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Don't dis Alpha

A reader writes that the Alpha--not the Itanium--is the leading chip for any sort of high-powered science application.


Don't dis Alpha

In response to the May 11 Meta Group analysis, "A slow assault on Unix":

The way the piece was written you'd think that Itanium was the first fully 64-bit processor on the market.

It isn't, and it hasn't been since 1992.

Why isn't there any mention of the DEC (now Compaq) Alpha processor? Alpha is 64 bit--from the beginning, mind you--and boasts performance that Itanium will take years to catch up to.

On the Tru64 Unix operating system, there is no 32-bit compatibility mode in any way, shape or form. All applications on it are 64-bit native, and always have been. And oh yes--why is Windows said to be 64-bit ready now? Because they did all the hard work of making it 64-bit ready by porting it to Alpha. After doing that, the work involved in making it run on Itanium is comparatively minimal.

Alpha is the leading chip for any sort of high-powered science application. Ask Celera Systems or the Sanger Center (places working on human genome research) what they use to sequence human DNA. It's Tru64 Unix on Alpha.

Why no mention whatsoever? It makes no sense and flies in the face of the facts. A rather poor research job, in my opinion.

John Francini
Nashua, N.H.