IBM Corp engineers were trying to finish the beta test release of NT-on-PowerPC in time to let the code out to select developers on April 1. Sister NT publication ClieNT Server News reports that a release candidate has been in the laboratory for a couple of weeks, lending some credibility to reports that general availability […]
IBM Corp engineers were trying to finish the beta test release of NT-on-PowerPC in time to let the code out to select developers on April 1. Sister NT publication ClieNT Server News reports that a release candidate has been in the laboratory for a couple of weeks, lending some credibility to reports that general availability could be as soon as the end of May. The beta version includes a new optimised compiler written by Motorola Inc plus TCP/IP support and other features. Up until now the development team has been limping along, hobbled by a compiler from IBM’s Thomas J Watson Research Laboratory think tank that was way too esoteric. The beta release is built around the current NT Build 528, rather than Daytona, although the production release is expected to include the Daytona changes. The beta will include the Microsoft Corp Service Pack 1 and 2 bug fixes as well as the alterations dictated by the Stac Electronics Inc victory over Microsoft. Although the kernel is done, communications are still dicey and work on device drivers continues. Only a small group of independent software vendors will get the beta initially, in large part because hardware shortages. Earlier it appeared IBM would ship them pre-production prototypes of a new PowerPC-based system, but what they’ll actually be getting is an extended production run of the PowerPC Reference Platform, a fairly grim-looking little black box housing a 66MHz 601 and an AT bus. IBM’s also planning to give independent software vendors that don’t get the hardware a CD-ROM of the code that will get them 98% to 99% of the way there. It will run on any 80486 box, with IBM offering to do the rest of the work at its own porting facility in Kirkland, Washington. That lab has been available for the past few months to a super-select group of independent software vendors, and IBM last week confirmed that so far about 30 companies have been in to do early conversions. The number is limited, it seems, by real estate considerations since there are only eight spaces in the lab that can be used simultaneously. IBM is aiming to nail 50 strategic applications including volume leaders in spreadsheet, word processing and presentation graphics as well as technology exploiters such as CAD/CAM and database servers – apparently there will then be another 200 packages in tow.