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July 24, 1988

CDC’s SYSTIME WINS ALTOS, COMPUTER CONSOLES FOR ITS PC-CONNECT MS-DOS-TO-UNIX LINK

By CBR Staff Writer

Control Data UK’s Leeds-based Systime Ltd first revealed its plans to move away from hardware manufacturing towards software technology solutions back in January: by then it had already de emphasised its own hardware with an extensive OEM deal to re badge Altos Computer machines. Six months on, the company says it has signed up 20 resellers for its vertical market applications: we’ve moved from a lock-in company to an open strategy, said third party sales director John Arnold. One line of business has been conversion of software for ICL and Wang Cobol users to run under Unix, and the company is still working on what Arnold still calls our own user base of DEC PDP-11 customers, a legacy from the days when Systime was DEC’s largest commercial OEM customer in the UK: these users are encouraged to make the transition to Unix via Systime’s Trans Basic product. But the real effort has been saved for a newer line of technical software, dubbed visionware. PC-Connect, launched last year is the first in the line, and uses Microsoft Windows running on an MS-DOS micro to display user data from a Unix system. Unix applications can be run as windows onscreen alongside MS-DOS programs. Already the product has been taken up by Altos Computer Systems Inc for its Workstation 100, and Computer Consoles Inc and UK micro-maker Jarogate Ltd are also working to incorporate the software into future products. The UK Government’s Central Computer Services Agency and Manpower Services Commission have also taken PC-Connect for in-house use. Future product developments include support for X-Windows – to be demonstated at the X Windows show in Boston next month – and a Presentation Manager version that will also support X, due out in the first quarter of next year: the company says it is working with Cambridge-based X experts IXI Ltd on the developments. The aim, said Arnold, is to have some Systime software bundled in with 30% of the world’s computer products by 1990.

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