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Intel putting full-court press on Linux

Following a similar move by IBM, the chipmaker seeks to enlist the help of open-source developers in pushing Linux and open-source software to their limits.

Following a similar move by IBM, Intel sought Thursday to enlist the help of open-source developers in pushing Linux and open-source software to their limits.

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Intel exec talks up Linux's merits
William Swope, VP, Intel architecture group
During his keynote address Thursday at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in New York, William Swope, vice president of Intel's architecture group, talked up the role of enterprise servers in furthering the growth and potential of open-source software.

Swope attempted to rally the audience by defining the business opportunities for Linux. The opportunities are significant, especially "when the need outstrips the supply," he said. "You guys have got one of these (opportunities) in the data center.

"We're going to have to deal with the database," Swope said. "We're going to have to deal with both scale-up and scale-out.

"There's going to be mixing and matching of technologies. Who does that work so that it gets tested and validated?"

Swope steered clear of pitting Linux against Windows, given Intel's close ties with Microsoft. But he talked up Linux's growing server market share vs. the Unix operating system, charging attendees with the duty of making Linux a top-tier development environment.

In describing Linux's potential, Swope said, "We're thinking...the intermediary goal would be to focus on the development environment and to make this (Linux) the standard Unix development environment.

"If and only if the development environment is robust and scalable, then (Linux will) be a top-tier port for" software developers, he said.

Swope highlighted the high-end potential of Linux by demonstrating clustered systems based on Intel's IA-64 processor.

One demonstration showed a four-way Itanium Linux cluster running Convolo clustering software from Mission Critical Linux to deliver streaming video.

A second demonstration showed the National Center for Supercomputing Applications running a fluid flow and gas dynamics simulation on a Linux cluster.

Meanwhile, Intel has committed to putting its money where its mouth is by announcing several new programs and initiatives aimed at open-source developers.

Intel Developer Services, for example, unveiled the Intel Early Access Service. The program allows developers to build, test and debug IA-64-based open-source applications in a hosted environment for free.

Intel also unveiled Advanced Network Services for Linux, which includes load balancing, fail-over and other advanced networking services designed to reduce server bottlenecks and improve uptime.

Swope also announced an Open Source Development Lab award. The lab, of which Intel is one of the founding members, will grant an individual or group in the open-source community a $25,000 prize every six months for the "most impactful idea" for Linux in a business environment.

Intel is no newcomer to Linux. Since 1998, the company has made investments in more than 10 open-source companies, including Red Hat, Turbolinux and VA Linux Systems. Through the Intel IA-64 Fund, the company has provided funding for several other Linux and open-source companies.

Intel, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and NEC announced the formation of OSDL in August 2000. OSDL is designed to provide testing and development of open-source applications.