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HP Urges Linux Support for Research

Between IBM Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc. , the public hears a lot about how Linux is being used to make business run smoother without Microsoft Corp.'s tentacles all over it. But one tech giant has started touting the open source philosophy to help beyond the money-hungry influence of the business world -- in research.

Palo Alto, Calif.'s Hewlett-Packard Co. Monday said it has put the finishing touches on the forging of a worldwide consortium whose focus is on the formation of Linux-based Intel Itanium applications for academic, government and industrial research. Called the Gelato Federation, the group will develop commodity software to help scientists conduct technology research in life and physical sciences.

Gelato will create software downloads for researchers from the greater open source community, and, in the spirit of most technically-devout consortiums, will offer access to forums and technical data to make the Itanium Linux platform more accessible to researchers and their support staffs.

HP is hardly alone in this endeavor, as the open source group's members bring international flavor to the table, including: Singapore's BioInformatics Institute, France's Groupe ESIEE, the U.S.'s National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), China's Tsinghua University, U.S.'s University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), Australia's University of New South Wales and Canada's University of Waterloo.

Owning expertise in biotechnology, grid computing, compilers and languages, Linux kernel performance, and security, these groups will also lend financial backing, IT infrastructure and human resources to support Gelato's mission and operations. For example, NCSA and Groupe ESIEE will build and manage a Gelato Web Portal to serve as a central bridge for researchers interested in working on open-source projects. This portal is expected to be ready in May.

HP's main contact for Gelato is Rich DeMillo, vice president and chief technology officer for HP. Membership in Gelato is open to all academic, government and corporate entities.

"The Linux IA-64 platform has enormous potential to help scientists achieve important breakthroughs that will improve the quality of our lives in the new century," said Dan Reed, director, NCSA. "Gelato will give scientists the support base they need to make the Linux IA-64 platform more robust and even more widely used."