Red Hat Releases Source Code for IA-64

Red Hat has made available an early release of its source code for the upcoming Intel Itanium processor platform for high-end servers and workstations. The pre-production version of code for the Itanium will include the Red Hat/Cygnus compiler and toolkit. The version is based on tools and the kernel developed by the IA-64 Linux Project (formerly known as the Trillian project), a group of companies that includes Red Hat, Intel, HP, IBM, Caldera, CERN, SuSE, SGI, TurboLinux and VA Linux. Red Hat says the full release of its offering will coincide with the IA-64 hardware availability from Intel.

Red Hat’s move follows that made by competitor VA Linux, which has already released a test version of Linux for the new IA-64 chip. By making source code available early, the vendors hope to drive adoption of Linux at the high end, where acceptance is moving more slowly than at the desktop.

"We believe this [early release] will be especially valuable to developers who want to extend their Linux-based offerings into high-end, 64-bit enterprise and technical computing markets," says Michael Tiemann, CTO of Red Hat.

Hardware vendors also are acting to help drive Linux at the high end. Industry reports indicate that HP, which developed the IA-64 architecture along with Intel, has joined up with the chip maker and will release new programming tools for the Itanium chip.

Big Blue also pumped up efforts to support Linux for the enterprise. In a move unrelated to IA-64, IBM announced formal support for Linux on its S/390 servers and new partnerships with Linux vendors SuSE Linux and TurboLinux. The move was a response to user demand, explained IBM, which reported more than 2,100 downloads of the Linux kernel for S/390 since January of this year.

A free version of the code can be downloaded from ftp://ftp.redhat.com/pub/redhat/ia64