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... And Then There Was Only Linux

 
 
Lawrence D'Oliveiro
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      04-06-2010
So Windows is abandoning Itanium, and reverting to being a single-
architecture OS <http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=5796>.

Windows NT was supposed to be cross-platform from the beginning. But
engineering aspirations collided with the economic realities of maintaining
proprietary software; the Alpha port was soon abandoned, and I think the
PowerPC port was dropped before ever being released.

Sure, Itanium is a niche architecture. But if you want a full-featured OS to
run on it, that offers the same capabilities you would get on any other
hardware, your only choice is Linux.
 
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David Goodwin
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      04-06-2010
On 6 Apr, 13:05, Lawrence D'Oliveiro <l...@geek-
central.gen.new_zealand> wrote:
> So Windows is abandoning Itanium, and reverting to being a single-
> architecture OS <http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=5796>.
>
> Windows NT was supposed to be cross-platform from the beginning. But
> engineering aspirations collided with the economic realities of maintaining
> proprietary software; the Alpha port was soon abandoned, and I think the
> PowerPC port was dropped before ever being released.
>
> Sure, Itanium is a niche architecture. But if you want a full-featured OS to
> run on it, that offers the same capabilities you would get on any other
> hardware, your only choice is Linux.


From memory, it was:
x86: Windows NT 3.1 and up
MIPS: Windows NT 3.1 to Windows NT 4.0 SP1
Alpha: Windows NT 3.1 to Windows NT 4.0 SP6a, Windows NT 5.0 RC1
PowerPC: Windows NT 3.51 to Windows NT 4.0 SP2
IA64: Windows NT 5.? (win2k advanced server limited edition) to now.

Microsoft actually seemed quite happy to support Alpha - there was a
reasonable amount of software available for it and FX!32 actually let
you run x86 programs too. Windows 2000 for the Alpha got as far as RC1
before Compaq (who had recently acquired the CPU) decided it wasn't
interested anymore.

AFAIK MIPS and PowerPC never had much/any software available for them
which is probably why they were discontinued. Additionally I think
there were some problems with hardware availability for PowerPC
(although they seem more common than the MIPS systems). Considering
how (un)common IA64 workstations seem to be I imagine that platform is
in a similar situation.
 
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JohnO
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      04-06-2010
On Apr 6, 1:05*pm, Lawrence D'Oliveiro <l...@geek-
central.gen.new_zealand> wrote:
> So Windows is abandoning Itanium, and reverting to being a single-
> architecture OS <http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=5796>.
>
> Windows NT was supposed to be cross-platform from the beginning. But
> engineering aspirations collided with the economic realities of maintaining
> proprietary software; the Alpha port was soon abandoned, and I think the
> PowerPC port was dropped before ever being released.
>
> Sure, Itanium is a niche architecture.


Exactly what niche would that be?

> But if you want a full-featured OS to
> run on it, that offers the same capabilities you would get on any other
> hardware, your only choice is Linux.


Approximately how many Itanium linux systems are in productive
commercial use world wide?
 
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David Goodwin
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      04-06-2010
On 6 Apr, 14:39, JohnO <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> On Apr 6, 1:05*pm, Lawrence D'Oliveiro <l...@geek-
>
> central.gen.new_zealand> wrote:
> > So Windows is abandoning Itanium, and reverting to being a single-
> > architecture OS <http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=5796>.

>
> > Windows NT was supposed to be cross-platform from the beginning. But
> > engineering aspirations collided with the economic realities of maintaining
> > proprietary software; the Alpha port was soon abandoned, and I think the
> > PowerPC port was dropped before ever being released.

>
> > Sure, Itanium is a niche architecture.

>
> Exactly what niche would that be?


People with lots of money? People with software stuck on HP NonStop,
HP-UX or OpenVMS platforms? other vendor lockin would be my third and
final guess. Its sure to be one or all of those three.

> > *But if you want a full-featured OS to
> > run on it, that offers the same capabilities you would get on any other
> > hardware, your only choice is Linux.

>
> Approximately how many Itanium linux systems are in productive
> commercial use world wide?


I wouldn't expect a huge number - linux can just as easily run on much
cheaper x86 systems. Although I suppose SGIs IA64 systems must run
some form of linux - they discontinued their UNIX product along with
their MIPS platform.
 
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Lawrence D'Oliveiro
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      04-06-2010
In message <ccbceb4d-3fc7-41d2-bb13-
http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed)>, David Goodwin wrote:

> Alpha: Windows NT 3.1 to Windows NT 4.0 SP6a, Windows NT 5.0 RC1


Bear in mind that was only in 32-bit “TASO” mode. If you wanted a 64-bit OS
for Alpha, it was either Tru64 or Linux.

Not sure if even OpenVMS made use of the Alpha’s 64-bit capabilities.
 
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David Goodwin
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      04-06-2010
On 6 Apr, 16:07, Lawrence D'Oliveiro <l...@geek-
central.gen.new_zealand> wrote:
> In message <ccbceb4d-3fc7-41d2-bb13-
>
> (E-Mail Removed)>, David Goodwin wrote:
> > Alpha: Windows NT 3.1 to Windows NT 4.0 SP6a, Windows NT 5.0 RC1

>
> Bear in mind that was only in 32-bit TASO mode. If you wanted a 64-bit OS
> for Alpha, it was either Tru64 or Linux.


yeah. NT on Alpha was only 32bit. Although I've heard rumor that that
the Alpha was used initially when doing a 64bit port of windows due to
Itanium being delayed so much. No doubt if Compaq hadn't decided to go
with Itanium windows would have gone 64bit on it eventually.

> Not sure if even OpenVMS made use of the Alphas 64-bit capabilities.


I believe OpenVMS on Alpha is 64bit - if its not then the Itanium port
wont be either as they supposedly share the same codebase.
 
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Enkidu
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      04-06-2010
Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
> So Windows is abandoning Itanium, and reverting to being a single-
> architecture OS <http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=5796>.
>
> Windows NT was supposed to be cross-platform from the beginning. But
> engineering aspirations collided with the economic realities of
> maintaining proprietary software; the Alpha port was soon abandoned,
> and I think the PowerPC port was dropped before ever being released.
>

The first demo I saw of NT4 was on PowerPC, I'm fairly sure of it.
However I don't know for sure that it was released, but I think it
actually was, and went through a couple of SPs.

Cheers,

Cliff

--

The ends justifies the means - Niccol di Bernardo dei Machiavelli.

The end excuses any evil - Sophocles
 
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David Goodwin
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      04-06-2010
On 6 Apr, 20:43, Enkidu <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
> > So Windows is abandoning Itanium, and reverting to being a single-
> > architecture OS <http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=5796>.

>
> > Windows NT was supposed to be cross-platform from the beginning. But
> > *engineering aspirations collided with the economic realities of
> > maintaining proprietary software; the Alpha port was soon abandoned,
> > and I think the PowerPC port was dropped before ever being released.

>
> The first demo I saw of NT4 was on PowerPC, I'm fairly sure of it.
> However I don't know for sure that it was released, but I think it
> actually was, and went through a couple of SPs.


It definitely was released. I was actually considering having a go at
installing it on my IBM RS/6000 over the weekend. Gave up in the end
due to a lack of compilers - there is apparently no software available
for the platform and Visual C++ RISC Edition is the only compiler that
can target it.
 
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