IBM Corp is expected to start delivering AIX 4.1, the first completely new version of the operating system since its original launch in 1990, on August 12. The release marks the industry’s first integrated implementation of the now-famous Common Open Software Environment Common Desktop Environment user interface. It has been integrated with a Visual System […]
IBM Corp is expected to start delivering AIX 4.1, the first completely new version of the operating system since its original launch in 1990, on August 12. The release marks the industry’s first integrated implementation of the now-famous Common Open Software Environment Common Desktop Environment user interface. It has been integrated with a Visual System Manager, an iconic drag-and-drop application that is said to ease systems administration. AIX 4.1 is also designed to provide future compliance with Spec 1170, the X/Open XPG4 standard and the PowerOpen programming interface. It also features new packaging options that enables users to choose either an Advanced Interactive Executive client or server model resulting result in lower costs and reduced hardware requirements. The AIX 4.1 kernel supports both Posix-based and OSF/1-compliant threads, enabling developers to prepare for IBM’s forthcoming Pegasus symmetric multiprocessors being developed in concert with Compagnie des Machines Bull SA. IBM is talking of a phased implementation and is focusing initially on getting independent software vendors up to scratch. It anticipates that most of its installed base will not make the transition until next year. It says the thing offers binary compatibility for the ‘vast majority’ of existing AIX applications. It supports IBM PowerPC, Power2 and Power-based systems including RS/6000 systems and the PowerPC boxes expected in October out of its Power Personal Systems Division. Those same boxes will also run Microsoft Corp’s Windows NT. AIX 4.1 features include extended file system addressability beyond 2Gb and system resource savings; support for high-performance disk striping; a graphically oriented install; an integrated X Windowing capability and a System Object Model-based object-oriented toolkit for application development. IBM notes that objects created with the toolkit will be supported by future object-based products incorporating Taligent Inc technologies.
This version of the operating system complies with IBM’s Open BluePrint model for client-server computing and will be the basis for increased AIX integration of the coming Workplace technologies. Improvements have been made to the AIX linker, loader and binder features, which should help optimise applications. Disk storage requirements have been reduced through file system data compression, smaller bloc sizes and an easier de-install. The Logical Volume Manager has been enhanced to support disk striping for better input-output performance. The Install Manager installs applications directly from a server to all AIX client systems on a network. An AIX 4.1 Client will cost $800. On low-end PowerPC machines the Server will cost $1,500 for one or two users; $3,000 for unlimited users. On larger machines it will cost $3,000 for two users and $14,700 for up to 80 users, with each user above that number costing $150 apiece. AIX 4.1 includes an ‘affinity scheduler’ for the automatic binding of processes or threads with processors, along with facilities for manually managing the binding process. According to International Data corp, this ability to fine tune symmetric multiprocessing performance has so far only emerged in operating systems from the symmetric multiprocessing specialists such as Sequent Computer Systems Corp and Pyramid Technology Corp. While the initial design centre for AIX 4.1 is four-way symmetric multiprocessing, eight-way capabilities have been built in, says International Data. AIX 4.1 development started before IBM made its commitment to use a microkernel architecture for future operating systems, says International Data Corp, and much of the stabalisation and scalability work to be done will need to be re-done for any future version of the microkernel that will run AIX applications. If the AIX 4.1 were to be done today says the researcher, IBM would probably use the microkernel.