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September 24, 1998

IBM HEADS FOR DIFFICULT WATERS WITH AIX-ON-MERCED

By CBR Staff Writer

ComputerWire thinks IBM is headed for difficult but not unnavigable waters with AIX-on-Merced. In its favor, AIX is well- regarded operating system and has a loyal following. It should match or exceed the capabilities offered by any of the other Unix-on-Intel wannabes; Solaris, Bravo Unix, Irix, Linux and UnixWare. NetFinity needs enterprise epaulettes, it’s clear. Whether SCO, which IBM currently uses for anyone that wants Unix on Intel, is up to the job, isn’t clear. Solaris is still someone else’s stuff. And after all, IBM already got its own fingers burned when Solaris-on-PowerPC failed to set the world on fire. IBM’s plan is surely bad news for UnixWare because with SCO’s biggest benefactor, Compaq, set to use Bravo Unix for its 64-bit requirement, Data General’s NT servers are driving its business, and Unisys is heading away from Unix, the 64-bit Intel world’s going to be a dark place. We’re also not convinced that users are set to ditch Unix wholesale for Windows NT. In the time it takes NT to earn its enterprise spurs, Unix applications will be even more firmly entrenched in organizations. Moreover if IBM can dress the project up with enough partners and mainline support from Intel, or indeed the Unix vendors could finally do what they are always bleating about – creating common platforms for ISVs and competing on implementation – then they may all have an even chance. There’s also another, typically outspoken voice within IBM, suggesting it re-port NT to PowerPC. And let’s not forget IBM’s previous attempt to move an AIX personality onto the ill- fated Workplace microkernel that was to have been ported to multiple chip architectures never left first base. Meantime, we’re sure the analysts IBM’s flying to Austin, Texas, early next month to brief them about the latest RS/6000 developments – presumably the new workstations and SPs using Power3, the first 64-bit PowerPC designed specifically for Unix – are going to want to know more.

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