SAN MATEO (03/03/2000) - When IBM Corp. this week released alpha code for Project Monterey, the company's 64-bit operating system, developers were given the green light to begin crafting applications for the OS before its official release.
IBM hopes this head start will enable the release of key compilers, interactive development tools, and middleware to coincide with the final release of the OS, scheduled for later this year when Intel ships its 64-bit Itanium processor.
"No operating system is any good without software," said Joyce Becknell, an analyst at the Aberdeen Group, in Boston. "IBM realized that developers need time to produce programs for Project Monterey."
But development time for essential software tools for Monterey may run longer than expected by IBM, according to George Weiss, vice president of hardware and operating systems at the Gartner Group, in Stamford, Conn.
"The forecast we're making for Monterey shows it will be more of a gradual transition, probably taking IBM many years," Weiss said.
"In any new creation, there's lag time for testing and certification and for [developers] to come onboard and to position products based on the new technology," Weiss said.
"IBM will say that Monterey is just an extension of its AIX technology, but there will be a number of areas where lengthy validations will have to be made," Weiss said.
"The reason is Project Monterey represents a volume play by IBM," Weiss said.
"IBM wants a single Unix strategy to support either a RISC or Intel architecture. If they pull it off, Monterey and IBM will be successful enough to compete with HP UX and Sun Solaris, but it will take marketing and persuasion to make that happen."
Still another opinion is that IBM will have greater success with users adopting Project Monterey if the company takes advantage of the market presence of Monterey's co-developer, SCO.
"SCO occupies nearly a 38 percent worldwide market share for overall Unix by shipment, not revenue. Currently, IBM's AIX platform occupies only 13.5 percent of that market," said Dan Kusnetzky, an analyst at International Data Corp., in Framingham, Mass.
IBM officials were unavailable for comment this week.
IBM Corp., in Armonk, N.Y., can be reached at www.ibm.com.
Project Monterey progress
* October 1998: Project Monterey first announced by partners IBM, SCO, and Intel* September 1999: Project Monterey becomes the first Unix operating system to run on Intel's 64-bit Merced Chip* March 2000: Alpha code available to developers from IBM