SGI, Intel court Linux developers with Itanium

Next step in Intel's open source plans

Computer hardware manufacturer SGI stepped up its support for open source computing Wednesday, releasing its SGI Pro64 enhanced compilers for the Intel Itanium processor to the open source community.

The move is designed to make it easier for open-source developers to transfer their wares to Intel's upcoming IA-64 platform. Open source applications are important in the server/workstation market, which Intel is targeting with the new 64-bit architecture.

SGI is pushing the use of the open source operating system Linux in the high-end market with this release. "Once again SGI is taking the lead in pushing Linux to the next level with the release of this enhanced compiler suite and its source to the developer community," says Jan Silverman, vice president of SGI Computer Systems.

Intel, which released the specifications required to write compilers for its Itanium processor earlier this month, is also making encouraging noises about the importance of open source software.

"The continued optimisation of the software tools will enable application developers to realise the potential of Intel's Itanium processor," says Jan Silverman, director of marketing for Intel's IA-64 processor division. "The Pro64 suite demonstrates SGI's compiler expertise and their progress towards enabling high performance IA-64 Linux software."

Intel, in fact, released an unprecedented amount of information with the Itanium specifications in an effort to spur on open source development.

The Itanium processor also utilises a new instruction set developed by Intel called EPIC (Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing.) 64-bit technology allows a processor to handle data at a significantly increased rate, speeding up overall system performance. Intel says Itanium will be especially useful for e-business needs such as handling encrypted information.

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