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Intel on Linux 50

Baboshka writes "Check out what Intel has to say about Linux in the future and VA Research in the now in this informative article. Includes a short interview with Brian Biles, VP of VA. "
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Intel on Linux

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yes, Linux supports up to 16, but Intel hardware doesn't support more than 4 CPUs yet. The tests with 16 CPUs has been on Sparc's
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...until I can buy it pre-installed on low-priced laptops. ($5K VA Research machines are out of the reach of many). And while Linux does run just fine with X on many sub $2K laptops, these machines tend to have built-in winmodems, win-ethernet ports, and on some Compaqs, wierd proprietary CD-ROM drives (that don't behave like ATAPI standard CDROMS), all of these being Linux hostile. While I can stick in some PCMCIA modems and network cards, I want to be able to use the built-in stuff and have free slots for other stuff, consarnit! WinHardware is a machination of purest aevil!
  • Lets get one thing straight. I am not anti-linux but the latest fud does prove one thing that is very true of linux. The recent fud is 100% truth when it comes to raid, scsi and multiple etherent adapters. Just look at mindcrafts and NT magazines and now zdnet results. There are 2 articles now pointing to performance problems with linux's sync. i/o.

    1:) Linux has alot of trouble with raid because of its i/o and hardware raid can kill performance but software raid is better.

    2:)Linux has trouble with smp because it doesnt support async i/o and non reepmtive cpu points. THis would bring intels 8-way cpu server to its knees and if NT was stable enough it might even outperform linux because even NT supports async i/o. I think solaris x86 would be much more preferable.

    3:)The scsi module in linux has some performance and stability proeblems because 95% of all linux developers use eide because they are hobbyist and dont have the money for expensive scsi and raid controller cards.

    Linux is a killer workstation and low end unix server and a ok mid-range server but if all these busssiness put mission critical stuff on them and have awefull performance and maybe some instability then solaris will seem a whole lot more viable. Remember what happened to NT after coporations believed Jess Berst form zdnet and microsoft. Texas instruments and Motorola switched form unix to NT only to switch back again and they regret ever wasting time and money on NT. Linux will have a similiar fate if its used on mission critical systems. Also if you need a high end system like a 8-way server, then its advisable to go risc with alpha or a sun box with solaris or digital vms. If yuour 2-way alpha box can perform the same as an 8-way intel box, then dunp solaris and use linux on the alpha but adding more scpu's puts stress in the i/o which is a little fragile in linux right now. Other then that linux rocks but lets hope these mindcraft and zdnet fud will help bring light and hope to linux by fixing problems and they might actually improve linux and help bring linux out of stuff where it doesn't beling (yet....).

    I would trust solaris or vms alot more with an EMS app then linux right now.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Instead of just talkin smack they should commit to using linux as the reference platform for all of their newest technologies. Then by going GPL with all of their latest and grestest "enterprise" hardware designs Linux could match any other OS out there in terms of features within a year.

    All I'm saying is that everyone (meaning all of the big money vendors) are looking to linux to shore up margins and keep some of the money they are sending to redmond. Yet you aren't going to see compaq developing drivers for linux.

    There is no reason for Intel not to help develop Linux support for evey device they build. From nic's to motherboards.

    Everyone should be asking Intel:

    Where is the Linux i2o implementation?
    You guys invented USB, why do we have to reinvent the wheel? How bout throwing that in the pot?
    Where is the VIA implementation?
    If you actually want anyone to care about MMX why not patch it into the kernel to demonstrate how powerful it could be?
    Standard device drivers among all intel based unices? Why not develop it, then anounnce it, and give away some code?

    They released the source to their video chipset which is a good start. But we all know that they have to write drivers for their own purposes internally, how bout making linux the standard reference platform and making that software public when the device ships? Even if the code is in rough shape the free *nix communities would be more than capable of polishing it up.

    Hardware vendors need to realize that using a common code base for all of their products (from printers to servers) will shorten their development cycles if they will just work with the public.
  • What you said is sad, but true.

    I honestly wonder how some people really do anything business-related without Office-compatibility. I e-mailed myself a Word doc a few days ago and WordPerfect for Linux was unable to open it! How many environments exist that are all Unix?

    Where I work, we are slowly replacing many, many NetWare servers with NT. All new PCs that I know of have NT Workstation and older ones use Win95. There are a few Linux boxes hidden around that most people don't know about, including one I have myself. But it sits way up on a shelf running Apache, ftp, and SAMBA.

  • For one, Linux 2.2 w/ glibc 2.1 DOES support async I/O (redhat 6.0 and caldera 2.2 have it, the new suse might).

