Interactive chooses Hollywood movie lot for its first annual developers conference Eastman Kodak Co’s Santa Monica, California-based Interactive Systems Corp held its first annual developers conference in Los Angeles county’s Universal City last week, and, borrowing from Star Trek, the event was billed as Unix System V.4 – The Next Generation. Dennis Peck, Interative Systems […]
Interactive chooses Hollywood movie lot for its first annual developers conference
Eastman Kodak Co’s Santa Monica, California-based Interactive Systems Corp held its first annual developers conference in Los Angeles county’s Universal City last week, and, borrowing from Star Trek, the event was billed as Unix System V.4 – The Next Generation. Dennis Peck, Interative Systems Corp president and chief executive, argued that Unix System Laboratories Inc’s decision to produce a golden master binary version for Unix on the desktop has changed the business model. Peck says the shift from supplying essentially raw code to almost end-user quality releases of its operating system technology will mean resources the Unix developers and distributors like Interactive had previously spent transforming Unix into customer versions can now be used instead to integrate other value-added services into their products, speeding up time to market. In the past, Peck explained, Interactive would hardly have had time to complete an end-user version of the latest release before an updated set of code was announced by AT&T Co. The dilemma then was whether to spend time and resources re-working it for the market, or whether to strip out the new features and add them to the just-completed customer version of the previous release. This resulted in many different versions of Unix, all at various stages of development, finding their way onto the market, said Peck. Often, he said, up to 80% of the code supplied by AT&T had to be changed to produce solid, end-user quality versions of the operating system. Now, with almost complete implementations arriving, Interactive can get on with building robust, value-added services – networking, a graphical user environment, Unix/MS-DOS integration and imaging – into its products. And now that Unix application binary interfaces are coming together for most processor architectures it allows us to get serious about shrink-wrap.
Interactive’s Unix V.4 ships on June 15
Following AT&T Co and Intel Corp’s decision to appoint Interactive as a principal publisher of Unix System V.4, the Intel customer base has now, as expected, gone over to Interactive. The first product to result – Interactive Unix V.4 for Intel 80386 and 80486 architectures ships on June 15 for AT and EISA boxes, with a choice of Motif or Open Look interfaces. It’s claimed to run 3,000 applications – including those available for SCO Xenix. The next release will include SCO Unix 3.2 and Intel Unix 3.2 compatibility, the VP/ix MS-DOS-under-Unix tool, and more graphical and hardware support. It’ll be out by the end of the year.
Colour-enabled Unix with image, CD-ROM
The next project for Interactive, says Dennis Peck, is to image and colour-enable Unix System V.4 in conjunction with its parent Eastman Kodak Co. This will include more peripheral support, drivers for scanners, CD-ROM and optical juke-boxes, Kodak’s Photo CD technology and a colour fidelity calibrator all accessible through a graphical user interface, with no need to see, or write, a Unix shell command line, Peck claims. In the first quarter of 1992, Interactive will also ship its V.4 on CD-ROM, with two disks, one for the code itself, the other for the 29 manuals of documentation. It will also buy a CD-ROM player OEM for users without the technology to load the operating system onto their computers. A Philips Electronics NV model was shown off at the conference, but Interactive says no decision has been made as to a supplier. The company is also looking at the possibilities of distributing applications in the same way. After all, says Peck there’s a lot of un-used capacity on the CD.
Unix – The Movie: epic drama, comedy
Speaking at the conference, in the shadow of Hollywood, Unix International Inc president Peter Cunningham compared the Unix industry with the film industry. Both have epic dramas, situation comedies and consolidation within their markets. Now they both have problems with understanding changes in distribution channels, and how these are affecting revenue
streams. Cunningham believes the distribution channel issue is the largest barrier we have in the way of achieving the explosive growth predicted. There are going to be changes, he admitted, and Unix International is encouraging some of those relationships to take place he added. At the end of the day, both the Unix and the film industry are after bums on seats, he observed.
Announcements due at Unix International on transaction processing, objects
Cunningham says that Unix International will be making announcements on Open Systems Interconnection, a transaction processing monitor, object management, multi-media and the desktop metaphor over the next three months. Vice-president Dave Sandell added that other V.4 enhancements due over the next few weeks include new internationalisation features and system software that will sit on top of Unix.
Government procurements spearhead the take-up of Unix System V.4
Unix International claims 40 hardware, and 425 software manufacturers were shipping Unix System V.4 as of the end of first quarter this year. It says that by the end of this year, the procurement of Unix products by government agencies around the world will have totalled $15,000 over the previous 12 months. The latest to be treading that route is the South Korean government, which is said to have decided to call for open systems in all of its future procurements. Down under, the Australian government is reported to be moving in a similar direction, while the government in Japan is said to have announced that its first mainstream open systems procurements will start this year and next. Cunningham claims that there are now 18,000 applications available for Unix V.4, with a further 1,500 coming across from the independent software vendor programme, which, targeted at bringing VMS and AS/400 applications over to Unix, was initiated last year. 600 vendors are said to have signed up for the programme, with two being added every day, supported by 190 porting centres around the world.
Interactive plans independent software vendor programme for later this year
Dennis Peck says that Interactive Systems will announce a new independent software vendor programme later this year, which will give its partners and resellers access to its worldwide distribution channels. Interactive currently has 15 offices worldwide, and 43 distributors, 30 of which are here in Europe, 11 in the US, with just one in Japan and one in Australia. William Fellows