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Digital Equipment Corp has extended support for its Ultrix-32 implementation of Berkeley 4.2 Unix up the VAX line to the VAX 8800, introduced a faster C compiler, improved DECnet support within Unix, and moved towards System V compatibility with Release 2.0 of the Berkeley-based operating system. The new version also includes the expected support for Sun Microsystems’ Network File System. Ultrix is now available for the big BI-bus-only VAXes – but not the 8900 multiprocessors or clustered systems – and now supports the new DEC storage subsystems. Replacing the existing C compiler is an optimising VAX/C Ultrix, developed by DEC’s VAX compiler group, which will be bundled with the operating system; compiled programs are claimed to execute almost twice as fast as those compiled with the standard Unix Portable C. DECnet support for Ultrix still lags behind that available for VMS in that Ultrix systems can only act as DECnet end nodes, but it has been enhanced to enables Ultrix machine to act as gateways between DECnet networks and TCP/IP networks. DEC has also made the first of long-announced moves towards compatibility with the System V Interface Definition and the soon-to-be-ratified IEEE P1003 Posix portable operating system; however full compatibility with SVID Release 1 will not happen until the next, minor release of Ultrix-32. Scheduled to be delivered within a few weeks, Ultrix-32 Release 2.0 starts at $4,000 for an eight user MicroVAX II and peaks out at $70,000 on the top-end VAX 8800.

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