View all newsletters
Receive our newsletter - data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  1. Technology
October 15, 1991


By CBR Staff Writer

The wave of rapprochement sweeping the Unix industry moved on one step further last week, when the five founders of the Advanced Computing Environment initiative, including Microsoft Corp, Digital Equipment Corp and Santa Cruz Operation Inc, none of them special friends of Unix System V.4, conceded to mounting pressure from both inside and outside of the camp, striking a deal with AT&T’s Unix System Laboratories Inc for the development of a common set of application programming interfaces that will enable software developed under Unix Labs’s System V.4 – or the Open Software Foundation’s OSF/1 rival Unix offering – to run on ACE’s MIPS Computer Systems Inc and Intel Corp hardware under the OSF/1-based Open Desktop Unix environment currently being put together for it by the Santa Cruz and DEC (CI No 1,778). As well as signing on with the ACE crowd, Unix Labs, which recently swallowed its pride and announced the inclusion of the Open Software Foundation’s distributed computing technology in its own Atlas vision of distributed computing, will include interfaces to the Motif graphical user interface – as well as to OSF/1 and DCE – in its ACE System V.4 products. Pyramid Technology Corp, a member of the dissident Apache Group in ACE that has rejected anything but System V.4, is currently working on a reference implementation of System V.4 for the MIPS architecture on behalf of Unix Labs.

Apache companies

However, the Apache companies alone could not turn the trick, and bringing System V.4 into the fold required the mediation of ACE founder Compaq Computer Corp working in concert with Unix Labs and negotiating on behalf of System V.4 with its fellows. Compaq says it was motivated by the need for a high-volume unified Unix market unencumbered by the religious wars that flair between System V.4 and OSF/1 camps, 90% of whose heritage is identical. It wanted to stop a divergence above the kernel and sidestep an internecine battle with System V.4 for the independent software vendor. Compaq stops short of admitting it will adopt System V.4, saying the issue is still being worked. DEC says it won’t touch System V.4 itself, but countenances its embrace by ACE because Unix Labs will support Foundation technology in its software: third parties could provide it on DEC hardware. MIPS, on the other hand, the company around which ACE swirls, is about to pop its next operating system iteration which, if it retains its numbering scheme, will be called RISC/os 5.0 and will be an System V.4 version. The ACE leaders believe the move, which will have Compaq, DEC, MIPS and Unix Labs creating a common set of source-compatible interfaces for System V.4 and OSF/1, is likely to attract new supporters to ACE and strengthen its position – and indeed the position of Unix itself – with both independent software vendors and end users. If these commitments can be met for ACE’s RISC and iAPX-86 hardware architectures, the prospect of a unified Unix environment for the industry at large must be drawing ever closer. Indeed, the breakthrough is the closest the industry’s been to being unified since May 1988 when Foundation came into existence and announced its plans to rewrite Unix.

Content from our partners
Scan and deliver
GenAI cybersecurity: "A super-human analyst, with a brain the size of a planet."
Cloud, AI, and cyber security – highlights from DTX Manchester

Websites in our network
Select and enter your corporate email address Tech Monitor's research, insight and analysis examines the frontiers of digital transformation to help tech leaders navigate the future. Our Changelog newsletter delivers our best work to your inbox every week.
  • CIO
  • CTO
  • CISO
  • CSO
  • CFO
  • CDO
  • CEO
  • Architect Founder
  • MD
  • Director
  • Manager
  • Other
Visit our privacy policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.