    And what is a "non preemptive cpu point"?
  • It supports async I/O (BSD-style), but I don't know of any apps that support it yet so don't hold your breath.
  • So a technology that has been around for 20 years will take another 20 to get rid of, right? Hmm... NT has only been around for 5 years or so. :}
  • This is great. Now what we need is for more commercial apps and more Hardware support.

    Here's My Wish List:

    -Quicken Deluxe and Maybe Turbo-Tax.
    -Hardware Accelerated 3D. (Open Source Drivers would be very nice)
    -Media Creation tools and Viewers (BeOS users Need not comment on this one.)
    -Quake 3 (already granted, I know (thanks John!!!
    -More Kick-ass Games like Civilization CTP
    -Bell Atlantic to offer ADSL in Queens NY. (I'm getting very Impatient...)
    -Corel Office 2000 for Linux.

    There's more but I'm sleepy now so I can't think....
  • Notably, the Red Hat* Linux 6.0 distribution pushes symmetric multiprocessor (SMP) support to at least four processors.

    I thought the SMP support was for up to sixteen processors. Who is the one who is misinformed here?

  • Right, but they did not say that RH 6.0 supports only four processors, they said "at least".
  • I think this was a misunderstanding on their part. Linux does support up to 16 processors but, it doesn't scale well after 4 processors. A proper benchmark should extend out to a point where a definate maximum has occured. In a load vs performace graph this should create a horizontal asymptote. To check for scalability, you need to check that the interval between these asymptotes remains approx. the same as you attempt to scale up. What this means is that this interval will remain consistent for Linux until you try to scale past 4 processors, at which time the intervals will get smaller and thus show that the performace gain for each new processor after 4 becomes less and less.
  • by mrsam ( 12205 ) on Wednesday May 12, 1999 @07:57AM (#1896225) Homepage

    One word: Merced.

    The Intel/HP contingent has poured a nice chunk of change into the IA-64 chip. Now, what would you do if you were Intel right now, hhmmm?

    Here you are. The amount of money you dumped into the chip is bigger than the gross national product of most third world nations. You are several months from shipping it. And now you ask yourself, who's going to use it?

    Microsoft? Windows? HAHAHAHAHAHA. Microsoft's too busy getting their crap together with W2K. I don't remember ever hearing when MS intends to add support for the IA-64 chip in their OS. If ever.

    Meanwhile, you keep reading that Linux will have IA-64 support right out of the box, for the chip. I recall that either VA Linux or Red Hat (or both) are working on porting the kernel to the 64 bit chip.

    Right now, it looks like Linux would be the only OS that can actually support the 64 bit architecture of the Merced chip. I may be wrong, I don't read the trade press much, but for the life of me, I can't think of anything else other than Linux that has announced actual Merced support for the chip, when it ships.

    Looks to me like Intel's putting all of its eggs in the Torvalds basket. Linux stands to be the only thing that can actually sell Merced chips for Intel.

  • Remember, Intel is not going to ship the motherboards that support 8 processors until later this year, let alone one that would support 16.
  • Interesting that they say on the page linked to by Intel Serves Up UNIX [] that the first version of UDI will be released Q2 99 with Linux as the reference platform. It's been a while since I heard anything significant about UDI. And the Q2 is almost half way over...

  • the nicest thing about linux is that anytime anyone criticizes Linux the Linux communtiy retaliates by improving the system or showing that they are wrong. It is nice to see a major playor stating that Linux will have a place in the future, and also to point out some of the strengths of Linux. This shows that Linux keeps improving. We can only get better when we know where our weakness are!
  • runs Microsoft-IIS/4.0 according to Netcraft.

    (insert smart-ass comment here)
  • ...but remember that a year ago you had to look hard to find Linux anywhere but on a geek's desktop. Now people are busily pointing out that better high-end solutions can still be found, provided that you are willing to wheel out a truckload of cash.

    I hardly see that as a failure for Linux. What shortcomings will people be able to point to in another year or two?

  • There has already been much progress in the area of office suites in the open source community and their is no need to include Microsoft

    You obviously haven't worked much in the real world. Everything is written in Office and everything is distributed in office. 99% of all companines require documents in office format and 99% of evey attached document you will recieve will be in Office. And until Microsoft releases the specs for their file format filters will not be good enough to handle everything.

    I used to work in a pure Unix (well excpet for one Mac that did Photoshop and video editing) work place, yet we still had two Win95 boxes just so that we could run Office.

  • I guess none of you have heard of xml as a default standard for saving data. Xml is designed to be open and office 2000 is going to support.

    What you mean like M$ supports DHTML, JavaScript, Java, CSS and all those other open standards?

