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Technology / AI and automation


Amidst a barrage of announcements this week, Bull SA has introduced a new generation of Unix products with which it aims to capture up to 12% of the European Unix market by the early 1990s. The 10 systems come in five model types. The DPX 1000 is a workstation competitor with Sun’s 3/60, according to Unix product line manager Bruno Fonpaine, and is aimed at software development and AI applications. It is 68020-based with 64Kb cache memory, X.11 windows, and includes the Emerald distribution and object oriented toolkit environment, designed for managing large software products, which originates from Smalltalk technology developed at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center with further funding and development from Esprit. The DPX 2000 range are general purpose multi-user systems supporting from two to 32 users, also 68020-based, and with a range of ISO and IBM communications options and support for Ethernet, Starlan, and X400 networking. The DPX 3000 systems are aimed at transaction processing applications and can be configured as non-stop fault tolerant boxes, with up to three 68020 processors per system, and with up to eight systems connected together, operating under a single distributed operating system: these result from techology licensed from Tolerant back in July last year (CI No 726). Finally, the DPX 5000 Series are RISC-based systems originating from Ridge and re-named from the existing SPS 9 systems. Bull says it has implemented a common operating system and compilers across the full range of computers – the Spix implementation of Unix is System V.3 with Berkeley extensions, and Bull says it is X/Open-compliant and will support Unix V.4. TCP/IP and Network File System are included with all products. Prices range from $9,000 for the low-end diskless workstation to $178,000 for the 128-user DPX 5000. Fonpaine said the DPXs would replace existing Bull Unix product lines.

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