May: At a Tokyo Unix summit this month, Unix Internation al and the Open Software Foundation both joined X/Op en, in a move hailed as the start of a long process of reconciliation between the two groups. Also at the meeting, Japan’s Sigma proj ect said it would conform to X/Open’s Common Application Environment Portability […]
May: At a Tokyo Unix summit this month, Unix Internation al and the Open Software Foundation both joined X/Op en, in a move hailed as the start of a long process of reconciliation between the two groups. Also at the meeting, Japan’s Sigma proj ect said it would conform to X/Open’s Common Application Environment Portability Guide. There were already rumours flying around about the imminent arrival of IBM’s next generation successor for the RT, known as Rios. First reckoned to be heading for a summer launch, the expected launch was soon put back to October. Now running from Ing C Olivetti & Co, AT&T Co began selling its 3B2 boxes directly in France. DEC an nounced plans to bundle a product based on Relational Technology Inc’s Ingres data base with every Ultrix li cence – a big boost to Relat ional given that too many firms were fighting to get their databases onto a finite number of computers. Mean while, our sister paper Uni gram.X revealed that DEC had sacrificed binary level com patibility with other MIPS Computer Systems Inc RISC- based machines on its new RISC lines by reversing the byte ordering to fit in more closely with VAXes. Pyramid Technology Corp revealed plans to rebadge systems built by MIPS at the low-end. Hungry UK software and syst ems house Misys Plc snapped up two Unix acquisitions, TIS Ltd and Mentor Systems Ltd.
Attention in the Unix world shifted from Tokyo to Toronto, where the Canadian Multi-User Unix exhibition was held. Here it emerged that Sun Microsystems Inc was so far the only recipient of a patent letter from IBM spelling out its claimed in tellectual ownership of RISC technology – and show specul ation put a mid-1990 launch date on the RT Rios machine. Following a meeting in Mon treal, X/Open said future editions of its Common Appli cations Environment would represent the wishes of us ers, manufacturers, members and non-members alike, in a document known as the Pros pectus of Market Demand, to be published later in the year. Elsewhere, Apricot Computers Plc launched the first Intel 80486-based mach ine in the UK – or anywhere as far as we could tell – NCR Corp got the multi-processing bug with a new Tower, and Sony Corp launched its first MIPS RISC-based workstation in Japan. Xerox Corp collec ted royalties from Metaphor Computer Systems Inc for its Metaphor iconic graphical user interface, calling into question Apple Computer Inc’s long running suit against Hewlett-Packard Co and Micro soft Corp. And in a shock announcement, Unix high-flyer Sun Microsystems predicted a sticky end to its financial year with profits down and a huge backlog of orders wait ing to be filled, then raised a further $250m funding from AT&T and others. NeXT Computer Inc won another pow erful ally in the shape of Canon Inc, which paid $100m for a 16% stake in the Steve Jobs company. Control Data Corp’s troublesome UK Systime Ltd business dissolved into five companies after manage ment buyouts. Prime Computer Inc still reckoned it could find a better offer for its business than the hostile of fer from MAI Basic Four Inc.
The X Window System hit the spotlight this month with the Xhibition in San Jose, where the general consensus was that the Open Software Foundation’s Motif was win ning the interface battle – both Motif and AT&T’s Open Look interfaces became gener ally available for the first time this month. Unisys Corp declared that it would use the Motorola 88000 in future systems, while DEC unveiled a further RISC line of products as an alternative to the VAX – MIPS-based DECsystems set against top and low-end VAX stations. Silicon Graphics Inc came out with an eight processor 160 MIPS server, and Evans & Sutherland Compu ter Corp weighed in late with its 1,600 MIPS supercomputer. AT&T finally sold its 22% stake in Olivetti, introduc ing a new line of personal computer systems bought OEM from Intel Corp to replace the Olivetti products. Pick Systems Inc said it would intergrate the Pick operating system with Unix over the next year. Arix Corp looked to broaden its product base with the acquisiti
on of Edg core Technology Inc, and while takeover bells rang at Nixdorf Computer AG yet again, Prime revealed its white knight to stave off the hostile MAI bid – J H Whitney & Co coming to the rescue with a leveraged buyout.
Even with the 80860 still in the sampling stage, Intel Corp was rumoured to be working on an enhanced versi on optimised for multiproces sing, touted as the 80870. Concurrent Computer Corp got cold feet and pulled the plug on its joint Supercomputing Solutions venture with Gen eral Microelectronics Corp, and AT&T Co appeared to be having second thoughts about its support for the Sun Mic rosystems Sparc chip, saying it still had to decide on a RISC part for a new generat ion of 3B2s. However Philips NV became the first European manufacturer to fabricate Sun’s processor. Apple Com puter Inc lost key points in its copyright infringement lawsuit against Microsoft Corp and Hewlett-Packard Co, but still reckoned it could win on the issue of overlapp ing windows. McDonnell Doug las Co announced it would float its computer systems business on the London Stock Exchange. Yet another top- end systems casualty was Elxsi Corp, which gave up on its 64-bit minisupercomputers and laid off over half of its workforce. Following its $375m fourth quarter loss Wang Laboratories Inc was in trouble with all its finan ciers and began laying off staff, whilst Unisys Corp was looking to shed 10,000 jobs. Noises coming out of the summer UniForum show in Bos ton indicated a November launch for Unix V.4. Comdex show organiser the Interface Group pitched in with a Unix Solutions show set for Octo ber 1990, bringing the number of major US Unix shows up to five – the others worried.