Rubberneckers count the stars at the Destiny gala Unix System V.4.2 – now the official name for Destiny, the desktop version of Unix from Unix System Laboratories Inc finally saw the light of day at a full-dress industry event in San Francisco last week. What emerged, aside from the technology, which has been widely previewed, […]
Rubberneckers count the stars at the Destiny gala
Unix System V.4.2 – now the official name for Destiny, the desktop version of Unix from Unix System Laboratories Inc finally saw the light of day at a full-dress industry event in San Francisco last week. What emerged, aside from the technology, which has been widely previewed, was a seminal move by Unix Labs president Roel Pieper to unify the industry around a desktop Unix to challenge Microsoft Corp’s Windows NT threatening to sweep the board when it finally arrives. As such, it was an impressive effort, marred only by the glaring absence of Sun Microsystems Inc, which was busy preparing the launch of its rival System V.4 Solaris operating system, and the Santa Cruz Operation Inc, whose leadership position is severely threatened by Destiny’s imminent arrival. IBM Corp was also absent, while Hewlett-Packard Co contributed only a lukewarm endorsement, with no precise commitment to implement the technology. However Unix Labs believes that Hewlett will adopt it within the next three or four months. Digital Equipment Corp surprisingly came out with the stronger, if more bewildering statement that it will be working with Unix Labs and their technology partners to combine Digital’s Alpha technology with Unix System V.4 – seemingly contradicting its position of the day before (CI No 1,949). Nonetheless, Unix Labs believes that their collaboration, awkward perhaps for DEC’s press agents, will be serious, in depth and direct. Unix Labs won the day by persuading Open Software Foundation chief David Tory to speak, revealing that Unix Labs and the Foundation were working together to ensure that the latter’s Application Environment Specification and System V.4 would be aligned and compatibility maintained. Unix Labs again endorsed the Foundation layered products such as Motif and DCE, and has even taken the baton from its arch-rival for the commercialisation of ANDF – the Architecture Neutral Distribution Format. The Software Foundation’s singular appearance changes the rules the industry has been playing by for the past few years, narrowing the gap between the two camps, and enabling more room for the players to manoeuvre. Apple Computer Inc, a new face in the crowd, also sent observers. Unix Labs is believed to be near to an unprecedented agreement with Apple for the Macintosh interface. The lineage of Unix System V.4.2 comes from the System V.4.1 Enhanced Security release, from which it inherits B1/B2 security, but System V.4.2 extends the modularity of that release with the isolation of processor-specific source code modules from the main body of common code. Accordingly, System V.4.2 will support multiple articles from a single source tree.
Declined to reveal pricing
It will be the code base for System V.4.2 ES/MP (Enhanced Security/Multiprocessing), aimed at enterprise computing environments, which will add multi-processing support. Dynamically loadable modules enable printers, disks and other devices to be installed while the system is running, which also reduces memory requirements. System V.4.2, with its integral desktop manager, optimised performance, and modularity that enables it to run as a client in only 4Mb memory, 60Mb disk highly impressive when compared with its current competitor, OS/2 – ships in July in source code form for OEM customers, in its iAPX-86 version only, for AT, EISA and Micro Channel buses. Sparc and R-series versions are due out by the end of the year. Unix Labs declined to reveal pricing until Univel Inc jointly-owned by Unix Labs and Novell Inc – rolls out the end-user shrink-wrapped UnixWare version in September or October, but OEM customers are expected to be able to get it out the door at $350 or so.
Graphics, emulation, integrity match up to needs at the desktop
Included within the System V.4.2, Moolit, Motif/Open Look Intrinsics Toolkit, enables developers to build applications that can switch dynamically between Open Look and Motif look and feel. It is conformant with the Open Look Intrinsics Toolkit already in use by Sun Microsyste
ms Inc. The desktop manager supports drag and drop, and includes graphical file systems management and administration. The optimised X-Winserver speeds up the performance of the X Window System: MS-DOS and Windows emulation facilities have been built into the kernel. Inclusion of the Adobe Type manager and Type 1 fonts allows for the use of existing Adobe fonts from MS-DOS disks, and makes it easier for developers to convert Windows, OS/2 and Mac applications. For software developers, there is a new C optimised compilation system, R2.0 for Intel, a graphical debugger, and the Windowing Korn shell extension. An application builder based on Builder Xcessory from Integrated Computer Solutions Inc of Cambridge is bundled in.
HaL will provide the 64-bit version as hardware, software vendors line up
The most interesting of a myriad of other partnerships and endorsements comes from HaL Computer Systems Inc, which is working with Unix Labs to take the future versions of System V.4.2 into the 64-bit world. HaL will provide the reference 64-bit implementation on its proposed 64-bit Sparc processor. The task, said HaL vice-president of sales and marketing, is a considerable one. (64-bit Unix impementations will still run 32-bit software. Aside from DEC and Hewlett-Packard Co, other endorsements from hardware manufacturers included Advanced Logic Research Inc, Apricot Computers Ltd, Data General Corp, ICL, Intel, MIPS, NEC, NCR, Olivetti (doing the ACE/ARC port), Sequent, Sequoia, Siemens Nixdorf, Stratus, Unisys and Wyse. Dell helped do Motif for System V.4.2, but isn’t saying if it will use the product. Software supporters included Banyan Systems, Micro port, Software AG, Uniplex and Unisoft. A list of 80 plus software and hardware vendors also gave support.Unix System V.4.2 includes software drivers supporting SCSI host adaptors from Adaptec Inc, Milpitas, making SCSI peripheral integration simpler to do.
OS/2 to outsell V.4.2 on desktops
According to a study Unix International commissioned from Dataquest comparing OS/2 and System V.4.2, OS/2 shipments will be higher than Unix shipments on personal computers, if for no other reason than IBM is bundling it. However Dataquest forecasts that Unix will gain market share from OS/2 in the desktop workstation market, because it will gain a greater share of the 80586 market. Most 80586 systems will be used as workstations, predicts Dataquest. OS/2 will get 8.5% of the total workstation market by 1996, it says, with Unix coming in at a hefty 47% and Windows NT possibly capturing 30% to 40% of the office desktop and workstation market. Meanwhile, Dataquest forecasts that the worldwide market for personal computers and workstations this year will reach $10,000m.