Lucent Technologies Inc has now released the second version of its Inferno distributed network operating system, for which it has high hopes as the market for small, inexpensive consumer devices such as screen phones and intelligent set-top boxes begins to take off. Inferno 2.0, as expected, supports Sun Microsystems Inc’s PersonalJava programming language, and will run PersonalJava applications as well as those written in Limbo, Lucent’s associated portable programming language. Such applications should run across a wide range of consumer devices without changes. Packaged in with the new release comes an integrated suite of general purpose applications for consumer devices, including a distributed internet browser for small devices, email, phone directory and address book and notepad. There is also a graphical user interface for managing applications and a software download application, designed to update Inferno applications and system software via the network. The operating system is compatible with software modems, eliminating the need for modem hardware. Lucent claims to have won support for over 60 OEM and independent software vendor companies for Inferno, which will run in 512K of RAM and 256K of ROM. Lucent says it’s recently been working with some of its licensees to add support for smart phones to Inferno, so that telephony and advanced data capabilities can be integrated – meaning that users will be able to browse for information on the internet in the middle of a phone conversation, for instance.
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