SunSoft Inc’s Solaris PowerPC Edition will be available for each of IBM Corp’s ‘super clients’ from March 1996, with a beta programme starting this September. Both companies and their respective channels will supply the software but no prices have been set. Although engineering work on the PowerPC implementation of SunSoft’s Unix is complete, the company […]
SunSoft Inc’s Solaris PowerPC Edition will be available for each of IBM Corp’s ‘super clients’ from March 1996, with a beta programme starting this September. Both companies and their respective channels will supply the software but no prices have been set. Although engineering work on the PowerPC implementation of SunSoft’s Unix is complete, the company decided against offering an interim release of what’s effectively the next iteration of Solaris – version 2.5 – on third party systems, so as not to risk upstaging its launch for Sparc, or more precisely the UltraSparc, later this year. SunSoft had been hoping to get all three Solaris variants – Sparc, iAPX-86 and PowerPC – all derived from the same source code tree, onto one CD-ROM for distribution, but it is not clear when that will happen. The PowerPC implementation currently trails Sparc and iAPX-86 releases by around one quarter. SunSoft is obviously keen to bring Solaris’s symmetric multiprocessing and multithreading strengths into play, but will have t o wait until IBM gets the symmetric multiprocessing super client units away, an event now expected towards the end of the year, or until the new PC Server division gets its PowerPC tin out of the crate. IBM said there are no major hurdles it has to clear to get the super client symmetric multiprocessing machines out, it’s just a matter of tying up a bunch of loose ends. Indeed, IBM’s Solaris group received its first symmetric multiprocessing 604 development units a couple of weeks ago. IBM and SunSoft were demonstrating Westborough, Massachusetts-based Applix Inc’s Applixware suite; Danvers, Massachusetts-based Orion Systems Inc’s imaging software; Federal Way, Washington-based Syntax Inc’s TotalNet Advanced Server local network software; and Santa Clara, California-based Parallax Graphics Inc’s video boards running under the desktop PowerPC Edition of Solaris at the PC Power Series launch last week. The two reckon they have 20 independent software vendors now migrating to Solaris for PowerPC and expect to have 50 applications up and running by the first quarter of next year, when the system becomes generally available. The two already have 10 customers on a limited availability programme, including Scottish company Edinburgh Portable Compilers Ltd, which will be supplying Cobol, Fortran and Pascal compilers for the implementation.
Too much Notes work
SunSoft is offering its WorkShop C and C++ compiler and development tools. Of the independent software vendors that the two approached, ironically only Lotus Development Corp declined to join the programme, saying that it already had too much Notes work on its plate. In light of IBM’s planned acquisition of the company, the Solaris team has been encouraged to re-approach Lotus. Under the current arrangement, IBM has rights to offer the Solaris PowerPC Edition only on its super clients, although it said it could easily supply a large customer order for Solaris on servers under individual arrangements if required. As IBM irons out its server strategy, SunSoft is confident that the company will be back to extend its current agreement to include server implement ations of the Solaris PowerPC Edition. Indeed, SunSoft claims it has got a handful of other PowerPC system vendors lined up behind Solaris and will publicise them next quarter. Firepower Systems Inc, Menlo Park, California said it will have a version of Solaris on its uniprocessor and symmetric multiprocessing 604 boxes later this year. It is supplying its systems, which are currently Windows NT-only, on an OEM basis to the Costa Mesa, California-based Computer Systems Division of Canon Inc, and to IPC Technologies Inc, the Austin, Texas-based arm of IPC Corp Ltd of Singapore. The Canon computer arm, which is also offering the re-badged IBM Thinkpad 820 as its PN-100 Power Notebook, said it will also offer Solaris, AIX and the next-generation Mac OS, Copland, on notebooks, workstations and future PowerPC servers. Other likely Solaris PowerPC Edition partners include Compagnie des Machines Bull
SA, and Sparc and PowerPC house Tatung Co.