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September 16, 1998

INTEL BACKS UNIFORM DRIVER EFFORT, SERVER STANDARDS

By CBR Staff Writer

Intel Corp has given its backing to the UDI effort to standardize hardware device drivers, which gave its first public demonstration last month (CI No 3,476). UDI – which stands for Uniform Driver Interface – is a collaborative effort led by the Santa Cruz Operation involving various Unix vendors such as Compaq Computer Corp, Hewlett-Packard Co, IBM Corp, NCR Corp, Sun Microsystems Inc and others. Intel said it would support UDI as a standard driver interface, and would also work with SCO and the Project UDI team to port it to the Linux operating system for distribution as freeware. The aim of UDI is to enable device drivers to be portable across both hardware platforms and operating systems, without changes to the driver source. It’s particularly important for the Unix market, where peripheral manufacturers currently have to supply new device drivers with every flavor of Unix they support. With Intel on board, Unix OS vendors can use a common device driver for all Unix platforms on Intel – and on non-Unix systems supporting the standard as well. Users will benefit through reduced support costs. The first UDI products are expected to reach the market in the second quarter of next year. The standard could conceivably be extended beyond Unix with the support of Microsoft, or if a third party ported it to Windows NT. Meanwhile, Intel Corp said it would continue to back the Server System Infrastructure Initiative, which aims to standardize power supply and electronics bay design on Intel servers, and the IPMI Intelligent Platform Management Interface effort, which is working on establishing standard building blocks for Intel servers that interoperate by platform management hardware. Both efforts are supported by Dell Computer Corp, HP and NEC Corp.

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