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November 24, 1991


By CBR Staff Writer

DEC says a 64-bit version of the Open Software Foundation operating system is already running on Alpha in the labs. That’s the first port of OSF/1 to a 64-bit architecture, it claims this port will be the extent of the Alpha-Unix relationship in the near-term. The OSF/1-Ultrix melange that will surface in Santa Cruz Operation Inc’s Open Desktop system software bundle, being prepared for the Advanced Computing Environment crowd, is initially being offered only as 32-bit product. It’s being orchestrated this way to maintain compatibility with the spread of applications currently available for each of those three environments, even though the R4000 that MIPS Computer Systems Inc will supply to ACE is a 64-bit RISC processor. DEC says Open Desktop will move to a 64-bit architecture in the fullness of time – which would make it eligible for Alpha, on which its proprietary VMS environment will also figure – but the firm offers no parameters. Alpha’s proprietary VAX RISC chip is reported working and is expected to deliver 100 SPECmarks at 180MHz, translating roughly into 50 commercial IBM MIPS, or something in the neighbourhood of 100 Sun Microsystems MIPS. DEC’s rollout of Alpha boxes should begin with a workstation priced about $20,000, speculators reckon, pegged to be shipping in volume in a year.

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