IBM to Unveil Developer Tools for Power Architecture

The tools are the latest move in IBM's plan to open up its Power microprocessor architecture to allow third-party vendors to build custom chips and software based on the platform.

IBM next week will take the next step in its Power Everywhere initiative by rolling out resources to help software developers as they begin building applications to the architecture.

The Armonk, N.Y., company on Monday will unveil the tools on its developerWorks Web site, said Kathy Mandelstein, program director for worldwide developer marketing at IBM.

The move is a step in IBMs program to open up the architecture of its Power microprocessors to enable third-party vendors to build custom chips and software based on the platform. At the announcement on March 31, IBM officials said the Power Everywhere initiative—while the company will open up the architecture, it will keep control of the core parts of the platform, such as the instruction set—is designed to get Power technology into everything from small handheld devices to a customers largest enterprise systems.

IBM felt the fastest way to enable that to happen was through third-party developers. Officials promised various tools to developers and partners to help them develop to the architecture.

Among the tools to be released Monday is a portal through which developers can collaborate, the first move by IBM in creating a community around the Power architecture. The portal will offer everything from resources to a governance model for future collaborative work.

Software that can be downloaded will aid developers in evaluating applications and IBM middleware, both for IBM Power servers such as the i-and pSeries servers, and for non-IBM systems such as Apple Computer Inc.s G5.

The Power Architecture Pack will offer evaluation tools as designers create custom Power processors. In addition, more than two dozen documents focusing on the Power architecture will be available on the site.

Mandelstein, in Austin, Texas, said such tools are critical in building up the developer community, particular at such an early phase.

"Most of the developers are just starting to look at building to the power architecture," she said, adding that much of the initial interest has come from the gaming community, giving Powers presence in such systems as Microsoft Corp.s Xbox.

IBM over the past year has been aggressive in pushing Linux development on the Power architecture. The processors can run AIX 5L—IBMs Unix operating system—Linux and OS/400. The latest generation of the platform, Power5, is beginning to roll out this month, starting with the i5 systems—iSeries systems based on Power5 and running the next generation of OS/400, called the i5/OS.

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