Xerox joins the throng eyeing Research Development’s Brite Lite; no Mac demo as yet Research, Development & Innovations Inc, San Diego, is winning some heavyweight interest in its Sparc-based Brite Lite lap-top and in addition to Sun Microsystems Inc and possibly Matsushita Electric Industrial Co-backed Solbourne Computer Inc, Xerox Corp, another Sparcsystems reseller is said […]
Xerox joins the throng eyeing Research Development’s Brite Lite; no Mac demo as yet
Research, Development & Innovations Inc, San Diego, is winning some heavyweight interest in its Sparc-based Brite Lite lap-top and in addition to Sun Microsystems Inc and possibly Matsushita Electric Industrial Co-backed Solbourne Computer Inc, Xerox Corp, another Sparcsystems reseller is said to be paying more than passing attention to the machine. Key feature of the Brite Lite is that as well as Unix and MS-DOS, it is claimed to run all the software written for the Apple Computer Inc Macintosh using software emulation and running it on the Sparc processor. Such software emulations have seldom made much impact in the past, and it remains to be seen whether the claims of capacity and performance stand up in practice. The company did not show Brite Lite running Mac programs at Comdex: company president Rick Schrameck said that’s because he didn’t want to dampen any of the enthusiasm generated by the simple fact of a Sparc laptop (not to mention any of the distracting behind-the-scenes rigmarole with Sun which agreed to co-market the thing right before the show started and was also showing it). It’s not because the thing doesn’t work, or because Research, Development is concerned Apple, famous for being fast with a lawyer, will take any legal action – Schrameck insists that the software emulation is perfectly legal. He declines to say where he got it from, but Brite Lite’s MS-DOS emulator comes from Insignia Solutions Inc. Brite Lite running Mac is promised to be shown in a few weeks. Meantime the version of the Brite Lite that Sun Microsystems will co-market will be different from all the others that are made: to overcome any resistance attributable to the ever virulent not-invented-here syndrome, Sun’s version will use its own IPC mother board rather than the one laid out by Research, Development and its partner TriGem.
Goldstar worries about bugs in LSI Logic’s 25MHz building block chip set
Seoul, South Korea-based Goldstar Inc, one of the early access clients for the Sparc systems-building kits from the LSI Logic Corp-Opus Systems Inc partnership, is concerned that bugs in the 25MHz, 18 MIPS chip set may impair its upward migration path. News of the bugs, which came to Goldstar’s attention in the last month, had the Korean company scuttling around to all the other Sparc makers looking for alternatives. Interviewed at the Comdex show, Goldstar also voiced scepticism that LSI will be able to deliver on its promise to produce an 80 MIPS CMOS Sparc chip, the Lightning co-development project it has with Metaflow Technologies and Hyundai Electronics. Goldstar claims the dataflow technology the trio is using to do two instructions in a single cycle is like eating dinner before you eat lunch. Goldstar’s suspicions have caused it to seek out LSI competitors Cypress Semiconductor and Texas Instruments, both of whom are also working on 80 MIPS Sparcs – Cypress under the code name Pinochle and Texas under the name Viking. In contrast to LSI, both are using the alternative superscaler approach. Goldstar would like to avoid going to Fujitsu for silicon because it finds the Japanese difficult to deal with. LSI’s Sparc Systems Division marketing director Prem Nath admits there are bugs in the 25MHz chip but says they are being worked around and that the chip runs Unix. They are nothing more than normal, he says, nothing show stopping and should be corrected in the next rev. Meanwhile, Lightning prototypes are due at the end of the second quarter.
Sun Microsystems unveils Sparclite family for embedded control
Sun Microsystems Inc’s Far East chip partner Fujitsu Ltd, through its San Jose, California-based Microelectronics Advanced Product Division, has announced the Sparclite family of Sparcs for an assault the embedded systems market. First in the line is the tightly-coupled MB86930. Sampling in the first quarter of next year and shipping during the autumn, it is manufactured in 0.8 micron CMOS technology. There are 20MHz, 30MHz and 40MHz ver
sions with performance going from 20 MIPS to 37 MIPS. Development tools for the part – including software emulators and debuggers for Sun hosts and personal computers from Microtec Research Inc, a hardware emulator from Step Engineering and real-time operating systems from Wind River Systems, JMI and Flame Computer – are expected by the middle of next year. With the LSI Logic and Integrated Device Technology implementations of the MIPS processor as well Sparcs from LSI and Cypress, not to mention the Philips’ effort, Intel Corp’s 80960 and Advanced Micro Devices’ Am29000, it is clear that Fujitsu is not going to have a clear run even with this new part. However, though the embedded market looks crowded, there is not too much danger of capsize as analysts believe the embedded market could be even more lucrative than the workstation market in the long run. Scottsdale, Arizona-based In-Stat Inc forecasts the embedded RISC market to be worth $248m out of an embedded systems market worth a total of $6,320m by 1994. Fujitsu Sparclite goes from under $50 in 1,000-up quantities.
JMI sets real-time C kernel for Sparc
Version 2.4 of Spring House, Pennsylvania-based JMI Software Inc’s C Executive real-time operating system kernel for embedded control applications can now be hosted on Sun Microsystems’ Spacrstation-1 workstation and used to develop applications before downloading them on to Sparc-based embedded control boards. Existing C Executive customers using complex instruction set processors can move their applications on to the Sparc using this new version, which includes an optional MS-DOS-compatible file system – CE-DOSfile. C Executive is available in the UK from Real Time Systems Ltd, Douglas, Isle of Man, at UKP600, the MS-DOS file system costs an extra UKP300. Versions for Transputers, Intel’s 80960 and the Motorola 88000 processors will be out soon.