The Open Software Foundation’s Distributed Computing Environment, DCE, business area manager, Ram Kumar, is keen to dispel any suggestion that the Foundation might even consider swapping out Distributed Computing Environment’s Distributed File System with the Network File System found in Sun Microsystems Inc’s Open Network Computing environment. The DFS Distributed File System, derived from the Andrew File System developed at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University and turned into a product by the same Pennsylvania city’s Transarc Corp, was chosen above the Sun mechanism during the Foundation’s request for Distributed Computing Environment technology process back in 1990. Kumar acknowledges Network File System’s widely-installed base – well over three million copies – but argues that few people are using the Network File System Remote Procedure Call for running distributed or networked applications as the environment lacks a full set of services, and that applications aren’t there yet in any case.
Network File System planted the notion of a distributed file system for Unix, Kumar believes, and says that Distributed File System should be regarded as a complementary rather than competing technology. Indeed, Sun offers Distributed Computing Environment on its price list – it distributes Transarc’s DCE package under Solaris – and Kumar suggests the IBMs and Hewlett-Packards of the world would have already developed Network File System flavours for their Distributed Computing Environment implementations if they thought that was what users would buy. One irony of the current debate is that the greatest number of Distributed Computing Environment sales have so far been achieved under SunSoft Inc’s Solaris operating system. There is a well understood need for
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