At the end of last month, Distributed Computing Environment acolytes Hewlett-Packard Co and IBM Corp, plus Sequent Computer Systems Inc, quietly licensed SunSoft Inc’s ONC+ networking environment. Digital Equipment Corp is said to be close to signing. Readers will recall that Open Network Computing contains Sun’s so-called transport independent remote procedure call, TI-RPC, which has been slugging it out with the Distributed Computing Environment Remote Procedure Call in the market ever since the Open Software Foundation went off and chose Hewlett-Packard’s Apollo-derived Network Computing System Remote Procedure Call for Distributed Computing Environment. ONC+ compatibility was one of the conditions laid down in the COSE agreement and wounds appear to have healed enough that once arch ONC+ opponents Hewlett-Packard and IBM (and maybe DEC too) have come to their senses and will now offer Open Network Computing support alongside their Distributed Computing implementations. It will provide interoperability with Sun Microsystems Inc’s large installed base, although it’s never been clear just how many sites actually use the TI-RPC mechanism within ONC+. Version 2.0 of the suite includes the 3.version cut of Sun’s eponymous Network File System transfer protocol, now in use at 5m nodes and up, depending whose figures you believe, NIS+ naming, TI-RPC, auto-mounting and network files, network caching and a network debugging tool. Sequent says it’s taking ONC+ for NFS 3.0, appar ently no longer unbund led; IBM has specifc plans to offer ONC+ alongside Distributed Computing Environment under OS/400 and AIX. The firms are trying to agree on common posit ioning. SunSoft said that it hopes to go public by month-end.
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