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March 26, 1996

ICL CANCELS LAUNCH OF ITS PLANNED UNIXWARE-ON-SPARC IMPLEMENTATION, CITING LACK OF INTEREST

By CBR Staff Writer

ICL Plc has just abandoned its long-gestating UnixWare-on-Sparc implementation and will instead continue to market its own Unix System V4.2 MP-based NXV7 operating system on its RISC servers. Other Sparcsystem vendors – including Sun Microsystems Inc itself – showed no interest in the UnixWare-on-Sparc implementation, independent software vendors looked the other way and ICL’s own SuperServer and DRS user base balked at the prospect of moving to the environment. Some argued that if they were going to have to move to UnixWare, they might as well go the whole hog and jump to the iAPX-86 version. ICL has already completed the implementation and had been planning to introduce it at the end of last year. Undaunted, UnixWare owner Santa Cruz Operation Inc says it wins either way – ICL is a binary licensee of its UnixWare-on-iAPX-86 product and remains committed to a future merged Santa Cruz OpenServer-UnixWare OEM offering. Moreover Santa Cruz claims that Unisoft Ltd has a demonstrable UnixWare-on-PowerPC implementation and is still looking for independent software vendors, even though the London-based company has previously said the project was effectively dead. Meantime, the first of ICL’s promised Ross Technology Inc HyperSparc-based SuperServers will ship in the third quarter, replacing existing two- and four-way SuperSparc servers. The SuperServer Js will use 142MHz bin-end HyperSparcs, parts that Ross couldn’t get to perform at 150MHz. They come with 1Mb of cache, double that of the 150MHz implementation, to which Sun has exclusive rights. ICL says it will offer one- to four-way 200MHz HyperSparc units from the first quarter of next year, although it is not yet clear whether Sun will take up its first refusal of exclusivity on that part too. ICL claims that it shipped 2,300 Sparc-based servers in 1995.

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