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Compaq quits porting Tru64 Unix to IA-64

by Mary Lisbeth D'Amico

Network World Fusion

(IDG) -- Compaq has ceased its efforts to port its version of the Unix operating system - Tru64 Unix - for Intel's forthcoming IA-64 platform.

The company plans to focus its Tru64 Unix efforts on its own Alpha processor platform, according to Tom Yeates, director of high-performance servers at Compaq Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Compaq will not port Tru64 Unix to Intel's Merced and future members of the chip giant's next-generation IA-64 family of 64-bit processors.

"It appears to us as Alpha develops that there is no point in rolling [Tru64] out on any other platform. The design integration will not be bettered, " Yeates says.
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The move will not involve any significant employee shifts or cost savings for Compaq, according to Yeates.

It also fits into Compaq's efforts to separate its computing efforts into what it calls industry-standard computing on Intel platforms, and high-performance computing on its own Alpha chip platform, according to Herbert Wenk, a Compaq spokesman in Munich.

Compaq has already announced that it would not continue developing Microsoft's Windows NT or Windows 2000 operating systems to the Alpha chip platform.

Compaq's moves could, however, lead to the marginalization of the Alpha chip, notes Kirsten Ludvigson, research manager at International Data Corp.'s Copenhagen office. Over the long run, that could lead to large companies with lots of Tru64 on Alpha installations to focus their efforts elsewhere.

"We do see that Alpha chips are on a decline in use for workstations and servers," Ludvigson says, Compaq lost its marketing focus on the chip in the wake of its merger with Digital. "They have now renewed that focus. We will see what happens," Ludvigson adds.

Compaq acquired Tru64 - which used to be called Digital Unix - and the Alpha chip platform when it purchased Digital last year. As recently as July, the Houston IT giant said it will continue efforts to port Tru64 to the Intel platform.

The company maintains that it is as devoted as ever to Alpha. "This gives us a clear specific focus on Tru64 on Alpha," Compaq's Yeates says.

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