Day 3: Conferences: The IA-64 Linux Project
Eric Sindelar from VA Linux Systems made the initial presentation
The pretty big room that was used was filled, and some people were standing
on the sides and in the back.
The goal of the IA-64 linux port was to have a single collaborative port, and
do a release to the open source community, goal which was achieved with an
initial release at Linuxworld in New York.
Eric gave a list of contributors to the project (see
slides), what's been accomplished
and the current tasks are.
Compile farms running on real Itanium systems are available to help with
Stéphane Eranian made the first demo and booted an Itanium workstation.
The system initializes, and goes into EFI, which is a simple PROM that allows
you do a few things and boot the OS of your choice from the partition of your
Stéphane booted Turbolinux which showed a simple linux boot and it started xdm
and Helix Gnome. They actually had XFree 4.0 with DRI support and an accelerated
3D demo. It ended up crashing, but the mere fact that they got it to work in 3
days with code that had never been tried on IA-64 before is pretty amazing, and
shows the quality of the code you can have out there (wrt to being 64bit clean)
Turbolinux made a demo of Oracle running on an IA-64 machine. The version of
oracle they had had a mix of 64bit code and 32bit code for the applications
SGI showed an interesting demo of 3D rendering done on two CPUs and doing
airflow calculation for a plane.
Don Dugger from VA, who did a lot of work on IA-32 compatibility, showed a demo
of staroffice running on an IA-64 machine.
After the demo, came a Q&A session where all the members of the Trillian
project were available for answering:
- Why is IA-64 any different than other 64 bit architectures?
- IA-64 was built to be free of legacy and it's a architecture with new
technology that still keeps compatibility with IA-32
- What's the difference between the SGI compiler and the CYGNUS one?
- SGI says that they have more levels of optimization. They use the same GCC
front end for source compatibility, but the back end was written with SGI's
experience in compiler design and 64bit architectures.
It'd be nice if that work was contributed to GCC, but we didn't get a
straight answer to that.
- Why not supporting a 32 bit kernel for people who want to use Itanium
without the 64 bit overhead?
- It would have been a lot of work to have two different ports and it was
felt that it wasn't worth the effort.
- Can you develop IA-64 code on a 32 bit machine?
- Yes, there are cross compilers and HP has a full IA-64 emulator that runs
- How about current IA-32 vs IA-64 performance?
- There has been little performance work so far because the first goal is
getting bugs out and doing initial ports of applications. Everyone seems to
be very hopeful on the performance.
- How well do IA-32 binaries work on IA-64?
- Don answered that at this time, all the ones he tried did work. If one
doesn't, it's a bug that should be reported to him so that he can fix it.
Intel also has tested booting 32bit linux on the machine.
Link to Home Page
2000/08/23 (20:09): Version 1.0