While Intel's IA-64 chip is still a year away from being a commercial reality, IBM and other members of the Monterey/64 consortium will ignite the operating systems wars for the chip when they announce this week they have an early version of their operating system working on the chip.
IBM successfully booted a Merced-based IA-64 system running Monterey/64 last week at an Intel lab and did so without the use of a software emulator, according to company officials. Consortium officials claim this marks the first time a Unix operating system is up and running on the long-awaited 64-bit chip.
Officials from companies in the consortium, which include IBM, Intel, Sequent, Santa Cruz Operation (SCO), and others were quick to give themselves credit for the milestone, which IBM officials said took them less than 24 hours to achieve.
"We think getting Monterey/64 up and running on Intel hardware in such a short period of time is an extraordinary achievement," Rajiv Samant, general manager of the Unix brand at IBM, said. "With this milestone, we have overtaken Sun and HP."
Members of the Monterey project were quick to dismiss the announcement made by Sun two weeks ago that it had a version of its Solaris operating system up on the IA-64 chip. Officials cited Sun's use of a software emulator in order to boot the system successfully.
At last month's Linux World show in San Francisco, Intel chairman Andy Grove made a surprise appearance and gave the first demonstration, although brief, of the IA-64 processor running the kernel of an upcoming variant of Linux, codenamed the Trillian Project. That demonstration also was made possible with the aid of a software emulator The Trillian Project is led by V.A. Linux Research, IBM, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, SGI, and Cygnus.