    Finally you can read data no matter which platform its used

    You mean kind of like M$ Java?

    I know Office 200 is supposed to do XML and I know how XML is supposed to be the ultimate answer to cross platform apps, but judging on M$ pervious record with open standards I'm not too optimistic. I just know they will find a way to break it in an unfixable way. Let's face it M$ has never shown any interest to support a cross platform anything, so why are they going to start now?

  • And in 2.3

    Search for Logical Volume Manager Linux on
    any search engine....

  • Its not the fact that Linux SMP scales to 16 ... its the fact that the parties who are going to profit from this scalability,
    namely VA Research, have to do some tuning and benchmarks to make it a reality.
    I'm tired of seeing MS proxies wave their 4 processor benchmark resultss without a response from VA Research which
    has the test hardware capability for 4 processors (and 8 processor in the future) to prove the validity of these well
    pubicized tests.
    MS is trying to leap-frog over their weak performance in single and dual processors, while setting up the conclusion that if
    NT Server is best in the 4 processor config it's best in all other configs. Secondly, I expect to see in the near future some
    MS PR about Windows 2000 beating NT 4 Server (in some special contrived situation) and therefor is the top performing
    OS server for Intel based systems.
    Right now, MS is in the 'discredit Linux' mode of their PR campaign, in an attempt to turn off the medias love affair with
    Linux ... and they're succeeding because our 'big guns' are not responding!

  • Not only Linux. I have heard that Intel was discussing with the major Unix vendor to port their OS on the Merced. And if this wasn't for the Merced to have many OS soon after he his chipped why would Intel push toward a compatible binary device drivers format that would allow hardware companies to make one driver for every Unix supporting this feature??
  • you mean intel? they we up, running, and serving fast. Anyone bother to check yet to see what platform their servers are running?
  • Worldn't surprise me, they use Unix on Hotmail.
  • I finally had to change my settings to "-1" to see ANY "Linux isn't the end all be all" comments. C'mon moderators, try to be at least a little objective. If you ignore your faults they will only grow, then one day you'll turn around and see a Grand Canyon.

    "News for Nerds, stuff that Matters" != Linux is the best thing ever.(period)

    Before you flame!

    (my attempt at moderation without actual jurisdiction)
  • Basicaly it wold be like if the *.doc format was properly documented.

    Hmm... I'm getting a bit tired of seeing this line trotted out all the time. The Microsoft Office file formats (for at least Word and Excel) _are_ documented; the documentation is available in certain MS Press books; you may even be able to download it from

    The issue which makes these file formats so difficult to replicate on other platforms is the concept of object linking and embedding. When you insert a foreign object into a Word document, that object is stored as a binary OLE link in the Word file. The foreign object's parent application is used to edit the embedded object. This binary OLE representation makes the binary Office formats necessary.

    I think Office 2000's Export to XML feature (note "feature" - Office 2000 _does not_ save as XML by default, it continues to use Office 97 binary formats [with the exception of Access 2000]) is great - but I don't see how they're going to be able to include these binary OLE objects in an XML document. Until that's done, I don't see how XML can be a true 100% compatible replacement for binary Office file formats.

  • Have you ever heard about StarOffice? []
  • My problem with MS is that they impose their software, I'm not saying that you don't have other choice but when you buy a new computer, almost everything on it is MS software (IE, Office).

    And if the constructor such as Dell or Gateway, tries to put anything else, well MS will tell them that they won't give them the right to install W95

    This was particulary true two years ago, when Linux and wasn't so famous. And also when Microsoft wasn't yet confronted to justice

    Another issue is the quality of their software: excuse me, but Word sucks because it's awfully too heavy for the system

    Well that's all I have to say

  • Well, I think it a good introduction to Linux from an entreprise point of view although I think it may be too short.

    I think the conclusion is quite realistic : 20 years to get rid of Microsoft ;-)

    Overall it gives to Linux what it deserves right now: a very good alternative

  • Right now, it looks like Linux would be the only OS that can actually support the 64 bit architecture of the Merced chip. I may be wrong, I don't read the trade press much, but for the life of me, I can't think of anything else other than Linux that has announced actual Merced support for the chip, when it ships.

    SCO/IBM [], and Sun [], to name two more...


  • Why not push Linux where it can make a huge impact like Workstation class systems? I'm not talking about over glorified desktops, but real workstation systems. Intel finally has a workstation class processor in the Xeon series of processors, and I've been running Linux on one for a while now. It honestly is the closed thing to a SPARCworkstation Intel has come out with. Lot of Universities and companies could replace their older workstations with new Xeon based Linux systems easily.

    Ohwell, Server market is good, but I think Linux could make better in roads into the Workstation market.

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