When Hewlett-Packard canceled its hardware futures for PA-RISC on MPE/iX, the vendor promoted its Itanium systems as a replacement. A recent report from the caretakers of Linux shows that Itanium support is now being dropped for Linux. The creator of the OS even used a popular Star Trek line in his news of the demise.
The preferred HP solution, when it triggered the migration from the MPE legacy environment, was Itanium. In the middle 2000s, Linux was an all-purpose environment that some HP 3000 refugees embraced, running on the Itanium-based Integrity servers.
Integrity felt like a safe place to shift an enterprise operating environment. Some software vendors swore off of anything so proprietary, though. Quintessential School Systems (QSS) rebuilt its applications at considerable expense. The migration was careful to remain on vendor-neutral platforms for both software and hardware.
QSS didn’t trust HP to provide hardware for its migrations applications that serve K-12 school systems. It chose a LAMP-based software set, with the L in that configuration standing for Linux.
Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, announced that HP’s proprietary hardware that was designed to replace PA-RISC would now be orphaned, going forward.
“HPE no longer accepts orders for new Itanium hardware, and Intel stopped accepting orders a year ago,” Torvalds in a comment on the git technical hub. “While Intel is still officially shipping chips until July 29, 2021, it’s unlikely that any such orders actually exist. It’s dead, Jim.”
Meanwhile, the x86 hardware which hosts Linux hardware worldwide is enjoying its fourth decade of acceptance. At one point in the 1990s, HP had partnered with Intel to develop Itanium as a next-generation replacement for x86. The wide range of applications that needed x86 hosts never could be convinced to make costly migrations to Itanium.
Legacy hardware environments, hosted on x86 platforms using Linux as a cradle for an OS like MPE/iX or VMS, run in corporate datacenters today. The IT marketplace still bets on technology that’s proven itself.