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March 10, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

A week before IBM is due to announce details of its plans for migration of the DPPX operating system from the discontinued 8100 line of distributed processors to the 9730 small mainframe, at the Hannover Fair, West German 8100 users complaints are starting to make headlines in the trade weekly Computerwoche. User dismay centres upon the discovery that the most important functions Advanced Program-to-Program Communications, and networking – will not be included on the first 9730 release. For the time being, the 8100 clientele will also be forced to dispense with a DCA type text-editor, a PC server capability and addressability beyond the 16Mb limit of the 9370. A further blow is support for screens: the current method of attaching displays, via a SDLC loop, will not be supported within the 9370 proposals: users who want to keep their original 8775 screens will be forced to maintain a 8100 computer as a terminal controller. In the light of these revelations, says Computerwoche, 8100 users, who have effectively had obsolete equipment on their hands since 1985, are greeting IBM’s protestations that the migration task is in hand with undisguised scepticism. Even DPPX aficionados, who have vigorously defended the system since 1980, are resigned to the fact that many will now be looking for a completely different solution – perhaps from another vendor. According to Computerwoche, Nixdorf Computer, Wang Laboratories, Tandem Computers, and hot favourite to pick up the lion’s share of disaffected users, DEC – have all been trying to migrate 8100 software to their own machines, but have experienced great difficulty in completing the conversion in a reasonable time, and, more significantly, within cost limits: the consensus is that development of a successful migration will require an enormous amount of investment. The Essen-based Rheinisch Westfalischen Elektrizatswerk, which has been working on migration the software for the past 10 years, summarises an additional development obstacle as matching currently available alternatives with future requirements. Short-term, this leaves most users up a proverbial Sackgasse or cul-de-sac; a top executive from the Wiesbaden R + insurance group who has grap pled with 8100 problems for long enough is now eagerly anticipating his move to another company – and system – later this year, while sympathy must be extended to empl oyees of the Deutsche Bundespost, which chose to order some 4,000 of the things at the same time IBM was announcing their demise in 1986.

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