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Lack of support for Unix irks Intel

The first 64-bit Intel processor is on its way but the producer is less than impressed with the reaction from Unix users.

The first 64-bit Intel processor is on its way but the producer is less than impressed with the reaction from Unix users.

Chip giant Intel is expected to criticise the Unix community for not supporting its IA64 64-bit architecture at the Intel Developers' Forum in Palm Springs this week.

Itanium, which is due to ship in the summer, will be the first 64-bit Intel processor.

Intel will follow this release with a higher-end processor capable of supporting symmetric multi-processing, an architecture to which the Unix suppliers have given their backing.

But in recent months Compaq, which initially supported the Monterey 64-bit Unix platform for Intel, has been undecided on the focus of its server operating system.

More worrying for Intel is the stance of Sun Microsystems, which had previously said it would back the IA64 platform by developing an IA64 version of its market-leading Solaris operating system.

Sun's name has since been dropped from the list of companies supporting the Itanium architecture.

Kirsten Ludvigsten, expertise centre director at analyst group IDC, said that while there would probably be a version of Solaris on IA64, from past experience Sun's take-up of Intel technology has been poor.

She said, "Sun's message is getting purer. Solaris will be predominantly a Sparc platform." She added that users wishing to run Unix on IA64 will be able to choose from IBM and SCO with Monterey and Hewlett-Packard with HP-UX.

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