Networking Computing Devices Inc specializes in the X terminal business or network desktop as it calls it these days, and everybody agrees that this is a business in decline. But X terminal makers like Network Computing think they’ve found a way out : refashion your X terminals as Network Computers. But that doesn’t really wash. […]
Networking Computing Devices Inc specializes in the X terminal business or network desktop as it calls it these days, and everybody agrees that this is a business in decline. But X terminal makers like Network Computing think they’ve found a way out : refashion your X terminals as Network Computers. But that doesn’t really wash. X terminals are not the same as the Network Computer championed by Larry Ellison et al. They don’t really do anything locally and do not support such basics as HTTP HyperText Transfer Protocol or SMTP Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. That could well change, but in the meantime, companies can set off down what could be a lucrative avenue with value-added software. And nothing adds more value to a piece of software at the moment than Web-enabling it. So Network Computing, an important design and manufacturing contract with IBM Corp under its belt (CI No 2,945), has launched PC-Xware 4.0 PC X server software for Windows95 and Windows NT, and announced its Web-Enabled X technology, which the company hopes will be adopted across the X terminal world. PC-Xware enables personal computer users to launch X Window applications from Web browsers and the users need no knowledge of the host location, log-in script and the like. However this is not intended for the Internet, just corporate intranets using Web browsers. Network Computing marketing director Clive Prout said there is no standard for putting X Window through firewalls, hence the confinement to intranets at the moment. The X Consortium is due to launch a beta version of its Broad-way tools in September, slightly later than planned, with the full version coming by the end of year.
Anywhere on the Web
These will enable X Window desktops to run X Window applications from anywhere on the Web, and embed X Window applications into browsers, said X Consortium marketing director Paul Lavalle. With Broadway, no code will actually execute on the client, unlike the Java paradigm. The key components of Broadway are remote execution, Web browser plug-in, security, Internet audio system and X.fast high performance Internet graphics protocol. Network Computing’s PC-Xware does not have the security sufficient to operate over the Internet, or low band-width support but the company says this is not necessary for intranets. And anyway, according to Prout, PC-Xware and Web-Enabled X will leave users on the path to Broadway, when it is eventually released. Web-Enabled X integrates X applications into intranets and provides for centrally managed X connections, rather than being administered on each desktop. Mountain View, California-based Network Computing believes it will be first out of the gate with such a technology. It will publish Web-Enabled X application programming interfaces in the current half. Novell Inc has incorporated Web-Enabled X into its LAN Workplace product and Network Computing promises others soon. PC-Xware 4.0 also has Open Group branding. The company is offering two versions of PC-Xware, both available now. PC-Xware Classic comprises just the PC X server, while PC-Xware Suite is the X server software, together with a Network File System client and server, terminal emulation, a graphical keyboard remapper and File Transfer Protocol client. There is also a Unix and Windows 3.1 client available. The Suite for both Windows95 and NT costs $545 for a single license and $245 per user in 100-user packs, the Classic costs $400 and $180 in the same numbers