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  1. Technology
February 18, 1993


By CBR Staff Writer

Striking out for volume, Sun Microsystems Inc is to begin unbundling its machines so resellers can put other operating systems up on them. Sun’s Chet Silvestri, vice-president of technology sales, the man charged with making Sparc successful, has turned to native NetWare as the obvious first choice for new non-Unix business. Novell Inc has a claimed installed base of some 22m nodes and is to convert NetWare for Sparc, with Sun providing device drivers and other hardware-specific code. The network operating system will be available only on Sparcservers to begin with – the systems that users don’t see, as one official put it – though workstation configurations are expected to follow. It’s a non-trivial porting task and development kits aren’t expected until year-end. Novell is holding off announcement of a general release date until later in the year. Sparc will be only the third architecture – after Intel Corp’s iAPX-86 and Hewlett-Packard Co’s Precision Architecture RISC on which NetWare 4.0 will run native. The convenience of the deal is underlined by the fact that in the US, Sun shares 40% of Novell’s platinum and gold resellers in any case. The move isn’t expected to put SunSoft Inc’s nose out of joint, the effort is parallel to SunSoft’s unbundling of the Solaris operating system. However, as well as a means to drive volume sales, the deal is an obvious way for Sun to back into Microsoft Corp Windows NT. That NT is in the gameplan is not disputed by Sun, though Silvestri admits only to talks with Microsoft about the business parameters of such a venture – other versions of Unix could even feature over time.

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