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March 11, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:57pm

PLAN 9 STARTS TAKING SHAPE AS LUCENT UNLEASHES INFERNO

By CBR Staff Writer

Lucent Technologies Inc yesterday announced version 1.0 of Inferno – the Bell Laboratories Inc-developed real-time operating system that fits in just 1Mb, including the OS itself, virtual machine, language and application management software. Lucent is using Inferno – formerly known as Plan 9 in its own networking products including network and systems management, IP gateways, firewalls, switches and domain name servers. The company will also release a web phone in an announcement with about 10 partners due the first week in April. Mike Skarzynski, VP and general manager for Inferno network software solutions at Lucent said as footprint is concerned there’s no competition, including JavaOS. Nobody can beat us, nobody, he said. Inferno can run Java, C or C++ in emulation and run on top of Unix or Windows NT and connect devices, rather like the way Novell Inc’s IntraNetware does. Skarzynski reckons Inferno can also blow others out of the water in terms of cost. There is no upfront license fee, and for quantities in the millions, the royalty fee is about $5 per device. However, Skarzynski emphasized that Lucent makes its money from networking equipment, not OS licenses, and is looking to proliferate use rather than look for a major revenue stream. Inferno 1.0 is claimed to provide end-to-end communication over the public telephone network, the internet, corporate networks, cable television and satellite broadcast. With Inferno, networking and security protocols are built into the operating system, Lucent says, and applications run unchanged across any communications network or device. Inferno 1.0 includes the Styx communications protocols, the Limbo programming language and the Dis virtual machine. However the Limbo moniker is due to live up to its transitional name and is to be changed to Network C, said Skarzynski. It also includes drivers for speech and audio applications, and Open DataBase Connectivity (ODBC) for Informix, Microsoft, Sybase and Oracle databases. Processors families currently supported are Hitachi Ltd SH-3, Digital Equipment Corp StrongARM and Advanced RISC Machines Ltd ARM, iAPX-86, R-series, 68030, PowerPC and Sparc. The porting work for these chips was done by Lucent and the partners, said Skarzynski. It can can also be hosted as a virtual system under Solaris, Irix, Digital Unix, HP-UX, Windows NT and Windows95. Lucent claims more than 10,000 developers are currently working with the Inferno network operating system, and that it has several thousand developers inside the company working with it . Evaluation copies and application demonstrations are up at https://www.lucent.com/inferno/.

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