 Linux Simulator, which allows developers to use existing IA-32 systems (running on Intel Pentium III processors) to simulate the operations of the upcoming IA-64 family of processors, according to HP.

The IA-64 family of chips, formerly called Merced, are now called Itanium processors and are due the third quarter of this year, according to Santa Clara, California-based Intel.

HP is involved in the project with Intel because the computer company wants to build and sell PCs and servers with Itanium processors that will support operating systems that include Linux, HP officials said.

The free developers kits are available from HP's Web site.

Albert Nekimken, an analyst and director of research at Input in Vienna, Virginia, said that, while the new software will help stimulate the development of Linux applications for the new chips when they arrive, he doesn't believe that the move signals a major shift in the marketplace.

"I don't think that with the breakup of Microsoft that people are going to go to Linux in droves," Nekimken said.

While Linux has been gaining in popularity with some users and developers, he said, the new development tools are "probably welcome as an incremental improvement" but won't cause any major movement away from Microsoft's Windows operating systems.

The Linux developer's kit will run on an IA-32 system running the Linux operating system (v2.2 kernel) with a minimum of a 200MHz processor and 64MB of RAM.

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