Putting IA-64 Linux to the Test

In the latest industry embrace of open-source advocates, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Intel Corp. on Tuesday released a free IA-64 developers kit that allows the Linux community to develop, test, debug, and run IA-64 applications for Intel's upcoming Itanium processor-based servers and workstations.

The Itanium-based systems will support Linux and other operating systems, according to Mike Balma, director of marketing for HP's open-source and Linux operations.

Available through either the HP or Intel Web site, the new development kit will enable developers to use current IA-32 systems to emulate a 64-bit Linux environment running on Intel Itanium processor systems, Balma said.

Developers can download three components from either HP or Intel: The IA-64 simulator, which mimics the 64-bit environment on a conventional Pentium III powered system; the IA-64 Linux file system, which is the real kernel that would run inside a 64-bit box; and what Intel is calling "The Nue Environment," which is a compiler and editor that allows for testing.

Until now, developers needed access to actual IA-64 systems before testing and debugging could be performed, a requirement that was both expensive and inconvenient, according to officials.

HP co-developed the EPIC (Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing) architecture, which is the basis for the advanced Itanium processor.

Intel Corp., in Santa Clara, California, is at www.intel.com. Hewlett-Packard Co., in Palo Alto, California, is at www.hp.com.

Dan Neel is an InfoWorld reporter.

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