Linux Looks To Retire Itanium/IA64 Support

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 15 February 2023 at 07:05 AM EST. 82 Comments
It's been many years since Intel Itanium processors made a convincing story and faced a slow demise over the past decade. While the last of the Itanium 9700 "Kittson" processors shipped in 2021, just two years later now the Linux kernel is already looking at possibly seeing its IA-64 support removed over having no maintainers or apparent users.

The GCC compiler deprecated IA-64 support years ago, the IA-64 kernel build has been left busted for extended periods of time, and in 2021 Linus Torvalds orphaned the IA-64 kernel code. Now as 2023 gets underway and two years since the orphaning, it's possibly time already to strip out the Itanium code from the kernel tree.

Linux developer Ard Biesheuvel sent out a request for comments patch series this morning that drops Itanium/IA-64 from the kernel. Ard commented:
"The IA64 port of Linux has no maintainer, and according to a report from its only remaining user, it has been broken for a month and nobody cares.

Given that keeping a complex but unused architecture alive uses up valuable developer bandwidth, let's just get rid of it.

This supersedes my patch proposing to mark it as 'dead', which received no replies from anyone that wants to keep it alive."

Dropping the Itanium/IA-64 code from the Linux kernel tree lightens it by 65k lines.

Intel Itanium logo

We'll see if the Itanium/IA-64 support gets removed from the Linux kernel now or if anyone steps up to actively maintain the architecture code and finding any remaining users of Itanium servers wanting to run mainline kernel releases.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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