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July 8, 1993


By CBR Staff Writer

Hunter Systems Inc’s Windows-on-Unix technology has survived the company’s demise. Its mantle has fallen to the newly created Mountain View company MultiPort Inc, engineered by Hunter’s venture capitalist, Technology Funding Venture Partners, and run by ex-Hunter technologist Rob Farnum. Farnum was brought into the ailing emulation company 18 months ago to head up work on a new generation of Hunter products. Technology Funding foreclosed on Hunter’s assets after buying back its debt at public auction in April. Hunter was started in the mid-1980s to peddle its pioneering XDOS technology, intended to convert MS-DOS applications into binary format to run native under Unix, originally on Motorola Inc processors. The trouble was that conversion was often a complex and lengthy process. Farnum was hired to make improvements. He calls his concept Windows for Unix and claims to be a long way towards developing a new-generation binary interpreter that will run any Windows application without alteration. He says he can catch up with Insignia Solutions Ltd and surpass SunSelect’s WABI technology by providing full Win32 capabilities from the start. Multiport has a WABI-style device to run Windows binaries on top of Unix with a Windows look and feel, which was called HS Win when it was a Hunter product. It also has a Software Developers Kit a la Bristol Technology Inc that will recompile programs and run them native under Unix. It was called HS Win SDK at Hunter. Farnum says he has pretty much reimplemented Windows as a networking product and rewritten the Windows Software Developers Toolkit for multiple-system network-aware use. He claims it’s done from the Unix view, using X11 and Motif and says it’s wholly system-independent and will enable Windows applications to run under NT, OS/2, Mac, VMS and DR DOS as well as Unix, something sources say is a future potential and not a present reality. The product nearest to completion is a pre-alpha X Window implementation, funded by Hunter (and IBM) before its collapse. Multiport is currently a company in search of a direction and a corporate rabbi. Farnum says he’s talked to Microsoft Corp, Hewlett-Packard Co, IBM Corp, NCR Corp, Sun Microsystems Inc and Digital Equipment Corp about the products he could build and asking them what they want. MultiPort has already had one a false start, initially calling itself CrossWind Software, a name that’s already taken.

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