After a lengthy beta program Software AG has made its Distributed COM-on-Unix available for Sun Microsystems Inc’s Solaris. It enables developers to write distributed applications for Unix using Microsoft Corp’s object-oriented programming techniques and components. The German software company has ported DCOM on to non-Redmond platforms at the behest of Microsoft. DCOM-on-Unix is the centerpiece of a raft of new middleware Software AG is developing called EntireX, which will be available by the end of the year. The services, which are all compliant with Microsoft’s original versions, include the COM common object model, DCOM libraries, structured storage, monikers, automation, uniform data transfer, registry, service control manager, Microsoft RPC with TCP/IP support, MIDL compiler, ActiveX Template Library and Windows NT LAN Manager security. A 64-bit DEC Unix version of DCOM-on-Unix ships in four weeks, with AIX and HP-UX releases to come, while an MVS edition is just going to beta. Software AG says it will be surprised if DEC and HP can do as good a job of the independent DCOM-on-Unix implementations they are supposedly creating themselves. It says its DEC work was undertaking mainly for the 64-bit experience which it will be able to apply to the raft of 64-bit Unixes coming down next year, including Solaris. Software AG is making DCOM-on-Unix available free of charge but will supply expensive professional and architectural design services for companies that want to learn how to use it. It has 400 betas and expects software development companies and end users to be its biggest customers.
The services Software AG will offer in EntireX are the exact same services which Microsoft Corp turned over, with so much fanfare, to the Open Group-blessed Active Group last year in a show of pseudo-standardization. Those services were supposed to be ported to Unix by one of that standards organization’s pre-structured technology processes. Whatever happened to that endeavor, not to speak of the Active Group itself, is surrounded in mystery. We’re not for one moment suggesting Microsoft’s turning over of ActiveX technologies to ‘the industry’ was just one huge public relations exercise you understand. Not a peep has been heard from either organization on the subject, despite our repeated calling. Maybe we’ll hear from them now Software AG’s DCOM-on-Unix is out of the gate. It thinks we might. Last time we asked, Microsoft told us Active Group is charged with making COM/DCOM available on all commercial computing platforms. It says ISO standardization has never been a specific plan (CI No 3,235). The Open Group PST was supposed to produce basic deliverables and source licensing by the end of 1997. The only difference between its work and Software AG’s was the swapping of Microsoft RPC (Remote Procedure Call) for its own Distributed Computing Environment (DCE). Software AG says it just doesn’t see or expect any demand for DCE.