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  1. Technology
January 17, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

Apple Computer Inc and Digital Equipment Corp duly announced their agreement to develop interfaces between Apple’s Macintosh and DEC’s VAX computers, and, as expected the agreement does not go beyond technical collaboration at this stage, although it is believed that much a closer relationship is under discussion (CI No 836). Apart from the need of both companies to be able to offer major users a complete alternative to IBM, the agreement is spurred by the fact that 36% of VAX users already have Macintoshes in their shops and are actively seeking to integrate the two. The aim of the collaboration is to provide a consistent set of application programming interfaces, and to make the Open Systems Interconnection protocols the framework for integration of the two environments. There are elements in the development effort. A Distributed Applications Methodology will provide process-to-process communications with VAX-based services; Macintosh users will be able to access files on VAXes using the AppleTalk Filing Protocol; revisable form documents created in either environment will be interchangeable using the ISO/ODA standard using Digital Document Interchange Format; DEC and Apple Postscript printers will be available to all users; Macs will emulate DEC VT terminals for use on DECnet/OSI networks with ASCII characters and X-Window graphics; Macintosh electronic mail applications will be able to use DEC electronic mail services, including All-In-1 and X400; Macs will be able to participate in VAX Notes electronic conferences and VTX corporate viewdata; database standards and capabilities will be jointly specified; DECnet/OSI Phase V will be used to integrate AppleTalk nets into wide area networks; and users will be able to manage DECnet and AppleTalk networks as single entities. The pair have given themselves eight months to put flesh on the bones of their plans and technical specs will be given at a joint developers’ conference in August.

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