The X Window System – marking the common ground in an increasingly fragmented industry Although the Unix industry is at a particularly fractious time of its life at present – even the once less-secular Interactive Systems Corp and Santa Cruz Operation Inc are now effectively aligned with the rival Unix International Inc and Open Software […]
The X Window System – marking the common ground in an increasingly fragmented industry
Although the Unix industry is at a particularly fractious time of its life at present – even the once less-secular Interactive Systems Corp and Santa Cruz Operation Inc are now effectively aligned with the rival Unix International Inc and Open Software Foundation camps – X Window is one tune that all parties concerned are playing, even if it be on different instruments. The growing significance of the annual Xhibition show in San Jose, California, is a testament to this irresistible quest for common ground in the midst of a complex unfolding of new technological and marketing paradigms. As in previous years, Xhibition brought all of the protagonists together where they jointly hosted everything from keynote addresses to tutorials.
Early ACE version is shown – but independent software vendors must wait for version 4
The Advanced Computing Environment consortium turned out in force at Xhibition, with presentations and tutorials aimed at trying to dispel some of the confusion we caused with this announcement back in April, according to Santa Cruz vice-president Doug Michels. The rationale, he explained, is that we think the mass market ACE will create will be bigger than that which can be realised by the individual members. At the same time ACE is trying to be loyal to those things that were successful in the personal computer revolution, to achieve its goal. The so-called second wave of members that will join the original 21 will be revealed later this month. There are now said to be at least 15. Visitors to the Santa Cruz stand were treated to first public viewing of an early iteration of ACE’s little-endian version of Unix. This base version 3 was using Digital Equipment Corp’s OSF/1 with pieces of IXI Ltd’s X.desktop as the front-end – but this is not the version that will go out to independent software vendors as a development system. They will have to wait around until the end of the year for base version 4, the rudiments of which should be pretty well in hand in another month or so. The tricky, time-consuming part is deciding just what goes into the kernel and what into the firmware-based hardware layer, the ACE invention meant to make the operating system as hardware-independent as possible. Hardware vendors like Compaq Computer Corp, however, aren’t waiting around, and are busy creating non-ARC prototypes, not production machines, and transporting the system over. Compaq is obviously not waiting for the MIPS Computer Systems Inc R4000 chip, now sampling, figuring that it’s for multi-processors anyway. Meanwhile, Santa Cruz hopes to bring ACE’s RISC and Intel Corp versions into sync so that future enhancements in one will be followed within months. This is unlikely to be possible before 1993, Santa Cruz said.
Hewlett-Packard reveals multi-media features to appear in NewWave
At Xhibition, Hewlett-Packard Co’s general manager of its personal systems group, Robert Frankenberg, revealed that the company has been using a multi-media test product for communications and computer training internally for some time now, features of which will show up in NewWave applications and Object Request Broker standards. Known as Comedian, it includes electronic facsimile, personal video communications, training techniques and the most popular feature among its users, a shared whiteboard, or scribbling pad, which enables messages written on one system to appear simultaneously on a whiteboard on another system in the network. Frankenberg says that an inference engine and an expert system will also be going into NewWave soon.
Pacific Rim firms pop X-terminals
Pacific Rim companies made the biggest splash at Xhibition in launching new hardware, with at least five new launches. The Fremont, California-based subsidiary of Taiwanese outfit Arche Technologies Inc introduced a 14 colour X-terminal based on the 20MHz Am29000 RISC. With from 2Mb to 10Mb RAM and 1,024 by 768 resolution, the X5800 is from $3,200. 17 and 21 models will a
ppear later this year. And C Itoh Co Ltd’s CIT-XE family of X terminals, first introduced in Japan two years ago, are now available from its Irvine, California-based subsidiary: prices go from $3,000 to $6,000. Marubeni International Electronics Corp, Santa Clara, debuted four new X-terminals. The monochrome 16 SSX16 and 19 SSX19 come with from 2Mb to 8Mb RAM, 1,024 by 1,024 and 1,280 by 1,024 display resolutions respectively, and cost from $2,300 and $3,400. Tokyo-based Japan Computer Corp’s Fort Lee, New Jersey-based subsidiary released three X-terminals based around 33MHz Motorola 68030 parts, the 12 monochrome Xface, with up to 16Mb RAM; the 21 colour SuperX, with up to 32Mb RAM; and 17, 20 and 21 versions of the 16m colour FX, with up to 32Mb RAM. No prices. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s San Jose subsidiary introduced the 20MHz Am29000 RISC-based SGS-17C colour X-terminal – with up to 10Mb RAM, it’s the second in a planned series of the things, and is out in third quarter; no prices.
X software gradually starts to emerge
Felton, California-based CrossWind Technologies Inc is to offer Madrid-based Afina SA’s X-based time organiser on a range of Unix systems in Spain and Portugal. And following the release of Motif products for Sun Microsystems Inc systems, DEC has now agreed to develop an Open Look to Motif source code converter in conjunction with Expert Object Corp, Lincolnwood, Illinois, called PLS convert. It will ship the software for DEC stations and Sun workstations from the fourth quarter, prices will start at $2,500. Kovi Design Automation, Santa Clara, California, introduced a Motif and Open Look graphical user interface builder – MOB – which enables users to create both Motif and Open Look front-ends in a single iteration: it’s out on a range of Unix workstations, priced from $2,500. IBM Corp has signed up for Palo Alto, California-based Neuron Data Inc’s Open Interface graphical user interface development tool which it will offer on its RS/6000 system. Pittsburgh Powercomputing, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania unveiled v2 of its X-station/340 X Window server for Texas Instruments Inc’s TMS340X0 series of graphics processor, now increasingly used by X-terminal manufacturers. William Fellows