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  1. Technology
August 23, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

DEC’s promised Posix compatible and X/Open compatible Release 3 of Ultrix-32, announced yesterday, turns out to come with some major new features and products, as well as giving the company the opportunity to beat the drum yet again about its standards commitment. DEC, which says its Unix revenues over the last year grew to $1,100m, added its first manifestation of the DECwindows programme in the form of the X User Interface, a clustering facility based on Sun’s Network File System, and a series of communications products improving links to VAX/VMS and IBM systems. Release 3.0 is claimed to be fully compliant with both the IEEE 1003.1 Posix and with the National Bureau of Standards interim Federal Information Processing Standard – both of which received ratification only the day before DEC’s announcement yesterday. In addition, DEC appears to have changed its stance on providing System V compatibility to the extent that Release 3 complies with System V Interface Definition II, Volume I which covers the base system but not networking or terminal extensions. It also, the company says, complies with the X/Open base level portability definition and can be brought up to full Common Applications Environment and Open Software Foundation Level 0 compliance with available layered products. The new features include Ultrix Network Fiel System Clusters – which appears to be more of a distributed file system than a true VMS VAXcluster equivalent. It is based on the NFS protocols implemented over dual path 70Mbit-per-second links, and allows the usual 16 VAXcluster devices – VAX CPUs and HSC 70 peripheral controllers – to share a database larger than 75Gb. Also new are a gateway between the proprietary LAT and BSD Telnet terminal protocols, the BSD 4.3 Berkeley Internet Name Domain server and NFS file locking. The release is due to ship in December and UK prices are from UKP1,856 for the MicroVAX 2000 to UKP49,555 for the VAX 8820. DECwindows sees the light of day with XUI – a licence is bundled with all VAXstations – and the first release includes the User Interface Library and programmers’ style guide. Other products include VMS/Ultrix connection, an implementation of NFS and TCP/IP on VMS that is said to allow VMS VAXclusters to act as large and reliable NFS servers to Unix workstations. But it’s not cheap: UKP6,630 on a MicroVAX 3600 to UKP111,384 on a VAX 8978 or VAXcluster equivalent; it ships in December. Ultrix Mail Connection, already demonstrated at various shows, links Ultrix mail users to the DEC MAILbus and therefore to All-in-1, X.400 mail, IBM Profs and SNADS SNA Distribution Services. Due to ship this Autumn, it costs from UKP580 on a VAXstation 2000 to UKP14,034 on an 8800. Finally, DEC has upgraded DECnet support with DECnet-Ultrix V3, allowing Ultrix systems to be linked to all operating systems supported by DECnet Phase III/IV. The VAX 6210, 6220, 8810, 8820, and VAXstation 8000 are supported, and the product includes a gateway between DECnet and Internet networks. Priced from UKP464 to UKP8,725, it is available in the autumn.

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