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August 15, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

DEC has revealed plans to license its X-Window-based DECwindows user interface software to independent software vendors and to other hardware manufacturers. DEC’s XUI X User Interface software is already out in pre-release versions to independent software vendors, and the company says it is being used to develop X-based applications for Ultrix and VMS. Interleaf Inc, McDonnell Douglas Co and Relational Technology Inc are among those planning to use XUI in their applications. The tool will allow software vendors or end users who wish to develop products with a DECwindows style look and feel on any processor, and both software and licence will be offered by DEC for the cost of the software medium. DEC says it is also working with several hardware vendors interested in XUI, and has also offered the product to X/Open and the Open Software Foundation as the standard user interface within the Foundation’s open software environment. XUI includes a style guide document specifying DECwindows user interface conventions; a toolkit for building easily customised user interfaces conforming to the look and feel, which is layered on the standard Xlib and X Toolkit libraries; a window manager for moving and resizing windows; and the user interface language, which separates the user interface from the application. The DECwindows programme will be extended across VMS, Ultrix and MS-DOS-based hardware, and will include any other hardware supporting X, such as the Apple Macintosh and OS/2-based systems. DECwindows also supports Display PostScript, GKS and PEX-3D graphics – currently being implemented to support PHIGS and PHIGS+ by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology X Consortium. And DEC is rumoured to be unveiling a VAX-based personal computer at the forth coming DECVille show in Cannes this September, which may run VMS, MS-DOS and OS-2, and is likely to support DECwindows (CI No 989). DEC says that over 100 software houses are working on DECwindows, and that internally, it is devoting more development effort to windows than to any other project. The decision by eight of the world’s computer and telecommunications vendors to put their strength behind a joint effort on network management standards has come after a year of deliberations and on the surface appears an impressive display of unity. Look a bit closer, however, and cracks appear, mostly because of the number of defaulters rather than any chinks in the overall design.

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