Unix forum cheers Linux

Linux is getting popular even with the staunchest Unix-heads.

Linux fever is infecting even the staunchest Unix advocates, as evidenced this week at SCO Forum in Santa Cruz, California.

While the partners involved in the Monterey Project -- the initiative between SCO, IBM, Intel, Sequent Computer and Compaq Computer to create a high-volume unified UNIX -- were upbeat on Monterey's prospects, they still had Linux on the brain.

In a Project Monterey progress report issued this week, IBM explained its evolving to a multi-tier UNIX strategy, with Linux the operating system of choice for entry-level UNIX workstations and Internet servers, and Monterey replacing AIX for line-of-business and high-availability applications. The previous week, IBM announced at LinuxWorld Expo that it would be joining the Trillian Consortium, a group of companies, including SGI, Hewlett-Packard Co. and VA Linux Systems, working to port Linux to Intel's IA-64 architecture.

Compaq's Monterey commitment, likewise, was less than clear-cut. Compaq has a three-tier Unix strategy, which includes support for Linux on Intel IA-64 and Alpha, Monterey on IA-64, and Tru-64 on the Alpha.

When asked if Compaq would port Monterey to Alpha or provide, at the very least, a compatibility layer or toolset for customers to move their Tru-64 applications to Monterey and vice versa, Compaq's Director of Business Development and Marketing Rick Becker refused to comment. Curiously enough, Samsung, Compaq's supplier of the Alpha 21264 chip, announced its support of Monterey on its future Intel servers.

SCO, too, has jumped on the Linux bandwagon, in spite of its role as one of the Project Monterey ringleaders. This week SCO announced its own Linux and open source professional services offering.

Many of the software vendors exhibiting at SCO Forum were demonstrating proudly Linux versions of their SCO offerings, and distributed demo CDs that ran on both platforms.

While Linux may have been the topic du jour in Santa Cruz, Monterey was a close second. According to partners participating in the unified Unix effort, progress on fusing the AIX and UnixWare operating systems has been good. The Monterey group is anticipating an initial release towards the end of 2000. That release will feature a true 64-bit kernel, 32-bit and 64-bit Unix application programming interfaces (APIs) and "targeted" 32-bit UnixWare and AIX 4.3.2 application compatibility, eight-way symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) on IA-64 support, 64-bit memory addressing and some degree of support for the IBM/Sequent NUMA architecture.

An updated release of Monterey, expected in the 2001 timeframe, will support 32-way SMP, clustering, load balancing, hot-plug PCI and complete support for ccNUMA.

IBM and SCO have lined up an impressive array of ISV's with planned Monterey software releases, including Lotus Development, Oracle, Informix Software, Netscape Communications, PeopleSoft, Tivoli, Computer Associates International, Progress Software and Platinum Technologies.

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