Intel's Itanic epic to run and run

Software's still in all-together

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"Besides being invisible, your Highness, this cloth will be woven in colors and patterns created especially for you." The emperor gave the two men a bag of gold coins in exchange for their promise to begin working on the fabric immediately. Emperor's New Clothes -- Hans Christian Andersen

There have been pilot systems of the Merced-Itanium processor available for ages, and they're revenue generators too, according to Intel.

But while the silicon may be available, there still seems to be precious little operating system support for the 64-bit corporate Intel platform, with developers in both the Windows 64 and Linux camps still beavering away to produce gold software.

And, unless they get their skates on and deliver gold versions in the near future, Intel faces the truly horrifying prospect that AMD, with its own 64-bit platform, may actually have Win64 support -- and a processor -- out in the marketplace first.

Moles following the efforts of the Open Software camp point out that software developers, at the beginning of this month, were hoping that the latest 2.4 build of the Linux OS would help solve all their problems.

On a newslist devoted to the subject, one hopeful programmer asked this question: "I just got the latest final version of 2.4.0 and it is said to compile on IA-64 out of the box. What then, did I get wrong."

One IA-64 wizard answered him thus: "No, it doesn't compile out of the box. The stuff in 2.4.0 is very close to the IA-64 tree, but you still need IA-64 specific patches that didn't make it into the 2.4.0 tree. An updated patch should be out sometime soon."

From other posts on this and similar forums, it appears that programmers are having to apply all sorts of patches in all sorts of ways and that resolution of some of these issues is quite some way off.

The situation at Redmond Central with Win64 is, as you'd expect, much harder to understand. While you can search successfully on Intel's biggest distributor - the Dell Corporation -- for Windows 64, there's nothing attached to the search string.

Compaq, meanwhile, is giving the Itanic a somewhat thrilling oral experience, as you can see from this page.

And we've just noticed there are some notional benchmarks for the Itanic 666MHz platform over at Ace's Hardware.

We took the time out to get the official Intel line on what's happening -- and here's what the firm says:

"Intel remains on track for platform rollout in 1H'01. Intel is working with many operating system vendors in preparation for the Itanium processor-based platform rollout, including Windows 2000 64-bit, HP-UX, AIX 5L, and Linux. Microsoft has committed to support all rollout phases for the Itanium processor."

First half 2001. Now where have we heard that first half stuff before? (See a few of the links below for an answer to that question.)

Thanks, though, to Wired Magazine, which in its Vaporware 2000 section, mentioned us and Intel's Itanic -- number five in Wired's list. Repeated in The Grauniad yesterday, it appears that the Itanic, as a moniker, is here to stay. ®

See Also

Pentium 4 Foster may sink the Itanic
Intel's Itanic, McKinley go misty-eyed
Itanium set for March launch
Intel patents IA-64 instruction set
Intel's McKinley tapes out: Itanium is Itanic
Intel late again on Merced-Itanium
Dell to demo Linux on Itanium
The Lateness of Intel's Mercedium
Linux beating Win64 to Itanium punch
First Merced-Itanium systems get cobbled together
Hollywood outfit to use Merced A good one this, seeing as it's the firm which created special effects for the Titanic...


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