Linux 5.4 Dropping Support For The Itanium IA64-Powered SGI Altix
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 17 September 2019 at 12:08 AM EDT. 2 Comments
HARDWARE --
While Linux 5.4 is bringing a new driver to help SGI systems back to their Origin boxes, this kernel meanwhile dropping support for the SGI Altix that is newer than the some of the Origin systems. SGI Altix being removed from the Linux kernel is the latest in the path for winding down Itanium (IA64) support.

With Intel having ended the Itanium CPU family at the beginning of the year and much of the open-source/Linux software support for IA64 already having been on the decline for years, the Linux kernel is beginning to remove more IA64 bits. This comes following IA64 support being deprecated for GCC 10 and likely removed for the GCC 11 release in 2021. Once that IA64 support is gone from GCC, chances are the Linux kernel support for IA64 will be dropped entirely since there isn't any other compiler capable of building the Linux kernel and supporting IA64 as well as GCC.

But for Linux 5.4 at the end of 2019 we now have the SGI Altix support being removed. The removal of the SGI Altix support and associated drivers/code no longer needed as a result means lightening up the Linux kernel by some 40,000 lines of code for these once powerful Itanium servers/supercomputers.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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