In an effort to boost the slow sales of the Itanium processor, <a href="http://www.itaniumsolutionsalliance.org/home"<The Itanium Solutions Alliance has been working with Transitive Corporation to produce a way to run binaries compiled for Solaris/Sparc to
run on Linux/Itanium. Presumably, they feel that it is the lack of source code that is preventing a vast migration of customers off of Solaris/Sparc to Linux/Itanium.
Well, more power to them, I say. If a customer doesn’t want to use Solaris, I certainly don’t want to force them. Sun has been promoting the need customers have for an exit strategy for a long time now; never adopt a platform unless you know how to get out again, that’s our credo. Lock-in is
for wimps that don’t think they can keep customers on merit.
However, all of the press repeats something from the demo, namely that the binaries “typically run faster on the Itanium platform than on the native SPARC platform.” and that “the highest performing SPARC machine in the industry is the Itanium platform”. I don’t buy it. The articles say what the
Itanium machine in the demo is (“eight-way Hitachi BladeSymphony platform with a Dual-Core Intel Itanium Series 9000 processor”), but there is no mention about what Sparc system to which they compared it. I would like to see some numbers here. Given that the last time there was a major comparison at IDF between Itanium and Sparc, it was between the latest Itanium chip and a three year old Sparc chip, so I am guessing these numbers are just as valid.