Unix System Laboratories Inc is gearing up to announce on June 14 that the next step in its product evolution will mean serverising the System V.4.2 and System V.4.2/MP operating system by moving it to the Chorus Systemes SA Chorus/Mix microkernel. Unix Labs is also expected to say that it will take the once inconceivable, […]
Unix System Laboratories Inc is gearing up to announce on June 14 that the next step in its product evolution will mean serverising the System V.4.2 and System V.4.2/MP operating system by moving it to the Chorus Systemes SA Chorus/Mix microkernel. Unix Labs is also expected to say that it will take the once inconceivable, but now politically correct, step of making the system programming interfaces of its microkernel architecture compatible with the Mach microkernel, which is currently undergoing further development at the Open Software Foundation’s research institute. The latter move is of course a bow to interoperability. Unix Labs is eschewing the big bang approach. Instead it is planning a staged development of the System V.4.2 and System V.4.2/MP microkernel, linking itself with key industry partners such as Unisys Corp for instance, to benefit from their talent in such areas as fault tolerance, massively parallel and real-time working as well as their vested interests in turning the various technology streams into products. Some of these partners, each of which has a separate business arrangement with Unix Labs, will be announced next week, and others will be revealed later. Unix Labs’s first step however will be to provide the System V.4.0 Chorus/Mix microkernel directly, probably starting over the summer. This is exactly what Paris-based Chorus provides today on both Intel Corp and Motorola Inc 88000 systems. Unix Labs will likely restrict its licensing to the Intel version and believes OEM customers will take it as an early access starter kit. The really serious microkernel implementation of System V.4.2/MP with the expected third-party extensions will be made available on all the popular microprocessors. Unix Labs stresses that the new microkernel System V.4.2 will not break compatibility with previous editions of the operating system. Anything written to System V.4, System V.4.2 and System V.4.2/MP will be binary compatible with the microkernel. All application programming and application binary interfaces will be supported, according to Unix Labs executive vice-president Mike DeFazio. The serverisation implicit in moving to a microkernel will make it easier for Unix Labs’s OEM customers to upgrade their releases as the Unix Labs technology evolves, he added, indicating that it will represent something of a break with the past, when OEM customers pretty much had to redevelop their releases and added value each time Unix Labs created an extension. Unix Labs also has its eye on object orientation for the operating system but believes such a move is still premature. It is currently linked to the European Esprit programme to support objects on top of Unix System V.4.