After two years or so of anticipation Unix System Laboratories Inc put most of its cards on the table this week in its bid to secure the next generation desktop market for Unix, pitching Unix System V.4.2 squarely against the forthcoming threat of Microsoft Corp’s NT. However perhaps the most crucial factor for its success […]
After two years or so of anticipation Unix System Laboratories Inc put most of its cards on the table this week in its bid to secure the next generation desktop market for Unix, pitching Unix System V.4.2 squarely against the forthcoming threat of Microsoft Corp’s NT. However perhaps the most crucial factor for its success – pricing – remains to be set, and will be announced only when Univel Inc, the Unix Labs-Novell Inc joint venture, begins shipping the Intel version to end users in the autumn. System V.4.2 – up until now known as Destiny – is above all pitched as an easy-to-use Unix, with its own integral desktop manager accommodating both Motif and Open Look applications, graphical systems administration facility, support for Adobe Systems Inc’s Type Manager and built in MS-DOS and Windows emulation. It also uses the Veritas Journaling File System for data integrity, which protects data against potential damage from power interruptions or unexpected system shutdowns in the middle of an application, from Veritas Inc, Santa Clara. It boots up in under 40 seconds and keeps its file system intact in the event of unexpected shutdowns. It runs on 16MHz 80386SX CPUs and modularity and loadable drivers keep minimum space requirements down to 4Mb to 6Mb memory and 60Mb disk for client systems, 8Mb memory and 120Mb disk for servers. ICL Plc and Fujitsu Ltd are working on the Sparc version and NEC Corp on the R-series version, both due by year-end. Versions for RS/6000, Alpha, Precision Architecture and 88000 RISCs are planned, but no details were revealed. Around the technology, Unix Labs President Roel Pieper has spun a web of endorsements and agreements that he hopes will secure market acceptance. Top of the list is an informal agreement with the Open Software Foundation to iron out differences between System V and OSF/1 programming interfaces. Unix Labs is also working with HaL Computer Systems Inc on a future 64-bit version. Pieper also claimed to be very close to signing a deal with Apple Computer Inc to allow emulation of Macintosh programs within Destiny. Glaringly absent was Sun Microsystems Inc, preparing its Solaris launch later this month, and current Unix desktop leader, Santa Cruz Operation Inc.