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November 3, 1991


By CBR Staff Writer

Sun Microsystems Computer Corp has decided that the growth rate at the high-end of the graphics and visualisation market does not warrant its continuing investment, and it is re-focusing its efforts to concentrate on mid-range, higher volume areas such as document imaging, desktop publishing, electronic pre-press and multi-media. It is therefore licensing its VX and MVX visualisation accelerators and boards to Fremont, California-based Vicom Systems Inc, which will sell the boards on Sun workstations on an exclusive basis from January next year. Sun introduced the boards, which use Intel Corp’s 80860 processor, back in August last year, claiming 40 MIPS and 60 MFLOPS peak double precision for the uniprocessor VX, and up to 160 MIPS and 240 MFLOPS peak for the four-processor MVX. Vicom will ship the boards as its flagship products, committing to maintain compatibility with Sun’s XGL software libraries and SunVision visualisation software. Vicom will keep on its own high-end products, which include the Gould Deanza and Pixar products it has acquired over the last few years, products that were sold in direct competition to Sun. As for Sun’s other graphics products, it is now licensing its GX broad-based graphics product-line direct and through Sparc-chip foundries LSI Logic Corp, Tera Microsystems Inc and Fujitsu Ltd, so that Sparcsystem builders can have access to the technology, which it might consider also doing for the three-dimensional GS and GT accelerators. As for the recent moves by Silicon Graphics Inc to license its GL graphics libraries, Anil Gadre, Sun Computer vicepresident of systems product marketing, called the move interesting. But he added that he’d already heard of two different companies thinking of putting libraries of GL on top of XGL, but it makes no sense for us to change our whole graphics strategy. XGL is object-oriented for our next generation, fits in well with our windowing system, and is multi-threaded to run on the new multiprocessors. We can’t get that out of GL.

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