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August 19, 1996


By CBR Staff Writer

French microkernel house Chorus Systemes SA has revved its lightweight Chorus Cool object request broker (ORB) designed for embedded systems developers to support Windows 3.1, 95, Linux and AIX. By comparison, Chorus claims Cool is three or four times faster and much smaller than the Iona Technologies Ltd Orbix ORB which it reckons is the de facto industry standard. It points to a 50% decrease in memory footprint and improved service invocation but can’t actually back its performance claims publicly because competitive benchmarks are still being completed by a prospective US customer. Its other major win is France Telecom, which helped Chorus develop Cool in conjunction with SEPT and the European Union’s Esprit Projects Commandos (No 2071), ISA (No 2267) and Ouverture (No 6603) . The majority of Cool users are existing Chorus customers. Reason it is pitching Cool against Orbix is that real-time rivals such as Wind River Systems Inc and ISI currently offer cut-down versions of Orbix for use with their real-time development system s. Cool doesn’t offer some of the bolt-on services which impair performance, Chorus says. Chorus is currently validating its Corba 2 IIOP implementation to work with other vendors’ Corba 2 ORBs. Work is currently underway to port Java to Chorus’ Componentized OS embedded kernels, the project could complete shortly, it says. The idea is to have JavaOS up on Chorus kernels running on switches and other real-time devices. Chorus doesn’t see SunSoft Inc’s forthcoming release of an Embedded Solaris kernel as a threat, indeed it claims it’s doing work with SunSoft to support it. Where the Chorus kernel runs from 10Kb to 2Mb depending on configuration, Embedded Solaris will take up much more than 2Mb in its skinniest form, the company says; embedded Solaris is big and is not light, is its opinion. Furthermore at the forthcoming embedded systems show it will introduce the Classix kernel for SparcStation 5s. Chorus, which does not yet have a piece of network computer (NC) action and didn’t get a look in on supposed system software partner Santa Cruz Operation Inc’s chopped-down NC/OS Unix says it is going to start making noise about some of the stuff that’s buried in its kernel such as the ability to reconfigure software on the fly. It’s now got JVC using the kernel in karaoke-on-demand systems. Cool is already up on Sun and other Chorus kernels – HP-UX and UnixWare ports, plus IDL-to-C mapping and Java integration will follow. Cool development systems are priced at from $1,000 to $4,500 depending on configuration. Runtimes range from $5 to $100 depending on quantity.

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