SunSoft Inc’s new Solaris 2.0 implementation of Unix System V.4 ships in compact disk format, although SunSoft has no doubt that OEM customers will offer taped-out versions for both Sparc and Intel systems. SunSoft is also shipping a multi-processing OEM kit for Solaris 2.0, which it says will enable system manufacturers to take advantage of […]
SunSoft Inc’s new Solaris 2.0 implementation of Unix System V.4 ships in compact disk format, although SunSoft has no doubt that OEM customers will offer taped-out versions for both Sparc and Intel systems. SunSoft is also shipping a multi-processing OEM kit for Solaris 2.0, which it says will enable system manufacturers to take advantage of the symmetric multiprocessing features of the kernel, such as multi-threading, and tune and verify it for their specific hardware implementations: sounds like some amount of tweaking is needed. Solaris 2.0 support on Sun’s own multiprocessors – the Sparcstation 10, Sparcserver 10 and Sparcserver 600MP – follows later in the year. Solaris-on-Intel Corp iAPX-86, work on which only began last January, will be available to developers from the third quarter, and will require a minimum configuration of a 33MHz 80386 with 80387 co-processor, or 25MHz, 33MHz, or 50MHz 80486, 80486DX2 or 80486SX with an 80487SX co-processor. It supports AT, EISA and Micro Channel buses and requires 8Mb RAM and 200Mb disk. Microsoft Corp MS-DOS and Windows emulation will figure on it (CI No 1,927), and although pricing for Solaris 2.0-on-Intel has yet to be fixed, it is expected to be significantly below the Sparc version – $800 for Solaris 2.0-on-Sparc sounds expensive compared with Unix System Laboratories Inc’s $350 for Unix System V.4.2 (Destiny), but SunSoft dismisses that price as just a kernel, which would be virtually useless in such form. Even so, Microsoft Corp is sure to pitch its Windows NT Unix-killer well below both the Destiny and Solaris 2.0 products, although SunSoft is confident that once networking, graphics, electronic mail, a desktop environment and multi-media capabilities are added to NT, it won’t be as cheap as many commentators believe. Given the proliferation of multi-user operating systems only just coming to market, SunSoft declined to talk percentages about how much of the Unix-on-Intel market it expects to capture with Solaris 2.0, though a bullish Doug Millar, managing director of SunSoft UK, said sales of 1m copies a year within two years wouldn’t be an unreasonable goal. SunSoft currently does 30% of its business outside the Sun group of companies and Millar admits that the Interactive Systems Corp Unix variant it markets is still our bread and butter business. The Interactive product, picked up when Sun acquired that part of Eastman-Kodak Co’s Unix subsidiary, is now being pushed at the lower end of the Intel marketplace and further iterations will appear, though not a Unix System V.4 version. Millar fully expects Solaris 2.0 to appear on other CPU architectures in future, courtesy of third parties.