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June 13, 1990

ONLY SUN, IBM ABSENT AS EAST GERMAN ORGANISATIONS GET THE UNIX HARD SELL IN BERLIN…

By CBR Staff Writer

East German firms are, according to Computerwoche, pinning their hopes on Unix to help them in their effort to match the technology used by their Western counterparts, and the yearly one-day event of the Unix world in East Berlin drew over 1,000 visitors who packed the two lecture halls in their eagerness for hard-to-come-by information on Unix developments. Among the seminars held, one of the most memorable was an unequivocal piece of rhetoric from Uniware GmbH’s Klaus Wilke: completely out, in his view, were practically all the computers already installed in the Republic; in, on the other hand, were RISC and EISA-based machines using at minimum an Intel 80386 chip. MS-DOS was, Wilke went on, as much on the way out as the Unix derivative Xenix, and the homegrown System P8000 Unix offering also had a severely limited life expectancy. Meanwhile, both wagers of the Unix war were represented by AT&T Unix Software Operation and the Open Software Foundation on either side, with X/Open Co Ltd in the middle, but as it turned out, any attempts to use the Alexanderplatz as a ground on which to stage an impromptu battle were met with indifference from the assembled end-users – some were more intent on retiring to a quiet corner to digest the mass of documentation that is so easily picked up at such events, while others would not be diverted from their refreshingly healthy urge to find out what Unix could do for their businesses, regardless of industry politics. But so much for the talking – back in the exhibition halls, suppliers such as DEC were claiming a level of interesting leads that they would not have dared hope for before the show; and while nobody was yet claiming that Unix was about to enter the East in a big way, by all accounts – such as that of Nomina, publisher of the ISIS product catalogue, whose stand was kept full of prospective end-users looking for tips on how to get hold of Western software, there was enough activity to scare IBM and Sun Microsystems – the only two major suppliers not present at the show – into booking their stands at the next one.

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