The homogeneous software market of the past few years, dominated by the Microsoft – Lotus – Ashton-Tate triumvirate, will soon be a thing of the past, according to one of the Big Three. Robert Carr, chief scientist at Ashton-Tate, believes that IBM’s launch of the Personal System/2, and the nature of the new generation Intel chips, mean that the market will return to a state of fragmentation, reports Microbytes Daily. Carr believes that the protected mode on the 80286 and 80386, and the OS/2 operating system are creating a fork between the high- and low-end markets. Carr shares our belief that the emergence of large numbers of 80386 machines will be a major fillip for Unix, because there is as yet no operating system designed specifically for the 80386. He points out that OS/2 and Windows 2.0 do not take advantage of the capabilities of the 80386 and were developed for the 80286. It has taken Microsoft so long to develop OS/2 because of all the bugs in the 80286, he claims. On the other hand he reckons that Intel got the 80386 pretty much right and expects greatly improved software and operating systems to be developed specifically for that chip. The result of the new market fragmentation, according to Carr, is that software developers will be picking and choosing among these markets. Portability rather than speed will be the new challenge and the route that gets software developers ahead. As an example, he cites Aldus’s PageMaker, which was written originally for the Macintosh but was ported to the IBM Personal family, with only 30% of the code requiring changes.
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