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January 14, 1987

IBM BOWS TO RISING UNIX TIDE, FORMS MAJOR GROUP IN AUSTIN

By CBR Staff Writer

The growing movement of national governments – led by those of the US and Sweden – to specify Unix as mandatory for many major tenders, has driven IBM to bring all its Unix efforts together under one roof in Austin, Texas and take the AT&T operating system – or the IEEE 1003 Posix variant – seriously. The new product development and marketing group, the existence of which is revealed in this week’s Computer Systems News, gets the accolade of a group director to head it. Called the IX Systems Management Group, it has responsibility for AIX on the RT Personal, PC/IX on the XT and AT, VM/IX and 370/IX for 3270s, and Series 1/IX or Ser/IX, plus PC/Xenix, which it takes over from the Entry Systems Division. A key switch is that much more implementation work will be brought in-house – most of IBM’s Unix work has up to now been done for the company by Interactive Systems Corp, Santa Monica, while Ser/IX was done by CMI Corp and Xenix by Microsoft Corp. IBM says that it intends to support the work of the IEEE 1003 committee and of Unix technical standards groups – but IBM’s support for alien industry standards is often seen by others as obstruction. A case in point, also highlighted by Computer Systems News, is that while VM is the primary operating system for the 9370s and IBM said with a flourish at the 9370 launch that X25 packet switching would be supported, it turns out that if you want X25, you either have to run a DOS/VSE virtual machine to support the VTAM/X25 Communications Adaptor Support Function, which is a PRPQ (Program Request Price Quotation) or use either a 3725 or Series 1 front-end.

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